Monday, August 22, 2011

Wild Wind Whips Up Hammo Fleet - Day 3 Audi Hamilton Island Race Week

Racing continued today at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week in gusty southeast conditions that peaked at 30 knots. It was an exhilarating day as every crew member shed some form of blood, sweat and tears and were reminded as to why they love the excitement of yacht racing. For the Skippers and their tacticians it was a mentally and physically taxing day to keep their yachts powered up and under control. Grinders called on all their muscle power while bowmen and women copped constant drenchings.
Victoire     Photo: Andrea Francolini
With three bullets and one second place over four races to date, Victoire is looking the goods in IRC Division B after three days of competition. Victoire has an incredible 12 point buffer in the overall point score from Evolution Racing and Lunchtime Legend.
ONYA  Photo: Andrea Francolini
It’s a very different story in Class C where four boats are sharing equal top points. Andrew Hurt’s Sydney 36CRX Onya is the current series leader on a countback.
Hooligan                                                                      Photo: Andrea Francolini
The IRC Class A Grand Prix guns packed some punches as the rivalry between Loki and Hooligan continued. Hooligan suffered from a torn spinnaker which cost them a few precious minutes. Loki’s handicap win today has them just one point behind Hooligan followed by Shogun.

“We levelled it out today and we were completely unscathed,” said Gordon Maguire, Loki's helmsman.

“With the forecast and all the chat on the dock beforehand you can go out with an anticipation of something really big. With all of our offshore experience we backed ourselves and went out with a full mainsail and a number four. Many others had reefs in and were underpowered.”
Wild Oats XI                  Photo: Andrea Francolini
The line honours dust up continues and despite breaking gear Wild Oats XI smoked Investec Loyal to take her fifth consecutive win. Wild Oats XI Skipper Mark Richards pushed the Reichel Pugh design up to her top speed of 26 knots (48km per hour),

“Today was a great day, awesome,” Richards said. “We broke some gear but the boys did a great job recovering.”
Investec Loyal   Photo: Andrea Francolini
Several boats limped into the marina with gear and sail damage this afternoon but crews were far from drowning their sorrows as the party resumed at various venues around the island.

Tomorrow’s forecast is for SE 20/25 knots and it will be an early start for the IRC Class A and B, IRC Passage Class B and Super Multihulls racing in the 63 nautical mile long race before Wednesday’s layday for all divisions.

Results at www.topyacht.net.au/results/2011/ahirw/series/index.htm

Lulu Roseman

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