Two strong wins on the final day of racing has led to Steve and Mary CHIODO'S new Sydney 47 cruiser-racer, Gomez, becoming the IRC class champion yacht at the Hayman Regatta.
It was a remarkably close contest that went down to the wire. The Melbourne-based Gomez beat Matt ALLEN'S current Australian IRC champion, the Farr 52 Ichi Ban, by just one point after seven races on the tropical waters of Queensland's Whitsunday region. Wayne Millar's consistent 41-footer Zoe, out of Townsville, was third.
Ichi Ban lined up for yesterday's two short windward-leeward races holding a four-point advantage over Gomez and needed only to continue with its consistent form to take the crown. But second and third placings on corrected time could not match the two wins scored by Gomez. The races were decided in an 8-12 knot southeasterly. A south flowing tidal current added to the spice for the contests.
Gomez, a name that evolved from the call of 'go Mez' by crew to 'Mez' Chiodo when she was operating the headsail winches on their previous yacht, almost took the double when she tied with Zoe for the PHS title. Zoe's two wins over Gomez's one broke the tie. Andrew Short's Volvo 60, Andrew Short Marine, was only one point back in third. Short also collected the 'Gun Boat' trophy for the most line honours scored during the week.
The evening trophy presentation dinner, set amid spectacular gardens at the Five Star resort, saw a glittering array of crystal trophies presented to the victors by the commodore of Hayman Island Yacht Club, Australian yachting legend Sir James Hardy, and resort management representative Bryan Stapley. All trophy recipients, including the owner of Storm 2, Don Algie, spoke of the unique nature of the Hayman Regatta and the exciting future that lay ahead. All owners confirmed it was their intention to return next year.
Everyone present agreed that the Hayman Regatta was not about huge fleets; it was a sailing and social experience that could not be matched in Australia. Under its new format it is an open event with no invitation to compete applying. The only limit will come through the amount of accommodation available at what is Australia's most awarded international resort.
Hayman's managing director, Lloyd Donaldson, and regatta director Rob Mundle have schedule next year's Hayman Regatta immediately after Race Week at nearby Hamilton Island. There are some exciting plans being initiated for the event. All details will be finalised and announced as soon as the Naming Rights sponsorship deal is completed.