Victories for Victoire and Jessandra II at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week

Like the Class A result, Darryl Hodgkinson and his Beneteau First 45, Victoire, have successfully defended IRC Class B at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week. 

For their effort the crew of the victorious Sydney boat have picked themselves up a brand new North Sails Code 2 spinnaker, which will be emblazoned with the Audi IRC Australian Championship logo.

‘It’s been a very challenging regatta for us; the light breezes haven’t really been our ideal conditions. We had to work hard but we defended our position,’ said Hodgkinson.

On Audi’s new championship prize he added, ‘It’s a very good prize and it will be appreciated by the crew’.

Hodgkinson says he and his crew ran a similar program to last year. ‘We went to Airlie Beach first, to tune ourselves up then we came here and snapped down a few wins early, which was a good thing because as the week wore on the others got better and better.’

Hodgkinson will gather up a group of his friends to celebrate 30th anniversary of Audi Hamilton Island Race Week. The crew of plastic surgeons, called SPS or Sailing Plastic Surgeons, can all sail and will join together in a multinational effort representing America, Germany, France and Brazil.

Hodgkinson plans to talk to Hamilton Island administration ‘to make sure they put on a big show,’ wanting to demonstrate to his colleagues ‘that Hamilton Island can do it just as well as Saint Tropez’. He needn’t worry, management has grand plans to celebrate Race Week’s 30th birthday and 10 years of the island’s ownership by the Oatley family.

Hodgkinson will provide his boat for next year’s series and half of his regular, and the rest will be made up of sailing doctors.

Second to Hodgkinson’s Victoire by seven points was Robbo Robertson’s Beneteau First 40, Lunchtime Legend, scoring 22 points on the leaderboard.

Robertson conceded that ‘the conditions made it hard for our type of boat, but they gave everyone in our division a chance’.

Third in the Audi IRC Australian Championship Class B on 34 points was Guilty Pleasures IV, a Sydney 32 skippered by Leon Thomas.

Australian IRC Championship Class C

Roland Dane’s Corby 36, Jessandra II, gave the rest of the Audi IRC Championship class C players little opportunity to make an impression on the results sheet, scoring five wins from nine starts to finish with 12 points, five points clear of David Ellis’ well campaigned Archambault A31, Audi Penfold Sport.

A new Corby 36, Jessandra II sported a top crew including Race Week veteran and Rolex Sydney Hobart overall winner, Michael Spies, who was helming and is also involved in the race management side of this regatta, Angus Roxburgh and navigator/tactician Bryan Northcote.

Dane had only good things to say about this year’s Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, ‘it was unbelievable, I loved every minute on and off the water.’

‘It was a very tough regatta against the smaller boats, especially with the breeze dropping out,’ admitted Northcote.

Placing third in IRC Class C at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week on 29 points was Here’s Trouble, the Masrm 920 skippered by Paul Mitchel.

Dane had to fly out yesterday for a function associated with his motor racing team, leaving his crew to put the frosting on the cake.

Jessandra II had won its class before the start of the Molles Islands race however the interstate rivalry of the Hamilton Island State Challenge meant Dane’s crew took the opportunity to add some extra points to Queensland’s tally.

‘With Black Jack doing very well yesterday the Queensland team was up there, we wanted to get ahead of our NSW counterparts,’ which has some humour attached as there is a mixed Queensland and New South Wales crew aboard.

The three-boat Queensland team has indeed won the State Challenge, beating New South Wales and Victoria.

Today’s Molles Islands race was dedicated to the ABC helicopter pilot, Gary Ticehurst, who was tragically killed last year in a flying accident near Lake Eyre, South Australia. Gary was well known among the sailing community from the decades he spent covering the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, just one of the highlights of his brilliant flying and media career.

Luxury carmaker, Audi, returns as the title sponsor of Hamilton Island Race Week in 2012. The German premium brand will host a range of special events on the island for yacht owners and guests to enjoy during the week.

Results at http://www.topyacht.net.au/results/2012/ahirw/series/index.htm