Club Marine Series - Ask and ye shall receive

Cookson 50 fixed keel, Terra Firma, goes behind Rush here, but still got on the scoreboard. - Club Marine Series
The sun Gods were asked to bring Hughie the God of wind back out for racing in the Club Marine Series (CMS) on Melbourne’s Port Phillip, after he was AWOL for round four a fortnight ago.

With a busy schedule of three races for the large, express vessels of Division Zero and two races for each of Divisions One, Two and Three, he really did need to make not only an appearance, but stay for the whole day.

And stay Hughie did, much to the delight of racers and the Race Management team, headed up for this Round Five of the CMS by the Sandringham Yacht Club. 'The weather was excellent and that allowed us to make up a bit of ground. Being stable meant we did not have to move too much and allow for 1.5nm legs for both Division One and Two. Once again, well done to all the volunteer Race Officials', said PRO Bruce Humphries.

'A cracker day', was how David Leroy from the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria put it. 'Out on the Division Two and Three course, just off Brighton, we had set a course of 185 degrees and the wind obliged by very nicely staying between 180 and 190 degrees, so we did not have to move a mark. It even managed to stay between a very satisfactory and usable 9 to 13 knots! A warm day, with great racing – marvellous stuff.'

'We set 1.4nm legs for today and it was really successful. It was highly strung racing out there for Div2, so the Black Flag got an airing and it almost worked a treat. Reminded me a lot of the Etchells, to be honest. Also great to have David with me, today - he stepped in to the breech to alleviate a personnel shortage a couple days ago. What a great team member and player he is', said Greg Sinclair, who was the Race Officer out on the Division Two and Three course.

Division Zero were asked to be out on the course off Sandringham in time for a 1225hrs preparatory signal. The breeze obliged with a sub-ten knot strength from Sou’soueast and then climbed into the mid teens as the day unfolded, ultimately moving to Sou’souwest.

Like the conditions, the day fairly much belonged to Jason Van Der Slot and the team aboard the TP52, Calm. Perhaps it was an omen, but Goldfinger, Veloce and Terra Firma made their presence felt in the International Rule, Club (IRC), and Performance Handicap categories (PHS). The Australian Measurement System (AMS) was all about Rush. After nine races in the Club Marine Series so far for Div0, Calm leads IRC over Goldfinger and Veloce who are tied for second, some seven points astern. Cadibarra 8 holds third down. Rush holds AMS down comfortably, as well as a slender, one-point lead over the well-sailed Calm in the Performance Handicap category. Veloce is an even more svelte half a point behind Calm, with Goldfinger, Cadibarra 8 and XLR8 in striking distance of them all.

Division One came out on to the same course area as Div0 for their warning signal at 1355hrs. After not getting any racing in a fortnight ago, they were keen to see some action today. Ikon, Wicked, Audacious, 38 Degrees South, Chutzpah 38 and Mille Sabords splattered themselves over the scoreboard. Some, like Ikon, are no strangers to the limelight and others, like Mille Sabords, have not had the same kind of consistency since this all began back at the beginning of November, 2011.

Ikon’s worst result so far in IRC is a second, so not too surprisingly, they lead with a mere six points from six races. Wicked is next at 13 points and then Chutzpah 38 on 22 points, but they have Bandit and Audacious breathing down their necks. Swordfish Trombone holds Ikon out by just one point for the AMS title presently and Chutzpah 38 is a more distant third. In PHS it is 38 Degrees South over Jazz Player and Audacious, but there is Ikon, Swordfish and Chutzpah 38 ready to crash any party there.

Chutzpah 38 are a Division One threat. - Club Marine Series

Division Two have been revving themselves up a treat throughout the Club Marine Series and today was to be no different. Their first start of the day was certainly very competitive and the second was a General Recall with a Black Flag to try and ensure there was more order displayed by helmsmen and crews. It almost worked, with just the two having there day curtailed very smartly. Jungle Juice was the main offender towards the pin end of the line, but for Executive Decision, a mostly stellar series so far has been hampered a fair bit by the 33 points they receive today for Race Six. Less than a metre over, it may as well have been a mile and to do it at the Committee Boat end left little room for discussion in the bar afterwards…

The results of the day had boats like Executive Decision, Nutcracker, Absolut, Toecutter 2, Wind Speed, Top Gun, Penfold Audi Sport, Alibi and Under Capricorn get at least some of the podium. Not surprisingly, these names feature significantly in the series result to date. David Ellis’ well-sailed Penfold Audi Sport holds a comfortable IRC lead over Top Gun and Absolut. Nutcracker, Executive Decision and Stitched Up could make a late charge, certainly on the minor places, however.

Until today, Executive Decision was a real shoe-in. Shame… - Club Marine Series

In AMS, Toecutter 2 holds off Penfold Audi Sport and Top Gun. Stitched Up, Horizon Sprint and Nutcracker may be able to see some of that podium, but it would require some significant results or non-finishes to reshuffle the deck. Dark Energy have been sailing to their Performance Handicap and have a great lead in PHS. There are five boats that will fight for the other two places it would seem – Under Capricorn, Toecutter 2, Stitched Up, Top Gun and Horizon Sprint. Expect that one to go all the way to the last race.

Toecutter 2 left the boat on the hardstand for two years before coming back to dominate. - Club Marine Series

If Division Two has some usual suspects, then Division Three must all be marked heads. Wavelength, Intrusion, Watermark II, Rhiannon, Carbine, Good Question, Footloose, Chardonnay and Outlaw all feature in one or another and to vary intensities. What these vessels lack in displacement, they make up for in nit and grit at the coalface. Watermark leads Intrusion and Wavelength in IRC, with only the pecking order in doubt for that one, barring some major incident. AMS is possibly a little more open to challenge, as Watermark leads over Wavelength and Outlaw. Nouannie and Rhiannon can possibly oust the latter two.

Luke Reinehr, from Intrusion, commented on the day and the series. 'Today we did not have our normal crew, as we ‘broke in’ some new recruits, like our fordecky. Be over the start line early is not a good way to begin and then it all went a little sideways for us as we went back and finally got going. Still, it was a great day out and we're happy to remain a threat on the leader board. What it shows you is that you do have to be there and go for consistency to be in the running. Light and heavy airs suit us, so we hope to have more great days out there before it is all over.'

Six boats vie for the PHS crown in Div3. Outlaw is a clear leader, but Good Question, Sea Eagle, Rhiannon, Wavelength and Nouannie can all make a dent on positions two and three come presentation evening if things go their way out on the track in the meantime.

So one must say thank you to the Sun Gods for being there and bringing the hitherto lost Hughie back out with them. Cheers on that, eh?! Sandringham Yacht Club will again host the next round of the Club Marine Series, on March 3, 2012.

Penfold Audi Sport have sailed together for years and it shows. - Club Marine Series

Many thanks to the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria for providing the media vessel, thereby enabling the team to get out on the water and capture the day for us. The Club Marine Series is proudly sponsored by Australia’s largest marine insurer.

Details and full results to date for the series can be found at