Monday, 24 January 2011

Audi Victoria Week: Hooligan hits her straps but Living Doll leads Audi IRC Series

Two wins for Hooligan today has moved her into second place overall. Image copyright Andrea Francolini/Audi.

by Di Pearson

Marcus Blackmore (Hooligan) came ashore a happier man this afternoon after winning Division A Race 2 and sharing a win in Race 3 of the Audi IRC Series at Audi Victoria Week with the new series leader, Living Doll, owned by Melbournian Michael Hiatt.

It is unusual to find yachts sharing an overall win once handicaps are calculated, but that is the way it worked today for Blackmore’s (NSW) TP52 and Hiatt’s Farr 55, which has a one point lead over Hooligan on Day 2. Nick Bartels’ Cookson 50 Terra Firma holds third place.

“We did a little better today,” Blackmore confirmed. “Racing was great when the breeze finally came, but it lightened off to 8-10 knots in our second race. We’re happy with our boat speed.

“The other boats banged on us a bit, so we had to do a few extra tacks than we had planned, but that’s OK,” said Blackmore adding he was looking forward to tomorrow’s racing as 20-25 knots was the prediction.

Hiatt, who sails for the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria, said this afternoon he was pleased with his boat’s performance. “We’re very focussed on this regatta; we prepared the boat well and we’re ecstatic with our results today.

“There weren’t any holes in the course, the breeze was true and we enjoyed the 11 knots we got in the first race of the day. The only issue we had was a ship coming through the course,” he said.

It was a slow start to the second day of the Audi IRC Series at Audi Victoria Week, as the forecast light 5-6 knots did not appear, instead the water was as still as a duck pond – windless and hot – leaving the fleet to mill around. Canopies came on deck to shield crews from the relentless sun.

The day ended with only two of three races sailed.

When the southerly hit the Division A race area shortly before 3.00pm, it came suddenly at 12-15 knots was sudden came to fruition for the 48 yachts on the windward/leeward course on Corio Bay’s Outer Harbour.

Loki (Stephen Ainsworth) led Living Doll (Michael Hiatt), Hooligan (Marcus Blackmore) and Secret Mens Business (Geoff Boettcher), with Blackmore sailing his TP52 to its first win at Audi Victoria Week so far with a seven second victory over Living Doll (Vic).

Blackmore was frustrated after yesterday’s Passage Race, wondering out loud, as others did too: “what am I doing here?” The smile was back on his face this afternoon though.

Secret Mens Business (SA) took third place overall, with Loki taking line honours for fourth overall.

The Audi IRC Series at Audi Victoria Week is the first round of the 2011 Audi IRC Australian Championship.

Officials are planning three further windward/leeward races tomorrow, starting from 12.30pm.

Audi Victoria Week