Please select your home edition
Edition
Cooper Teamwear 728x90 1

IRC National Championship at the Festival of Sails – Deep Purple

by John Curnow on 24 Jan 2013
Reverie, as seen from behind the bow wave of a ship entering port. - Audi IRC Australian Championships © John Curnow
You know – smoke on the water.

As a direct result of the bushfires raging across a lot of Southeastern Australia, smoke and that real BBQ flavour permeated just about everything as we sat in Geelong waiting for racing to begin.Perhaps it is fitting, given that Australia Day is being celebrated this weekend, but with racing for the 2013 Audi IRC Australian Championship starting today, we need a little less smoke and a whole lot more fire to get the blood surging. Naturally, this could not be more dichotomous from what our dedicated fire fighters require.


It would seem that 2 to 12 knots is not going to get the games going at strength, but alas, it will mean that those wanting to claim any of the great prizes on offer will have to work for it.

Now the prizes are certainly worth working for. Each of the three divisions has prizes for first through to third. First receives a brand new Audi branded spinnaker, second gets to dine at their choice of one of the Eastern Seaboard’s best restaurants and third gets decked out in Audi Sailing Sport apparel.


Crews settled in to keeping the vessels light and few even thought they may be left dockside, but as the breeze just climbed in to something more appropriate, it seemed they would all go out sailing.

If there were favourites, they weren’t showing it around the quay. Rather, there was a sense of camaraderie evident as people caught up with other sailors. Indeed, there are people from every state of Australia present across the nearly 320 vessels, the bulk of which will arrive in tomorrow’s passage race from Melbourne.

Col Anderson of Doyle Sailmakers probably best summed up the joie de vie around the quay before racing, when he commented of the truly effervescent Rowan (Disco) Leaper, ‘Disco is the expert on everything!’

Out on the track for the first of three races for the day, Race Officer Greg Sinclair, sent Division One out on a 2.2nm course out to 090degrees. Divisions Two and Three would head in the same direction, but only for 1.5nm. After the first run, this would be shifted to 085 and then 080 degrees would be the axis for the second race.


The TP52, Frantic was caught sitting above the line and got an Individual Recall. They would also be over two minutes late for the second start, as well. Without doubt, the fastest vessel on the line was Hooligan, but this was before the super-quick Black Jack got wound up and set off in to the wind.

The south or right side of the course was definitely the favoured side. Perhaps this is why Shogun V ducked the fleet early to head off to Spray Point. In the Division Two start, Reverie had a lot of trouble getting around the boat end and had to wait for the traffic to die down before she could actually make way.

It was also interesting to note that the displacement vessels of this division all had their crew on the leeward rail in the five to six knots that was present, whereas the flyers in Division One all had theirs atop the windward rail. As the day wore on, the breeze would go to 8s and then 12s from the ESE to East.

At any rate, those that went in did do better than those hanging out. John Williams’ TP52, Calm, did the best of them all, yet it was certainly hard yards for everyone there as they had to work for any gains.


Black Jack would easily be first around the top mark, which had been set for them at 2.2nm from the bottom. The TPs would file in after that, led by Hooligan, Calm 2 and then Calm, the latter came in on port just before the mark to shoot the tube. Shogun did not have a great beginning, as they had been caught too far right in the bottom corner, where it had gone more than little soft.

Black Jack took Ginger with 0.3nm to go on the first run, remembering that Division Two had to do just 1.5nm. Black Jack would come in a little more than hot and then had to quickly get rid of the kite to make the southern gate, with the keel still slightly canted.


Change of Course to 085 degrees was announced to fleet, with the MC38, Ginger, flying in to the gate in what has to be simply be described as her kind of weather. Ginger went to the northern gate and then out before crossing back over the fleet. Ginger would put just over 3 minutes on Equinox II in second place. Alas that would be about as good as it got for Ginger, who lead up until race two and then finished in third for the day. Perhaps a longer passage race tomorrow will let them stretch their legs out again.

By now it was a genuine 8 and then 10s from pretty much due East. So just as Ginger demolished Equinox, Black Jack put half a leg on the leading TPs. One of the worst things to see was how far Frantic was behind. Celestial beat them over the line, as too Invincible, the last boat from Division Three.

The course was reset to 080 degrees for Race Two and more puff even arrived at 1420hrs local, as the sequence got set up. This was ‘Hugely exciting!’ for the Melbourne-based, female photographer, Andrea Francolini. True, he was having a lend, which is how the now eight year old story of one journalist not only getting his place of domicile incorrect, but also his sex by birth, came about on board the media vessel today.


Unfortunately for Frantic, they were around 1.5 minutes late for the start of this race and there was a 10 to 15 degree knock further up the course where most of the leaders were. It did not hang in, so most chose not to get sucked in.
The Archambault A35, Archie, from Tasmania had a great start, with Ginger ducking and weaving along the line, but without doubt was the fastest accelerating vessel amongst that clan. The two Beneteau First 45s, Schüss and Ikon, were playing delaying tactics up the boat end and sistership, Senna, from Geelong said thank you very much and marched away.


Luckily for Ikon, they did not get to caught up in it all and managed to get a second for that race and thereby lead the Division Two table at day’s end. Another sistership, Reverie, would hold second and then Ginger sits in third place.
Division Three is all about the Adams 10, Executive Decision, who are really no strangers to being atop the podium. Could be time to send the measurements to North Sails for their new Audi kite they will win if they can hold top spot over the next three days. The venerable Farr 43, Wild Rose is in second place with Archie sitting in third. ‘Happy to be there, but there really is a long way to go and were only looking at doing a good job for the whole series, so don’t hex us just yet, please. So we’ll see how stacks up the end’, said Grant Botica of Executive Decision from the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria.



