Magic Marine Cat Challenge 2004
6 - 7 November 2004
A sailing regatta open to all 'off-the-beach' catamarans. This event is a premier event for catamarans that is staged each year. Fleets of 100+ boats are not uncommon. Go to the web link to view details.
Staged by the Lake Cootharaba Sailing Club for over 30 years the first Cat Challenge was a challenge between two members, one owned an Arrow catamaran and the other an Yvonne catamaran, which dates back to when the first off the beach catamarans where introduced. It was raced to prove which catamaran class was superior and the basis of this inaugural race is how the Cat Challenge is decided today. The Magic Marine Cat Challenge this year will be held over the weekend of the 6 and 7 November at Lake Cootharaba, Noosa Shire.
Catamarans are grouped into classes and raced in teams. A team score is processed and the class that won is designated as the winning class. Individual performances are also awarded trophies and this year the trophies will be Magic Marine merchandise. Over recent years it has been a battle between Hobie, Nacra, A Class and Taipan classes. Class champions have used the event to assess their abilities against other class champions in what is truly the major Catamaran Regatta in Australia. The quality of the competition ensures competitive racing throughout the weekend.
The Formula 18 (F18) class is an emerging class and if the All Boats Regatta held in August is any guide, then this class may be the one to beat. Mal Gray, a spokesman for the F18 fleet, expects a fleet of at least 10 boats to attend in what is the inaugural Queensland State Title for the class to be run in conjunction with the Magic Marine Cat Challenge. He expects the crew combination of Neville Thompson and Shamus Stevens from Brisbane to be the top contender being helped along by the likes of Mark Laruffa and Jessie Dobie from Sydney. With the F18 class being manufactured by all the major catamaran manufacturers, there has been a gradual shift of top sailors from the A Class, Hobie and Nacra classes to sail in this class and hence in its short existence, predominates in most regattas.
John Dowling, from the A Class association, predicts Brad Collett from Brisbane as the hot tip to win individual honours but will need team mates in Steve Lewis and Rod Molkentin to show their best if the class has any chance of taking out the trophy. Brad performed superbly in the All Boats Regatta to take out the Catamaran trophy with the F18 cats close on his heels. A strong fleet of 15 to 18 A Class catamarans are expected.
Individual Nacra class performances are expected from Mark Clark from the Sunshine Coast in his Nacra 16 Squared and Paul and Claire Neeskens from Hervey Bay in their individual Nacra 5.0 catamarans. A substantial Hobie 16 fleet is expected and they bring colour to the event with their gaudy sails and the antics of their crews.
The strength of wind over the Regatta and combined sailing excellence will determine which class takes the trophy. Naturally all competitors will be on pace, hoping to protect their reputations. The task will not be easy as the expected fleet of over 100 catamarans will present a traffic jam on the start line and a difficult to avoid wind shadow on the racing course. This is the challenge that the top crews expect and the racing will feature a mixture of exciting boat on boat and class on class racing. Details of the race can be viewed on the Club's website at www.lcsc.org.au
Photos to the Right:
Brad Collett and his A Class catamaran 'Flat Bikkys' is a favoured contender in this years Magic Marine Cat Challenge 2004 at Lake Cootharaba.
The awsome power of the Formula 18 catamaran was demonstrated by Neville Thompson's craft 'Stelth' in the recent Apollonian Hotel All Boats Regatta.
Boreen Point, Boreen Point
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