Adelaide born sailor Genevieve WHITE, aboard the giant 98 footer Skandia, led 21 South Australian 'Wild Women on the Water' to victory in the 156 mile BMW Classic Adelaide to Port Lincoln race on Saturday morning.
Skandia crossed the finish line in Port Lincoln's Boston Bay at 07.08.48, with an elapsed time was 16 hours, 8 minutes, 48 seconds, an hour outside the race record.
The light morning conditions meant the second placed boat on line honours, was some five hours behind her. Gary SHANK'S Pale Ale Rager crossed the line at 12:47:33 with David URRY'S War Games finishing at13:37:01.
As well as taking line honours, Skandia was the IRC handicap winner.
Genevieve explained. "This was much more than just a race for us. We were keen to encourage women to expand their sailing horizons".
"We'd done a similar thing some years ago in an IOR boat. But with Skandia's involvement we were really able to step up and with 21 very committed South Australian women it was a great experience.
The crew have been training on a variety of boats over the last few months. Five of the girls were aboard for the delivery from Melbourne and they really got the feel for the boat and were confident sailing her.
Because the loads on big boats like this are so huge, I really emphasised the importance of good technique on the winches. With the electrics we did not have to deal with grinding, but a lot of care is needed.
Each group of girls on the helm, bow, mast, pit and trim had a coach and the improvement across the last week's training was just great. Grant and the guys were very supportive.
We started in a building sea breeze. We tacked to port as soon as we cleared the start but then it went left and lightened, as forecast. To Marion Reef, we had the code three and full main, but then we changed to the code zero across to Cape Spencer.
From about 10pm until 5am we held a kite. She's just an fantastic boat, when you consider for the last 4 to 5 hours up Spencer's Gulf we had practically nothing over 5 knots, yet we only missed the race record by an hour."
Owner Grant WHARINGTON was all smiles. "The girls did a fantastic job, it was a pleasure to sail with them. I was disappointed the light conditions robbed them of the chance to smash my old record.
It was a big contrast from our 1999 record race aboard Wild Thing, when we had 20 plus knots up Spencer's Gulf."
Grant continued. "This time I had a very relaxing time. Myself and five of my guys had coaching roles only on the boat, we did not so much as press a button.
I am certainly delighted that Skandia has shown she is competitive on IRC. The really interesting thing I noticed was how much better Skandia smelt at the end of the race and how beautifully clean and tidy she was. My guys are going to have to become much more house-proud in the future."
The traditional post race Wild Thing rendition has always been a feature of the long race celebrations but this year topped all previous efforts, with the twenty-one 'Wild Women on the Water' on the dance floor.
After the presentations at Port Lincoln Yacht Club yesterday, David BUCKLAND, who sailed his Sydney 38 Grand Tasman Full Bore into second place on IRC, commented on his race.
"This was the last race for us on this boat. We pressed her as hard as we could, mid-race we were sailing alongside David URRY'S Farr 40 and I was saying to myself…what am I doing selling this beautiful boat?"
"Crissy my lovely wife, was one of the Wild Women on Skandia. In the last few hours of our race they were all very happy in the bar, waiting to see if we could beat them on corrected time. They rang us lots to check how we were going".
"It was another great Adelaide to Port Lincoln race. After a few years of One Design racing around the country on my Sydney 38, I am really looking forward to the establishment of a competitive one-design fleet here".
"My new Full Bore, a Sydney 32 One Design is coming soon, with three more to follow soon after. I expect we will have at least six or seven racing out of Port Lincoln".
"As much as we enjoy handicap racing, the youngsters relate much better to close one design racing and with a couple of kids on each boat in this fleet, it will be a big boost for the Club. We can sail the 32's with smaller crews and they will be great for the kids coming up from dinghy's. I am hoping that after a few years, some of the guys will want to step up to the 38's again and then we can have two great fleets."
Full results are available on the event website at the address below.