Alive fights back to win ORCi championship

Tasmanian yacht Alive has won the Division A ORCi handicap category of the Australian Yachting Championship which ended in Sydney yesterday.

The powerful Reichel/Pugh 66 is owned by Derwent Sailing Squadron member Phil Turner and skippered by fellow DSS member Duncan Hine.

With young Hobart sailor Oli Nicholas on the helm, Alive fought back with two wins yesterday to take the ORCi championship by one point Karl Kwok’s New Zealand-flagged Team Beau Geste.

Kwok,  a former Sydney Hobart Race winner,  packed his yacht with international sailings stars, including skipper Paul Cayald and Gavin Brady, to win his fourth consecutive Australian Yachting Championship under IRC ratings.

Despite a two hour postponement, two races were completed on the fourth and final day of the Championships in 5 – 7 knots.

The final race in a solid 7 knots became a nail biter between Alive and Team Beau Geste, going into the race tied in ORCi for Division A.

Alive and her crew that included seven Tasmanians were victorious, carving  themselves into yachting history as the inaugural winners in Division A ORCi for this event.

“We’re chuffed with our win! We raced well today and enjoyed ourselves at this event,” skipper Duncan Hine said after the final race.

“Our boat is really made for offshore sailing so we think we did well with the varied type of racing over the last four days. We’re happy to be the inaugural winners.”

Team Beau Geste dominated the IRC handicap category, winning all but the last race to finish well clear of Sydney yacht Nine Dragons and Alive.

The Australian Yachting Championship is Australian Sailing’s major keelboat event of the year with the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia running the event. Conditions off the Sydney coastline were generally light to moderate with lumpy seas.

Words:  Peter Campbell

Photos:  Andrea Francolini

27 March 2017

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