Peter Wilcox well and truly has his mojo back, leading the Multihull Racing class with his Schionninggforce1500 design, ‘Mojo’ at Whitsunday Sailing Club’s Airlie Beach Race Week, heading into the last day of racing tomorrow.
Second place today means a two-point Series lead for Wilcox over nearest competitor, APC Mad Max, a Grainger 10 owned by Tony Considine. Today’s winner, Andrew Stransky (Fantasia), is a further two points behind in third place overall.
Victories in Races 2 and 3 have given Mojo the small jump on its competitors, “all of them top boats,” according to Wilcox who represents the Multihull Yacht Club Queensland. In fact, Mojo’s worst result in the event has been third place.
The Multihull division crews, along with other classes at Airlie Beach Race Week, struggled at times in the heavy winds.
“Add to that the lumpy and bumpy seaway and sailing against the tide on the first leg, and you have very challenging conditions,” said Wilcox, adding: “It was very hard to steer the boat.”
Forecasts were for south-easterly 20 to 25 knot winds, but went beyond, keeping all competitors on the ball.
“It was hectic, a top-end breeze. It was a tough day at the office. It was cranking low to mid 20’s, and 28 knots at the top end. Both my boat and crew worked hard the whole time,” the Queenslander said.
“We’ve got one race to go, so today was about minimising damage,” said Wilcox who admitted his boat and crew are comfortable in big conditions, of which more are expected tomorrow.
Wilcox and Mojo have been away competing on the Asian circuit at the Kings Cup, Raja Muda and others for the past two years, having left Australia after the 2012 Brisbane Gladstone Race.
“It’s great to be home and to be at Airlie Beach Race Week. It’s such a great fleet here,” he said of the large entry list of 18 of the best multihulls from Australia wide.
The school teacher said being here is not just about racing and winning, “It’s the great camaraderie in our class. We were very sorry about Cool Change capsizing today.
“From my perspective, this is sport, and as such, you have to enjoy it. That’s always been my philosophy. It’s a great sport; people of all ages can take part. My crew’s ages are from 17 to 65 years.
“We’re all here having a great time this week, loving every minute,” Wilcox ended.
The Series’ early leader, the highly fancied Morticia (Shaun Carroll) helmed by Chris Williams, has dropped to fourth overall, courtesy of a fifth place today and fifth place in Race 3. But Williams had already said they did not expect to win, having reconfigured the boat for racing at events in the Mediterranean.
Hosted by the Whitsunday Sailing Club, racing at the ‘Tropical Festival of Sailing’ finishes tomorrow.
Full results at: http://www.abrw.com.au/
– Di Pearson, ABRW media