Just over two hours later, Michael Hiatt’s Living Doll stormed home under spinnaker in a nice breeze to steal Loki’s thunder.
Hiatt’s Farr 55 spoiled Loki’s chances of successfully defending her 2010 Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race title after crossing the finish line of the 384 nautical mile ocean race at 3.52pm. Now it is Hiatt and his crew who will have to wait it out and see if any of the smaller yachts can spoil his 59th birthday celebrations tonight at the Southport Yacht Club.
“I think not,” Ainsworth said after being asked if he thought they would beat Living Doll for the overall IRC trophy. “There was a nice breeze filling in out there and I don’t think we put enough time between us and them,” he said, which sailing master Gordon Maguire agreed with.
“It was beautiful weather, and we are now leading Division A of the Audi IRC Australian Championship, so that’s really good,” said Ainsworth, who was right about Living Doll beating them, which she did by nearly an hour on corrected time.
Hiatt, who owns the Living Doll clothing brand, commented late this afternoon, "It would be really nice if a win eventuated on my birthday, but there’s still a few smaller boats out there that might finish in time. It depends if the breeze shuts down, or stays in.”
The Melbourne yachtsman said that prematurely starting the race had only cost them a few minutes and did not disrupt their game plan. “We corrected quickly. Will (Oxley) looked at the weather pre-race and it all went as planned. Our timing was good; we knew it would be a tactical race and that navigating would be tedious, but Will and Steve Cotton (a New Zealander) worked really well to make it happen,” he said.
Oxley and Cotton are two of the best in the business, and were helped out by prominent long standing afterguard, Ross Lloyd calling tactics, Hiatt said. ”I had a lot of confidence in the three of them, and all of my crew, which includes seven from New Zealand,” he remarked of their efforts.
“It was refreshing having Will Oxley aboard, that’s the first time he’s ocean raced with us,” Hiatt said.
When the Bureau of Meteorology forecast light winds for the race, many believed Living Doll would be a major contender. “I really enjoy light air – if we get eight hours or more of reaching in light winds, we do very well and can take time away from our opponents – and we were keeping our eye on Loki, Hooligan (Marcus Blackmore’s TP52) and some others,” Hiatt said.
After stopping only once, two miles north of Point Byron, Hiatt said the best part of their race was the last bit. “We were three-sail reaching with a Code Zero up; we were on fire and it felt very comfortable,” he said. “Then we put the kite up and flew home.”
Living Doll’s crew stuck pretty much to a rhumbline course (the most direct route). Hiatt said he could not see the value in heading out to sea.
“It’s a strong possibility we’ve won, but we’ll have to wait and see if we got the last bit of the breeze,” he said.
Lahana, the 98ft super maxi of Peter Millard and John Honan was next across the line, followed by the race record holder, Brindabella (Jim Cooney), at 6.35.27pm. So far, none of the larger and newer canting keeled maxis have been able to beat the Jutson 80’s record of 27 hours 35mins 03 secs.
The record will go one day, when the fleet gets good running and reaching conditions the whole way. Right now, Brindabella’s original owner, George Snow, would be happy to see his record stay intact and pleased the yacht has finished the race so well.
Race officials say yachts will be dwindling in throughout the night, with Syd Fischer’s TP52 Ragamuffin, the next boat due.
For full race results visit the official race website http://goldcoast.cyca.com.au or follow us on Twitter http://twitter.com/asgcyr
By Di Pearson, CYCA Event Media. Image Copyright Di Pearson CYCA Media