Sunday, 19 June 2011

Audi Winter Series : Stunning day out for Audi Winter Series revellers

Racing was very close in some divisions. Image copyright Andrea Francolini/Audi.

by Di Pearson

A stunning light weather Audi Winter Series Race 7 on a sunny warm Sunday was in stark contrast to last week’s freeze-out race that served up bucketing rain and big gusty winds in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia hosted 10-race series.

The most competitors had to grapple with today were two rather large cargo ships; one exiting Sydney Harbour early on in the race, the other entering the Harbour towards the end of Race 7.

Warning hoots from both ships were heard by all. A handful of competitors complained afterwards that one ship or the other had been their downfall; the hoped for podium place not eventuating when some were forced to tack, while others were caught in the lee of the monster ships, rendering them helpless.

However, the rest of the day was “a beauty.” It was warm enough for shorts and t-shirt sunbaking to leeward between executing tacks and gybes aboard the fleet, which numbered 136 entries.

A beautiful racing day on Sydney Harbour was enjoyed by all. Image copyright Andrea Francolini/Audi.

Andy Stoekel was thrilled with his Beneteau 42s7’s win. “I can’t believe we won, Integrity’s a heavy cruiser/racer, it’s fantastic,” an excited and dedicated Stoekel who travels three hours from Canberra to Sydney to race each week.

Despite being a little on the heavy side, Stoekel said “the crew work was exceptional and that’s what got us there in the end. We had a nice 10 knots but it died off at one point. The breeze was predominantly west, but went to the south-west and north-west at times.

“It was a beautiful winter’s day. I enjoy sailing so much and today was so much fun. Joining the CYCA was the best thing I ever did. My whole family joined and now my son and daughter are good sailors too,” he said.

All focus aboard New Territories. Image copyright

Noted skiff sailor James Francis was just as happy with his Division G win aboard his new NT 30, New Territories. Armed with some other top skiffies, including Chapman siblings Andrew, Ali and Will and Rob Bell (a product of the CYCA Youth Academy who went on to world title fame), along with his Dad Peter, Francis said the day went his way.

“We’ve got a pretty tough handicap, the toughest we’ve had so far, but having said that, it was mostly a reaching course today and we’ve got an asymmetrical spinnaker that we used up and down the course.

“We were mostly anywhere from third to fifth in the race; it was really close racing and we managed to pull it off in the late stages, so it’s great to get this win,” he said.

In the Sydney 38’s, Sally Warneford’s Thirlmere won for the second week in succession. Series leader Wild One was second and there was only 13 seconds in it. With only three races remaining, Larki Missiris’ Wild One has a commanding eight point lead over Phil Barnes’ Livewire, having won the first four races straight.

Other winners today were: Quest (Bob Steel) Division A1; NSC Mahligai (Murray Owens/Jenny King) A2; Last Tango (Phillip King) B; Eye Appeal (John Markos) Division D; Krakatoa (Don Young) Division E; Sports Bar (Neville and Jo Blair) Division F; Cartwheel (Russell Debney) Division H; Elusive (Paul Billingham/Peter McGee) Division J; Capella (Richard Hutchison) Division K.

NSC Mahligai got amongst it and won Division A2. Image copyright Andrea Francolini/Audi.

Seven races have passed quickly and only three remain to decide the champions in each of the 12 divisions. There is little separating the top boats in most divisions, with a tie for the prize in Division J and only one and two points separating the top boats in Divisions A and F, with a race drop in place. In others, only two points make the difference between gold and silver.

Such close pointscores can only be attributed to great handicapping and the introduction of Sailing Instruction 17.2 (results scored on corrected time of each boat on shortened course days), which the race officers have applied on light weather days and has been widely applauded by yachties who say the rule is a much fairer way for shortened races.

Phil King (Last Tango) won the use of an Audi A5 Sportback 2.0T multitronic for a week after winning Division B.

Integrity gets some speed up. Image copyright

Race 2 Audi winner, Peter Fallon (Max), is still raving about the A5 Sportback 3.0 TDI quattro which he won the keys to for a week. “It’s a real head-turner,” he said. “I enjoyed driving it and having people look at me. I made the most of having the Audi. From Waverton where I live, I picked the kids at school at Waitara and Pymble.

“The kids said they felt like they were in the movie ‘Transporter’. There was a chauffeur/bodyguard (me, apparently) who picks up the kids from school in Audi. They said they felt like they were living the movie and thought it was really cool. I’m still trying to explain to my son William (8) why I had to give the car back – maybe Audi could explain?”

“It’s such a nice car to drive. When I picked it up, it had 29 kilometres on the clock; when I gave it back, it was up to 300 kilometres. I’ll start saving,” Fallon said.

The Audi Winter Series continues next Sunday with the Sydney 38 Division first off from 11.25am.

Audi Winter Series