Hamilton Island Race Week’s 60-foot multihull behemoth Rex came close to their top speed on the penultimate day, hitting 37.8 knots of boat speed in the fresh south-easterlies.
“Magic fast sailing,” said Rex skipper Dale Mitchell. “Our top speed with this boat is just shy of 40 knots, which probably looks quite radical off the boat but it’s very controllable. Anything over 30 knots [of boat speed] and Rex is responsive and quite stable on the helm. And we don’t notice the chop – the foil smooths out the ocean.”
Humpback whales and their playful calves aren’t fussed by the breeze and have been spotted on multiple courses across the week, including today in Whitsunday Passage.
Trade winds up to 26 knots tested boats and crews and there were several breakages, retirements and even one capsize in Dent Passage – the tiny blue Sydney sports boat Barely Legal.
The Rating and Hamilton Island Blue divisions rolled off the Hamilton Island Yacht Club start line while at the Eastern start, one metre swells and 18 knots of breeze set the scene for the remaining Hamilton Island and the trailable divisions.
Michel Van Der Zwaard’s Queensland Extreme 40 Angus retired with damage. Some of the crew headed to Airlie Beach to repair the carbon boom while the remainder were installing a new hydraulic panel.
“The almighty Rex is really dialled in this year,” Van Der Zwaard acknowledged. “They are awesome to watch, and we can’t beat them on handicap anymore.”
Multihull Black Division’s clubhouse leader is Stuart Cox’s Stealth 12.7 Cut Snake and Multihull White’s is Stephen Leonard’s Sea Dragon.