Back home in time for the parade
Today saw the running of the Audi Hamilton Island Race Week Club Marine Classic Long Race and the Lindeman Island race. It was a bright and early start this morning, with the aim to bring most of the fleet ashore in time for this afternoon’s Olympic sailing team welcome home and tickertape parade.
In an 8-10 knot south easterly breeze and lumpy seas off Catseye Beach at Hamilton Island, Performance Racing division 2 then 1 led off the start line and waves of IRC starters followed them, beginning with the smallest and working up to the Audi IRC Australian Championship Class A boats.
The 63 nautical mile Club Marine Long Race for IRC Class A and B and the ORMA 60 trimarans is the longest of the annual week-long Whitsunday series and it will take some well into late afternoon before they record a finish off Hamilton Island Yacht Club.
As anticipated, the Mark Richards skippered Wild Oats XI stole the line honours show once again.
In the ORMA 60 match race, Team Vodafone and Team Australia came into Dent Passage together, the Australian skipper Sean Langman out-manoeuvring Kiwi Simon Hull in the dying stages to finish three boat lengths ahead after 60 nautical miles.
Tom Slingsby, London gold medallist calling tactics aboard Peter Harburg’s Queensland 66-footer Black Jack, is fortunate he’s on the second largest yacht in the Class A fleet given he has to be back in time for this afternoon’s parade.
He’ll join sailing gold medallists Mathew Belcher, Malcolm Page and Iain Jensen and silver medallists Olivia Price, Lucinda Whitty and Nina Curtis plus team Australian Sailing Team coaches and officials.
To the delight of the photographers Slingsby took the wheel of Black Jack in the pre-start this morning, and shot a smile to the cameras. Unbeknownst to him, the rest of the crew were smiling too, watching triple Olympian Anthony Nossiter chuckling as he bowed behind Slingsby in honour of the great man.
After five races, Hamilton Island CEO is in familiar territory. Glenn Bourke is a multiple world championship winning sailor and he’s mastered the SB20 class just like he dominated the Laser.
Bourke is leading the pointscore by three points with Club Marine from Phillip Gray’s Dulon Polish in the warm up to the class’ world championship, which will be held at Hamilton Island in December.
Tomorrow all classes will remain ashore for the one and only layday for the 163 yachts and crews contesting the 39th edition of Audi Hamilton Island Race Week. A day’s rest at the mid-way point is well deserved and will give sailors a chance to catch up on boat maintenance and domestic duties as well as spending time with family and friends who have travelled to be part of Race Week.
Highlights of the layday include a Sailor’s Forum starting at 9.30am on the main stage, the Audi Final Drive Challenge from 8am – 6pm, the Beachside Pool Party from 12pm and the famous Moet & Chandon lunch.