Lighter winds shake up the leaderboard at Magnetic Island

The SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week fleet headed out this morning for the penultimate day of racing in the five-day event and were greeted by soft wind and flat water. After three days of solid breeze gusting 15 to 20 knots, today was a day for the light air specialists and the light-weight boats.
 
The Performance Racing division were in the spotlight as they set out to race two short, windward/leeward races on the bay while the rest of the regatta fleet headed off on a passage race.
 
With the breeze too soft at the scheduled race start time, PRO Denis Thompson prudently took the Performance Racing fleet out across the bay, past the shipping channel and into a six knot easterly, perfect conditions for Leon Thomas’s 40-foot Guilty Pleasures VI.  
 
After struggling in the last three days to find form against the Volvo 60 Spirit of Mateship, the Cookson 50 Victoire and the 49-foot Never a Dull Moment, Thomas was chuffed to be able to show that his Farr 40 could match it with the others after taking out a win in race one and a second in race two. “It was a great day for us. The wind suited us and the course suited us. The Farr 40 goes well in sub 10 to 12 knots and that’s what we had today.
 
“The windward/leeward course enabled us to use a few tactics and we were able to turn corners a little faster than some of our opposition. It was good fun racing against the 50 footers. It was really, really nice to show that we can still do pretty well with the new boat,” Thomas said.  
 
Going into the final race day tomorrow, Colin and Denise Wilson’s Never a Dull Moment is in first place on 12 points, Peter Jones’s Spirit of Mateship in second on 14 points and Guilty Pleasures VI in third on 19 points. With Darryl Hodgkinson’s Victorie in fourth on 20 points, Thomas thinks there is still a battle to be had between them and Victoire for the third place. 

“Victoire demonstrated, even in light conditions, they are a force to be reckoned with and Never a Dull Moment can never be written off. It’s now all down tomorrow,” Thomas added.

A second and a third today has returned Never a Dull Moment back up to the top of the pointscore. Spirit of Mateship is back on second place after a boat on boat battle with Never a Dull Moment in Race 2 when they went into the race on equal points.

On the last run of Race 2, Spirit of Mateship was determined to sail through Never a Dull Moment. “He locked us out. We just had to wait. I yelled to him, ‘do you want to lock us out ?’ He said yes. He knew what he was doing. He was trying to find a way to get some time on us. We hung on as best we could. We were amazed we were able to hang on in these conditions,” Wilson said.  

With no drops, Never a Dull Moment need another good race day tomorrow to ensure the top prize.

The race committee were able to send the Cruising and Multihull divisions off on a passage race out around Orchard Rocks and onto White Rock.
 
The starts were mild due to the soft conditions, but Rob Marshall’s Femme Fatale still managed to find trouble on the line ending up being called back for an OCS. “I could use some colourful language to describe my performance, but at the end of the day I totally stuffed it. There was no one else around. Bad timing, bad seamanship, dopey skipper,” Marshall joked.
 
The fleet drifted north in the shifty, five knot easterly, each boat trying their best to eke out as much speed as possible. The crews spent most of the day with weight down and out.
 
The course was finally shortened at White Rock for the cruising monohulls and multihulls.
 
In Cruising Spinnaker Division 1, Doug Ryan’s Shazam finished a pleasing first ahead of Ron Knott’s Dusty Muzzle and John Stokes’s Mach I, Angus Fletcher’s Tevake II and Peter Byford’s L’Esprit. This result, after four races, moves L’Esprit into first overall with 18 points and Geoff and Vicki Player’s Silver Minx down to equal second with Shazam on 19 points.
 
In Cruising Spinnaker Division 2, a whole new group of skippers stepped onto the podium. Robert Clayton’s Chamelon won the race ahead of Campbell Corbett’s Missguided and John Rallings’s Magic. The division leader, Tony Muller’s Brava finished ninth in the soft conditions, but with a very strong showing in the first three race days, Brava was still able to hold first place overall on 14 points ahead of Paul Jackson’s Run Run Run on 20 points and Chris and Lyndy Sawbri’s Helena May on 23.5 points.
 
The Cruising Non Spinnaker Division saw Guy Carton’s No Legends step up to first place with Russell McLaughlin’s consistently top performing Freya in second and Margaret Chapman’s Midnight Saga in third. Overall, Freya still holds first place on six points well ahead of Phil Bates’s Psycho II on 16 points and Mike Walter’s Mim on 18 points.
 
Multihull Cruising’s three-boat fleet is firmly in the hands of Ken Gibson and his Resolute II team after another win today. In second place in the race and overall is Rob Finucane’s Promiscuous and in third, Ian Johnson’s Salacia.
 
Fantasia’s dominance of the Multihull Racing Division came to an end today when Rupert King’s Overdrive took out first place. In second was Graeme Etherton’s The Boat and in third, Dennis Coleman’s Mistress. Overall Peter Stransky’s Fantasia is in equal first with Overdrive with seven points. The Boat is on 11 points and Mistress on 16 points.
 
The final day of racing is tomorrow with all divisions scheduled to compete in a passage race with the first start at about 1100.  
 
The weather forecast for tomorrow’s racing is for a six to nine knot north-easterly which may prove to be another day of upsets at the top of the division pointscores.
 
For full results  http://www.magneticislandraceweek.com.au/

– Tracey Johnstone

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