At the pointy end of the fleet it is all about the TPs. Hooligan sits proud with three bullets for their day’s work. Well done. In behind Hooligan is Shogun V, who put the first race behind them and got into their racing to get a set of second and third places on the scoreboard. Calm 2 sits just three points astern of them and eight behind the reigning champ in Hooligan. Perhaps Black Jack can use tomorrow’s anticipated 52nm long race to climb up the standings.
PRO for the Festival of Sails is Denis Thompson, who said, ‘What a great day in the end! It was looking a bit soft early, but we got a perfect day of sailing from Hughie, which is awesome. Aiming for the big race tomorrow and we’re checking the weather, as there is a front due tomorrow and we’ll assess ashore before going racing after chatting with the Bureau of Meteorology and other weather experts.’

The Melges 24s, conducting their National Championship were out on Geelong’s inner harbour for the day, along with the Sports Boats and A Class Cats. The Audi IRC Australian Championship, as part of the Festival of Sails continues tomorrow, Friday, 25th January. See festivalofsails.com.au for more information.

Beneteau SAIL Oceanis 51 and 57 660x82 1Jeanneau Sunfast 660x82Zhik AkzoNobelb 660x82

Related Articles

Tank killers
Not all that long ago, the US Army started using depleted Uranium shells. Not all that long ago, the US Army started using depleted Uranium shells. These shells were wickedly awesome at their job, which was killing enemy tanks in their tracks (and yes the pun is fully intended). The mighty, turbine powered, M1 Abrams became even more formidable, and their crews somewhat safer again.
Posted on 24 Jul
Ian Walker - Musto Ambassador on the Volvo Ocean Race, America's Cup
Ian Walker on his Volvo Ocean Race win, why food and clothing are so important offshore, his views on the America's Cup We speak to Musto ambassador Ian Walker about his Volvo Ocean Race win, why food and clothing are so important offshore, his views on the America's Cup, his new desk job, sailing for fun, and 20 years of the John Merricks Sailing Trust.
Posted on 23 Jul
Black Jack Yachting. Bigger boat. Bigger team. Even bigger performance
Throughout the iterations of maxis called Black Jack, a strong, consistent and talented team has been their focus Throughout the iterations of maxis called Black Jack, a strong, consistent and talented team has been their focus. Some were sail makers, like Skipper Mark Bradford and also Vaughan Prentice from North Sails’ Brisbane loft. Others were riggers, such as Bruce Clarke, and there are even boat builders, like Gary van Lunteren, as well as Ash Deeks.
Posted on 20 Jul
Gladwell's Line - America's Cup returns to its new home and thinking
Emirates Team New Zealand's win in the 35th America's Cup ends 17-years of wandering in the AC wilderness Emirates Team New Zealand's win in the 35th America's Cup ends 17-years of wandering in the AC wilderness and will open a new era of America's Cup, New Zealand and World Sailing. A rookie crew won the most prestigious trophy in sailing, and one of the most difficult to win in any sport.
Posted on 29 Jun
SuperFoilers Are Go!
SuperFoilers represent many things. Whilst those components are disparate and virtually from different planets SuperFoilers represent many things. Whilst those components are disparate and virtually from different planets in the great scheme of things, they come together in the one form as harmoniously as a Rolls Royce, and also deliver intense energy way past the sum of their parts, just like some amazing band.
Posted on 28 Jun
Poppy takes Australia to her dad who’s afflicted with Parkinson’s
It’s a very sad way to begin such a great voyage. Not that you would know from the ultra-effervescent Poppy Moore... It’s a very sad way to begin such a great voyage. Not that you would know from the ultra-effervescent Poppy Moore, mind you. So the chance to talk with her and learn her tale was fantastic, and she is also the best one to recount it. “I decided to sail around Australia to raise awareness and funds for Parkinson’s, because my father’s got Parkinson’s
Posted on 5 Jun
Jeanneau Sun Fast 3600 - It just works
Every now and then a boat just clicks. It has all the right bits, of the correct dimensions, in the appropriate places Every now and then a boat just clicks. It has all the right bits, of the correct dimensions, in the appropriate places, and out of it all you get something that simply sings. The Jeanneau Sun Fast 3600 is one of these craft. It was designed and built in parallel to the other, more well known versions of the brand’s vessels, and benefits from being more geared towards performance, without going tot
Posted on 23 May
The return to Coffs!
The word is out that the new race to Coffs Harbour is on. The phoenix would run once again in the Christmas timeslot The word is out that the new race to Coffs Harbour is on. The phoenix would run once again in the traditional Christmas timeslot, and also be the much easier to digest 200 or so miles. The ‘new’ race would also be geared towards club racers, so they, and their non-pro crews could be out and back, and almost more importantly, returned to work before anyone missed them. Bring it on...
Posted on 22 May
America's Cup - Southern Spars AC50 build for Emirates Team NZ + Video
The Peter Blake skippered Steinlager 2 put Southern Spars on the map 27 years after Steinlager 2 put Southern Spars on the map with her unequalled clean sweep of the 1989/90 Whitbread Round the World Race, Southern Spars were called on to build Emirates Team NZ's America's Cup Challenger. Here's a look behind the scenes at the composite engineering process Southern Spars employ on projects ranging from Volvo OR spars, to Olympic bike wheels to an AC50
Posted on 1 May
Debbie says the 8thP with Insurance is Patience (Pt.III)
We’re back to keep exploring the nature of TC Debbie and how she came to tell us about the eighth P of insurance We’re back to keep exploring the nature of TC Debbie and how she came to tell us about the eighth P of insurance. We’ve looked at what it was like to come into a disaster zone, seen the evidence of those that did the right thing, and how the area is already on the road to recovery. Now we’ll see why patience is the key in the aftermath of her fury.
Posted on 30 Apr