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Day 1 at SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week done and dusted


Pictured above: So What could have been fined for speeding. Photo courtesy Andrea Francolini

Nautilus Marine Insurance Race Day opened proceedings at SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week (SMIRW) today, competitors warming up for a week of racing and fun social activities ashore – there is no better way to beat the winter blues for those who live outside Queensland.

Townsville Yacht Club’s (TYC) first race presented difficulties early on, with breeze almost non-existent, causing a delay in racing after Division 1 was sent on its way, with some going sideways and backwards to begin with. It was also moody and overcast, with not much to recommend it, but when the wind arrived, everyone brightened up.

Koa, Andy Kearnan/Peter Wrigley’s TP52 won SeaLink Spinnaker Division 1. It is Koa’s first appearance here at Magnetic Island. Peter Sorensen, who has experienced the delights of SMIRW previously, placed second with his Sydney 38 Advanced Philosophy. Craig Douglas sailed Popeye into third. An all NSW podium.

“It was a strange day. We started in 3-4 knots, so we were surprised Denis (Thompson, Principal Race Officer) sent us off. It was tough conditions, sloppy and not much air to begin with. We have a crew of locals and experienced sailors though, so our boat mechanics were good. It was a team effort,” Kearnan commented.

Thompson explained his decision to let Division 1 continue after the start: "By the time I decided, some boats had gone too far to recall them. It would have been unfair to the likes of Koa and Sorro (Peter Sorensen, Advanced Philosophy), who had good starts, to call them back.”

Kearnan continued: “We knew the breeze was offshore, so we pushed the bow down hard and got into the wind quickly, so that cemented our win. It was more a function being able to get into that new air. The small boats struggled, while I think we made good gains.”

The Sydney yachtsman said they saw 18-19 knots at one stage, but mainly 14-15 knots across the course.

In Division 2, James Permezel laid it on thick with his ‘Charm Offensive’. The Hanse 445 lapped up her five minute win over Rob Rainsford’s Y Knot. John Kint’s lovely Adams/Radford design, Bundaberg, took third place after getting off the start line very smartly.

There was a sigh of relief when a local boat featured in the top three today when Leon Thomas’ Guilty Pleasures 9 So What claimed first place in Division 3. The Stealth 7.8 broke speed restrictions downwind and posted a three minute win over Mark Skelton’s Jab (NSW) and Eddie Mackevicius’ Merlion (Vic). The latter two are Beneteau 40.7s, so it will be interesting to see which is best at the end of the week.

The race in Division 4 went Ian Griffith’s way today. The Queenslander sailed his Hanse 400e, Witchy Woman, to a win over local favourites, John Stokes with Mach 1 and Jack Maguire’s Zen.

“We had a pretty good day. The boat liked it,” Griffith said. “We were at the top end of our No. 1 headsail. By the time we started, conditions were nice; 8-10 knots became 15 knots further up the course. I felt sorry for some of the boats in Division 1, they had a hard time of it.”

The boats that did best, according to Griffiths, “Went left and stayed left. They were lifted by the tide, which probably gave them a distinct advantage. We happened to be one of those to go left…”

Ashore, there was a packed room for Rachelle’s Liptember Long Lunch at Peppers Blue on Blue Resort, including a fashion parade and entertainment by Sarah Little, all in support of Women’s mental health. The lunch was still going strong as the boats finished.

All ashore after racing, competitors and their entourages were eagerly anticipating the prize giving and video presented by Creek to Coast’s Scotty Hillier, who by his own reckoning, has been attending SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week “for around 13 years now.”

A wide variety of boats from multihulls to monohull racers, cruisers and sports boats are taking part. Entries embrace Victoria, Tasmania, NSW, Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory will mix it with the Queenslanders in various classes and divisions.

Racing continues tomorrow off Peppers Blue Resort from 11am.

For all information, including list of entries, places to visit and more, please visit: www.magneticislandraceweek.com.au/


Pictured above: Koa won Division 1 today. Photo: Courtesy Andrea Francolini



By Di Pearson/SMIRW media

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