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Paul WilsonIf you were asked to describe this year’s Southern 80 water ski race in a word, that would be it.

In all regards, the weekend lived up to that word. The temperature barely got below 40 degrees for the two days, with the temperature on race day nudging 44 degrees!

This played havoc with the big blown and turbo charged V8 motors, as the heavy, humid atmosphere caused dramas with carburettor jetting as well as fuel settings for the injected boats.

The Baker’s Blitz on Saturday was a forerunner for what was to happen on the main day, with many of the top contenders struggling to make it to the end of the 20 kilometre Blitz run. Then on race day itself, the massive crowd of more than 35,000 people waiting to cheer home the boat crews became all too aware of the difficulties they were facing, as the one minute start gap between boats stretched into five and sometimes up to seven minutes by the time they reached the finish line.

There was an eerie silence in the crowd between arrivals, but a huge roar went up as favourite, The Axe, came howling around the last bend, defying what had become a spate of unreliability amongst the supercharged boats, to finally take out the biggest water ski race in the world.

Always the bridesmaid, this was the fifth time The Axe had competed in the race and although their winning time was one minute and three seconds slower than the race record, the win in such extreme weather conditions, in my opinion, makes it one of the best I have ever witnessed.

Page 18 has the complete race wrap-up as well as some great images to help give you an indication of just how exciting the weekend actually is.

In the previous issue of Club Marine (Volume 19 Issue 1) we enclosed a reader survey, and I must say I was amazed at the response it generated. Literally thousands of surveys were returned, and happily most with a very positive outlook towards the magazine you hold in your hand. Be assured we will be taking on board the suggestions made and you should begin to see a few subtle changes to the style and format of the magazine as future issues are published.

My thanks to all those readers who took the time to complete the survey, and to those that did, your copy of the Club Marine Engines and Accessories Guide will be on its way to you shortly.

Also in this magazine we go cave diving in Tonga with Tony Karacsonyi; Warren Steptoe learns the fine art of worming on his Jumpinpin getaway; Bill Bachman presents us with a special feature on the spectacular Kimberley region; and we catch up on the latest action at the Club Marine Offshore Powerboat Series.

Paul Wilson, Chief Executive Officer, Club Marine Ltd.