Cinzano 2nd Overall - ORDA Torquay Marathon Race season opener

Photo Courtesy Tim Tapping

The inaugural Torquay Marathon Race and the 2011 season opener saw the Marathon Boats battle over 100 nm with force 6 - 7 winds making the race very rough indeed!

The lead changed hands on numerous occasions, with Cinzano, Going Lean and Fury all holding the lead during the first 50 miles or so. Fury developed engine problems half way through the race leaving  Cinzano to fight it out with Dean Gibbs in the Whipple powered Fountain.

The Cinzano 558 Team Bus - Photo Courtesy Tim Tapping

Markus, Simon and Eric had the advantage in the rougher sections, but towards the finish, the sea state calmed and Going Lean eventually beat Cinzano to the line by 28 seconds.

Going Lean took the overall victory, also winning Marathon Class A, whilst Cinzano enjoyed a Marathon Class B win and 2nd overall.

Simon Rebooting Windows 95 - Photo Courtesy Tim Tapping

Since Markus Hendricks has owned the team, Cinzano has enjoyed a 100% finish rate, a testament to the reliability of the twin Ilmor motors and the dedication of team engineer Eric Smillie.

Photo Courtesy David Ormiston

1st - 1st Class A - Going Lean - Dean Gibbs, Dave Brown - Fountain - Whipple
2nd - 1st Class B - Cinzano - Markus Hendricks, Simon Wood Power, Eric Smillie - CUV - Ilmor
3rd - 1st Class C - PPG Print - Phil Payter - PPG Marine - Yamaha
4th - 1st Class D - Amaryllis Racing - Mel Hatton, Peter Bonham Christie - Pascoe - Mercury
5th - 2nd Class D - Ocean Dragon Racing - Martin Lai, Tom William Hawkes - Revenger - Mercury
6th - 1st Class E - My Pleasure II - Gordon Compton, Hazel Smith - Compton - Yanmar
7th - 2nd Class B - Fury - Vahid Ganjavian, Gareth Williams - Phantom USA - Ilmor
  R - Class C - Blue Absolute - Bob Turnball, Nik Keyser - Yanmar - Sunseeker

The Torquay Course - Graphics by yellowbrick

Here is Markus Hendrick's report of the race.

We had some trouble getting out of the harbour as the engines were warmed up before, but then they do not like to fire up in gear (crash boxes). Additionally there was a first hint on an electrical problem with the magnetic remote main switches that was later and in Poole giving further problems, only we did not identify it then as a major problem!

By the time we started the compulsory (good for spectators)! circle through the bay it seemed all was ready for the race, we ended up in muster again listening to race control commenting about poor visibility and a slightly deferred start.

However when the start boat did their action finally, they were so quick up with the green flag, that we missed the right moment for acceleration and were way behind Dean's Going Lean and Vee's Microlink Fury.

Obviously we needed to make up some distance to them and were probably the fastest boat to turn out of the Bay into the rough bits, as some pictures taken around Berry Head give evidence of. Here it was where the VHF comments from race control turned into reality for us, as it was absolutely poor visibility - we virtually went into the dark!

The seas, visibility, and our strategy sent us hugging the coastline and after some while we were in between Dean and Vee all pretty close together again.

Near Salcombe at one of the headlands it happened that we unfortunately lost an engine in one of the rougher landings.

This happened once to us before in the Cowes 100 in 2010 - then it was one of the six engine kill switches that was pulled off by myself in a flat landing on one half of our V shaped hull, the hydraulic steering was bleeding air and Simon could not keep Cinzano flying off upright, as it was permanently leaning over and therefore landing on the flat sides.

After the Cowes 100 Eric installed 6 diode lights to show whether the kill switch was lost and which one it would be to settle this quickly, now this failure was no kill switch and restarting was difficult, but possible. By the time we were on speed again it was Going Lean slightly ahead and Fury much further.

So we were making our way forwards again and on the slightly rougher bit between Plymouth and the Eddystone lighthouse, where the seas came from straight ahead, we were alongside Vee again with Dean visibly ahead, only after the lighthouse and downwind now Fury and us could reduce the distance remarkably further.

At one stage we had the big ferry on starboard with all three of us passing ahead and it must have been an interesting view from their bridge down on some strange rooster tails crossing in these conditions!

Dean had gone a bit off course and we could better trim our downwind speed now and for a while were leading the way back on the last stretch. Therefore it was not known to us what happened to Vee and if he was still racing.

It was Dean taking our upwind inshore route between Start Point and Dartmouth at the return now - there he could take advantage of his Whipple Blowers giving him the speed to pass us at the end of the bay.

We moved ahead on the direct line at 50+knots, while he had 70+ probably, and as we could not have gone faster than the Fountain anyway it would not have helped to stay with Dean inshore, rather it could have worked to go the direct route, but the conditions were still to rough to achieve high speeds out there.

Finally it was about 30 seconds in the finish and this is all we could have expected as Dean would have had the chance to overtake us on the last stretch anyway.

So no disappointments or regrets!

Truth is that Dean in his American poker run boat had coped well with the very rough bits and so he deserved rightfully to make the best out of his boats abilities and won well.

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