SPORT - F111 grounded at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week

SPORT - F111 grounded at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week

The AP postponement flag is flying and the 2009 Audi Hamilton Island Race Week crews are pacing ashore while race officials scout for breeze from the top of One Tree Hill.

The race office will make a decision on whether to send the cruising fleet out by 1315hrs and the IRC classes by 1400hrs this afternoon.

The last time OnlyPapaya Inca’s navigator/tactician Keir Malpas went sailing on Lake Burley Griffin on his Flying 15 the temperature topped 12ºC and he could see snow on the hills. This week, he is enjoying the warmth of the tropics on board the Vickers 41 owned by Noel Sneddon, training principal at the RAAF Amberley Sailing Club west of Brisbane, as they contest Race Week for the fifth consecutive year.

“While waiting for directions for today’s race, we are conducting yacht checks and catching up on some rest needed after the demanding social program at Hamilton Island,” said Sneddon a short while ago.

Six of OnlyPapaya Inca’s 10 crew members are Canberra residents with two active RAAF personnel, three ex-Army and one ex-Defence aboard. The only ACT entry from a strong fleet of 194, Inca’s strong Defence links befit the boat’s sail number — F111.

“Conditions have been a little trying so far this week, but with six of us from Canberra we are used to light winds,” admits Sneddon.

”It’s a spectacular venue and great to have 190 yachts out there, mind blowing in terms of numbers,” says Malpas, who sails his Flying 15 on the Lake year-round.

Among the Cruising division 2 crew is Grigori Stromou from Queanbeyan, a 6-foot-9 Russian-born giant who is this week acting as moveable ballast, and not surprisingly has spent a lot of time on the leeward rail trying to create an angle of heel using his body weight.

OnlyPapaya Inca was an entrant in last year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart, finishing sixth in her division and 10th overall in the PHS division of the Boxing Day bluewater classic.

Sponsored by Only Papaya, Inca’s crew may be starting to look like most weather-beaten yachties after a few days of fun in the sun, but they have the softest skin on the dock and are busy converting the real men and women of the sport to the wonders of the papaya extract, which by all accounts is excellent for those engaged in outdoor sport.

Tomorrow’s forecast is for SE/NE winds 10 to 15kts.

Photo: Grounded - F111 OnlyPapaya Inca and crew. (by Andrea Francolini/Audi).