The predominately Tasmanian team onboard Greg Prescott’s Melges 32, 2 Unlimited, convincingly took out the first round in the Melges 32 Asia Pacific Cup Series, and won the 12 race Melges 32 division at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week.
It was three times lucky for Prescott who was also declared winner of the Audi Final Drive Challenge at Saturday night’s trophy presentation, netting Prescott a $45,000 prize – a superb Audi A1 Ambition compact car.
It is the most valuable prize offered for any Australian sailing event this year.
To win the stylish ‘Misano Red’ premium car from Audi, yacht owners and crews combined their best sailing skills with those of being a consistently skilful driver at the wheel of a blisteringly-quick Audi R8 sports coupe on Wednesday’s layday. Darren ‘Twirler’ Jones, tactician on 2 Unlimited, drove the R8 on Prescott’s behalf.
Prescott’s crew claimed the title of first place overall in the 12 race series at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week with 12 points, an astonishing 21 points clear of Angus Reid’s Maxstar from the Canberra Yacht Club in second place. 2 Unlimited’s result was the equal lowest from all monohull divisions racing in the light air Whitsunday regatta, the other being Jessandra II with 12 points from nine races.
Noel Leigh Smith’s Melges 32, Desperado, from Sandringham Yacht Club placed third, three points behind Maxstar.
Great teamwork and dedication by the 2 Unlimited crew, consisting of five Tasmanians; Greg Prescott (skipper) Darren ‘Twirler’ Jones (tactician), Malcolm Parker, Oliver Nicholas, Mark Jeffery, James Corrie, Andrew Hudson and Justin Cook. A veteran of 27 Sydney Hobarts, Prescott said, ‘It’s good to see the Tasmanians come up here and have a win’.
After making the most of Saturday night’s series-end celebrations, Prescott commented, ‘The regatta just got better and better for us’, referring to the exciting surprise, winning the Audi A1.
‘Twirler’ put his hand up to drive the Audi on the layday and fortunately his success as tactician on the racecourse also applied on the specially-designed gymkhana course at Hamilton Island aiport. His consistent driving skills combined with a win in the Melges 32 division gave 2 Unlimited a one in twelve chance of taking home the keys to the Audi A1.
Prescott was equally as pleased with the presentation of the regatta’s Gun Boat Trophy, ‘it’s not normally given to little guys like us’ he commented.
This was the first Audi Hamilton Island Race Week for the Melges 32, 2 Unlimited. Looking back over the series Prescott recalled, ‘day one was a passage race, then eight windward/leeward races for the M32 Cup Series followed by three more passage races. It was like sailing two regattas.
‘The passage races were light with lots of corners and we were sailing through a large fleet but they gave the Melges 32 fleet a chance to compress and mix up the results. Just because we won the windward / leeward series there was no guarantee for the passages race series.’
Saturday’s Molles Island Race was a 23 nautical mile passage race around North Molle, Daydream and South Molle Islands. On the race Gus Reid, skipper of Maxstar, commented, ‘After four hours of racing only ten seconds separated the Melges 32s from second to fifth place.
‘2 Unlimited went into the shoreline at Daydream and came out on an escalator, stepping away from everyone. It was an amazing race, whales breaching around us and heavy fog making visibility difficult.’
Pleased with their second place overall Reid warned, ‘The team on 2 Unlimited had lots of pace but are not unbeatable. We’ll be focusing on preparation and then they won’t have it all their own way.’
Full results for the Melges 32s http://www.topyacht.net.au/results/2012/ahirw/series/melges32/series.htm
Luxury carmaker, Audi, returned as the title sponsor of Hamilton Island Race Week in 2012. The German premium brand hosted a range of special events on the island for yacht owners and guests to enjoy during the week.