Quantum Racing into the chocolates

But Wilds Oats XI first home in big wind sailing - the latest from Audi Hamilton Island Race Week

Monday August 25th 2008, Author: Rob Mundle, Location: United Kingdom
Ray Roberts’ Cookson 50 Quantum Racing now leads the IRC Grand Prix division 1 pointscore following an outright win in today’s 59 nautical mile Club Marine Classic Hayman Island Race.

Despite having to cop a 720° penalty turn off Dent Island for clipping Pussy Galore’s backstay with their kite, tactician Steve McConaghy and the rest of this winning outfit were able to make up for lost time to beat Michael Hiatt’s Living Doll and Anataole Masfen’s Pussy Galore from Auckland to the post.

Roberts and his crew are again showing ominous form following their double line and handicap honours victory in the Audi Sydney Gold Coast Race earlier this month, and a handicap win in the lead in Meridien Marinas Airlie Beach Race Week last week.

Rod Jones’ Archambault 40 Alegria is leading the IRC Grand Prix division 2 series pointscore by just one point from Ray Harris’ Beneteau First 45 Honeysuckle after four races. Jones placed second today to Honeysuckle, the two enjoying nail biting tussle as the competition approaches the mid way point.

In a day of high dramas and high winds three sailors were injured and some of the best racing ever was experienced at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week today.

While none of the cruising division sailors were seriously injured, all three were treated in the Hamilton Island Medical Centre before being transferred to a mainland hospital for further observation.

It’s even scores in the line honours stakes after four races at the 25th anniversary Audi Hamilton Island Race Week with the Mark Richards skippered Wild Oats X shaking off its near sistership on the longest race of the week, the 59 nautical mile Club Marine Classic Hayman Island Race.

“The good start helped, and we pulled our socks up today,” said Richards dockside this afternoon once he’d shaken hands with Mark Bradford, skipper of Black Jack which finished just under four minutes astern.

“Upwind we thought they had the legs on us but we held our own comfortably. We made a gain on the reach also,” added Richards.

The fleet set a blistering pace today in the moderate to fresh sou’easterly breeze, Wild Oats X recording a top speed of 20 knots and averaging just over 11 knots around the track.

This morning’s spinnaker start in Dent Passage was a spectacular site as six divisions set off in five minute intervals starting at 8.15am.

In the IRC Grand Prix division 1 and 2 start, Bob Steel’s TP52 Quest, with Jamie Macphail on the helm, launched off the start line before executing a text book kite hoist to lead the charge out of Dent Passage towards Hayman Island.

Chris Dare’s Corby 49 Audi Centre Melbourne, with veteran Roger Hickman and one of Australia’s best known navigators, Adrienne Cahalan aboard, also showed blistering pace at the start, creating a stern wave for Living Doll to ride.

The Performance Passage fleet was sent on the 41 nautical mile Double Cones Island Race with Tim Casey’s Nelson Marek 46 St Hilliers Quest from Sydney getting the gun this afternoon in only its third race.

Casey took ownership of the boat just 10 weeks ago and after a complete rebuild of what was originally Bob Steel’s Quest, he reckons today’s result “is not bad for a bunch of punters.”

Sighting at least six humpback whales over the course of today, Casey was happy to report they had an incident free race. “It was a very enjoyable day...today’s race was in the true spirit of Audi Hamilton Island Race Week.”

In a day of high dramas and high winds, three sailors were injured. While none of the cruising division sailors were seriously injured, all three were treated in the Hamilton Island Medical Centre before being transferred to a mainland hospital for further observation.

Tomorrow is a well earned lay day for all divisions, an opportunity for crews to take a break from the racing schedule and enjoy some land based activities including the Audi Drive Challenge and UBS Moet & Chandon Lunch.

There are many boats still racing with the tail enders due around 7pm tonight.

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