Living Doll claims race week victory
MICHAEL Hiatt justified the expense of building a new Farr 55 when he steered Living Doll to an impressive win in the Audi Hamilton Island Race Week IRC Championship on Saturday.
Earlier this month skipper Hiatt and his Royal Yacht Club of Victoria crew gave an indication they were prepared to tough it out in light winds when they won the major trophy in the Meridien Marinas Airlie Beach Race Week.
The Living Doll crew, including experienced tactician Ross Lloyd, was forced to step up another gear when they faced the Sydney Hobart standard fleet for title honours off Hamilton Island.
“Racing at Airlie Beach provided an excellent benchmark in terms of improving our speed and crew skills with the new and larger Living Doll,” skipper Hiatt said.
“We all knew she had the speed potential to get us over the line but we had to make it happen.”
After powering to a brilliant win in race one the Living Doll crew placed their title chances in damage control by finishing with an 8-7 in the next two races.
However, tactician Ross Lloyd selected all the best options which allowed Living Doll to progressively build her title challenge with consistent 1-2-3-1-2 results leaving their major rivals Evolution Racing (Ray Roberts) and Limit (Alan Brierty) to duel for the minor places.
Her nine race score card of 1-8-7-1-2-3-1-2-2 has firmed Living Doll as a top contender for the major honours in the Sydney Hobart race starting on Boxing Day.
“Every owner I know has the ambition to win a Hobart and I'm no different,” said Hiatt.
Both he and crew proved they are part way there when Living Doll became the first yacht to win both of Queensland's premier race week IRC Championships in the same year.
They were one of the star performers in the final 23n/ml Molle-Daydream Island race on Saturday leading the fleet to the half way mark off Hannah Point before the West Australian yacht Limit, steered by New Zealand Black Magic Americas Cup sailor Gavin Brady sealed a deserved line honours win.