Airlie Beach Race Week: Big winds arrive as McVeys vie for Weta supremacy

A super competitive father and son are sailing in the Weta trimaran class at Airlie Beach Race Week in the Whitsundays this week where the results have sea sawed between the pair from Lake Cootharaba Sailing Club in Boreen, Queensland.

Ryan McVey, who turned 20 in July, is the youngest in the 4.4 metre class at the Whitsunday Sailing Club (WSC) hosted event. He is also leading the class with seven races put to bed. Two were held yesterday and he won both, to lead the series by five points with a drop in play. As of tonight, Joanne Chetwynd (Three Amigos) is second.

Todd McVey, the dad, has dropped from second to third place and eight points behind Ryan, not finding the light air to his liking. “I’ve got 50 kilos on Ryan – wait till the wind pumps in tomorrow,” he threatened with a smile.

The smile dropped thought when Dad continued, “Actually, the boat’s that versatile that you can depower it and go just as fast. He’s a good little sailor. And yes, I’m proud of him.”

For his part, Ryan states: “My main intention here is to beat Dad. I don’t care if I win the regatta or not, as long as I beat him. “Dad was leading the first day here and now I am.”

McVey Sr says: “If he does beat me, good on him. We’re both using Airlie Beach Race Week as a shakedown for the Nationals. We’ll be racing against the last champion, whose 30 and a there’s a 17 year-old in the fleet too. I’d love to see Ryan win.

“I was just remembering; Ryan sailed his first Opti regatta away from home here at Airlie Beach 11 years ago. He’s come a long way.”

Like his son, Todd enjoys the Weta. “I love this boat. At one stage I was last, then a wind shift moved me up to second at the next mark. You always have chances. I love it so much I’ve become the importer into Queensland from Indonesia.”

Today’s race is the penultimate race of the series and by all accounts, those who prefer more wind will have their way tomorrow. This will likely result in a shuffle in results.

Ryan loves his sailing. “I started in the Optimist and moved on to the Cadet. I sailed a Cobra, my first go at multihull sailing and then an A-Class cat,” made famous by the legendary Glenn Ashby who won numerable titles in the class before becoming an America’s Cup star.

“The Wetas are amazing,” he says. “They put a smile on my face. Today was fun. In the first race we sailed in around 10 knots and it dropped off to 5 knots during the second race (Race 7).

They are not the only family combo in a class where the camaraderie is event. Mother and daughter, Jo (Weta Magic) and Jada Boden (Begin) are also competing in this family orientated trimaran. Sixth placed Jo has the upper hand at present, but that could change today.

For the first time during the regatta, there are no doubts as to the fleet starting on time. The breeze was piping in early this morning.

Ross Chisholm, the WSC Event Chairman, commented, “A good strong breeze arrived early as was forecast. Entries across the board, whether they are sailing in Pioneer Bay or doing an islands course, can expect 15-20 knot winds that will predominantly be from south to south/south-east and south-east throughout the day.

“The fleet is heading north, except the Performance Racing classes, which are doing two windward/leeward courses.

“Conditions are the opposite to the very light winds we have experienced during the week so far, so in theory, the heavier winds will mix the results up somewhat.”

Airlie Beach Race Week Festival of Sailing is being held from 11 to 18 August. It is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland and is a feature on the It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar.

Full results and all information on Airlie Beach Race Week, please visit:

By Di Pearson/ABRW media

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