Airlie Beach Race Week: A light breeze day – with tide

Airlie Beach Race Week (ABRW) continued today in a light breeze on a typically balmy Whitsundays day, but all were kept on their toes as the tide played a big roll and found some stranded ashore for a time when they took things a little too far – Scarlet Runner, Rock ‘n Roll and Secret Weapon among them. 

Others avoided the problem, some of whom built their respective leads in Whitsunday Sailing Club’s 35th running of the event, while new leaders emerged in other divisions.

IRC/ORCi Racing

As is usual, the crew work on Ray ‘Hollywood’ Roberts’ Team Hollywood is on song, the Botin 40 won both yesterday and today’s races. It was not a lay down misère by any stretch though.

Yesterday, Rob Appleyard’s Fast 40+, Secret Weapon, was  only 40 seconds adrift in second place. Today, Andy Kearnan’s TP52 Koa placed second, just 33 seconds once the handicaps were applied.

As it stands, Team Hollywood (NSW) leads Secret Weapon (WA), with Koa (NSW) third. No mistakes can be made in this division, as it is a ‘take no prisoners’ approach.

“It’s been close racing,” Roberts admitted. Secret Weapon pushed it too far today to get out of the tide, but they obviously didn’t check the big rock and hit it quite hard. It’s easy to get caught, we’ve just been lucky and had two good races.”

Roberts’ crew has a new look, with Geelong’s Tim Davis calling tactics until David Chapman returns from an overseas event on Sunday: “Tim’s sailed with me off and on for a couple of years. Filip Pietrzak, a young Polish sailor is back and brought two of his Polish national dinghy sailing friends with him. Filip comes out every year and sails with me.

“Dale Johnson from Airlie is with us too and is using his local knowledge to great effect. We’re all fitting in together and getting the boat up to speed. So far, so good. We know from the past you always have to be sharp with tactics – you have to be on the ball.”

With two wins, David Currie’s Nizam (NSW)  has retained its Division 2 lead from Peter Sorensen’s Advanced Philosophy (NSW) and Drew Carruthers’ Showdown (Qld). Three and five points respectively split the trio.

“We’ve had a good run so far, but who knows what tomorrow brings? We’re very pleased with the boat. We’ve only owned it 18 months, but then I had open heart surgery and after took the boat to Sydney to have it overhauled and here we are. A lot of our stalwart crew and friends like Bruce Taylor (better known as the owner of Chutzpah) and others are with me.

On the former Extasea, a DK46, Currie said, “My father served on an N class destroyer during World War II and it was called Nizam, so I renamed the boat in his honour.”

Multihull Racing

It’s never easy to beat Paul Mitchell and crew on Ullman Sails, which has scored 1,2 results to hold a narrow lead over Michel Van der Zwaard’s Angus and Joel Berg’s Hooligan in Division 0, the domain of the Extreme 40s.

Division 1 finds Terry Archer’s G’Nome in the lead by two points to Peter Hackett’s Full Bore and George Owen’s Charleston.

Archer, who is also WSC President, explained, “It’s been two days of different conditions.

“Yesterday was pretty brutal with 20 knots. We managed to survive the run down to the Cones, which was good and then it was a matter of finding the best way back and not find swell and chop, which we did, as did others, like Full Bore. We took a path inside Grassy Island, which had flatter water and less tide.

“Today we had a pre-race conference and given the conditions, decided we’d go a particular way. We broke away from Full Bore, The Stig and Pocahontas, which are similar boats to mine. It worked, we got a bit of a lead on them,” said Archer who has won here three times on three  different boats.

Division 2 is led by Bob Engwirda’s Coconuts (Qld), with two straight wins. Three points behind him is Ken Trevillien’s Rogntudjuuu (Qld), with Darren Drew’s Wind Cheetah (NSW) a further point behind.

“It was a glamour day on the water, but definitely not as strong as yesterday’s breeze. It was fairly constant and steady with a bit of current on nice flat water,” Coconuts spokesman, Paddy Butler.

“We had a really good day. A great start, then upwind around South Molle Island. From there it was a nice run all the way with a little upwind leg to the finish. We saw a few whales, some of them quite close to us, which was pretty special,” Butler finished.  

Racing resumes from 10am tomorrow morning.

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:

By Di Pearson/ABRW media

Di Pearson, media director, phone: 0410 792 131

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