HOOLIGAN Wins Hamilton Island Race Week!!
Sydney yachtsman Marcus Blackmore’s Hooligan has won the Grand Prix Division of Audi Hamilton Island Race Week.
Blackmore’s sleek, gun metal grey-hulled TP52 had the series in the bag before today’s scheduled Molle Islands Race, which wasn’t sailed given the wispy puffs of only 3 knots from around the compass in the Dent Passage starting area.
The race committee hoisted the AP over A flag and the signal sounded across the marina advising all competitors there would be no further racing with all results at the close of yesterday final.
The cornerstone of Hooligan’s unrivalled success at this year’s Audi Hamilton Island Race Week and preceding regattas is, according to the owner/skipper, “a champion team will always beat a team of champions”
Hooligan was originally the Emirates Team New Zealand TP52 which twice won the highly competitive Audi MedCup circuit. Adolfo Carrau, yacht designer at Botin Partners, did the IRC conversion and found the winning formula; new keel and bulb, extended bow sprit and removing 800kg of lead out of the boat.
“Adolfo got it right, you never really know when you start fiddling with original designs,” said Blackmore. Not only did Blackmore adopt Team New Zealand’s hull, he also adopted their disciplined philosophy, having spent a week with them.
“The overriding factor is whether you have a good crew,” said Blackmore. “Our coach Victor Kovalenko set the rules early in the week and while there has to be a level of trust between a coach and the team, the crew were told that the second drink is one too many. They don’t call Victor ‘the medal maker’ for nothing.”
Hooligan’s top notch crew included Tim Wiseman, Ed Smyth, Laser World Champion Tom Slingsby, Richie Allanson, Jason Rowed and Stacey Jackson, among others.
“We did a lot of homework on ourselves, and ran the numbers on other boats, particularly Loki and Living Doll. We didn’t leave any stone unturned in our preparation,” Blackmore added.
Of their result Kovalenko added: “The winning combination of people and skills brought together lots of experience from different classes. Their performance was outstanding; they were always sailing right to the red line.”
Thanks to seven firsts, Hooligan finished the nine race series on nine points, incontestably out-classing last year’s grand prix winner, Stephen Ainsworth’s RP63 Loki, which was breathing down Hooligan’s neck on handicap until a torn mainsail at the start of Tuesday’s long race saw their chances slip away.
Loki finished second in Grand Prix Division on 19 points, third was Victorian yachtsman’s Rob Hanna’s TP52 Shogunon 23 points.
The culmination of the four-part Audi IRC Australian Championship 2011 and official prize giving will take place tonight at the award ceremony for Audi Hamilton Island Race Week where the silver spoils will be divided up among the divisional winners.
The new Audi-designed trophies will be awarded along with the grand prize of Audi’s dynamic A1 for each of the three IRC championship-winning teams. The awards and prizes will be presented by Audi Australia managing director Mr Uwe Hagen along with Yachting Australia board member Matt Allen. TV personality and Audi Ambassador Catriona Rowntree will MC tonight’s gala event.