HANGING TOUGH: 2017 Audi Hamilton Island Race Week drew more than 2000 sailors.CLOSE to 2000 sailors in 15 divisions finished the 2017 Audi Hamilton Island Race Week on a massive high last weekend, regardless of whether they took home the silverware.
As winter cloaked southern Australia, crews revelled in the tropical sou’east trade winds to firm up a divisional placing or just see out the series in spectacular North Queensland sailing style.
The hard-fought IRC Racing division went to Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark aboard the 66-footer NANOQ, the Oatley family’s baby sister to supermaxi Wild Oats XI.
“A win is a big thing for me,” the Crown Prince later beamed. “I knew I was going into something fantastic by word-of-mouth, but that was it. I know this part of the world a little but I didn’t know the sailing conditions.
“The first day was one of my top three sailing days ever and I think I improved, personally and statistically, over the week. I’ve never steered such a big boat but I had a brilliant crew.”
Second on handicap, four points adrift, was Philip Turner’s Alive from Derwent Sailing Squadron in Hobart, while Brent Fowler’s West Australian TP52 M3 came in third.
The 100-footer Wild Oats XI took four line-honours wins from six starts, giving the newly formed Black Jack team plenty to think about ahead of this year’s Sydney-Hobart. The latter had Lake sailors Chris Nicholson and Tom Addis, along with Gosford’s Tom Slingsby, among its crew.
Skipper Mark Bradford added: “We’re still trying to figure this thing out. We’ve got to be more aggressive in the trim set up and how we sail the boat. There’s probably 40 people between two boats that are looking for ideas to improve, which is what yachting’s about.”
IRC Passage honours went to Steven Proud’s Swish, with the Kernan 44 putting enough separation between themselves and second place on the penultimate day to just enjoy the sights of the Lindeman Race and stay out of everyone’s way.
Second was Gerry Hatton’s Mat 12.45 Bushranger from Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club while third went to Ian Box’s XP44 Toy Box from Middle Harbour Yacht Club.
Ray Roberts enjoyed the same relaxed final outing as the Swish crew, his chartered Sydney 38 Team Hollywood a guaranteed winner of IRC Passage division 2. Second was Dorade, Matt Brooks’ elegant S&S 52, ahead of the Farr 30 Skeeter.
All week the battle raged in the racer/cruiser division between Anthony Coleman’s J133 Euphoria from Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron and Adrian Walters’ Little Nico from Middle Harbour. On the last day, Matt Owen’s Sydney 32 Onyx, sailing for the ACT, wedged itself between the pair, finishing second overall thanks to a last-ditch win.
“Little Nico is a seriously fast boat.It just disappeared over the horizon.But we managed to sail to our handicap and we are very happy with our result,” Coleman said.
In a highly diverse multihull division, the tiny trimaran Fury Road stole the show from the giants. A VPLP design owned by George Owen, it edged out Drew Carruthers’ Drew 15 Rushour and Ian Condor-Smith’s Tag 60 by two points.
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