What a difference one week makes – Winter’s fickle nature showed its renowned form today in Race Two of the Audi Winter Series with light westerly winds, a significant change from the southerlies breezes over 20 knots in Race One.
136 starters lined up on a chilly but sunny Sunday morning with the Sydney 38 Division first away at 11.25am, with the remaining 11 divisions starting from 11.30am, depending on each boat’s handicap, on their respective course A.
Race Officer Robyn Morton elected to shorten the course “when things started to look really grim and it was a parking lot all over the Harbour for a short while.”
“The breeze then filled in from the north east at approximately 6-7 knots and things got moving,” Morton added. The last boat to finish was Jason Daisley’s Oceanis 43 Quattro, crossing the line shortly after 3.30pm.
Michael Cranitch entrusted his Farr 40 Enigma to skipper Darren McPherson today. Whilst thrilled with his Division A2 win, Cranitch was “reprimanding him (Darren McPherson) for blowing up my handicap! I can’t trust them to do anything right,” he added. Bruce McKay’s Sayer 12 Wasabi finished second to Enigma with Brent Lawson and Grant Dawson’s Kerr 11.3 Kerisma third.
David Pescud and his Sailors with Disabilities crew aboard their TP52 Wot Eva took the A1 Division win from Damian Parkes’ Duende, also a TP52; with Sam Haynes’ Rogers 46 Celestial third.
“I’m very pleased with today’s result. We had a shocking first half of the race but managed to pull it all together and get it right in the second half,” Pescud said. “Our results over the last two weeks have been encouraging (Wot Eva finished third last week), the boat’s going really well and we’re still learning how to sail her better each week.”
Hanni, the recently launched, Andy Dovell designed Ringle 39, came up trumps in Division J. Built from 100 year old timber, made in Burma and with carbon fibre rigging, “Hanni is a piece of artwork and she is the sweetest thing I have ever sailed,” Micah Lane said.
“It was a beautiful day’s sailing. We had a good start and the boat is very fast – she flies through the water.” So fast, that she crossed the finish line 33 minutes before other competitors in her division.
“Competitors were asking us if we’d pulled the pin because of the light conditions today, when we were back at the Club so early, but we didn’t – we swept the floor,” Lane added. Lane, together with Michael Coxon, skipper the boat every second week with an all-girl crew that includes Nicky Souter, Janey Treleaven and Sky Reidy, taking the helm every other week.
Hanni beat Silver Minx (Geoff and Vicki Player) and Lahara II (Glenn Crane). Despite the time gap between first and second, the difference between second and third across the line was a mere 29 seconds.
In Division E, Matthew Fisher’s Magic 25 Greengate, lived up to its design name, pulling out the magic today to take divisional honours. “This was my first race back after a two year break; it was great to have our moment in the sun. I was sailing with a new crew and we shared lots of jokes and managed to find our way through the holes in the breeze.”
“I missed the opening race last week as the ram hydraulics failed on the boat as it hadn’t really been out over the last year and a bit, so I’ve spent the week furiously getting her ready. The boat tends to do well in light airs, but I’m not sure that the handicapper is going to be as kind to us,” Fisher added. Excel (Andrew Joyce) finished second with Devils Lair (Barry Crook) third.
Other winners today were: Last Tango (Phillip King) Division B; Into the Mystic (Arthur Psaltis) Division C; Alpha Carinae (Damian Barker) Division D; Sinewave (Greg Mason and Barb Maunsell) Division F; Marigot Bay (Merryl Semple) Division G; Clewless? (Lachlan Irwin) Division H; 4Play (Troy Cortis) Division K; and Outlaw (Alan and Tom Quick) Sydney 38OD.
The 10-race Audi Winter Series is conducted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia. Each week, the top three finishers in each division are placed into a draw to win an Audi Drive Weekend, courtesy of Audi Centre Sydney. This week’s lucky winner was Division B second placegetter, Phil Molony (Papillon).
By Jennifer Crooks, CYCA media