AUDI Hamilton Island Race Week : Match Race drifter
Saturday, 18 August 2012
Crews racing the fastest two yachts in the Southern Hemisphere faced frustrating light winds in the opening race of the 2012 AUDI Hamilton Island Race Week in the warm Whitsunday Islands yesterday.
New Zealand’s Team Vodafone skippered by Simon Hull and Team Australia helmed by Sean Langman of Sydney became engaged in what promised to be a thrill a minute match race between the two almost identical Orma 60 Trimarans.
The long awaited clash hardly raised a ripple on a glassy calm Whitsunday Passage when both crews who are very protective of their nations sailing heritage became engaged in their match race.
Tactically Team Australia won the start while their Trans Tasman rival chased hard to haul back the advantage during the long a slow slog to Denman Island.
The Team Australia crew chased every available direction change in the unstable 5-8 knot breeze to prove marginally faster.
But their lead was dramatically reduced when the wind fell away to a glassy calm during an even slower sail to the finish.
For a time Team Australia appeared to be glued to the water before finally drifting over the finish line off The Hamilton Island yacht club to record a comfortable win over the New Zealand rival.
Racing for the Audi Australian IRC class championship proved to be a non event when Race Director Denis Thompson guided by the unstable nature of the unseasonal land breeze wisely elected to cancel the race over the 23N/ml Lindeman Island course.
He remains hopeful of getting the championship underway with windward leeward races south of Hamilton Island tomorrow.
Meanwhile there is a sense of excitement as Marcus Blackmore skippering his high performance TP52 Hooligan which won every major regatta in 2011 will be able to produce the same results without the London Olympic Laser class Gold Medallist who has joined the crew of the high performance RP 66 Black Jack.
Marcus Blackmore believes his Hooligan crew are up to the challenge and has some equally impressive TP52 crews who promise to test both the strategy and boat speed of Hooligan.
Heading the list is the New Zealand challengers Georgia (James Farmer) and Kia Kaha (Chris Hornell ) who along with the proven sailing talent of the Australian TP52’s Yendys (Geoffrey Ross) and Rob Hanna’s Shogun V promise to add some tactical spice to the class match race.
By Ian Grant. At Hamilton Island.
See Hamilton Island Race Week images
Last Updated ( Saturday, 18 August 2012 )