The boats are home, the crews are still at the physio, and the organisers are hopefully catching up on sleep after the running of another awesome APC Logistics Australian Multihull Championship at Wangi ASC. This event has been running every two years for as long as I can remember, and it is not hard to see why we all keep coming back. Flat water, fresh to strong breezes, grassy beaches to drag the boats up on, and a truly eclectic village atmosphere for crews and spectators to enjoy a beer on the grass or a seafood bouillabaisse in a local eatery make for a perfect formula.
Shane Russell and his wife Michelle and daughter Kimberley did the hard yards again this year, and like all great organisers they say this is their last. As long as the merry band of smiling locals keeps doing the job, the tradition should continue nicely. Thanks!
After some of the hectic racing we have all done in the last year, I can attest that this was a series that really could be called ‘The Friendly Games’. Sailors and families from all states were starting each day wandering the village or the grassy lake common and reacquainting or making new friends. A few boat jobs were done in the shade, and then the crews headed off to the boats tied to trees for each day’s racing. The startline was so close to the racing that I used 5L of fuel in a week. The stiff breezes made that part fun no matter where you were coming, and as a pat on the back for crews, there was generally no need to reef. After each race it could take you an hour to get back to your base because crews were just reclining under the trees, and the most athletic were fetching the beers. After a shower the choices were made to go to crew parties, local eateries, with the day’s events debated till the end. The ‘friendly’ part was reinforced with the announcement at the presentation that there were no protests. I don’t think I even heard a harsh word out there.
An invitation race and six heats were run, mainly intending to feature tactical multiple windward leeward legs, but nature shifted these a little to quite a few reaching legs in the fresh winds. Multihullers hate reaching at speeds in excess of 20kts (in most races!), and the photos show that we hated that a lot. The 36 mile passage race that covered the full length and width of the lake was superb in 20-25kts of wind. This race was more testament of the high standard of the fleet with hardly a shackle broken, and just a sea of smiling faces at beer o’clock.
The major awards were decided on the recently upgraded Offshore Multihull Rule, and the general consensus was that things seem pretty fair now. The flat water definitely favoured the smaller boats compared to performances measured on our exposed home clubs, but that is what travelling the country is all about. The smallest boat in each of the top two divisions won their event, and more interestingly, both owners have downsized from much larger boats.
In Division one all eyes were on the new French Diam 24 Wilparina III owned by Rob Remilton, and they smiled all the way to the podium just ahead of David Renouf’s Airplay. The Diam 24 is quite a curious little boat. From a distance it looked like a three man Weta, but up close the boat is a cleverly thought out system of bits. The SA boys were positively giggling after years of campaigning boats all over the country at maximum trailerable size and weight. Now one man pulls from a big box trailer an overgrown Laser trolley with the main hull on it, and the others follow with a bunch of bolt-on beams, floats, two piece mast, and the fasteners to hold it all together in a rigging time of 90 minutes! It is no surprise then that more of these boats are headed to Oz as you read this.
The foil assisted Bare Essentials trimaran of Tim Pepperell and Rob Reiger put on a great show of spray in third place, and the boys were glad to finish this series for the first time in three successive attempts. Other boats creating interest were the two new F85SR local boats of Clive Kennedy’s Evil Gnoome and Phill Brander’s Mad Hatter. Clive succumbed to the hit song ‘There’s gotta be 50 ways to lose your rudder’ and Phill was just glad to get his new steed around the course. Both boats showed amazing pace, watch this space.
Division two was a clear win for the little green F22R Sknot, Chris Culph and Craig Unthank’s latest love affair after surviving a different decade campaigning Slick Willie. My memories of this regatta predominantly involve the trail of green Sknot running past us downwind under a stretching black kite. John Dowling put together a hot crew of A class mates to get the Mark 1 Sprint Triple A Racing into second place, and he was so impressed with the winning F22 that I don’t think he would mind me revealing that he has now bought one and his Sprint is well and truly on the market. The A-boys finished just ahead of my 20 year old F28R Trinity, assisted by our minor navigational faux pas in the long race. I think I can still safely say that I had the most comfortable boat on the podium?
In Division three local legend John Longworth pushed his Ostac Tramp with masthead kite on most legs to win the gold, but on the last heat his newly blown two piece mast shortened that day for him.
Grahame Rivett won cruising division on his F24 with a furled or unfurled screecher up all day, what a way to enjoy the view.
The open waters of Moreton Bay at RQYS will be the venue for the 2017 national series, and that should encourage the big bridgedeck racers to join the fray. Rumour has it that a few boats will also be flying above the water by then ...