Long wait for the wind worthwhile at Magnetic Island

It was worth the long wait for the breeze to fill and deliver a superb short course afternoon of racing in the seaLink Magnetic Island Race Week.

The sailors made good use of the race postponement as the morning’s glassy conditions. Several took to the sparkling water to cool off while others found a spot in the shade of a mainsail or boom tent to hide from the hot sun.

Some two hours later the easterly started to fill across the bay to reach the fleet hovering near the shore of Magnetic Island. The race committee then called the boats back out of the marina and the postponement flag came down. By the time of the first start, the breeze was pumping, going left and up from 12 to 15 knots.

It was finally a lucky day for Angus Fletcher’s Tevake II. They won the Cruising Division 1 race taking out both line and handicap honours ahead of Mal Pirret’s Champagne and Vic Stevens’s Northern Moment.

The team from Hobson Bay Yacht Club in Victoria have had a tough time in the first two race days. They tore their only light-air jib on day one and then embarrassingly ran aground at the west cardinal mark during yesterday’s race. At the start of today’s race there was some light-hearted advice coming their way from competitors and volunteers, reminding them to stay clear of the shore.

Second helm Ryan Blackstock said today’s 15 knots suited Tevake II. “It was pretty fast pace around the course. The crew worked really well to get the kites up and down and get the boat around the course in a pretty tidy way.

“It was an interesting course with a bit of a cross-over in the centre, but we didn’t have any issues,” Blackstock said.

A delighted Fletcher said he declared at last night’s prize giving, when his team received the Wally of the Day award, they would get serious from today. Their first place today has moved them up the overall pointscore to seventh place.

The overall results for the division are still dominated by visiting competitors. In equal first place is Geoff and Vicki Player’s Silver Minx, even after they had a costly OCS on the start line and then played catch-up for the rest of the race. Sharing the top place is John Kint’s Bundaberg. In third overall is Paul Lindemann’s Biddy Hu II

Cruising Division 2 saw an aggressive start line with several boats jammed in at the pin end. Division winner Jason Antill and his Tranquillity team were right in the middle of the mess. “Little Le Rossignol tried to take on five or six 40 footers on the start line on port tack at the pin. We still got a good start even though we almost took something out, whatever it was, on the start line and we got clear air. We came in on the port layline nicely and gave rights to the boats coming in on the starboard layline. We then sailed a fairly clean race.

“We also have a whole brand new crew and everybody is starting to learn the boat,” a very happy Antill said.

The battle continued around the shortened course right to the end. Peter Cox’s Dufour Valhalla beat their fellow Dufour team on Antill’s Tranquillity by two seconds across the finish line.

In second in today’s race was Paul Jackson’s Run Run Run and in third, Tony Muller’s Brava. This result keeps Brava in first overall, Valhalla in second and Chris and Lyndy Sawbri’s Helena May in third.

The Cruising Non Spinnaker division was won today by Ivor Burgess’s Still Dangerous ahead of Russell McLaughlin’s Freya and Mike Walter’s Mim. This result keeps Freya in first, Mim in second and Still Dangerous in third overall after three races.

The Performance Racing Division was led off the line by Darryl Hodgkinson’s Victoire and Peter Jones’s Spirit of Mateship in the lead. Coming into the bottom mark the first time around Victoire’s team had trouble gybing their asymmetrical. It cost them time and ultimately a place in the top results as Spirit of Mateship slipped through to take handicap honours.

Hodgkinson said after the race that there were a few equipment handling issues on the boat today, but they had a great time dodging the boats in the other divisions as they fleet criss-crossed the bay. “It was like racing on Sydney Harbour.

“I had a great time. Even Sean (Kirkjian) complemented me on my downhill steering as we hit 16 knots,” Hodkingson added.

Spirit of Mateship’s Jones was surprised, but pleased by their handicap win. “The crew work was exceptional today. They are gelling into a very good bunch. The crew were thinking about things before marks and getting set up nice and early. They did a great job today.

“It was a good little course and good preparation for tomorrow,” Jones said.

In the Performance Racing Division and after three races, Spirit of Mateship has moved up to first place overall ahead of Colin and Denise Wilson’s Never a Dull Moment and Mike Steel’s Boadicca.

The Multihull Cruising division saw only one competitor on the start line; Ken Gibson’s Resolute II. Overall and after three races, Resolute holds the division lead.

In the Multihull Racing division, Andrew Stransky’s Fantasia continues his winning ways with a third consecutive win to keep him in first place overall. Second today and second overall is Rupert King’s Overdrive, while third today and third overall is Graeme Etherton’s The Boat.

Racing continues tomorrow with the Performance and Multihull Racing divisions completing two windward/leeward races while all other divisions will do complete a passage race.

The weather forecast for tomorrow’s racing is for five to 12 knots easterly.

– Tracey Johnstone

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