Navy skippers duel at Airlie Beach
ROYAL Australian Navy Sailing Association skippers Kim Williams and Heath Walters are poised to stage a nip and tuck match race for the Meridien Marina's Airlie Beach Race Week Super 30’s class championship.
After three hard-fought light wind races, both skippers, helming almost identical Melges 32 high performance sloops, hold identical 8-point scores with the Kim Williams skippered Rock N’ Roll with a 2-1-5 leading Heath Walter’s Funnelweb 1-3-4 under the countback rule.
Both crews have almost contested the same sea room as they have become engaged in a spirited but fair tactical dog-fight for the marginal edge in boat speed.
Their personal duel has become one of the highlights of the international regatta which has attracted entries from New Zealand, Tasmania, West Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and all major Queensland clubs between Southport and Cairns.
The strict design nature of the Melges 32 has tested the crew skills on board Rock N’ Roll and Funnelweb with the difference in results decided by the crew who can sail the hardest and fastest with the wind velocity that blows over the deck.
Starts, mark rounding’s and the vital spinnaker hoists, gybes and drops have become the major factor in separating these two evenly paced match racing crews.
However the heat of the battle is expected to become more complicated for the Rock N’ Roll and Funnelweb crews with the improving Farr 30’s Loco and Guilty Pleasures III promising to separate the leaders in the short windward-leeward races today.
The Gladstone husband and wife team of Jon and Jeanine Drummond have their sloop Loco just one point astern of the leaders.