Impressive Audi IRC Australian Championship fleet building - Anger Management
An impressive line-up of one design and popular production boats and the latest IRC weapon from Carkeek’s cupboard are among some of the entries so far for the 2014 Audi IRC Australian Championship.
From Thursday 17 April - Sunday 20 April, the final starter’s list will vie for the pinnacle of IRC handicap racing in Australia and the chance to win a brand new North Sails spinnaker emblazoned with ‘2014 Audi IRC Australian Champion’ for divisional winners.
It’s an almost all-NSW fleet with a healthy sprinkling of locally based Lake Macquarie and Newcastle boats and of course from the Sydney clubs, where boat ownership peaks for the state.
Entries have been received from Bruce McCraken’s defending Audi IRC division B Champion Ikon from Hobsons Bay Yacht Club in Victoria and Tony Lyall who will cross Bass Strait with his TP52 Cougar II to compete in the Championship representing the Apple Isle.
Winner of last year’s TP52 Southern Cross Cup, Karl Kwok and his mostly Kiwi crew of Team Beau Geste led by Gavin Brady and sailing for the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club have no qualms about adding another major Australian trophy to the collection.
Team Beau Geste will reunite with Cup classmates Mick Martin’s Frantic and Bob Steel’s Quest crewed by some of his double Rolex Sydney Hobart winning crew from 2002 and 2008.
Rather than sailing their own series the Australian and New Zealand based TP52s are linking arms with the national IRC fleet. There could be up to five TP52s among the division A starters and historically the class has taken its fair share of the championship booty.
Beneteaus of various sizes feature heavily on the 2014 entry list, making up a third of the 26-strong fleet entered to date. The looming battle of the Beneteaus will be spread across divisions B and C dependant on size.
By the time this year’s championship comes around, Ikon’s owner McCraken and other divisional winners will have had near 15 months of glory since the last championship, part of the Festival of Sails in January 2013.
Rob Hanna won’t be mounting a division A defence with Shogun and there’s no sign of Grant Botica’s Adams 10 Executive Decision either, leaving division C wide open.
NCYC Commodore Phil Arnall isn’t just talking the talk, he’s walking the walk, entering his Corby 43 Anger Management for the Easter series. First he has to solve one hiccup.
“Following Coffs our first race back at NCYC was the Australia Day regatta when we broke our mast. We are now looking at our options. One way or another we’ll be on the start line,” he promises.
Roger Hickman’s heavily campaigned Farr 43 Wild Rose has a crowded trophy cabinet mirroring its age and pedigree. The IRC fleet’s senior citizen at close to 30 years is the CYCA’s current Bluewater Pointscore Series leader under Hickman’s charge.
Affectionately known as the “the old girl” Wild Rose finished second in division C at last year’s Audi IRC Australian Championship and is a former Sydney Hobart IOR overall winner among other coveted performances.
Matt Allen’s thoroughbred 60-footer Ichi Ban is the largest entry so far and has all the makings of a future Audi IRC Australian Champion, once the latest Carkeek design is broken in.
Middle Harbour Yacht Club is sending Rob Reynolds’ DK46 Exile and Justin Brownbill’s Botany Access Cokomo, a Sydney 36.
Host Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club and partners Yachting Australia and Audi Australia are delighted with the fleet numbers and level of interest. Organisers are well on the way to reaching their guestimate of 35 on the final roll call.
On the logistical side Commodore Arnall says NCYC has gone overboard.
“We see it as an iconic regatta for us. All our on-water and off-water arrangements are down pat. We have a good operator in Richard Howard our CEO who will be overseeing the series and Denis Thompson who will be looking after PRO duties on the water.
“All our volunteers have been rallied and NCYC is almost fully geared up with a couple of months to go. I’m optimistic everyone will look back and say we put on a great show.”
Accommodation partners for the 2014 Audi IRC Australian Championship are Crowne Plaza Newcastle, located on the Honeysuckle waterfront, and Chifley Apartments and Executive Suites, also located in the vibrant Honeysuckle district and Newcastle CBD, respectively. Borelli Quirk Newcastle Real Estate can also assist with short term furnished accommodation options.
Competitors need to contact suppliers directly to get quotes and should mention they are competing at the Audi IRC Australian Championship when they enquire.
Entries close at 1700 hours Friday April 5 and after that a late fee may apply until the final cut off on Friday April 12.
Refer to website for the list of entries, Notice of Race and to enter.
The NSW IRC Championship at Sail Port Stephens April 11 - 13 will lead into the national title
Photo : NCYC