Bigger garage required
Stephen Ainsworth sailed his RP63 to a commanding lead to take both line and overall honours in the lone race of the Audi Docklands Invitational this afternoon and his main concern after finishing was “Where am I going to park my second Audi?”
Ainsworth, representing the CYCA in Sydney, won the Audi IRC Australian Championship in August and doing so, took home a brand new A5 Cabriolet 2.0 TFSI Quattro S tronic valued at over $90,000.
For winning the shortened series, Ainsworth will take home an Audi A4 Avant to drive for 12 months. He was mentally trying to work out the garage space after mooring his yacht.
Race 1 started in a pleasant 12 knot northerly that petered out to around 6-8 knots around the same time Loki came up to the finish line of the two-lap windward/leeward race.
Loki beat Rob Hanna’s TP52 Shogun (Vic) by nearly six minutes, which translated to a 33 second overall win over Shogun, with a second Victorian TP52 owned by Alan Whiteley, third.
The RP63’s lead was so huge, that on the last lap, the rest of the fleet could only just see the face of Loki glaring at them from the middle of spinnaker.
“We only just managed to squeeze into the start at the pin and stayed left, which helped us clear out on the fleet. We sailed really well tactically,” Ainsworth said. “We sailed our own race and went where we wanted on the course. It was nice not having Limit (near sistership) buzzing around us for a change!”
In the Production fleet, an over-the-moon Darryl Hodgkinson raced his Beneteau 45 to a win over the “Money Man”, Paul Clitheroe, who owns a yacht of the same design. Like Loki, the two represent the CYCA.
“I get to drive an Audi for 12 months,” an excited Hodgkinson said on coming ashore. “I can't believe we won – I’ve only got four of my regular crew and seven guys I’ve never sailed with before, so I feel great,” he said.
Principal Race Officer Denis Thompson was forced to abandon the last two races due to winds that peaked at 30 knots which caused Port Phillip Bay to turn into a washing machine on full speed.
Melbourne’s Calm, a TP52 owned by John Williams and Jason Van Der Slot, ripped her main almost in half, and Colin Woods’ Pretty Fly III (NSW) came unstuck, lying over flat under spinnaker. It took her crew a lot of time and energy to bring the yacht under control again.
“We blew a halyard. We knew we were on the edge; we were trying to make a few gains,” crew member Peter Farrugia said.
Thompson was right to call off further racing, keeping in mind that the main event, the Audi IRC Series starts tomorrow with the Passage Race. Damage would have caused some tears before bedtime.
Thompson waited it out until 3.00pm and called off all racing. The fleet returned to Waterfront City at the Docklands, a warm shower and a welcome drink.