King of the Docklands Update

King of the Docklands Update

Wednesday 21st January

Racing for an Audi A4 and an SB3- $100,000 +

There is a lot at stake in the winner-takes-all Audi King of Docklands, which starts on Melbourne’s Victoria Harbour at 18:30 tonight – a brand new Audi A4 sedan and an International SB3 yacht, valued at more than $100,000.

Event Coordinator Doug Jarvis commented this afternoon ‘Audi is the largest sponsor of competitive sailing in Australia, and this brand new competition is an exciting start to Audi’s 2009 Sailing Sport calendar.

’A big crowd is expected at Waterfront City tonight and for the final on Thursday evening to view the event and we encourage all to come and find a favourite crew and cheer them on.’‘

Royal Geelong Yacht Club sailor Brendan Garner goes into the Audi King of Docklands series as favourite.

With winners of 25 Skandia Geelong Week divisions lining up to race on Victoria Harbour in SB3’s, its logical that the winners of the 2008 Skandia Geelong Week are in the SB3 division.

But it might not be plain sailing for Garner, one of his winning crew is flying into Melbourne from Bangkok, Thailand this afternoon and it’s ‘fingers crossed’ that he gets to the start line.

There is plenty of pressure across the harbour now, the first race will start at 18:30 and there are a bunch of last minute crew changes.

Thursday 22nd January

Denis Thompson, PRO for Skandia Geelong Race Week confessed to being ‘a little anxious about the breeze’ as he addressed the yacht owners, skippers and sponsors gathered for the official Skandia Docklands Invitational Owners Breakfast this morning.

Day two of the Skandia Docklands Invitational regatta was not looking promising and many owners and skippers were keeping a wary eye on the weather through the windows of the Melbourne Yacht Club Hotel. Churning water with whitecaps on the usually calm waters of Melbourne Docklands’ Victoria Harbour was an ominous indication of even worse conditions out on Port Phillip and the likelihood of conducting any further races in the series seemed slim.

Representing every State in Australia, the 17 boat fleet included many well-placed competitors from the recent Rolex Sydney Hobart. On day one of racing the Invitational yachts and their crews enjoyed perfect sea breezes, blue skies and flat water, but with many of the thoroughbred yachts now set up to compete in far lighter inshore conditions than the predicted 35-38 knot north westerly, the forecast was grim indeed.

Thompson made the prudent decision to hold all boats ashore with crews in ‘stand-by’ mode but the strong breeze continued to build throughout the morning. As the front moved across Victoria, high winds in excess of 47 knots were recorded from the closest weather station to the race course. In the early afternoon with gale warnings issued for local waters, Thomson reluctantly made the decision to abandon racing for the premier IRC Regatta. ‘It’s extremely unusual to have a whole day blown out like this’ he said. ‘We usually get some racing in but today it was impossible. I am extremely disappointed but at least with two races in the can, it constitutes a series by the Regatta Rules and at least we are able to officially announce a final result’

Channel Ten weatherman Mike Larkan recording an afternoon weather cross from the Docklands Precinct, described the adverse conditions as ‘unbelievably hot and windy with dust blowing down from the north west of Victoria’ adding ‘it’s too windy for sailing even if you’re good because we’ve had gusts of 100k at Mt Dandenong and 60-80 out on the bay’

With a perfect record of two wins in Wednesday’s two races, Stephen Ainsworth and his crew on Loki earned the right to have the name of their impressive new Reichel Pugh 62 engraved on the perpetual Docklands Invitational trophy. Loki helmsman Cameron Miles paid tribute to Loki’s well-raced sister ship and on-water rival Limit and thanked the Royal Geelong Yacht Club for another excellent Regatta, despite its shortened form.

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