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Little Nico took line and overall double today – SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week © Andrea Francolini / SMIRW
Little Nico took line and overall double today – SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week © Andrea Francolini / SMIRW

SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week

Competitors at Townsville Yacht Club’s SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week contested the Around the Island Race today in winds up to 20 knots on a rather large swell, meaning a good time for some, damaged for others and one boat hit Middle Reef, despite warnings from the Race Committee.

Wayne McNee’s Celebrity was an early casualty when she scraped Middle Reef and had to be towed back to the Peppers Resort marina, one crew member quipping: “We’ll be wearing false beards at the prize giving tonight so nobody recognises us.”

McNee, from Queensland, said this afternoon, “We haven’t done any damage as far as we’ve seen so far, so we should be right to race on Monday (tomorrow is a lay day). We only scraped it, there wasn’t a ’bang’ as such.”

Graeme Etherton, owner of the Crowther Windspeed 32 Cat named ‘The Boat’ (Qld), said they could not have had a better day after literally match-racing the larger Scamper, Adrian Lawrie’s Schionning 15.2 (50ft) around the course until the South Australian Scamper set spinnaker for the home leg and could not be caught.

Lewis and Cripps, who sail for Bellerive Yacht Club in Tasmania, only took delivery of the Farr 40 two weeks before contesting Airlie Beach Race Week.

The fleet heads downwind – SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week © Andrea Francolini / SMIRW

The fleet heads downwind – SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week © Andrea Francolini / SMIRW

“It was light, so it suited us there – the boat goes well in the light,” Cripps said of winning Cruising Division 1 there.

It didn’t give much time to learn the boat which Lewis said they came by via a Farr 40 sailing friend Colin Thomas.

“I had been sailing an SB20 and Gary was sailing a Sydney 38 and we decided to go back to the dark side and buy a fast yacht. We told Colin we needed something that was already in Queensland, it had to be cheap and have new rod rigging. Colin said ‘I’ve got something that ticks all the boxes’, and here we are.”

Lewis says the average age on board is 63. “Except for my 30 year old son-in-law on the bow and we bought the boat to have fun with it. We don’t want to get too serious. We call ourselves ‘Gerry and the Atrics’,” he said laughing.

In PHS 1, the first division away at 11am, Adrian Walters’ Shaw 11 Metre, Little Nico, took off like a rocket not to be seen again. She took line honours and won the race from Magnetic Island Race Week’s event chairman, Mike Steel and his Boadicca. Peter Lowndes Wine Dark Sea was third,. With a second and a win, Little Nico leads the division from sisterships, Wine Dark Sea and Never a Dull Moment.

by Di Pearson

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