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26 August 2005, 09:43 am
Wild Oats Takes First Line Honours Win
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Hamilton Island Hahn Premium Race Week 2005
Hamilton Island, Australia

Bob OATLEY'S Reichel/Pugh 66 Wild Oats has taken its first line honours win at Hamilton Island Hahn Premium Race Week. 'It was very unexpected but we'll take it,' said Wild Oats' helmsman Mark RICHARDS, referring to the early retirement of line honours favourite Alfa Romeo after they sustained damage.

Wild Oats set a cracking pace around the 30 mile course, reaching a top boat speed of 26 knots in the blustery sou'easter and lumpy seas, to 'hose' Steven DAVID'S 60-footer Wild Joe by more than 7 minutes at the finish line and claim their third IRC win, which puts them at the top of the progressive IRC results.

Gerard O'ROURKE'S Irish Cookson 50 Chieftain, built on his third on handicap in yesterday's Whitehaven Race to place second today ahead of Wild Joe.

With the wind and tide ripping up the Dent Passage for the start of today's races, all divisions experienced testing moments early on, particularly the Premier Cruising, IRC Cruising and Cruising divisions which copped more gusts than the IRC and PHS fleets which started earlier.

Most yachts hoisted kites at the start giving spectators, and competitors, plenty of heart stopping moments as boats rock and rolled their way to the north of Dent Island.

Geoff LAVIS' UBS Wild Thing was an early retirement this morning following a spinnaker gybe drop 'that went pear-shaped,' according to LAVIS. The Inglis/Murray 50 lost its kite out the back of the boat, commonly referred to as 'prawning', and in the confusion three crewmembers sustained minor injuries which forced UBS Wild Thing out of today's race to Baynham Island.

Steve TROON'S Reichel/Pugh 46 XLR8 and Christian Jackson's Elliott 14.3 Prowler also came to blows not long after the start when Prowler rounded up in a gust hitting XLR8 on the port side and ripping the stanchions out of the Victorian boat. This was a disappointing end to today's race for the Troon family after their best start of the regatta. Both boats subsequently retired.

George SNOW'S Brindabella had its own on board problems when sailing master Andrew Jackson went over the side. After spending a couple of minutes in the water he was picked up by a camera cat and returned safely to the Jutson 79, albeit sopping wet.

The Sydney 38 one-design class today completed three windward/leeward races off Henning Island and they enjoyed some wild downwind rides and plenty of close racing.

Geoff BONUS' Calibre was declared the Race 1 winner over Stephen KULMAR'S Shining Sea but by Race 2, Guido BELGIORNO-NETTIS had reasserted his dominance at this regatta, taking out Race 2 with his Sydney 38 Transfusion.

Stephen KULMAR'S Shining Sea placed first in the third and final race with Transfusion again putting in a superb performance to finish second ahead of James MAYO and Tim RAINSFORD'S Team Lexus.

Lisa Ratcliff, Image: Wild Oats © Jack Atley
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