By a hair

Capricornia Cruising Yacht Club’s Hairy McClary has taken the overall lead at the 33rd Airlie Beach Race Week.

18 August 2021


Queensland’s Tim McCall and his crew aboard the Hairy McClary have taken leaps during their time in the sun, winning Tuesday’s race to now sit at a one-point overall.

The result echoes the boat’s consistent results, placing 2-2-4-1 throughout the week so far.

“It’s been fantastic sailing weather all week – bar one little bit when it was light and fluky on Sunday,” said McCall after Tuesday’s win.

“It’s been tremendous. Today was champagne sailing and we didn’t stuff up. Lack of errors is how you win races.”

As McCall continued, he explains how the competition is tight. “We won by a whole second today [to Sardine] and 14 seconds to third place [Belle Amore], which is snapping at the heels of Hairy McClary, just one point in arrears, with Situation Normal just a further point away overall.”

“We love it here. We get to come for a scenic tour every year on the water. We love the passage races and especially love the last one, the round the buoys race.”


Victoria’s Gerry Cantwell’s third place in Performance Cruising Division 1 has taken Carrera S to the top of that leaderboard, despite being beaten to the punch by Femme Fatale and Tasmania’s One O Nine.

“We’ve had a good run,” said Cantwell. “I’ve only got one of my regular crew on board, the rest are people we’ve picked up, mainly from Queensland and some from Melbourne who ran away in time from lockdown.”

“[Division 1] started with short windward leg then a long run to Saddleback, and on from there. It was pretty straight forward,” he added on the 33-mile race.

“Only half a dozen gybes on the way down. I thought we’d be blanketed by the islands, but we transitioned well.”

Sea Bass, Jon Cray’s Swan 42 from Mooloolaba, won Division 2 from local Paul Jackson’s Keep on Running. The win has moved Sea Bass into second place behind Tasmania’s Crusader Clennetts Mitre 10.

“We rigged the boat right and had the right sort of wind strength,” said Cray.

“My boat’s a heavy boat, but it works well in light air, and has a big fin which helps it go well to windward.”

“There’s a lot of fast boats in our division, but the old Swan is always fast downwind and not bad upwind. It’s not bad when an old glamour wins against the newer models.”

Richard Holroyd’s Kindred Spirit has moved upwards to share the Division 3 overall lead with Blue Moon after winning its third straight race, while Peter Harrison has cemented his place at the top of the overall standings in the Non-Spinnaker Division.

Now, with two days left to go, Event Chairman Ross Chisholm reportedly said on Wednesday that, “Today we’re setting up a separate area on Pioneer Bay for the WETA trimarans. We’ve planned two windward/leeward races for them and we’ll get them off at 10am.”

“Multihull Racing Divisions 1 and 2 will be on windward/leeward courses again and the rest of the fleet will do a course anti-clockwise around the Molles. The course is approximately 20-26 nautical miles,” he added.

“The sun is shining and the wind is blowing. It’s looking like similar conditions to yesterday, when everyone had a fantastic day on the water. We’ve had a lot of compliments.”

 For a list of full results and further information, click here.

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