Stephen Ainsworth sailed Loki to yet another exceptional line and IRC overall double win, this time in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia's 92 nautical mile Flinders Islet Race, in which she broke the record in 2010, which still holds.
Despite a soft start the 23 yachts had inflicted on them, and
some variable light and patchy breezes on the way back from the
Islet, Loki, which for her efforts wins the 52nd Ron
Robertson Memorial trophy, surprisingly took line honours at
19.25.54 in the time of 9 hours 25min 54sec, not so far outside her
record of 7 hours 48min 44sec.
Ainsworth's RP63, which won the 2011 Rolex Sydney Hobart, to cap
off another successful season, beat home the two TP52's;
Ragamuffin (Syd Fischer) and Sailors With
Disabilities (David Pescud), the Rogers 46 Celestial
(Sam Haynes) and AFR Midnight Rambler, Ed Psaltis, Michael
Bencsik and Bob Thomas' Ker 40 over the line.
Overall, the finish order was almost the same; Loki,
Ragamuffin, Celestial, Sailors With Disabilities and AFR Midnight
Rambler. It has given Ainsworth a good lead in the Blue
Water Pointscore Series after also winning the Audi Sydney Gold
Coast Yacht Race overall in August, and in doing so, claimed a new
conventional yacht record.
Race 2 of the CYCA's Blue Water Pointscore Series (BWPS),
started in frustratingly near-to-nothing winds at 10.00am
yesterday, prolonging the fleet's departure from Sydney Heads. For
most of the entrants, the trip home was exacerbated by 1 to 10 knot
winds that swung to all points of the compass.
Loki was somewhat of an escape artist, as Stephen
Ainsworth explains: "It was funky start, but we wriggled our way
out of the Harbour and got going. We were lucky to get back into
the Harbour in a dying breeze. It was 6 knots, then 5 - we were
lucky to ghost into the finish in 3 to 4 knots with some distance
on the rest.
"We knew it was dying when we limped into the Harbour, but
that's yacht racing; sometimes it works for you and other times
against you," he said remembering the weather that cost him two
races and the 2011 BWPS, even though he had won three of the six
race series, including the Hobart.
Loki beat Ragamuffin in the Flinders Islet
Race by close to two and a half hours on corrected time, with
Ragamuffin winning under ORCi (Loki is not a
competitor in this category), from Celestial and AFR
"It was pretty much a straight line course - certainly on the
way back - Code Zero reaching to the Harbour. I fully expected to
be out there a long time, but we got a steady south-easter on the
way back," Ainsworth said.
Ainsworth also won under PHS, so Loki's name will be
engraved on the 64th Kings Birthday Cup trophy. Ragamuffin
was second under PHS, with Celestial third, so the podium
places were unusually contained between four boats across IRC, ORCi
On hearing he had taken the double and PHS as well, Ainsworth
responded: "It's always fantastic to win, no matter how many times
you do it. This is a great start to our Blue Water (Pointscore)
campaign - winning the Gold Coast and a record was great - now
The race was a slow one for the bulk of the fleet, as expressed
by Julie Hodder, navigator on Rob Reynolds DK46, Exile,
who reported just after 6.00pm last night: "Absolutely no wind now.
We rounded Flinders about 4.30pm and have 4-5 boats in front of us,
then the breeze went north-east - well if you can call it breeze -
more like a whisper.
"The Harbour exit was a gale compared to this," she said
laughing. "What's more, I seem to have lost (or left behind) the
olives and the pate!"
In the top five as they headed up to Flinders Islet, off Port
Kembla on the NSW South Coast, Hodder said, "The breeze going up
was quite good - around 11 knots going south, and then south-east -
On their way home off Belambi Reef at 6.10pm, Hodder reported "A
whisper of a north to north-westerly is coming in," but a few
minutes later said: "We've got 35 miles to go and we are doing 1
knot." Then at 6.55pm: "Just got a little westerly of 3
Exile went through the finish gate at 03.57.33 in
14th place overall. Their story was much the same
throughout the fleet.
Principal Race Officer Robyn Morton had the same perspective,
stationed on Sydney Harbour throughout the race,
"Ragamuffin was second boat to finish at 22.23.59 last
night; it took her around two and a half hours to get from Hornby
Light (South Head) to the Rushcutters Bay finish. The wind's
changed direction several times and been up and down all night,"
"By comparison, when Celestial finished (fourth on line
behind Sailors With Disabilities) at 00.29.18 this
morning, it took her one and a half hours from Hornby to the
finish," Morton said.
Shortly after 6.00am, Morton said half a dozen yachts had
finished the drawn out race between 5.00am and 6.00am this morning
leaving the Davidson 34, Illusion (Kim Jaggar) and the
Northshore 370, Mortgage Choice Rumba (Robert Carr) on the
"They've both been in the Harbour a long, long time," she said,
adding: "They're struggling in a 4 knot west-nor'
Illusion beat Mortgage Choice Rumba to the
punch when she finished at 07.47.01, while the latter brought the
race to a close at 08.10.01.
Following Race 2 of the BWPS, Loki leads
Ragamuffin and Celestial, with AFR Midnight
Rambler dropping a place to fourth. The next race of the
series is the Bird Island Race on October 5.
Full results are available on /sysfile/downloads/2012-2013summer/2012-13bwps/series.htm
By Di Pearson, CYCA Event Media
Image: ROLEX/Kurt Arrigo
Sam Haynes has sailed Celestial into second place in the Blue Water Pointscore Series
Image: Howard Wright, Image Professional Photography
Exile's Julie Hodder gave a good outline of the race