King of the Docklands: Cruisers clash with grand prix sailors for Audi
It was no holds barred as those from cruising yachts to big multihulls to young teenagers from junior classes to grand prix sailors from Olympians to big boat racing winners rubbed hulls at the Audi King of the Docklands on the opening day of Audi Victoria Week this afternoon.
The clever ones waiting their turn watched from Docklands Waterfront City marina and tried to come to grips with the tricky shifty breezes that were anywhere from 5-12 knots, among them father and son combination, Jock and Hamish MacAdie from Melbourne, who like everyone else, are dead keen to win the major prize, an Audi A4 Avant and an SB3 keelboat, the class the knock-out style event is being sailed in.
After Jeff Wolff from Cruising Division 1 steered his crew to a win in Heat 1, the MacAdies had to take on the might of Olympic and Paralympic medal winning coach and champion sailor Adrian Finglas, who called tactics for young gun Sean O’Rourke.
In a thriller, the MacAdies split tacks with O’Rourke and their two other competitors and built what looked like a solid lead. However, the feisty team O’Rourke fought back and it was a nail biting finish with O’Rourke claiming honours and the MacAdies receiving a penalty from the on-water umpires.
However, the Melbourne father and son get another chance. They were among the heat winners last year when the event had to be cancelled due to gale-force winds. ‘We’re glad to have that escape card,’ said Jock this afternoon.
O’Rourke was pleased with his crew’s win: ‘It’s about racing in pressure and staying cool under pressure. We had our work cut out for us, but we came through,’ he said. The 20 year old said the trio would ‘take things as they come, one crew at a time,’ when asked who would be his main competition.
Next up was veteran skiff sailor, Peter ‘Sorro’ Sorensen and his crew including Martin ‘Tacker’ Thompson who said he was rapt when Sorro got off the start well and as they got further into the windward/leeward course, picked up the lead and increased to score a good win.
‘It got more shifty as the race went on and it got lighter, so it got harder and required more concentration. Sorro did a great job,’ said Thompson. ‘The SB3’s are great little boats – perfect for this type of sailing. It was a great crowd atmosphere here at the Docklands, I haven’t sailed here before and I’m looking forward to the final heats tomorrow.’
Thompson said of all the competition, the toughest would be Olympian and two-time world champion in the 49er class, Nathan Outteridge, who has just returned from winning silver at the 2010 49er Worlds in the Bahamas after winning back to back gold in 2008 and 2009.
‘He’s a great sailor and cool under pressure, and he’s got two champions sailors with him in John Harris and Scott Babbage, but we’ll be giving it our best shot.’
As the winner of the Audi IRC Australian Championship in 2008, Sorensen has already driven away in one Audi luxury vehicle. ‘Who says I don’t need another Audi,’ Sorro said this afternoon. ‘I’d love another one for my wife.’
The remaining heats of the Audi King of the Docklands will be sailed tomorrow afternoon, followed by the finals. Ms Anna Burgdorf, Audi’s General Manager, Corporate Communications will present the winner with the keys to the brand new A4 Avant tomorrow evening on the main stage at Waterfront City. The public is encouraged to attend.
Click here to see video clip Audi King of Docklands