Yendy two points clear
Day three of Audi Hamilton Island Race Week delivered a mixed bag, this morning’s showery and gusty 20 knot breeze easing over the day as forecast, however there was enough in the tank to bring all divisions home in reasonable time.
An overall win in today’s 30 mile race means the leading Audi IRC Australian Championship Class A boat is Geoff Ross’ chartered TP52 Yendys, two points clear of Rob Hanna’s Shogun V after four races.
"So far the view is okay," said Ross this afternoon. "But you wouldn’t want to draw any conclusions."
Yendys, Michael Hiatt’s Living Doll and Shogun settled a three-boat duel to the finish, which is indicative of the competitiveness that is spurring them on. Perhaps also driving them beyond their regular comfort zones are the international rock star tacticians and helmsmen, including Steve Cotton and Mike Sanderson on the Farr 55, Living Doll, Australia’s own Steve McConaghy on Shogun V and recognised Kiwi sailor, Gavin Brady on Yendys.
Class B defending champion, Darryl Hodgkinson’s Victoire is the leading Beneteau, sitting just two points ahead of the smaller Beneteau 40 Lunchtime Legend (Robbo Robertson), which is going to breathe hot air down Hodgkinson’s neck right through to Saturday’s closing race.
Class C leader Jessandra II, Roland Dane’s Queensland Corby 36, has extended her points lead, now well clear of second on the score sheet, Paul Mitchell’s Marsm 920 Here’s Trouble.
All three classes are competing for the glory of being named 2012 Audi IRC Australian Champion. The ultimate winner of class A, B and C will take away a brand new North Sails Code 2 spinnaker emblazoned with the Audi IRC Australian Championship logo, the first time Audi has offered such a prize for the Championship.
ORMA 60 dust-up
Sean Langman’s Team Australia is 2-1 up on arch rival, Simon Hull’s Team Vodafone, in the line honours and handicap stakes at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, the first time the two giant multihulls have gone nose to nose.
"At the end of this week we’re aiming to be the fastest boat in the southern hemisphere...so far we are," said a delighted Langman this afternoon.
The day’s highlights were seeing the two former French ORMA 60s trimarans lighting up with their mainhull hulls flying on the Whitsunday waters and the convergence of five TP52s and Living Doll at a mark rounding with only seconds and a few feet apart.
The Mark Richards-skippered Wild Oats XI breezed through today’s 30 nautical miler around Anne and Cole Islands then Denman Island and to the finish in Dent Passage off the stunning Hamilton Island Yacht Club.
"Today was a fantastic test for the crew. We pushed the boat to its absolute limit and we are happy with how things are going in the lead up to the Rolex Sydney Hobart," said Richards of their end-of- year assault on the bluewater classic and attempt for a sixth line honours win.
"We are being punished with our new rating in terms of corrected time," Richards added, referring to the fact there’s little chance of Bob Oatley’s supermaxi picking up the double of line honours and an overall race win this week.
Tomorrow is the Club Marine Classic Long Race for the Performance Racing, IRC classes and Super Multihulls with an early start, 9.15am for the first to go off the line. The cruising divisions will sail a shorter island course while the Melges and SB20s will continue their short course racing schedule.
Australia’s all-conquering Olympic sailing team is heading to Audi Hamilton Island Race Week tomorrow to be congratulated by their peers.
Hosted by longtime Australian Sailing Team sponsors, Audi Australia and Hamilton Island, a large contingent of Olympic medalists and coaches will receive an official welcome home and street parade along Front Street.
After the parade, guests staying on or visiting the island will have the opportunity for autographs from the athletes at the main stage and to congratulate them on their world beating London 2012 performance.
Australia’s first London 2012 individual gold medallist, Tom Slingsby, landed last Thursday to join the crew of Peter Harburg’s Queensland RP66 Black Jack. Slingsby had sailed with the Queensland crew previously and was already on the crew list prior to becoming a national hero at the London Games.
The dynamic duo of 470 gold medalists, Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page, who are also brand Ambassadors for Audi, will arrive on Tuesday as will Iain Jensen, one half of the successful 49er pair that claimed Australia’s second sailing gold medal at Weymouth.
Australia’s silver medalists in the Women’s Match Racing, Olivia Price, Lucinda Whitty and Nina Curtis will touch down on Tuesday as will lauded sailing coach, Victor Kovalenko, and other Australian Sailing Team coaches and officials.