A new Trailables division added to Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2015 proved popular and three interstate winners scooped the prize pool at the regatta finale last Saturday, August 22, 2015.
Eleven trailer boat owners nominated for the new class, one of 12 on offer at the 32nd edition of Race Week covering IRC grand prix to cruising to multihulls.
A depleted Trailables fleet stayed on for the final race. David Barker’s Noelex 25, Halcyon, from Newhaven Yacht Squadron on Victoria’s Phillip Island held on to top spot despite Barker and his crew flying home and missing the concluding soggy race in a 10 knot south-east breeze that remained steady before dropping out completely mid-afternoon.
“We found out the final result for our division online on Saturday afternoon,” said a relieved Barker. “There were plenty of text messages flying around between our crew when it was confirmed we’d won! We had a couple of national champions on board but we hadn’t sailed this boat together. It was a good result and a terrific week. It really worked out well for the Trailables fleet.”
Second in division by two points was the adventurous husband and wife team of Locky and Jayne McLaren and their South Australian Farr 7500 called Farrnfast they towed nearly 6,000 kilometres from the mouth of the Murray River in South Australia, where McClaren is commodore of the historic Goolwa Regatta Yacht Club, to the tropical Whitsundays.
Third by a point was Anthony Passmore’s Melges 24, Planit, sailing for Botany Bay Yacht Club in NSW.
Dennis Winstanley’s SB20, Jump, missed out on a trophy this Race Week but had the honour of being the smallest hull among the second largest entry of 202 yachts from every Australian state and territory, plus overseas. And the local Hamilton Island builder and windsurfing champion had the opportunity to sail once again with his hero and mate Greg Hyde, a former Olympic (1984) and fellow world champion windsurfer.
Hyde was cut down at the height of his sailing prowess by a rare and usually fatal form of encephalitis. He suffered epilepsy as a result and in 2008 had a stroke which resulted in right-sided paralysis, short-term memory loss and speech difficulties.
Hyde helmed the sports boat for five of the six day Race Week series, relying on the crew to support him into position when the boat needed to tack and gybe. He demonstrated his former brilliance and proved the inclusivity of sailing in making crucial tactical decisions when required, monitoring wind shifts, tide and sail adjustment.
“Greg is my mate of 30 plus years and back in the 80s he was the sailing rock star in J24s, 16 foot skiffs and the Sydney to Hobart race,” said Winstanley. “He was an absolute freak in his day on the windsurfer and was well-known on the offshore scene. Sailing is his life and being part of Race Week is a great chance to sail with friends.”
Reflecting on highlights from this year’s regatta, PRO Denis Thompson was particularly pleased with the level of interest from Trailable owners from four states. Like the multihull division that restarted with five in 2013 and added up to 31 across two divisions this edition, Thompson reckons “we’re going to have a huge influx of Trailables in the next few years”.