Friday, August 23, 2013
Hyde’s sails were in evidence at the recent Airlie Beach Race Week, Incorporating the Australian 2013 Nationals.
2013 saw the 24th edition of the annual Airlie Beach Race Week in the Whitsundays - an event that has grown each year from humble beginnings, originally conceived to promote the opening of the very first Hog's Breath Cafe in Australia.
Competing using a new set of Hyde’s sails was the Formula 40 multihull “Spirit”. Designed by Merfyn Owens in the 1980s (originally called "Spirit of England"), she was purchased in the USA in 2010 by Jason Gard and sailed under her own steam, back to Australia.
Jason Gard's home town was Airlie Beach, and as the Formula 40 Nationals were being held there, he couldn't help but register “Spirit” for the Regatta. The current sail wardrobe was nearly as old as the boat and had well and truly passed its 'Use By Date'. So with the help of Paul Austin and Richard Lovering of Hyde Sails, a completely new wardrobe was designed and made for the boat, including a mainsail, jib, large and small screachers.
Whilst “Spirit” is a strip plank boat, many of its rival entrants were hi-tech, carbon fibre go-fasts, such as the Seacart, Boxboats, Farrier Tri, Grainger Raiders etc. and the OMR Handicaps were very close. However, the old boat with her new set of Hyde Sails really surprised many in the particularly light conditions coming in the top places in most races. After six days of racing, “Spirit” came home in second place in OMR Division 1, a performance which was attributed a lot to the new sails.
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