Georgia Racing


Disappointing result for the 52 at Hamilton Island

Monday, September 10, 2012

After her convincing win at Geelong Race Week in January, great hopes were held for 2012 Hamilton Island Audi Race Week, which for the Grand Prix Division 1 fleet doubled for the Australian IRC Championship.

The reality turned out to be different.  GEORGIA finished a disappointing 7th overall, still creditable enough in what is probably the best IRC fleet in the World.  The regatta turned out to be a titanic struggle between HOOLIGAN (the former ETNZ TP 52 sharing the same hull design as GEORGIA), the new TP52 SHOGUN V, another new TP 52 YENDYS and BLACKJACK, a Reichel Pugh 67.  After trailing out of the places throughout the regatta, HOOLIGAN won by 1 point on the last race, a drifter at the start which saw her get away from the fleet and, conversely, GEORGIA at the back of the fleet after being stuck in a hole on the wrong side of the start line.

GEORGIA certainly had her moments and opportunities during the regatta but blew an almost certain win in a windward-leeward race after leading all the 52's comfortably to the top mark on the first beat and again the leeward mark before going right on the second beat and finding herself on the wrong side of a shift.

Most exciting moment of the regatta was a miss – by centimetres – from hitting a whale and her calf during a race.  Fortunately, an alert sailor on the rail spotted her emerge from below the water and called to the helmsman (Jim) who responded to the call "Go Down" although not knowing why!

So what went wrong.  Post-regatta analysis revealed that the main competition have gone larger with their gennakers, which helped them with their downwind speed.  GEORGIA's upwind speed still seems slightly down, though much better with the new keel.  Other items on the boat are certainly open to improvement (winches) and maybe the time has come to consider a square top main notwithstanding the advantage over the other 52s of a taller rig.

In the meantime, GEORGIA has just arrived back in New Zealand after 2 years of campaign in Australia.  IRC competition is likely to be very good, with KIA KAHA, a New Zealand based TP52, showing real pace at times in Hamilton Island and the small Ker 40 ICEBREAKER, current New Zealand IRC Champion also showing good form there at times.

With 2 boats now in the one place, GEORGIA RACING has decided to sell the 43 GEORGIA ONE, a former winner of the Kenwood Cup, Air New Zealand International Regattas, the New Zealand IRC Championship and this year finishing 2nd overall in Division A of the BMW Regatta in Auckland.

Next big race for the 52 will be the Coastal Classic.