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Darren Spence’s insider view of the Sports Boat fleet

  • Airlie Beach Race Week Sports Boats Hogs Breath Socks Day 2012 (Photo by Teri Dodds)
Darren Spence’s insider view of the Sports Boat fleet

The 2013 Airlie Beach Race Week kicks off in seven days and for those of us unlucky enough to be sitting on the couch for this one, here’s a preview of the fleet and the races.

There is 11 boats competing this year; ten if you deduct the one making up the numbers. A few regulars, a few new to the event and a few coming back for more, with a different machine under them.

The line honours battle should be a good one between Vivace and Crank with Guilty Pleasures V set to keep them honest. All three crews know the race track well. The key will be how each handle the tide in races like Double Cone on day one and White Rock later in the week.

These three should also be at the pointy end of the fleet on SMS.

The rest of the fleet all fall within the .760- .820 range on SMS and this will produce some great racing. The two T7′s (Mister Magoo and Ocean Crusader) should dominate this mid-fleet battle in the light air, but the lighter boats such as Stay Tuned and Viper QLD come alive in 12knts plus. On SMS, any of these boats could come through with the goods for an overall win. Consistency is always the key.

Bobsled, Junior and Ocean Crusader are all doing their first ABRW with the fleet – great effort guys and girls. Slingshot and Rip it Up have done the event before and with some new rags added to the inventory, they could be the dark horses of the event.

The passage races make the event. Of these, Grassy Island is probably the longest and usually suits the lighter boats. Time can be gained on the trip home in the sheltered waters and the beat to the finish. Don’t forget the last mark heading into Pioneer Bay !

White Rock usually involves a long beat along the shoreline against the tide, but is won or lost at the beginning of the race before getting into the passage. This is a big tide race – check the tide times chart.

The Double Cone race is a cobweb blowout. We’ve asked Huey for 15 to 20 knots. Just enjoy the ride. Tide has a big influence on the way out to the island in this one too.

Big Triangle race – get the Code Zero ready.

So the odds. We asked Tom and apparently punters didn’t give a stuff, so neither did he. So when all else fails, we ask the Hogster – a pink steak eating hog.
- better than Evens that Goggles will have a birthday at Hogs Breath.
- odds on that the Guided Missile’s will remain that, despite a change of boat/boat name.
- 5 million to 1 that Bob and the Stealthy crew WON’T be missed by the fleet and Beach’s bar takings.
- better than Evens that Annika on Ocean Crusader will be the best looking skipper with Daylight and it’s kids second.
- 2 to 1 that Bob and Neil will have the highest average crew ages.
- no one is offering odds on the good times to be had. These are a sure thing.

Good luck to all heading up – in the event on the trip there and back.

By Darren Spence