A combination of perfect racing conditions, no mistakes, great boat speed and a focus on a goal was all that was needed for the multihull Fantasia to take on the biggest of the monohulls and win.
Day two of the SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week saw the fleet head off on the picturesque 20 mile race around the island. The breeze was a shifty, soft five knots at the start line, but quickly built to a 15 to 20 knot south-easter as the fleet ran down to the foreshore of Townsville city, reached across towards the end of the island and around the corner to work home.
The Performance Racing Division were off first with Guilty Pleasures enjoying another clean start at the pin end. It wasn’t long before Peter Jones’s Spirit of Mateship and Darryl Hodgkinson’s Victoire took control of the lead to round the clearing mark first and head downwind. Back on the start line the Multihull Racing fleet were off to clean start as the breeze started to build.
Andrew Stransky’s 50-foot catamaran was quickly in the lead as they charged across Cleveland Bay and into the wake of the Performance monohulls.
By the Middle Reef West beacon the action had really begun and Spirit of Mateship and Victoire had started the battle for dominance. “We were neck and neck. We were first round Bay Rock and Fantasia was second. All three of us were very close.
“After that Victoire wound up faster than us,” Jones said.
From the top of the island right past Horseshoe Bay and down past Orchard Rocks it was a three-way tacking duel between Victoire, Spirit of Mateship and Fantasia with only about 300 metres separating them. It wasn’t until the corner that Fantasia was able to hit the lead. They put up a screecher and just held on to finish 11 seconds ahead of Victoire.
Hodgkinson said they had a great battle up the beat with Spirit of Mateship, going tack for tack over the almost 10 miles to the corner. They then started to realise that Fantasia was probably going to get them on the line. “We did wave to each other. It was all quite congenial,” Hodgkinson said.
A beaming Stransky said; “we only just did it. We are honoured to beat Victoire. I don’t think they liked that part that much”
“It was really exciting. Perfect. Best finish of all time,” he added.
The Performance Racing Division final honours belonged again to Colin and Denise Wilson’s Never a Dull Moment. They sailed a smart race to win on handicap and retain their lead of the overall pointscore. “It helps that we had two boats ahead of us so we can could see what not to do.
“We watched the guys in front. They gybed and we didn’t. We went straight to the mark,” Wilson said.
They started conservatively on the run taking time to work out what sail to put up. A lively discussion among the brains trust led to the Code Zero going up. Then they changed their minds, putting up the kite next. “Basically, we went in one leg right up to edge of island while the others gybed a couple of times. We looked at it and decided we didn’t need to do that,” Wilson added. He also mentioned that the boat was flying today a new Hood spinnaker, some 20 metres bigger than the old one.
This result keeps Never a Dull Moment in first place overall in Performance Racing, Spirit of Mateship in second and David Waller’s The Matrix in third place.
The Cruising Spinnaker Division was not without its drama with Angus Fletcher’s Trevake II in the limelight again. This time his team found themselves aground near the Middle Reef West Beacon. “Our home sailing ground has a little bit more water under it,” Fletcher said who comes from Geelong in Victoria. They had to use the motor to get off the sandbank after receiving assistance from the race committee boat on station nearby in readiness for such a crisis.
Division 1 was won today by John Kint’s Bundaberg from Victoria. In second place was Geoff and Vicki Player’s Silver Minx and in third Doug Ryan’s Shazam.
“Today’s wind speed was perfect for us. The windward leg was the one that made it for us. We saw 19 knots. Average was about 12 to 14 knots. We stuck a reef in the main and we have the giant headsail which works really well in those conditions,” Kint. He is now hoping for similar conditions for the next couple of days.
Silver Minx remains in first place overall, Bundaberg in second and Shazam in third.
In Division 2 Tony Muller’s Brava backed up for another handicap win, beating Chris and Lyndy Sawbri’s Helena May and Peter Cox’s Valhalla. This result keeps Brava in first place overall ahead of Valhalla from Cronulla in Sydney, and Helena May in third.
It was another winning day for Russell McLaughlin’s Freya as he took out the handicap honours in the Cruising Non Spinnaker Division ahead of Sydney entry, Phil Bates’s Psycho II and Phillip McGuire’s Kachina. Overall, after two races, Feya holds first place, Mike Walter’s Mim holds second and Psycho II and Kachina are in equal third.
Multihull Cruising was won today by Ken Gibson’s Resolute II. In second was Rob Finucane’s Promiscuous after they were OCS well before the start gun. In third was Salacia. Resolute continues to hold first overall for this division.
Multihull Racing is still in the hands of the Fantasia team after a second handicap win from two races. In second place was Rupert King’s Overdrive and in third place, Graeme Etherton’s The Boat. Fantasia holds the overall lead in the division with Overdrive in second place and The Boat in third.
Racing continues tomorrow with all divisions scheduled to compete in a short bay race before the competitors return to shore in time for the start Beach Fair and the Maggie to Townsville Kiteboard Race.
The weather forecast for tomorrow’s racing is for a eight to 12 knot south-easter.
For full results a http://www.magneticislandraceweek.com.au/
On the other side of Cleveland Bay the Sail Townsville Kiteboards are competing in the Kiteboarding Championship. For full results of their racing, go http://www.tsc.yachting.org.au/get_file.cgi?id=3294637
– Tracey Johnstone