18 September 2017
The Flinders Islet race saw records tumble in powerful winds that provided sailors with an epic tussle.
Andy Kearnan and Peter Wrigley’s TP52, KOA, posting a time of 7hr 30 min 19 sec, smashing 18 minutes off Loki’s record from 2010. In fact, the racing was so fast that second-placed Celestial also broke the previously held record by 7 minutes.
Some good harbour breeze from the north-west saw the fleet take off from Point Piper on Saturday morning with limited issues, with Celestial and the South Australian Mills 45, Concubine, leading early.
The fleet pushed out the heads into slight swell and down the coast to Flinders Islet, counting down to a meeting with a powerful south-west front.
There were two schools of thought on the approach to the island with some of the fleet heading towards the shore and others staying on the left side of the course.
Peter Wrigley, co-owner of KOA, said their decision to go with the latter gave them the edge, “it was down to the navigators and we stayed out, waiting for the front. When it hit we were hanging on for about 20 minutes and then it settled down to around 32 knots!”
“We were neck and neck with Celestial going round Flinders Islet, within meters of each other. Then when we came out the other side it was a sprint.”
“We saw wind across the deck maxing at 42 knots in the gusts and our own speed topped at 22 knots. It’s probably right up there with the fastest we’ve ever gone. It was spectacular.”
“The boat performed well and that was down to good preparation with a great crew. It was a day when everything just clicked. We had a few minor dramas but we recovered well and that could have been the difference.”
“It’s a great result and gives us a good position in the series – our end goal is to win it, everything is about the Blue Water and Hobart. We’re second at the moment with plenty more races to come.”
There was similar delight and elation from fellow KOA owner Andy Kearnan, “You couldn’t ask for anything better. It was a blast. We did well to keep the boat on its feet and to get the race record, line honours and handicap win is something very special.
“The TP52’s are great boats to sail, there’s really tight competition in the class and anyone on their day can get the result. Bring on the next challenge.”
Outside of the top group the joy of the race was shared by Noel Cornish whose Sydney 47, St Jude, topped ORCi division 2.
“It was too much fun to have in one day! A fantastic race – demanding, exciting and exhilarating.
“We spent much of it chasing Snowdome Occasional Course Language, they had an outstanding race and we just couldn’t catch them. They chose to go in closer to the shore which put them in a very good position rounding the island.”
“Downwind they really took off and we tried as hard as we could to stick on their tail”
Having undertaken some fairly extensive work on the boat over winter, Cornish has noticed some big changes in performance but that has of course come with a new rating.
“The boat is performing much better but the IRC handicap went up accordingly. We have to sail harder due to the increase which is a challenge but a thrill.”
“It’s a very different boat and we’re just at the beginning of learning how to take advantage and we’ve got a long way to go. We’ll be pushing ourselves and the boat hard across the remainder of the series. Securing the win in the Blue Water Pointscore is our main focus.”
CYCA Blue Water Pointscore continues through to December, culminating at the Sydney to Hobart.