Airlie Beach Race Week founder Don Algie (right) presents Jason Close with the Boss Hog trophy. Photo: Andrew Pattinson
Airlie Beach Race Week founder Don Algie (right) presents Jason Close with the Boss Hog trophy. Photo: Andrew Pattinson

Race Week capsize

THEY came, they sailed and in some cases they capsized.

Mackay sailor Bob Critchley finished the penultimate day of Airlie Beach Race Week upside down, after a 30 knot gust out of nowhere caused his 10.9 metre multihull, Cool Change, to capsize.

Critchley and his crew were contesting an island course when at around 10.35am, an hour into the race, their green multihull flipped.

More Noise, Jason Close's Archambault 31, was only about 60 metres away when the capsize occurred.

"It all happened so quickly - three seconds was all it took before the boat was upside down," he said.

Close and his crew used sign language and a quick head count to establish all six crew members were safe, before dropping their sails to stand by and assist.

Race Officials monitored the situation and rescue authorities and the water police were immediately notified.

Along with the event's Mark Boat 2, all three went to the scene and an ambulance was called in case of injury.

Fortunately, Critchley and his crew were all on deck when the capsize occurred and fell into the water before climbing atop the upturned hull. Other than a few cuts, bruises and a bit of shock they were all unhurt.

Critchley said never in his 30 years of sailing had he even come close to capsizing.

"That gust hit so suddenly, we didn't get a chance to respond," he said.

Critchley was understandably grateful to all who made sure he and his crew were safe and in a happy ending on Friday night, his rescuers were recognised with the Boss Hog Trophy at the official Race Week prize giving, held at Whitsunday Sailing Club.

The Boss Hog Trophy is presented to the crew that encapsulates the spirit of Race Week, displays sportsmanship and stands above the rest throughout the regatta, on and off the water.

This year, Race Week founder and former Hogs Breath "boss" Don Algie presented the trophy to Jason Close and his More Noise crew for standing by their fellow sailors in the capsize.

Event chairman, Jim Hayes, said overall the racing was fantastic, the sailors were blessed with good weather and aside from one light and one heavy day the rest was "champagne sailing".


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