Double whammy for Shockwave
The victory vindicates the view of Crichton, the Sydney-based New Zealand yachtsman, that he has the boat capable of a similar double in December's Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. And, given the right conditions through the 630 nautical mile race, a 90-footer capable of breaking the race record.
The win ended a great week for US yacht designers, John Reichel and Jim Pugh, as their other new creation, the radical 60-footer Wild Oats took out the overall points score in the Big Boat Division of Race Week which this year attracted a near-record total fleet of 179 boats.
Neither Shockwave or Wild Oats had raced before arriving at Hamilton Island, off the tropical north coast of the Australian State of Queensland, 10 days ago.
While the crew of Wild Oats, which features a radical canting keel and deep rudders fore and aft, had had some time tuning the boat, the race crew of Shockwave had only two days' preparation at Hamilton Island.
Nevertheless, Shockwave outsailed her maxi yacht rivals in each of the seven races, also winning the 85 nautical mile Coral Sea Race and today's 22 nautical mile Lindeman Island Race on corrected time despite her near maximum IRC rating.
Today's race was her best of Race Week, bouncing out to a clean start to build an early race lead as the fleet slogged to windward in a moderate 15-18 knot south-easterly trade wind.
The silver-hulled, all-carbon fibre 90 footer powered towards the windmark with a nine minutes advantage over the 84 footer Wild Thing with the 80 footer Brindabella a further minute astern.
Under her huge spinnaker on the run back to Hamilton Island, Shockwave looked set to challenge the race record but in the end fell short by five minutes. However, she crossed the finish line 17 minutes ahead of Wild Thing.
With the Race Week Big Boat Championship already safe, Wild Oats sailed an easy final race to finish the series 10 points clear of Shockwave.
Former Cruising Yacht Club of Australia Commodore Hugo van Kretschmar won the highly competitive Sydney 38 One Design class with Bashfull while another CYCA member, Bob Steel, scored an unprecedented third Race Week championship when his Nelson/Marek 46 took out the strong IRC division.