by John Curnow
Melbourne’s Port Phillip turned on the sun and the wind today for the annual round of the Club Marine Series that donates all the day’s racing fees to ‘Keeping Cancer at Bay.’ So there was good racing to be had in the fresh Easterlies and all competitors could feel proud of helping cancer charities continue their marvelous work.
Calm 2 get busy with the business of winning.
Given the somewhat unfamiliar conditions of strong, 25 knot plus winds originating from the East and a swell line coming more from the Sou’east, some crews would do far better on the track than others.
Greg Sinclair was the Race Officer on the Division Zero and One course for this Round Six of the Club Marine Series, which was hosted by Sandringham Yacht Club. He said afterwards, 'Yes there was good racing to be had out there. For Division Zero’s first race of the day we had 13 to 14 knots, but this freshened to 22-25 knots for the second race after 1400hrs. The first course of the day was on an axis of 120 degrees and that moved a little left for the second race, to 115, both at 2.4nm in length.'
'Certainly you could see those that did not have a good day. XLR8 had spinnaker issues in Race One, Calm broke a backstay and did not return to the course for the second race and Veloce retired from the second race. Calm 2 sailed really well, with great boat handling and placement on the course, so this is why they skipped away from all the others.'
Veloce’s skipper, Phil Simpfendorfer, commented, 'We were in shakedown mode today, only recently having put the boat back together after the offshore season. We sailed well past the bottom mark and later found tears in our mainsail, so with just eight souls onboard, I decided that it was time to go home, as we had already enjoyed a few good runs down the course.'
Sinclair finished by saying, 'There was no one ever closer than one boat length from the start line and I think all the crews felt the race(s) were plenty long enough, especially given the conditions. In Division One, Ikon certainly sailed the best of them all. Many vessels overlaid the bottom mark, with particular note to those that went inshore after the top mark. Many craft finished the second run without a spinnaker, too.'
Another notable occurrence was that after the first work to the top mark, Reverie towed said mark most of the way to the hitch mark and then deposited it. Clockwork blew out the spinnaker to the tapes and in doing so, definitely gets the UK Sailmakers prize of a $500 voucher, courtesy of Sam Haines and the team at the UK Sailmakers loft in Sandringham.
Apart from the monies gathered for cancer charity, highlights of the day would have to be Ikon collecting $1200 in Gill Australia vouchers for the crew coming out racing wearing pink wigs, superman outfit and mullet wigs too, in response to being asked the question during the week if they were serious about being a winner. The Audi IRC Class B Australian Champion has proven that they not only know how to sail, but they have a good sense of humour about it and themselves in the process. Well done, Ikon. Bowman, Rodney Muller said, 'We went all out and are delighted to put this towards crew gear. Thank you, Gill – it’s a really nice way to cap off a great season.'
Calm 2 cemented their stuff at the top of the Division Zero tables and will be keen to use the training provided to do even better in the next round of TP52 Southern Cross Cup, which is on Port Phillip at the end of April.
So in terms of the 2012/13 Club Marine Series, Calm 2 has it well and truly over Calm in the IRC stakes and will be happy to close it all out with some more good racing and crew work. Third place between Goldfinger and Rush looks to be worth keeping an eye on, with just 3.5 points as a gap and sailing’s, wonderful anything can happen nature there to make it all interesting. In the Performance Handicap System (PHS), XLR8 splits Calm 2 from Calm, with Goldfinger able to make a charge if someone does not complete the course next time.
Division One has Ikon at the top, but in IRC, the calculations go all the way back to seventh place. Boats like Clockwork, Wicked, Audacious, Chutzpah38 and 38 Degrees South are all in the mix in one way or another for a podium finish. In the Australian Measurement System (AMS), it is fairly much the same, with Jazz Player and Swordfish Trombone part of the equation that will run out until the end. In PHS, it is Dark and Stormy and Soiree Bleu that are keen to get amongst the tally and it is all possible with only 16 points separating the top ten. A bad day could hurt some of the crews keen to have a spectacular season of it all.
Divisions Two and Three were under the stewardship of event PRO, David LeRoy, today. He commented once back ashore, 'Yes it was a good day for us, far better than for some others it would seem. A few crews really did struggle in the fresh and shifty conditions. It was 25+ knots and quite shifty on our course, ranging from 080 to 120 degrees. Our course averaged out OK, but the astute sailors made gains on the big shift left that occurred just after the start. Those that went inshore absolutely stomped on it.'
'Our axis was at 110 degrees and the top mark out at 1.6nm. At the leeward mark Sportscar became very engaged with Frenzy when their bowsprit lifted one crewmember from their position on board. One of our course boats followed them for a while to ensure their health, with both boats retiring thereafter.'
'Elsewhere there were interesting manoeuvres and lots of spinnakers getting washed, too. Two vessels on opposite gybes had a small altercation on one of the runs, as well. The front end of Divisions Two and Three continue to sail well, with Dark Energy having yet another good day to lead the armada around the track. Executive Decision added yet more glory to their season. They went boat for boat with fellow Adams 10, Top Gun, to the top mark, but had 300m on them by the time they cam around again. Deploying a masthead kite was a clear indication that this crew is not sitting on their hands, but rather working all the way to the end of the series.'
'Watermark II was one usual suspect kind of vessel that did not shine today and it has been a little costly for them on the scoreboard. A spinnaker dunking seems to be the issue today', LeRoy said in summing up.
Executive Decision would seem to have done more than enough to hold out Penfold Audi Sport from an IRC win. Top Gun should get third. It is likely to be the same result in AMS, but Wind Speed are just one point out of it, so it would be more than likely for them to be keen to at least collect third. Wind Speed are a chance to overtake Matrix for the PHS win, with Top Gun to collect third, unless Longshot can do just that and leap frog into the calculations.
Intrusion is almost set to take Div3 IRC, but there is a very handy skipper in Bill Feore with Skipjack in second, so unfounded comments could be dangerous there. Watermark II will not want to have another bad day, as Wavelength is in striking distance. It is not all bad for the latter, as they hold down a very handy AMS lead from Footloose and Watermark II (tied for second), with Intrusion and Nouannie set to see who can get that all important last place on the podium.
Y Knot will take the Div3 PHS prize, then you have Duckmobile, Magazan 53, Wavelength, Skipjack and Take Five in a kind of see who gets what based on their final result battle for the minor places. All of this will certainly mean that there is interest in the Club Marine Series, right up until the boats cross the finish line.
Many thanks to Hobsons Bay Yacht Club for providing the suitable media vessel of the day. This ensured that a thorough set of images was taken across both courses. Remember, it is never to late to be a part of the Club Marine Series. If you're based in Melbourne and enjoying reading this, then maybe you should come out and get amongst it. Casual entry is welcome and in fact, very much encouraged! Just use you home club's entry system and you are in... the final round is on March 16, 2013.
The Club Marine Series is proudly sponsored by Australia’s largest marine insurer.