First blood for Shockwave

Neville Crichton's new maxi puts on fine show at Hamilton Island Race Week

Tuesday August 20th 2002, Author: Peter Campbell, Location: Australasia
Neville Crichton's new super maxi, the 90-footer Shockwave, has made a sensational start to her racing career in the Hahn Premium Race Week at Hamilton Island in the tropical north of the Australian State of Queensland.

The all-carbon fibre yacht has taken line honours in her first three races through the Whitsunday Islands surrounding the resort island of Hamilton.

On corrected time in the IRC-handicapped Big Boat Class, she has notched up a score of 2-1-5, today's race being sailed fickle breezes which saw her recover from a major wind shift.

Her performance has confirmed owner/skipper Neville Crichton's confidence that he has the yacht with the potential to take line honours in this year's Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, win the IRC category overall, and even break the race record for the 630 nautical mile race in late December.

Shockwave gave Crichton, a Sydney-based New Zealander who imports luxury cars, a glimpse of her all-round power-sailing ability when she took out the line and handicap double in the 85 nautical mile Coral Sea Race on Sunday.

Her 9.52 knot average speed logged over the new course was the fastest long race average ever recorded in the 19-year history of Hamilton Island Race Week.

It's been a great Race Week so far for US naval architects, Reichel/Pugh, who designed Shockwave and also the radical new 60-footer, Wild Oats, which features a canting keel and twin steering foils fore and aft of the keel, which can be moved hydraulically canted through an arc of 110 degrees.

Owned by wine industry leader Bob Oatley, Wild Oats leads Shockwave in the Big Boat Class, notching up two wins and a second on corrected time, with some impressive bursts of speed.

In fact, the 60-footer gave the 90-footer a real run for the money in today's short, round the buoys race, with Shockwave winning a drag race over the final windward leg but only by three minutes.

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