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Beau Geste wins Passage Race at Skandia Geelong Week
As expected, Karl Kwok’s Reichel/Pugh 45 Beau Geste has taken out the 34.3 nautical mile Passage Race at Skandia Geelong Week this afternoon.
Following their superb third over the line finish to the super-maxi Skandia and the TP52 Quest, Kwok had enough in the bank to win the race overall by just over 12 minutes.
Kwok has put together an experienced crew for his Australian regattas, including America’s Cup sailors Mark Bradford, the North’s loft director from Queensland who is steering, Kiwi Gavin Brady who is calling the shots, and Jamie Gale.
The three TP52’s finished one after the other in second, third and fourth places; Quest (NSW) second, Graeme Wood’s Wot Yot (NSW) third and Alan Whiteley’s Cougar II (Vic) was third, followed by Living Doll (Michael Hiatt, Vic) in fifth place.
Overall, the score for the Audi Series looks fairly similar, with Quest leading Beau Geste by five points. Wot Yot is third on countback to Beau Geste, with Cougar II only one point away, then a gap of four points to Living Doll.
It was an all Victorian show in Division 2, with Bullet (D. Cartan), a Bull 9000 taking honours from Terry Hall’s Archambault 35 Absolut and Robert Hick’s self-designed Hick 30, Toecutter 2. Swordfish Trombone (Tim Olding), an MBD 36 was fourth and Barry Walker’s Sydney 36 Peregrine finished fifth.
Yesterday’s Division 2 front runners, As Good As It Gets (Dick Fidock, SA), Philosophers Club (Peter Sorensen, NSW) and Patrice Six (Tony Kirby, NSW) did not fare so well in the Passage Race.
Fidock finished eighth, Sorensen 10th and Patrice Six 16th. However, all three have used the race as their series drop and remain in the top three positions overall for the Audi Series; Sorensen on 6 points, Fidock on 11 and Kirby on 15. Toecutter 2 is next on 17 points and Peregrine on 21.
“We had our worst race today. It’ll be our drop,” said Patrice owner/skipper Kirby. “Three boats I used to sail on beat us today. I didn’t think that would happen. It was frustrating. We’d get up there then get stuck in a hole – we just kept stopping.
“It was very hard – very frustrating. We got up to Pretty Woman and Espresso (Division 1 yachts) at one stage, then they just sailed away from us and we kept falling into holes. The problem was the sea breeze was fighting the land breeze. Having said all that, this is my first Skandia Geelong Week and we’re all having a ball on board. It’s been fun so far.
Peter Sorensen (Philosophers Club) felt the same. “All those boats beat us. This will be our drop too,” he said. It suits our boat to get some breeze and to sail upwind – we’re not that fast downwind – and that’s what we got today – all the way,” he said.
“We went a bit far left too late in the race and that killed us – we ran out of wind. Going left paid in the first 12 miles of the race, but not after that point. There were stages where we ran out of wind completely today. I’m looking forward to tomorrow. The forecast says 20 knots plus – that’s more my style,” Sorensen added.
Division 3 was won by Steve Humphries’ S&S34 Huckleberry all the way from Western Australia. It would have been an appreciated win following his third last finish in the Rolex Sydney Hobart in December. Second place went to another West Australian entry, Brad Skeggs’ Beneteau 34.7, Palandri Mind’s Eye, with Victorian Archambault 32 Remedy (Burggraaf/Hibber) taking third place.
Overall, Mike and Mark Welsh’s Lidgard 36 Alien leads the series on four points from Palandri Mind’s Eye on nine points and Bruce McCracken’s Beneteau 36.7 Leeto is third. Huckleberry is fifth overall, six points behind John Lindholm’s Masrm 920 Dr Unc.
For those yachts contesting the prestigious Audi Series, The Passage Race counts as their fifth race. The Royal Geelong Yacht Club hosted Audi Series finishes on Corio Bay tomorrow with two windward/leeward races starting from 12.30pm.
For all information: www.geelongweek.com
Di Pearson/Skandia media