Final showdown – locals win big at SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week

Peppers Race Day marked the final day at Townsville Yacht Club’s (TYC) SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week (SMIRW) was suspenseful, as many across the divisions were pinning their hopes on this last race where little stood between who would stand in which spot on the podium.

A partly cloudy day and a breeze that ranged from 8-18 knots set the tone for the final act of this popular warm weather event in the quaint setting of ‘Maggie’ Island in North Queensland.

Division 1 lines up for the start – Andrea Francolini, SMIRW pic

SeaLink Spinnaker Division 1 crews stretched their legs on a 23 nautical mile triangle with windward/leeward leg, taking in the eastern side of Magnetic Island. Divisions 2, 3 and 4 and Multihull Division 1 did an 18-mile triangle race, also taking in the eastern side of the Island. The remaining divisions undertook a 14 mile windward/leeward race starting off Peppers Blue on Blue Resort to a mark on Cleveland Bay.

Division 3 was set to be a humdinger. Brava led Belle (Qld) on countback, with four others on equal points one point behind: Fareast 28R (NSW), Amaya II (Qld), Jab (NSW) and Boadicca. A lot on the line for the ‘locals’, as Brava is owned by TYC Rear Commodore Tony Muller, while Boadicca’s owner is TYC’s Vice Commodore, Mike Steel, who is also SMIRW Event Chairman.

Tim Campbell’s Private Equity (Vic) scored victory in the final race, but it was Tony and Selena Muller’s Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 409 that prevailed, her fourth place giving her the series win. Eddie Mackevicius came from behind to snatch second overall with Merlion and Rob Reynolds’ Fareast 28R took third.

“We’re all pretty happy,” Muller said. ‘We didn’t do anything stupid and sailed moderately well all week.

“Most people started the with the right gear on, but when the wind blew up, a few were overpowered. Sail decision was important. We sailed up the middle of the course and stayed out of trouble. The crew work was good.”

Good handicapping triggered an avalanche of the closest results across the board. In an all- Victorian shoot-out, five boats in Division 2 were in the running: Y Knot, Charm Offensive, Bundaberg, Mika and Qld boat, Ragamuffin 111.

Stuart Tivey’s Ragamuffin 111 won the final race, so came from behind the top three to take the overall win from Y Knot and Mika.

“We had a great day. Everything went really well,” said Tivey, who finished second last year. “We happened to be in the right place at the right time. It was an advantage for us when the wind picked up. We went with a spinnaker while others kept white sails up.

“We’re sailing a boat that’s 46 years-old, so there is a lot of history there,” Tivey said of the yacht that finished third overall in the 1976 Sydney Hobart when owned by Syd Fischer.

Yknot won the last race to win Division – Andrea Francolini, SMIRW pic

Division 4 was between Witchy Woman (Qld), Mach 1, Zen and Son of a Son all from TYC. Mach 1 had the most to lose, she is owned by TYC Commodore, John Stokes. It is the first time in a long time that so many TYC boats were in the running across the divisions – and in such dramatically close circumstances.

Mach 1 was seventh today, enough to gift her the overall win. Daniel McSweeney’s Brigus (Qld) won the race, so came from behind to place second overall. Witchy Woman was third.

“We had a few mishaps, but we recovered from them. We were relaxed, so I’m surprised we won! We all think it’s been a wonderful regatta and we enjoyed competition from different boats. Our average age is 68. Age and cunning will always beat youth and adventure,” a happy Stokes said laughing.

In Division 1, the spoils go to the winner under EHC. NSW was all over it. Mako led Kayimai, Wings, YKnot and Koa. Just three points between five with two others a further point away. David Newton’s Dehler 46, Yknot, won the final race to claim the series from Wings and Kayimai.

“We are absolutely stoked with our victory. This is our first trip up to Magnetic Island Race Week, but it won’t be our last, winning was the icing on the cake,” Newton stated.

“Our race started in 8-10 knots and more easterly than we expected, but it heated up later. The run back down to Island was up to 15 knots. A great spinnaker run with a few boats rounding up. The increased wind caught some off guard.

“The crew did a fabulous job. We’re a bunch of amateurs from the Shire in Sydney. It’s a magnificent event. We’ve had a fantastic week racing and socialising and enjoying the Island.”
IRC was the secondary scoring system and went to Andy Kearnan and Peter Wrigley’s Koa. Craig Douglas’ Popeye placed second overall and Peter Sorensen’s Advanced Philosophy rounded out the top three, all from NSW.

The Non-Spinnaker division came down to NSW boats barring one: Great Xpectations, Kulani, Kulahea (WA) and Farr N Away. The four were separated by five points.

Kulahea came all the way from WA and won – Andrea Francolini, SMIRW pic

Adrian Wilson’s Sun Odyssey 410, Kulahea, finished fifth today, enough to give her the series from two Townsville boats, Falcon and Sinbad, which were sitting outside the top four coming into the day. Neil Payne’s Resolute, also from TYC, won the race.

“It was a hard day – not a very nice course – the same as day one. It was choppy and fluky, you had to really concentrate with the tide and gusts,” Wilson said.

“Overall, the week was great though. The Round the Island race and looking at the scenery was spectacular. The start crew were the best in Australia. It’s the full package. The people from Townsville Yacht Club are so friendly. It’s a relaxed but professionally run regatta.

“We’re from Western Australia and we did the regatta in 2013 on Nellie Myra and said we would come back. Now we’re continuing our cruise around Australia. Our favourite part is from Magnetic to Dunk Islands. We’re heading south to Tasmania and then across the bottom and home to Fremantle in March.

Wind Cheetah won the final race in Multi Divsion 1 – Andrea Francolini, SMIRW pic

In Multihull Division 1, Darren Drew came into the day third placed, but won the final race to win the series with Wind Cheetah (NSW), his Arber Southeaster 38. Adrian Lawrie’s Scamper (Qld) and Gordon Beath’s Roamance (NSW) filled out the top three.

“We’re amazed, but we were very consistent and sailed well today – faultless – it was great. We sailed a great upwind leg, leaving the best till last. We passed every monohull except a couple of Division 1 boats. We even paced it with Koa for a while. When we put kite up, it was just the right angle and we sat on 15 knots. Not bad for an amateur crew,” Drew said.

Shenanigans, Happy Hour and Salacia get playful on the start line – Andrea Francolini, SMIRW pic

The Ian Johnson skippered Salacia from TYC finished second today, so the Lightwave 38 from the host club won Multihull Division 2. Gary Prestedge’s Happy Hours (Vic) and Stephen Richardson’s Shenanigans (Vic) were second and third respectively.

“We had a lucky day,” Johnson said laughing. We did the best we could. It was a lovely day. We’ve been lucky with the weather. The wind gods have been very kind this year.”

And that is the end of another fun filled, successful SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week.

Three cheers to the competitors, Event Management, Race Management, volunteers and the sponsors. Last but not least, Townsville Yacht Club, whom without this unique event would not exist. Combined, all make this event the success it is.

Which reminds me, this regatta has become so popular it was sold out inside four hours this year, with a long wait list. You don’t want to miss out in 2023, so keep an eye out for when entries open again next March…

For all information, including results and more, please visit: http://www.magneticislandraceweek.com.au/

By Di Pearson/SMIRW media

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