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Friday, May 17, 2024

Twilight Racing in Pioneer Bay

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By Ross Chisholm

After a week of real wet season conditions, it was a pleasant surprise to be greeted by a bit of sunshine and light to moderate winds. 

At times the breeze went so light for the race committee to question if it was necessary to shorten the course. 

A strong contingent of visitors added to the regular crews with a total of 86 competitors spread across 14 yachts.

After a slight delay while the starting line was reset, Division 2 got away cleanly with Houdini (Rob Meizer) as the first boat away, but by the end of lap 1, a number of boats were in the mix at the front, with QMS Ponyo (John Galloway) leading Bobby’s Girl (Mark Beale), Smooth Criminal (Leo Rodriguez), Black Jack (Dale Mitchell) and Reignition (Charles Wallis) all joining Houdini at the front.  It was during the second lap that the breeze went soft, favouring some boats over others. 

The biggest mover was QMS Ponyo, who dropped out of the lead after picking the wrong side of the course. By the time they reached the finish after 3 laps, Bobby’s Girl held a 2-minute lead over Houdini, with Smooth Criminal a further 15 seconds back. 

After handicaps were applied, Houdini came out on top by 2 minutes over Matchless (Terry Stevens), with Wide Load (Shannan Hart) just 2 seconds away in third place.

With only four boats in Division 3, it was an easy start for Rossgo (Greg Hammon), who led the fleet away on their 2-lap race.  Up front, Rossgo was challenged all the way by Shiraz (John Cable), finally crossing the finishing line one minute ahead. 

The racing was just as intense further back, with Masquerade (Tom Vujasinovic) racing in close quarters with Lighthorse (Di Forster), again finishing just 1 minute apart. 

On corrected time, Lighthorse came out on top, with Rossgo second and Masquerade third.

The Whitsunday Sailing Club twilight series continues every Wednesday with racing commencing at 4:30. Limited crewing positions may be 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.

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