by John Curnow
Saturday, October 20, 2012 was the dawn of another Club Marine Series on Melbourne’s Port Phillip. So if someone had said let there be light, Hughie the God of Wind, had very much heard them. It was sort of consistent through the Eastern quadrant, but was lucky to have puffs registering a mere seven knots. Alas, there were mainly smiles amongst the 125 crews, for elsewhere and closer to shore, racing was abandoned for the day.
Division One gets underway.
Greg Sinclair, the Race Officer for Divisions Two and Three, certainly summed it all up. 'We waited for half an hour after the designated 1400hrs start, so as to let the breeze settle and then got them away on a 1.4nm course at 155 degrees. Alas, as they were coming back down it eased, if that is even possible, and we shortened up to 1.1nm. Look we were lucky to get a race in, so we’re delighted. It went right a few times, but always returned, so we did not have to move the marks. Having two clean starts for each division also surprised me, but there were definitely some testier moments and the bottom gate. I am very glad we shortened, though, for it would have fallen over, otherwise. The significant position changes with the leaders as they came around each time certainly reflected the fact that there were holes on the course!'
Round One was also our unofficial Joe Adams day, to pay homage to the man whose tragic loss in the Philippines this week, left many flabbergasted. There were half a dozen Adams 10s of both racing and cruising variants that circulated proudly for the duration of the race. The light conditions were not completed suited to them, but the crews kept going, none the less.
One person delighted to be out there was David Ellis from Penfold Audi Sport, who won Division Two, International Rule, Club (IRC).
'Really happy to get a start. It held for the first three or four legs, then it went soft and so we all struggled for the last two. Wow there were some big holes out there and conditions probably favoured the frontrunners.'
Behind Penfold Audi Sport in IRC were INSX and then Absolut. Dark Energy won the Australian Measurement System (AMS) and really flew around, savouring the light conditions with their massive spinnaker. Penfold Audi Sport were behind them and Where’s Wal?, took third.
In the Performance Handicap System (PHS) stakes, Matrix had a great day up with the leaders. Dark Energy got second and Where’s Wal? was third.
Results for Division Three were also a case for the usual suspects, which certainly reflect how well they sail. Intrusion won IRC, with Footloose and Mood Indigo in behind them. Nouannie took AMS over Footloose and Intrusion, with Y Knot taking PHS from Nouannie and Merak.
David Leroy, the Principal Race Officer, was out on the Western Course, running the racing for Divisions Zero and One. 'Well that was a little bit tricky. Patience was certainly a virtue you needed today. Division One got the best of the day, but we still managed two races for Division Zero and any day a race gets done, is a good one! That new TP52, Calm 2, was decidedly quick in the light and 38 Degrees South also had a cracker of a day. We set a four-leg race of 1.6nm and Divisions Zero’s second race was set at 1.7nm, but quickly cut down to 1.2nm as it lightened off. We set it at 110 degrees for race one and Div1 got that for first lap and then 130 degrees. We got Div0 off for their second race at 140. All in all, a pleasant day on the water, but for sure a little more breeze would have been good.'
Rowan Simpson, Sydney 38 Class stalwart, usually sails with the Doyen of Victorian yachting, