Monday, 17 May 2010

Audi Winter Series, CYCA: Light as a feather in Race 4 of Audi Winter Series

Robert Skol sailed his 30 Square Metre Scarlett O'Hara to a win in Division D, Race 4, Audi Winter Series. Image copyright ACE Marine Photography.

by Di Pearson

Jessica Watson stole everyone’s hearts yesterday and with it the last of the strong south-westerly winds that brought her to her final destination of her around the world odyssey on Sydney Harbour, leaving only the remnants of a westerly breeze that petered out, testing all in Race 4 of the Audi Winter Series hosted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia today.

As the 149 yachts set kites and drifted on the Harbour towards Manly early in the race, tacticians and navigators were kept busy, while the rest of the crews on each boat tip-toed around their jobs and kept their weight to leeward in the unstable feather-light airs.

In an ultra-light westerly that was a bit fitful, Principal Race Officer Denis Thompson shortened the course for Divisions C and K, which were finished by 3.00pm, but kept the other 11 divisions going around the course for a second lap. At least the sun was shining and temperatures were in the early 20’s, making it a pleasurable way to spend a lazy Sunday.

“A nice 6-8 knot south-easterly came in at around 2.15pm, so we kept the other divisions going,” Thompson explained.

Geoff Bonus’ Calibre won the Sydney 38 Division by just over one minute, beating Bruce Foye’s The Goat and Richard Holstein’s Next, the latter two finishing just seven seconds apart.

Bernie van‘t hof took out Division A with his Swan 45 Tulip, fending off a challenge from the always well-sailed Loki (Stephen Ainsworth). “St Hillier’s Quest and Tulip are the smallest boats in the Division and I wondered what we were doing in it, so it’s nice to get a win up against the bigger boats,” van‘t hof said.

“We were pretty happy coming to the end of the first lap, because we knew we were looking good and we thought it’d finish there, but they sent us around again, so we had to work to stay in front,” he said adding, “It was a beautiful day out there – how good is this for winter?”

Division B went to the CYCA’s commodore, Matt Allen and his partner Warwick Rooklyn, who sailed their Farr 40 Bandit well enough to beat Murray Owen and Jenny King’s Sydney 46 Mahligai. Fortunately, the Commodore was not the one handing out the prizes tonight, that job was left to CYCA director Michael Cranitch.

Andrew Stoeckel got the heads-up in Division C, winning the battle of the Beneteaus with his Beneteau 42.7, Integrity, pipping Robert Segaert’s Beneteau 44.7 Quatre Quart.

In Division D, a happy Robert Skol sailed his 30 Square Metre Scarlett O’Hara to a win over the Barry Munns and Peter Fallon skippered Cape 31, Max. “We have a red boat and that makes us go faster,” laughed Skol late this afternoon.

“We hit the start line right on time and stayed on the pace all day. We sailed in clear air all through the race. When it got really light, we worked hard and stayed focussed. It wasn’t easy, because I’ve got a few girls aboard and they just wanted to talk about shoes.”

Skol said: “Seriously, the women who sail with me are some of the best trimmers around; better than most blokes. Their concentration is better and that helped us win today,” he said.

Bruce McKay's Sayer 12 Wasabi, finished third in Division B, but was the lucky winner of the Audi A5 Sportsback. Image copyright ACE Marine Photography.

Andrew Waugh’s sporting Thompson 8, Zippier, lived up to her name today, beating Matthew Fisher’s Magic 25, Greengate, to first place in Division E.

Division F went to John Taylor’s Cavalier Allegro from Steve Wyatt’s Double Trouble, a Bavaria 35 Match. Taylor was ecstatic with the win, crediting it all to his wife Jackie who did bow duties for the first time ever. “I’m dumping my usual bowman – he went on holidays – I’m replacing him with Jackie,” Taylor quipped as the pair headed off to dinner to celebrate.

“We’re pretty casual; we don’t take ourselves too seriously. Early in the race we were looking a bit ordinary, as Allegro is an older heavier boat, but when the breeze went around to the south-east and picked up, we were in the game again. I didn’t realise we’d won, but Jackie thought we’d done OK,” he added.

Other winners were John Santifort’s Carats N Kilos (Division G), Peter Howe’s Sea Rug Hoo Ha (Division H), Charles Curran’s Sydney (Division J) and Paul Williams’ Takana (Division K). Williams is on a run, winning last week’s race and capping off that night by winning the Audi A5 Sportsback for a week.

“The finishes were quite close, they were quite bunched up, especially the Sydney 38’s,” Denis Thompson commented at 4.00pm, as he and his crew waited for the last three boats to finish. “The breeze stayed at around 6 knots, but moved further to the east as the afternoon wore on,” he said.

Peter Campbell and Steve Sweeney’s Hornblower was only a minute from the line, Paul O’Connell’s Katinka a few minutes and Russell Debney’s Cartwheel, according to Thompson, was unlikely to finish as it was a good three nautical miles from the finish line and running out of breeze and time.

Tonight Michael Cranitch drew the winner of the Audi A5 Sportback 3.0 TDI quattro for the week, the spoils going to Bruce McKay, who sailed his green machine Wasabi, a Sayer 12, to third in Division B.

Full results:

Sydney 38 results:

Audi Winter Series, CYCA