On Sunday May 6, with some of the best northern end of Port Phillip Bay sailing conditions in recent times, 21 Melbourne based Classic Yachts from the Register of the Classic Yacht Association of Australia, kicked off the inaugural race of their eight race winter series for 2012.
Kingurra, ready to race May 6. Only yacht to survive a monster wave roll over with rig intact in 1998 Syd-Hobart - Classic Yacht Association 2012 Winter Series Race 1 May 6
A fleet of Classic Yachts with racing pedigree's from yesteryear and today, all nailing the start together is still the traffic stopping event along Melbourne's Beaconsfield Parade on a Sunday morning. To see a race start with Sayonara and Acrospire III duelling with Mercedes III, Boambillee and Kingurra, some of the toughest Sydney-Hobarters ever raced, mixed in with the top Tumlaren's of the 1940 and 1950's, is an event that is now a must watch. The Race Committee of Hobsons Bay YC never have trouble obtaining volunteers to assist with their Classic Yacht race starts.
Acrospire III took on Kingurra on a windward beat tactical duel with gaff tops'l set in a 12 knot Port Phillip chop. With eight up on the high side and lee gunnel awash, Col Anderson was done in by the dying breeze that allowed Ian MacFarlane's Kingurra to take line honors.
Pre-start evolutions by Acrospire III and the Tumlaren, Ettrick, off Beaconsfield Parade. Port Melbourne - Classic Yacht Association 2012 Winter Series Race 1 May 6
Pastime II, the 1952 Uffa Fox 30 square metre Skerrie Cruiser, with her shark like lines, under the helm of Peter McDonald, held off George Fisscher and Michael Rhodes on Boambillee and Martin Ryans Mercedes III to take a hard fought third over the line. With no mercy, Mercedes III's water line kicked in to hold off Boambillee by 17 seconds after a seven nautical miles of close racing to take out fourth over the line.
Cyan, the Barry Wilson of Tasmania built S&S 42 and ex hard hitter from Sydney, now under the helm of Craig Brown, took home the corrected time silver. This first on corrected time was no accident. With consistent racing through previous Classic race series, Cyan's crew are now able to match tactics and deck work action with any other yacht in the Classic fleet.
Cyan starting on her way to silver - Classic Yacht Association 2012 Winter Series Race 1 May 6
With three minutes corrected time variation between ninety percent of the starters, tight racing between all competitors was a feature of Sunday's race.
'Martin Hyde, the local agent for the recently conducted McGruer Regatta in Gareloch on the Upper Clyde in Scotland was invited by the Classic Association to participate in the days racing on Acrospires III.
An excerpt from the dispatch sent by Martin back to his McGruer connections, Quote 'In all my Classic Yacht racing experiences, racing Acrospire III, a thoroughbred Australian designed Classic Yacht on the waters of Port Phillip Bay, will be a never to be repeated event. It was true yesteryear racing. I commend a visit by the McGruer Association to Melbourne and experience what Port Phillip Bay has to offer for Classic Yacht racing.'
Inside the Classic Yacht fleet a revival of the Tumlaren Associations fleet continues, with five on the water for this race - Dingo, Ellida, Ettrick, Vahine and Zephyr with Avian, Galatea and Zea ready to go and more to come.
Race 2 of the Melbourne's Classic 2012 Winter Series is scheduled for May 20, to be conducted by the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria.