The record 200 plus cruising fleet contesting Audi Victoria Week on Geelong’s Corio Bay wrapped up their series today, Australia Day, with a colourful procession around the inner harbour.
Following a half hour postponement, the four cruising divisions and classic yachts were sent on a nine nautical mile course in a light westerly breeze and under overcast skies.
Ray Richards’ America’s Cup 12m from the 1986-87 Australian defence, Kookaburra, was well and truly in the spirit of Australia Day celebrations. They hoisted an Aussie flag almost the same length as the boat and the crew stood to attention on deck while passing the start boat, giving the race committee a rousing three cheers prior to their start.
It was a colourful start in the coolish light westerly as each division set off one by one up the channel just as the sun started to stream through the clouds.
In the Sunsail Cruising with Spinnaker division 1 final results, Daryl Lea’s Beneteau First 367 Crackerjack from the Royal Brighton Yacht Club held onto first place overall in the four race series, despite recording their worst result, a 19th, today.
Crackerjack finished on 34 points, beating Jonathan Apted’s Adams 10.6 Fabulous Action, representing the host club, Royal Geelong Yacht Club, on 37.5 points, and John Duffin’s Peterson 43 Eneseay on 39 points.
Repeating the class’ success in this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart, yet another Beneteau took top honours in division 2. Fergus McPherson’s Beneteau First 38 Mirage from the host club surprised its largely novice crew with an overall divisional win.
“The crew is elated. They have only been sailing for the past 12 months,” said an incredulous McPherson this afternoon. The completion was brilliant, very demanding, and the conditions were tough. It’s been a successful week,” the proud skipper added.
So proud is he of his crew’s winning form that McPherson asked for them all to be mentioned by name – Tony Taylor, Andy Connelly, Zeus Preston and Fulvio Burratto.
Mirage, finishing with 30 points, beat Stuart Lyon’s Spindrift by just one point with Rosie Colahan’s Ingenue well back in third place on 45 points.
The division 3 winner was Ryan Blackstock’s Triton 28 Big Blue. The Victorian crew finished with a comfortable nine point advantage over Craig Black’s Drambue and Simon Grain’s J24 Make My Jay in third, those two only separated by 0.5 of a point at the end of the four-race series.
Sydney sailing school owner Terry Wise was on the helm of Make My Jay and also in town to promote the annual upcoming J24 Legends Regatta, which will be sailed at Port Stephens in October.
The Coca Cola Cruising Non Spinnaker Series was won by yet another Beneteau, Ignazio Parolini’s Beneteau 390 Stardust from Royal Brighton Yacht Club.
“We feel fantastic,” said Parolini following his victory. “We have been chasing this all week, the conditions really suited us.” The winning Beneteau was sailed by a special crew, three fathers and four sons amongst the eight on board for Audi Victoria Week.
Stardust easily won the division on 12 points, eight points clear of the second placed boat, Ray Goodwin’s Colombia 27 Lucky Lady with Paul Commins’ Dionysos third on a countback.
Martini scrapes in to win the Classic Yacht Series
Michael Williams and Ross Clark’s 30 foot Martini narrowly scraped into the top spot in the Parks Victoria Classic Yachts series, the mahogany built S & S design beating William Newman’s Henry Morgan 31 Maatsuyker by just one point after four races.
Williams was a little surprised upon being advised of his win given Martini tangled with the IRC fleet on the course and lost around 10 minutes of race time. They still managed a third today, just enough to give him them the edge on Maatsuyker which was leading on equal points with Martini going into the final race.
“We really enjoyed the series,” said Williams.