Brisk and breezy Australian Yachting Championships Day 4

A sunny day but fresh and chilly this morning for the 2022 Australian Yachting Championships (AYC) at Hamilton Island Race Week in Queensland, with the wind metre registering 30 knots and gusting as competitors rugged up and waited.

“All Dent Passage starts are postponed. It’s likely the wind will drop to 20 knots a little later, which is manageable. Those on the Eastern line will start on time,” Regatta Director, Denis Thompson, said at 11am. “The next two days forecasts are for similar conditions,” he added.

Rating Division Zero, along with Rating Divisions 1 and 2, were sent on two short races from the Eastern starting line, Zero away first at 11.25am.

Racing from Dent Passage began just after 12.30pm, with Rating Divisions 3 and 4 first away. Multihull Racing joined the two divisions on an Island course. Competitors faced a strong tide, some boats going sideways into their start.

Among those in the Rating divisions this week are Olympic champions Mat Belcher and Malcolm Page OAM from Australia. Page first won Gold at the 2008 Beijing Games in the Men’s 470 with Nathan Wilmot and became the first person in the class to claim consecutive gold medals in the class when he sailed at the 2012 Games with Belcher.

Secret Mens Business revelled on the windward leeward courses – Salty Dingo, Hamilton Island Race Week pic

Page is also the first Australian to achieve back-to-back gold medals in any class and captained the Australian Sailing team between 2005 and 2012. He is at Hamilton Island in Rating Division 2, calling tactics on Brendan McAssey’s Farr 40, S1. They are in fourth place overall after today’s racing.

Matt Belcher OAM won his first gold medal with Page in 2012, then Silver at the 2016 Rio Games with Will Ryan and Gold at Tokyo Games, again with Ryan. This victory made Belcher the most successful Olympic sailor in Australian History. The Gold Coast Olympian is competing on Matt Allen’s successful Ichi Ban in Rating Division 1.

In Rating Division 3 on Jeremy O’Connell’s PP1 (Vic), you will find Jessica Watson OAM, who at 16 sailed non-stop, unassisted around the world in 2009-2010.

Division Zero
Suffering hydraulic problems, Hamilton Island Wild Oats (Oatley family) officially withdrew from racing today, but will be ready to race tomorrow.

Two races done and dusted, with David Griffith’s JV62 Whisper (NSW) winning both from Phillip Turner’s RP66 Alive (Tas), skippered by Duncan Hine. There was little more than a minute in the first race. David Gotze’s No Limit placed third in both races.

Ichi Ban (left) and Caro in Rating Division 1 – Salty Dingo, Hamilton Island Race Week pic

Division 1 – TP52’s
Finding the windward/leewards to her liking, It was Ichi Ban’s (NSW) turn to shine among the TP52s in the first race. Matt Allen’s defending champion took the win from Michael Doherty’s Matador (NSW) and the Max Klink skippered Caro (SUI).

In the second race, Caro, skippered by Max Klink (SUI), came back and won from Secrets Mens Business by 29 seconds (which finished fourth in the morning race) with Zen (Gordon Ketelbey, NSW) third.

Boettcher was pleased with his day out: “We seemed to get it together properly on the windward/leewards, which is what we mainly do at home, Boettcher said.

“The first race was a ten and a half mile course to Pentecost and back – a long windward/leeward in around 20 knots. It was very gusty and bumpy. When the breeze settled down, we did a second race, a two-lap windward/leeward. The legs were not quite as far as Pentecost and back. The wind was around 16 knots and the sea was smoother.“

Boettcher admitted that while Secret Mens Business was good upwind, “She’s a very fast downwind boat.”

Division 2
Bruce McCraken won both races with his Beneteau First 45, Ikon. The Victorian knew the top three would be close – and they were. Second was Gerry Hatton’s Bushranger (NSW), the Mat 1245 corrected out to 44 seconds behind the winner. Maritimo (Bill Barry-Cotter, Qld) was third, just two seconds adrift of Bushranger.

The order was reversed in Race 5, with Maritimo second and Bushranger third.

“I found the first race difficult. It was gusty and we were fighting the tide and waves. It was very messy. A different type of sailing to what we do on Port Phillip,” McCraken said. “We were able to keep the boat moving and hang in there. But it was close between the top three.

“The second race was a true windward/leeward and to some extent that’s what our boat is set up for. The wind had decreased, so the sea state was better, it was a more comfortable race for us,” he said.

“We are all very pleased with the result and I’m very grateful to my crew,” ended the Victorian yachtsman who has now won four of the five races sailed on a mixture of long, short and windward/leeward courses.

Division 3 yachts on the run – Salty Dingo, Hamilton Island Race Week pic

Division 3
It appears Ray Roberts and his Team Hollywood (NSW) are unstoppable, today making it four wins from the four races sailed to-date. Roberts competes at the top level regularly in Australia and Asia, so it will be difficult to take a race from his well-honed team.

Sailing consistently well, West Australian boat, The Cadillac (Peter Chappell) scored her third second place for the series. PP1, a Cape 31 OD, also sailing consistently (Jeremy O’Connell, Vic), finished third, for a third time running. These are the top three overall in the same order.

Division 4
Garry Holt’s Get It On was back in the winner’s seat today. The updated Adams 10 beat yesterday’s winner, Ari Abrahams’ Xpresso (Vic) and the other Adams 10, Flyaway The Red Boat (Ian Ford/Jared Macquart). Get It On leads the division overall from Xpresso.

Multihull Racing
The Dale Mitchell skippered ORMA 60, Rex, was too quick and took it out from Angus, the Extreme 40 owned by Michel Van Der Zwaard (Qld) and Bob Engwirda’s Stealth 12 cat, Coconuts.

The Australian Yachting Championships are being held in conjunction with Hamilton Island Race Week. Racing continues tomorrow morning.

For full results and news, please visit:

For all the news on all divisions at Hamilton Island Race Week, please visit: https://www.hamiltoni

By Di Pearson/Australian Sailing media

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