Golden oldie scores division win at Airlie Beach Race Week
Contributed by Di Pearson.
STUART Tivey and partner Lisa Sampson were thrilled to win Race 5 in Cruising Division 1 at Airlie Beach Race Week yesterday with their famous German Frers 48, Ragamuffin 111, built in 1975.
Ragamuffin, whose crew includes Tivey and Sampson's teenage son Fletcher, won Race 5 from Noel Hardy's Hick 39, Envy.
Daniel Farmer's B52, a Sydney 41, completed the trio and there was not much in it, less than two minutes separated the three.
The timing was good, as today is a final opportunity for all in the 64-boat fleet to share in the spoils.
"We had a really good day," Sampson said.
"The boat's quite heavy, so the conditions are not ideal - being so light here."
The 1975 German Frers design was built to the old IOR rule.
"Twice we haven't finished this week because the boat is so heavy," Sampson said.
"We've had to work our backsides off to keep the boat moving."
Tivey and Sampson found the yacht, originally commissioned by Syd Fischer to campaign for the Admiral's Cup in Cowes and for the Sydney Hobart, sinking in Port Douglas.
"We couldn't see that happen, so we took her on and did her up," Sampson said.
"Now she's decked out as a racing/cruiser, she's beautiful."
The yacht was the famous Fischer's third Ragamuffin, which he finished third and second overall respectively in the 1976 and 1977 Sydney Hobarts.
Other famous names such as Sir James Hardy, Hugh Treharne (won the America's Cup in 1983) and Ian 'Mr Clean Up Australia' Kiernan, crewed the yacht for Fischer.
Fischer sold Ragamuffin 111 and she finished third overall in the 1978 Sydney Hobart but did not do so well in her next six Hobarts under various owners.
These days, Ragamuffin 111 is being treated like a retired racehorse.
Not only have her owners completely restored the yacht, they have made her a luxury cruiser, used in their Big Mama Sailing company, a sailing tour operating business based in Townsville.
"Considering the circumstances, our business is doing really well," Sampson said.
"We want to support all events and we're proud to be here at this great event.
"We were looking forward to sailing here in Airlie Beach and appreciate all the hard work they have put in."
There are other famous Sydney Hobart names in the cruising divisions including the maxi Condor, in Division 1, and Star Ferry, a Marchi 39, racing in Division 2.
She started life as Petrosina II before racing under the famous Star Ferry name.
Yet to notch up a win, her owner John Brand said she still surprised him.
"She's won at Hamilton Island a couple of times," he said.
"This is the first Hamo I've missed in 13 years, because it was cancelled.
"We're missing Magnetic Island for the same reason.
"I think we're all very lucky to have Airlie Beach Race Week. It's been light on for wind, but the regatta is being very well run.
"The restaurants are open, so you can go and have a feed."
Today, IRC Passage Racing, Performance Racing and Multihull Racing will be on a 15 nautical mile Pioneer Bay Race similar to yesterday's, with the remaining divisions doing a shorter version of 11 nautical miles.
Once again, spectators on the water and ashore will be able to take in a colourful spectacle.
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