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The waters of Airlie Beach's Pioneer Bay
and surrounds were at their best for the
international fleet racing in the 24th Abell
Point Marina Airlie Beach Race Week.
There was a rarely a cloud in the sky
throughout the series. There was also rarely a
lot of breeze. The fickle winds of the majority
of the event frustrated some of the sailors
while others revelled in the challenge of
racing in these conditions.
The race committee, led by PRO Ross
Chisholm, did a solid job of remaining
flexible with the daily race schedule with
courses shortened where appropriate and
for several classes, abandoned races made
up on other days.
An impressive fleet of 110 multihulls,
monohulls and sports boats lined up for the
six race-day series. The camaraderie across
this fleet was obvious as the competitors
enjoyed the hospitality of the both new event
sponsor, Paul Darouzett's Abell Point Marina
and host club, Whitsunday Sailing Club.
For the first time the multihulls
integrated their national championship into
the Airlie Race Week with great success.
Multihull national measurer, Mike Hodges,
was delighted with the number of entries
and the quality of competition.
"It's a great place to have a national
championship. I would be surprised if the
Australian multihull championships don't
come back to Airlie Beach within the next
two to three years," Hodges said.
The winners in the 2013 Australian
National Multihull Championship were --
OMR Division 1, Chris Williams's Morticia with
a clean sweep of six races. OMR Division 2
was won by Andrew Stransky and his family
on Fantasia who finished on six points. OMR
Division 3 came down to a very close contest
with Tony Richardson's Pocahontas coming
out in front with 10 points, just ahead of Mike
Willcocks's Hot Option. The PHS Multihull
Division won by Clare and Wayne Kirby's
In the Sports Boats Noel Leigh-Smith's
Viper QLD took out the overall trophy after
placing no worse than third on handicap
across the fleet's nine races.
The Performance Racing Division's
handicap honours went to Sydney entry,
Philip Grove's Huntress.
"Some of my crew are over the moon
while I am quietly happy. The final day's
racing was good. We got a second in the
first race of the day so that sealed it for
us," Grove said.
The Cruising divisions were split into
four. In Division 1, it was the 50th birthday
Ginnivan twins on Fifty Shades of 50 in first
place. In Division 2, Bill Hopton finally
secured his first place with 29 points,
moving early leader, James Irvine out of
the top place. Division 3 Cruising was won
by Andrew Barney's Barney Army crewed by
Andrew, his wife Carmen and their three
small children -- Hayden, Jordan and Ayla.
The top three boats in the Non-Spinnaker
Division were all locals; Dan White's RiffRaff,
Peter Harrison's Rumgutz and John Galloway's
QLD Marine Services.
After a tough battle between the TP52s
and the Cookson 50 for line honours, the IRC
handicap honours went to Howard Piggott's
40-foot Beneteau, Flying Cloud. On a count
back and in second was Bernie Van'T Hof's
Tulip moving Gary McCarthy's Brilliant Pearl
"It was rather gratifying under IRC that
we had such close margins, just a few points
between the boats in the three top places,"
Plans are already underway for the 25th
held from 8-15th August 2014.
AIRLIE RACE WEEK:
The fleet heads downwind, Airlie Beach Race Week 2013.
Photo by Shirley Wodson
Noel Leigh-Smith's Viper QLD took out the
overall trophy in the Sports Boats.
Photo by Shirley Wodson
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