Airlie Beach Race Week: Spectacular mass start on a perfect day
A mass start for the fleet at Airlie Beach Race Week (ABRW) and ideal sailing conditions of up to 20 knots as a gloomy sky developed into a sunny blue day on Pioneer Bay when officials fired the first gun for Whitsunday Sailing Club’s (WSC) 35th running of its annual event.
Fresh from winning and placing second respectively in the Yacht Sales Co. Brisbane to Hamilton Island Yacht Race, the Duncan Hine skippered RP66, Alive (Tas), won Division 1 from Andy Kearnan’s TP52 Koa (NSW). Geoff Hill’s Santa Cruz 72, Antipodes from Hong Kong, rounded out the top three.
Division 2 went to ABRW regular, David Currie and his DK46, Nizam (Vic). Drew Carruthers’ Showdown (Qld) took second place, with Ray Hudson’s XS Moment (NSW) third.
Graham Matthews brought his Botin Carkeek 55 across the paddock in New Zealand and took honours in Division 1 from the Carkeek 40, Victoire, skippered by Ian McDiarmid in the absence of owner, Darryl Hodgkinson (NSW). Malcolm Robertson kept Queensland in the picture, taking third place with Eureka II.
“This is our first time here,” Matthews commented. “We sailed to Fiji in early June and cruised for a month with family and friends, arriving in Mackay in early July, where we spent a week and then cruised around Whitsundays,” he said.
“We are having an absolutely fantastic time and an incredibly wonderful social time. Racing today was as good as it gets. A beautiful day. “We didn’t break anyone or anything, it was a good day! I’d like to thank the organisers for a wonderful event,” the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron member ended.
Barry Schoonenberg took Makani (Qld), his Beneteau First 45 to first place from David Boekemann’s Beneteau Oceanis 46.1, Bombalo (NSW), with James Permezel’s Charm Offensive filling out the top three.
Divisions 3 and 4
Kate Leeson was too good for the rest in Division 3, taking the Cookson 12, Calibre 12 (NSW), to victory over Peter Cook’s GCCM Arctic Blonde (Qld).
Division 4 went to regular Craig Piccinelli’s modified Young 88, Wobbly Boot from Jennifer Maclean’s Beneteau Cyclades 43.3, Hotel.
Father and son, Todd and Ryan McVey fought it out for the overall win last year and while Todd got the early jump, his then 20-year-old son came up with the goods to cleanly win. Day1 and a repeat, with Todd (Getting Wetter) winning the opening race from Ryan (The Other Office) in the 10-boat fleet.
“The result’s going to be different this time around,” Todd threatened. “His (Ryan’s) sponsorship is in jeopardy if he continues to beat me…”
Off the glorious first day on the water and the mass start, the senior McVey commented: ”When we started with all the big boats, conditions were fresh and frightening. After that, the pressure was a nice 15-18 knots and then built to 20 knots. It was fantastic.
“We were surfing down one wave after the next and we were airborne at one stage. It was quite exciting. Then it built to 20 knots.”
Conditions dictating, racing is due to start from 10am tomorrow, Saturday.
Airlie Beach Race Week Festival of Sailing is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland and is a feature on the It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar.
For full results in all classes, please visit: www.abrw.com.au
By Di Pearson/ABRW media