SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week: Big winds return for Round the Island Race

Competitors were rubbing their hands with glee as a decent breeze returned in time for the famed Lowes Petroleum Race Day Round the Island Race at Townsville Yacht Club’s (TYC) SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week (SMIRW).

SeaLink Spinnaker Divisions 1 and 2 sailed a slightly longer course with a leg out of the western side of the island.

SeaLink Spinnaker Division 2 was first off, sailing to the shore before tacking out, to lay a mark, before continuing on their journey anti-clockwise around the island. Once again, John Kint’s Bundaberg (Vic) hit the line as the hooter went. Brian Yarnall’s Mika (Vic), Doug Ryan’s Shazam (Qld) and Stuart Tivey’s Ragamuffin 111 from TYC, also got away quickly.

La Troisieme Mitemps (Matt Doyle, NSW) won the day. Mika and Ragamuffin 111 took the minor placings. Going into the final day, Rob Rainsford’s Y Knot (Vic) leads the division from Victorians; James Permezel’s Charm Offensive and John Kint’s Bundaberg, which has been nailing the starts.

Bundaberg with her big red kite on – Andrea Francolini, SMIRW pic

Bundaberg’s Geoffrey Montgomery has had a role in that: “My job is to make sure we go around the right marks in the right order. We did our prep properly for the start. Checking the line, we saw the pin end was advantaged, so picked that end. We took a few sterns and that strategy worked. We had clear air and gassed out all but one of the other boats,” he explained.

“We saw as much as 19 knots on the course and clocked up 13.2 knots of boat speed under spinnaker. It was a great race. The funnest bit was working up from Bay Rock to Middle Reef. We picked a good lift off the shore near Picnic Bay.”

Kint, a past Commodore of Royal Geelong Yacht Club, added with a big smile, “We’re having a really good run.”

Red Knot started well – Andrea Francolini, SMIRW pic

When Division 3 started, most congregated at the favoured boat end of the line. Bob and Shaz Colman’s Red Knot, all the way from the Northern Territory, dared to be different. Starting at the pin end paid dividends, as they sailed away in clear air, but it was Tony and Selena Muller’s Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 409, Brava, that came away with the victory.

Brava in top form – Andrea Francolini, SMIRW pic

Muller is Rear Commodore at TYC and is the series leader in Division 3 on countback with David Pollak’s Belle (Qld). Breathing down their necks are Rob Reynolds Fareast 28R, the Kingsberry brothers Amaya II and Mark Skelton’s Jab. The trio is a point adrift of the top two.

By the time Division 4’s start came around, local sailor, James Finch and Warragal were ready, with another local, Amaya II (Ben and Matt Kingsberry), hot on her heels.

Regular competitor and local sailor Lyndy Sawbridge won the race. The honour of winning the series in that division is likely to go to Ian Griffiths Witchy Woman (Qld) or TYC Commodore John Stokes (Mach 1). Zen or Son of a Son could spoil the party though.

The weather was perfect for Helena May – Andrea Francolini, SMIRW pic

Sawbridge was nevertheless delighted with her win: “This was Helena May’s weather. She loves a bit of breeze, kicks up her heels and off she goes. The crew did a great job putting her through her paces. We shredded a spinnaker, so it was up with the next one!

“We had a great day and we’ve had a great week. We’re just loving it as usual,” said the gregarious local, who has done eight SMIRW’s on Helena May. “At least one of us (Chris Sawbridge – her husband who is aboard) has done every Race Week – if not both of us.”

“The race committee and volunteers have done a wonderful job as usual,” Sawbridge ended.

In the Non-Spinnaker division, before she could reach the first mark of the course, Jessie Goodheart’s Godspeed snapped her rig. All on board were fine. This followed her broken forestay in the Bay Race. This is Goodheart’s maiden SMIRW as an owner skipper and her crew are ‘green’ – novices.

Goodheart came here with the intention of having fun and making some memories. I doubt these were the memories she had in mind, but we hope she returns next year, as they appeared to be a fun-loving crew.

The division win went the way of Scott Parry’s local Phantom 32, Sinbad. Rod Wills’ Great Xpectations (NSW) leads the series by one point over Noel Borel’s Kulani. Adrian Wilson’s Kulahea from Western Australia is a further point away having placed second this afternoon.

The two Multihull division were away cleanly. Adrian Lawrie’s Scamper (Qld), a Schionning 15.2, won the day in Division 1 from Graeme Etherton’s local regular entry, The Boat. Scamper is now in the running to take out the series, sitting pretty just a point shy of the leader, Gordon Beath’s Roamance and on equal points with Darren Drew’s Wind Cheetah, both from NSW.

Family boat Salacia scored a win – Andrea Francolini, SMIRW pic

Multihull Division 2 went to the Ian Johnson skippered Salacia, a Lightwave 38 from the host club. It puts him a mere point behind series leader, Happy Hours (Gary Prestedge, Vic) and one in front of his friend, Ken Plowman and his Red Undies (NSW). I’m not sure about the undies, nobody is disclosing, but the crew does wear red hats.

“We’re happy with our win,” Johnson said. “We have terrific racing with Red Undies; we’re never more than 100 metres apart. It was A lovely day for the Round the Island Race, 20 knots, maybe more at times and you get a reach, a tight reach, a run and a work.

“I’ve done every Race Week so far. We moved to the Island in 2007. I don’t own the boat; it belongs to Owen Day. He’s in his eighties, still sailing on the boat, pulls his weight and just loves it. Owen was pleased as anything to win. His daughter Emma is up from Melbourne sailing with us and his grandson-in-law, Steve, was sailing with us until today,” said Johnson, who is on SMIRW organising committee.

Division 1 was called to start at midday. Andy Kearnan/Peter Wrigley’s Koa (NSW), with Kearnan at the helm, was again quick off the mark, as was the Adrian Kiely skippered Mako (NSW), The ‘League of Nations’ on Kayimai was soon up and amongst the action too.

Rob Aldis/Peter Byford’s Kayimai is from Middle Harbour Yacht Club in Sydney, where Aldis is the new Commodore. On board is a mix of French, Irish, Swedish, English and a Kiwi among the Aussies. “We spoke a mix of Irish/Swedish today,” Aldis quipped.

Division 1 victory went to David Newton’s YKnot, a Dehler 46 (NSW), from Stephen Green’s Joint Venture (Qld) and John Chipp’s Hot Chipps (Vic). However, it’s Mako, the Sydney 40, that leads the series going into the final day. Two other NSW boats are breathing down Mako’s stern: Kayimai and Ian Edwards’ Wings, on equal points and two points away.

Racing concludes tomorrow, with racing to start from 11am.

For all information, including list of entries, places to visit and more, please visit:

By Di Pearson/SMIRW media

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