Winning one Audi Australian IRC Championship in an Archambault racing yacht may have been considered good luck, but two national titles in three years has left no doubt that it was good management and great performance.
The new Archambault A40rc Alegria, owned and skippered by Rod Jones, clinched the overall championship with a divisional win at Hamilton Island Race Week.
Following comprehensive victories at Geelong Race Week in January and the Audi Sydney Harbour Regatta in March it gave the Mooloolaba-based yacht a perfect score, achieved with outstanding consistency in a wide range of conditions and race formats.
Only a single missed radio sked during July's rugged Audi Sydney to Gold Coast Race prevented an absolute clean sweep, with Alegria dropping from provisional victory to 6th place in that event.
Jones drove home in Audi's sporty Q7 SUV for that effort, and this time gets the keys to an Audi A6 allroad quattro valued at $115,000, plus the beautiful Audi IRC Australian Championship Perpetual Trophy.
It's a stunning achievement for a production racer-cruiser that costs less than $390,000 (base boat), given that it was competing against the TP52 Wot Now, which finished runner-up, and third placed Farr 55 Living Doll.
“It was the exceptional consistency of the boat and the crew … there was no weakness in either,” he said.
“The conditions at Hamo weren't really favourable for our boat but we had no really bad races. DKs are very dangerous in light airs and the First 40 had Michael Spies aboard but we had its measure.
“I wouldn't have swapped boats for anything. As soon as we had consistent breeze we were on fire. It's just a delightful boat. Quality wise they're fantastic and a really good, consistent IRC performer.”
Victory was all the sweeter given that the crew put themselves under the pump with the missed radio sked. “We opened the door to adversity and they drove the bus in! The lesson is, ‘don't miss a radio sked!' Having said that, it made us try even harder at Hamilton Island,” Jones added.
Announcing the winner, Audi Australia managing director Joerg Hofmann congratulated Jones and his team. “It was a hard-fought battle, but obviously the best boat and crew have been victorious,” Hofmann said.
The opening of the 2010 Audi IRC Championship commences with Audi Victoria Week (formerly Geelong Race Week) next January. While Jones is contemplating taking a year off to spend time with his family, a new Archambault A31 is set to carry on the battle.
For more details phone Newcastle Yachting (02) 4962 5288.