Magnetic Island Race Week – Steady light wind produces new winners

It was back to business for ‘It’s Live in Queensland Race Day’ out on the Bay for the 16th running of SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week (SMIRW) on another light breeze day, but at least it filled in at a steady pace so the fleet could get away from 11.35am and it produced new winners.

Division 2 was first to start in the Townsville Yacht Club (TYC) hosted event today. Amaya II (Ben Kingsberry, Qld) and Z7 (Laurie McAllister, NSW) best away at the pin end. By the top mark though, Peter Sorensen and crew had cleared out on Sorro’s Sydney 38, Advanced Philosophy (NSW), Z7 giving chase a good two minutes behind. Z7 went on to win.

Behind them, Division 3 was next away. Crescendo (Richard Gilhome, Vic) Helena May (Lyndy Sawbridge, Qld) and Ca Va (Phil Dressler, NSW) got off the pin smartly. Next was Division 4, as two TYC locals Son of a Son (Peter Webster) and Akarana (Vicki Hamilton) were best away. In the Non-Spinnaker Division, Glenn Myler’s Thylacine One left the rest behind her.

In Multihull Division 1, Dennis Coleman made the most of Mistress’ (Qld) light hull to leave the rest behind to fight it out, while Division 2 was led by Kevin Lord’s Vivacious (Qld).

By the time the race ended though, Gordon Beath’s Chamberlin 14, Roamance, got the better of Mistress by just short of nine minutes in Multihull Division 1 – a big win.

Beath, who is suffering from a terrible flu, gets up just to steer the boat: “My sister Sally is aboard; it’s her first time here. She’s a doctor and is looking after me. The other two ladies are from Townsville. They sailed with me here last year and at (Festival of Sails) Geelong, which we won. We also won the Brisbane to Gladstone together.”  

Beath is from NSW but spends most his time cruising and racing the boat at Aussie events. Next year he will disappear off the radar to contest the Groupama Race around New Caledonia. At Maggie Island, he says, “There are three wonderful ladies and me racing the boat. We had such a good day, it just got better and better, so it’s a bonus to win.”

“I get told what to do all day, ‘Hold it here Gordon, sail her square Gordon, do this, do that Gordon,” he said laughing.

In Multi Division 2, it was Ian Johnson’s local Lightwave 38, Salacia, came out on top by 2 minutes. Mal Billings’ Perry 43, Twin Spirit from Victoria was second and Rod Sweeney’s Rhomberg Sersa Australia (Qld) in third.

“We were very surprised to see we’d won. We’ve got a few first time sailors from down south and they loved it,” Johnson said.

“We had three guys sailing the boat, the other four crew were down making really good sandwiches for lunch – and it seemed to work,” he said laughing.

On a more serious note, the Townsville yachtsman added, “On the way up we put the big screecher up. If we hadn’t done that, we wouldn’t have had enough boat speed.

“At the end of the day, the weather is so beautiful, it doesn’t matter where you come. We don’t really sail to win, but it’s nice to have one.”

Spinnaker Division 1 was next, with Victoire (Darryl Hodgkinson, NSW) and Ocean Crusaders J-Bird (Annika Thomson, Qld) fighting for supremacy off the pin end. Victoire, a Carkeek 40, got the best of her TP52 rival as they headed up to the first mark of the course. Victoire sailed with purpose and won Race 3, her second successive win to lead the series.

Hodgkinson commented, “We’re having a good regatta. We’ve had a pretty good tussle with Ocean Crusaders, which is good fun, it’s great to have a good boat to compete against.”

On today’s race he said, “It was 5-7 knots and we were with them (Ocean Crusaders) for a time and then we split. We hugged close to shore and concentrated pretty hard and got away from them.”

Hodgkinson, a recently retired plastic surgeon, had a hip replacement eight weeks ago and this is his first time back in the saddle, so to speak.

“It’s going well. I’m doing everything the surgeon told me to, but I was adamant I was coming to race at Magnetic Island. We’re really enjoying it. We were sailing with seven people, but one of my old crew came up today, so we have eight now, which is easier.” 

The Sports Boats were sent on two shorter races. Andrew Jones’ Thompson 8, Cutting Edge (Tas) and Stephen O’Rourke’s Melges 24, M24 Panther (NSW) enjoyed a good stoush at the start of their first race.  It was won by Justin Van Stomm’s Bambalam from TYC from M24 Panther.

Race 4 went to Julian Bethwaite’s Don’t Panic (NSW) entered by Rob Reynolds. Burke Melia’s No Mercy (NSW) was second with the well-sailed M24 Panther third, giving her the series lead by one point to No Mercy.

Tonight, while crews head to the Crew Party at Maggie Island Brewery, Townsville Yacht Club will host the Sponsors and Skippers Evening at the Club via a SeaLink ferry ride from Peppers Race Headquarters to Townsville.

Racing resumes tomorrow from 11am with Lowes Petroleum Race Day, on a course that takes the fleet around Magnetic Island.

For all information including results, please visit: www.magneticislandraceweek.com.au

By Di Pearson/SMIRW media

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