Audi Hamilton Island Race week : Hooligan defends national crown
Saturday, 25 August 2012
Marcus Blackmore’s highly experienced Hooligan crew left the best to last when they came from behind to win the prestigious Audi Hamilton Island Race week and Australian IRC championship in the warm Whitsunday Islands today.
Hooligan entered the final race languishing in fourth place 4.5points behind series leader the Mark Bradford skippered Queensland pocket maxi Black Jack.
While most observers rated Hooligan as a slim chance to defend her title skipper Marcus Blackmore and his super clever tactician Stu Ballantyne never gave up hope.
“We are still very much in the mix”. Blackmore said.
The Hooligan crew including six times Australian yachting Olympian Colin Beashel edged closer to winning the highly competitive series when they tied for first in the final windward leeward race on Friday.
But their positive challenge came down to mastering a test of character when the race start for the Gary Ticehurst Memorial Molle Island race was delayed to allow a rolling fog to lift.
Finally when the fog lifted and the race started both Shogun V and Hooligan started in clean wind and sea space to lead the supper maxi Wild Oats X1 until they finally sailed into pressure.
Unfortunately the race prospects for title leader Black Jack and second place Yendys remained motionless when they were pocketed back in the pack.
Meanwhile Hooligan slipped in top racing mode when her crew capitalised on a boat on boat drag race with the almost identical TP52 the Robert Hanna skippered Victorian sloop Shogun V.
Both rounded North Molle Island sharing the same sea space where Hooligan’s bowsprit hung over the stern of Shogun V.
However Hooligan sailed to her 1.383 rating to on the final slog across the Whitsunday Passage before drawing away to score a valuable 1 minute 34 second win over Shogun V while New Zealand’s Ice Breaker filled third place.
This was a fitting final to the championship which favoured the Marcus Blackmore skippered Hooligan which only won one race outright to win both the Audi Australian IRC Championship and the Audi Hamilton Island Race Week title for the second successive year.
Final championship places Hooligan (Marcus Blackmore, NSW 24.5pts) 1, Shogun V (Robert Hanna, Vic) 25.5 pts 2, Black Jack (Mark Bradford, Qld) 28 pts 3, Yendys (Geoffrey Ross, NSW) 29 pts 4Living Doll (Michael Hiatt, Vic) 31.5 pts 5, Loki ( Stephen Ainsworth, NSW) 37 pts .
See Hamilton Island Race Week images
Last Updated ( Saturday, 25 August 2012 )