Light air presents new winners at SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week
A light air day at Townsville Yacht Club’s (TYC) SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week (SMIRW) and although the sun was out and the breeze was light, there was a distinct chill in the air, particularly sailing upwind.
Division 1 contested two long windward/leeward races, starting off Peppers Blue on Blue to a mark at Cleveland Bay. The rest of the fleet were on a course that mainly hugged the eastern side and part of the northern side of the island, with some divisions initially taking a leg out to a mark on the bay.
In Race 3, Stephen Green kept his bow clean in SeaLink Spinnaker Division 1 to claim the spoils with his J122, Joint Venture (Qld), by four minutes. The Adrian Kiely skippered Mako from Newcastle placed second, with Ian Edwards’ Wings from Sydney in third.
Green commented, “It was a simple beat and a reach back home. The second race was the same. We got clean air that helped us keep up with the big boats and we played the shifts going up the beat well and sailed a clean downwind to the finish.
“It was a lot of fun. It only got up to about 10 knots, which worked well for us in the first race. We’re a light boat, so we usually do well in light air.”
The second race was identical and won by Mako with Peter Sorensen’s Advanced Philosophy second and Wings third.
On the other course area, boats struggled to hold kites near Orchard Rock and beyond. The light airs were on the edge of ‘to spinnaker – or not to spinnaker’. Some held, just, while others elected to pole out headsails, changing from side to side at the whim of the breeze.
Rob Rainsford’s Y Knot, a Hanse 40 from Victoria, scored a huge 10 minute win in Division 2 when the handicaps were applied. Brian Yarnall’s Mika (Vic) placed second, with ‘Sir’ Robbo Robertson’s Its Time in third.
Division 3 went to Amaya II, Ben and Matt Kingsberry’s Farr 11.6 from Townsville. The brothers won SeaLink Spinnaker 2 Division by the skin of her teeth last year with Amaya II, so they were happy to add a race win to their name this year. Today’s win was by just over a minute to Mark Skelton’s Jab (NSW), with Mark Pollak’s Belle (Qld) third.
“We had a good day, it suited our old sails, plus we had a bit of breeze, which was nice,” Ben Kingsberry said.
“It was a day when nothing went wrong and we put it together well. We picked up a crew from Guilty Pleasures which lost her rig on Saturday, but we are a crew of misfits, including Jim Nixon from Sydney. Actually, he’s the only reason we won today,” Kingsberry said among much mirth from the crew.
“We had everyone around us and thought we were doing OK, but you never know until you see the results.”
Queenslander Wayne McNee and his Celebrity crew had a great day out, looking good early on, they kept their strong performance going to the end. Jack Maguire’s local boat, Zen, was second and Daniel McSweeney’s Brigus (Qld) placed third.
“Our crew put it all together,” McNee insisted. “It was an absolutely fantastic day. The sun was shining, the breeze was good and the whales were at play near Horseshoe Bay, so we had a wonderful day,” the owner of the blue Swarbrick S111 design said.
“The breeze was on the edge downwind, so we stayed near the land and picked up some shifts off the hills.”
Adrian Lawrie’s Schionning 15.2, Scamper (Qld) took out Multihull Division 1 from Darren Drew’s Wind Cheetah (NSW) and Graeme Etherton’s The Boat from Townsville.
Multihull Division 2 went the way of Ken Plowman’s Red Undies, a Lightwave 38 from Pittwater in NSW. Ian Johnson’s local multi, Salacia, was second and Stephen Richardson’s Shenanigans (Vic) third.
“Everyone’s been trying to figure out the name for 15 years,” Red Undies owner said. “My wife is a bit of a rebel and she wanted a name nobody would forget. When you radio the coastguard, they ask you to please repeat your boat name, and I say: ‘As you wear them’,” Plowman said with a laugh.
On the race, the Pittwater sailor said, “It was a taxing and interesting one. We decided to start on port tack on the starboard side, so of course we were last off the line, but first around the windward mark. Nobody got in front of us.
“We had a really good tussle with Salacia (Ian Johnson and crew). They are good friends of ours. If it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t be here racing. We met them at Hamilton Island in 2019 and they said we had to come here because it’s laid back and a lot of fun. They were right.”
Racing continues tomorrow from 11am.
For all information, including list of entries, places to visit and more, please visit: www.magneticislandraceweek.com.au/
By Di Pearson
Photos by Andrea Francolini/SMIRW