Quicksilver Port Douglas Race Week 2019

Two days in and some of the Brag Flags had exchanged hands at Quicksilver Port Douglas Race Week 2019 but not in Division 1 where the Hanse 445 Charm Offensive, skippered by Jim Permezel, held onto it for the first two days. The first day of technical racing off the famed Four Mile Beach saw the ‘chutzpah boys’, as described by internationally known sailing blogger Nic Douglass who is attending the regatta for the first time, take home the flag for the first night in Division 1.

On a day when the wind dropped as low as 8 knots and the swell was inconsistent as well it proved to be a fun day for all. Division 2 Brag Flag holder on Tuesday was the Cairns based Volare 1 making her debut in the Division this year. Race Director Greg Sinclair said while the conditions had been a little variable during the day the sailing had been excellent all around. In Division 4 the local J Curve took home the Brag Flag on Tuesday after a day of disciplined racing, Rob Ranford PDYC’s sailing instructor, showed the rest of the small boat fleet how to do it on the day.

Tuesday had been a bit grey and grubby in places but Wednesday dawned cloudy but cleared into one of the beautiful days that Port Douglas is known for. Nic Douglass live streamed the start for all Divisions for the designated passage races for each. Division 1 and 2 were sent around the islands while Division 4’s smaller boats were given a passage course of marks short of both islands in testing conditions with a forecast 1.5m swell more than living up to expectations.

Wayne Millar’s Zoe was first to the windward mark after a good start away from the pack and her distinctive red and white kite flew against the backdrop of rainforest covered hills. Soon the fleet was streaming towards Snapper Island with kites flying while Division 2 followed behind with their jibs poled out making an impressive sight with the Daintree as their haze shrouded backdrop. The images don’t do the sea justice and it was sloppy out there as the long-suffering buoy laying crew would tell anyone who would listen. As the big boats disappeared around the crocodile shaped Snapper Island the small boats were going around their marks in sight of the following safety boat and media boat.

Wayne Millar’s Murray 41 Zoe led the pack on the water but it was Charm Offensive who took the Brag Flag home on Wednesday in Division 1 with Callista 1 skippered by Townsville’s Ron Knott taking the flag home for Division 2 but Division 4’s Brag Flag was claimed by Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina’s Viva la Beaver skippered by PDYC’s own Peter Chapman.

After lay day, Friday was another day of racing off Four Mile Beach, most crews rested and repaired themselves (and boats) after the rigours of the passage race and other activities. Two races for all divisions were held, giving visitors to the region a spectacular show from the beach. Impulse, the Sydney 36cr skippered by Frank and Wendy Brace, took the honours in the first race from the locals Ka Pai and Shazam while the second race was taken by Charm Offensive followed by the Mike Steel skippered Boadicca with Shazam again filling third place. In Division 2 Jeffrey Kendall’s Milkraft 54 took both races on the day.

Division 4’s first race was won by Viva la Beaver (who was disqualified in Race 5 due to an unfortunate gust of wind that rounded up the J24 causing a collision with Division 1’s Turbulence on the course) with Mais Oui and J Curve in the minors. Race 5 went to Mais Oui with Tony Ritter’s #Spank in second with J Curve third. The flags went home that night with Charm Offensive, Certa Cito and Viva la Beaver.

Saturday saw a glorious Port Douglas day as the fleet departed Dickson Inlet. Saturday is Beach Day for Port Douglas Carnivale (which incidentally grew from the original idea for PDYC’s original regatta) so the crowds on the beach had a fabulous vista of colourful kites and white sails against blues skies.

A three nautical mile beat on a triangle was the course for the day. The Division 1 start had sparks flying as the masts of Kahukura and Boadicca connected on the approach to the line, thankfully with no injuries both boats continued to race. Kahukura completed their 720 on crossing the line and they were racing. Division 2 saw the individual call back of series leader Certa Cito while Ron Knott pulled off a pin end start that had Nic Douglass hooting with glee on the media boat as she live streamed the starts. As the local J24’s, J Curve and Viva La Beaver, jostled for the best start on the pin end it was taken by J Curve with a bold manoeuvre that saw them streaking away and eventually take the race from Viva La Beaver and Mais Oui.

As the yachts came back into port Race Director Greg Sinclair declared with a wide grin to the writer that Division 1 had come down to the last race and it had been decided by four seconds. As Golden Hour was winding up the presentations were held and Commodore Bob Standley thanked all who were involved for the week, especially the sailors who had come some distance to the little club in the north of the state.

Division 4 was won by Viva La Beaver from Port Douglas, gallantly skippered by former Club Captain and former Club Member of the Year Peter Chapman amid much cheering for this popular win. Minor placings went to J Curve and Mais Oui skippered by Phill Kilfoy.

Division 2 was taken by the series leader from Day 2 Certa Cito skippered by Jeffrey Kendall with the Cairns based Volare 1 and PDYC’s Lady Mystique (Helen & Mick Gwilliams) in third.

Mike Steel on the Townsville based Boadicca took out the series in Division 1 followed by Doug Ryan’s Shazam and Frank and Wendy Brace on Impulse. The brag flag holders for most of the series Charm Offensive not making the places which indicates how close the racing was all week. As they say, that’s racing.

The 25th annual Port Douglas regatta was done and dusted but the party continued under the palm trees at the club whose motto is “This Club was Built for Fun”

The organisers of the regatta would like to thank the Sponsors and volunteers who worked so hard to make it a week of fun and good sailing. Quicksilver, the naming rights sponsor, Crystalbrook Super Yacht Marina Port Douglas for the berthing of the competitors, Mickey Ink Marine and especially Tourism Port Douglas and Daintree for their assistance in securing Nic Douglass and her inimitable talents. On her stream Nic described the regatta as unique, something Port Douglas Yacht Club is very proud of.

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