Friday, 21 January 2011
2010 Audi IRC Australian Championship winner Loki. Image copyright Andrea Francolini/Audi.
by Craig Heydon
Australia’s national sailing championship for IRC rated yachts begins this weekend in Victoria with new rules, new classes and new challenges for crews.
The 2011 Audi IRC Australian Championship kicks off with Audi Victoria Week, from January 20 to 26, pitting Australia’s leading yachts and sailors against each other in a series of races on Port Phillip Bay.
An impressive list of 48 yachts from across Australia are set to contest Audi Victoria Week, including 2010 Audi IRC Australian Championship winner Loki and the overall winners of the last two Sydney Hobart, Secret Men’s Business 3.5 and Two True.
Following the opening round the 2011 Audi IRC Australian Championship then heads north for the Audi Sydney Harbour Regatta from March 4 to 7 before the crews embark on the Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race on July 30 and then culminates with Audi Hamilton Island Race week from August 19 to 26.
Now in its fifth year the Audi IRC Australian Championship has undergone a number of changes and for 2011 crews will race in the same division at all four events, further intensifying the competition with their closest rivals.
Yachting Australia President Andrew Plympton said that the Audi IRC Australian Championship is the country’s leading sailing championship and a true test of sailors and yachts alike.
“To win the Audi IRC Australian Championship crews must perform consistently across all events, meeting a range of racing formats and conditions throughout the year,” said Plympton. “The Audi IRC Australian Championship provides Australia’s yacht racing fraternity the opportunity and challenge of competing across four outstanding events, all generously supported by Audi.”
For 2011 yachts will be split into three distinct divisions, which will be consistent across all four events. IRC Division 1 will have an LOA of 12 metres and above, an IRC Hull Factor of 10 or above and an IRC DLR of 16 and lower. IRC Division 1 yachts will also have an IRC TCC of 1.16 or higher and have an IRC age of 2000 or later.
IRC Division 2 features yachts that do not meet the requirements of IRC Division 1 and have a TCC of 1.07 and higher while IRC Division 3 yachts do not qualify for IRC Division 1 and have a TCC of 1.069 and lower.
Each class will be scored separately at each event, with one discard allowed over the year. At the completion of Audi Hamilton Island Race week three Audi IRC Australian Champions will be crowned, one in each class.
The winning crew in each class will be given the use of a brand new Audi for 12 months compliments of Audi, designed as a team vehicle for the crew to enjoy.
Sailing fans will be able to catch all of the action from the 2011 Audi IRC Australian Championship in their living rooms with the championship to feature prominently on the ONE HD network. In 2011 there will be double to amount of racing action on ONE HD with eight dedicated episodes, two following each round.
Not only will the programs keep viewers up to date with the on-water battles but also provide an insight into what it takes to campaign a yacht in the Audi IRC Australian Championship and some of personalities included within the sport.
Audi Victoria Week