Loki dominates day one

Di Pearson reports from the Australian Keelboat Championships

Saturday January 18th 2003, Author: Di Pearson, Location: Australasia
Stephen Ainsworth and his crew on the Swan 48, Loki, came ashore very pleased with themselves after the first two races of the Australian Keelboat Championship conducted by Royal Yacht Club of Victoria at Williamstown this afternoon.

Ainsworth, from the CYCA in Sydney, won both races in the popular IRC class, sailing in 15-22 knots of wind with lumpy seas at 150-175 degrees on Port Phillip Bay in Melbourne today.

"The racing is very close on the windward/leeward courses - we only beat Quest by just over a second today in the first race, and we are having close racing with Hollywood Boulevard too,’ he said this afternoon.

"It’s hard to do better than two wins, we are pleased with the way we are going," Ainsworth added, and well he might be after their disqualification from the Rolex Sydney-Hobart race after causing damage to another entrant.

Bob Steel’s Quest (CYCA) finished second in today’s first race, finishing fifth in Race 2, with Ray Roberts’ Farr 52, Hollywood Boulevard (CYCA) coming home third in both races. Gary Smith’s Tusk (Royal Perth YC), a 9.7m S97, came home second in Race 2.

Quest, a Nelson Marek 46, has won just about every major race on the Eastern seaboard, recently winning overall the recent Hobart race under IMS, and should be the benchmark for this regatta.

Under AMS handicap, it was pretty much a local affair in both races, first and second placegetters from Royal Yacht Club of Victoria, Jon Klestadt’s BB 10m Surprise 1st in both races from Toecutter, Robert Hick’s designed and owned success story in second for both races, with Rob Davis’ Beneteau 31.7, Owl & Pussycats (RMYS) in third for Race 1. Athol Lidgett’s Hick 31, Wake, third in Race 2.

Davis’ boat will bear watching, he carted of a number of prizes at the Bundaberg Festival of Sail last year, and all of Hicks’ designs are fast.

Overall, Loki leads the IRC with two races in hand, as does Surprise in AMS, for the same reason.

In PHD Race 1, it was Chris Carlile’s Holland 11m, Blue Chip (SYC) from Mossimo Mel Mollison’s MA 9.20m (RMYS) and Donal Mark/Helen Cameron’s MA 9.20 Star Fire ((SYC).

In Race 2, Bruce Taylor’s Sydney 38 Chutzpah (RYCV) 1st from Brian Peterson’s Elliot 14.10, Maverick II, all the way from Royal New Zealand YS and Brian Barnes’ Cavalier 350SL, Barnstormer (SYC).

Racing continues for the 70 entrants on Port Phillip Bay tomorrow, with a further two windward return races starting from 11.55am.

Monday and Tuesday have been set aside as lay days.

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