Even though the offshore winds were high, the 15 knot south easterly breeze on Pioneer Bay was perfect for the Whitsunday Sailing Club twilight race on Wednesday. A fleet of 16 boats and a combined crew list of over 100 participants made a spectacular sight from the Airlie Beach shoreline.
A change in wind direction just before the start threw a few challenges for the skippers, with Reignition (Charles Wallis) jumping the gun and having to return to restart. This left Bobby’s Girl (Mark Beale) in the box seat to take the Doyle Sails sponsored best start prize. Even though Reignition was last away, by the first rounding mark they were back in contention, catching and passing Smooth Criminal (Iyas Shaheen) and hunting down QMS Ponyo (John Galloway) for dead heat for second place on the water. After an uneventful race, Treasure VIII (Rob Davis) won on handicap corrected time, with Reignition second and Wide Load (Shannan Hart) third.
A combined start between the multihulls and Division 3 saw more chaos, as Matchless (Terrance Stevens) was squeezed out on the line, then having to avoid Shiraz (John Cable). This allowed Wobbly Boot (Craig Piccinelli) an opportunity to break away from the fleet from the start, heading the race from start to finish. Both Matchless and Shiraz made up sufficient ground to cross the finish line in second and third places, albeit almost 3 minutes adrift. A strong performance by Masquerade (Tom Vujasinovic) saw them finishing in fourth place, sufficient to take the handicap win over Lighthorse (Dianne Forster) and The Point (Kyle Rose).
Back at the club, the vibe was high as results were announced, while Wobbly Boot took the weekly special prize awarded by Soft Rigging Solutions.
Races continue every Wednesday from 4:30pm, with limited crewing positions available. Those wishing to participate as crew need to be at the club by 2:30 pm (limited spots available). Full results are available at https://app.sailsys.com.au/club/85/profile?tab=results.