Black Jack streets the field in first race at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week

In light airs that had the big boat skippers sending people up the mast to look for wind, Peter Harburg's RP66 Black Jack scored a convincing win.

The race started under spinnaker in about 10 knots of wind, with Black Jack and Lahana going furthest out to sea while Wild Oats and the other Grand Prix boats hugged the coast. By the time they reached Lindeman Island, Black Jack had built a big lead. Then she sailed into a hole and parked.

However, just as the rest of the fleet came up to the leader, they also  parked in the lee of the island. Black Jack was first to pick up the light easterly, leaving Wild Oats and the other boats powerless in her wake.

By this time race director Denis Thompson had shortened the course for the other divisions, who started finishing at around 12.30pm. The wind had finally freshened but so had the tide, running down the channel at 4-5 knots. Several boats were in danger of being swept past the mark and had to ease sheets to get to the finish.

While this was going on, the imposing form of Black Jack had appeared at the southern end of Dent Channel and was powering towards the line in the freshening 15 knot winds. She swept majestically past the new clubhouse to get the hooter. Wild Oats eventually appeared and finished second, with Stephen David's RP 60 Wild Joe third, ahead of Loki and Lahana.

Back at the marina, Peter Harburg said that despite the light conditions the crew had worked hard. “There were a lot of sail changes as the breeze shifted. We were first to pick up the easterly at the back of Lindeman and we just sailed away from them.”

The smaller yachts dominated the handicap results, with Living Doll, fresh from her victory at Meridien Marinas Airlie Beach Race Week first ahead of Scarlett Runner II and Wot Now. Other handicap winners were:

Grand Prix Division 2: Alegria 1, Cracklin Rosie 2, Two True Evolution 3

IRC Div 1: Blue Water 1, Balance 2, Ruth Magic 3

IRC Div 2: Aileron 1, Onya 2, Local Hero 3

IRC Invitational: Bribie Star 1, Perpetual Moceon 2, Oceon Affinity 3

PHS Div 1: RYA 1, Willpower 2, Ishter 3

PHS Div 2: Wirrajurnd 1, Rising Fast 2, True Love 3

Full results of all divisions can be found at http://topyachtsoftware.com/results/2009/hammo/series/index.htm

– Roger McMillan

Pantaenius Sailing
M.O.S.S Australia
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