Airlie Beach Race Week started with three unbeatable days of sailing under the sun and then conditions became testing for the remainder of the regatta, with even more dismastings, a boat aground and two crew were taken to hospital after being injured by booms in gusty south-easterly winds.
To cap off the afternoon, the sun vanished, dark skies replaced it and rain appeared, then an earth tremor hit Airlie Beach at 2.30pm, rocking the WSC. Earlier, officials at Whitsunday Sailing Club were busy taking calls from those in trouble, as per our earlier release.
Multihull – multi fun
Tony Considine’s APC Mad Max was incomparable in the Multihull Racing Division. Not even the big guns, in exciting foilers Frank Racing owned by New Zealander Simon Hull, and The Boatworks, an Extreme 40 owned by Tony Longhurst (Qld), nor Darren Drew’s Top Gun (NSW) could make an impression.
Skippered by George Owen, APC Mad Max is a Grainger 10 representing the Multihull Yacht Club of Victoria, and she could not be beaten in the handicap stakes, winning all six races. Malcolm Richardson’s Malice second, followed by The Boat Works.
As Owen pointed out, “Heavy boat and heavy weather – that suits us. The boat is at its best, so we could have asked for better weather,” Owen said. Nevertheless, their performance was impeccable.
In the Multihull Passage Division, David Davenport got off to a flying start to claim the spoils with Misty Sea, a Montebello 12.5. It made it worthwhile coming all the way from East Fremantle Yacht Club in WA.
The same can be said for second overall, John Williams’ Tyee III, which hails from Victoria. Despite not finishing the final race when a crew was hit by the boom, Michael Meehan’s Play On claimed third overall.
Unusually, just three boats competed in IRC Racing, and Hong Kong businessman Karl Kwok’s TP52, Beau Geste, was just too good. He was not aboard, but his crew, led by Gavin Brady, were too well-drilled.
Brady said despite the lack of boats, they had great completion with Phillip Turner’s RP66, Alive ahead of the Australian IRC Championship at which Kwok will defend his crown next week.
In IRC Passage, Sydney’s Ray Roberts added a second place to Team Hollywood’s score in IRC Passage to win the series from David Currie’s Ponyo which took the race and relegated Justin Brownbill’s Botany Access Cocomo to third place overall. Trevor Bailey’s Carbon Credits just missed the podium again.
Cruising – boasting the largest numbers
Make no mistake, boasting the largest numbers, the battles raged in the Cruising classes.
Darryl Hodgkinson and his 2013 Rolex Sydney Hobart winner, Victoire, were an unusual entry to this class. Despite being heavily taxed in the handicap department, and going to the rescue of the upturned trimaran Closer to God, then finishing the final race in 11th place, the canting Cookson 50 still won Division 1.
However, the win was on countback to a boat at the other end of the scale, the Mick Eckhert skippered Hammer of Queensland, a famous Sydney Hobart yacht from the ‘80’s, originally owned by the Late Arthur Bloore. Not bad for a charter entry. Peter Lowndes fourth place with Wine Dark Sea in the last race catapulted her into third overall.
Cruising Division 2 came down to the final race when Angus Fletcher’s Tavake II (Vic) finished third and gave her the trophy. Boadicca the Dufour 26 of Peter Byford dropped from pole position to finish second overall. Rob Davis’ Treasure VIII completed the top three, courtesy of finishing second in today’s race.
Division 3 also went to the wire. Event PRO, Scott Chisholm’s Trivial Pursuit (Qld) skippered by his son Scott, won the day after leading for the past few days. Two points behind was Ian White’s Kite (Qld), with John Fowell’s Serenity (Qld) moving back up to third overall.
The Non-Spinnaker division ended up being the closest in results of all the Cruising Divisions, which was won by Graeme Trewavis' Asadori which won today’s race to dethrone yesterday’s leader, Helen Henderson’s Island Time, which dropped to third, with John Galloway’s QMS moving up to second overall. All three are from Queensland, the latter two representing the event host.
Southport sailor Graham Sherring ‘Retuned’ his Leech 750 to take out the Sports Boat Division from Andrew Wiklund’s Egan 7, Crank from Queensland and Octopussy, all the way from WA. Rees Howells’ Shaw 650 was left in the safe hands of Scott Disley and friends.
Special trophies awarded at Airlie Beach Race Week
Airlie Beach Race Week came to an end with the official prize giving, held at Whitsunday Sailing Club where special prizes were awarded, including the Boss Hog Trophy.
Presented for the first time in 2002, it is named for Don Algie, founder of Race Week and long-term sponsor with Hogs Breath Café. Algie competed again this year, entering his easily recognisable Van de Stadt 55, Storm.
Boss Hog Trophy
The Boss Hog Trophy is presented to the crew that best sums up the spirit of Race Week, displays sportsmanship and stands above the rest over the course of the regatta, on and off the water.
Some of the more famous names that appear on the trophy include the late Lou Abrahams (Another Challenge); Aftershock (Colin O’Neil), Loki (Stephen Ainsworth) and Holy Cow (John & Kim Clinton).
This year, the trophy was presented the trophy to APC Mad Maxi, Tony Considine’s Grainger 10 skippered at this regatta by George Owen. APC Mad Max won an incredible six from six races against stiff opposition.
Best Performing Local Boat
Third placegetter in Cruising Division 2, Rob Davis’ Treasure VIII was awarded the Best Performing Local Boat.
Line Honours trophy
The Line Honours trophy for 2015 went to Angus Fletcher’s Tevake II from Hobsons Bay Yacht Club in Victoria, which took line honours in every Cruising Division 2 race.
Hosted by the Whitsunday Sailing Club, racing in the ‘Tropical Festival of Sailing’ closed with the official prize giving.
What would any event do without volunteers? There are so many, doing so many different jobs, it is impossible to name all. Each one gives up their time to help out, including some who double up and race.
From race management, to on water race officials to the jury, media boat drivers, IT help, to the ladies who made fresh lunch for all those on the water every day and so many others who help out organising accommodation, social activities and more. It is a big commitment and many come from Australia wide to help every year.
To the management and staff of Whitsunday Sailing Club, thanks for making everyone so welcome at their Club each year and keeping competitors fed and entertained.
To the major sponsors Tourism and Events Queensland, Whitsunday Regional Council, Great Northern Brewing Company, Pantaenius Marine Insurance, Star FM & KMK, The Whitsunday Times and At Hotel Group, along with many support sponsors, a big thank you for helping the event be the success it is.
And to the competitors, from the record 131 entries this year, there would be no Airlie Beach Race Week without you. We look forward to seeing you all again in 2017.
Please see official race website for all information including full results: www.abrw.com.au
By Di Pearson, ABRW media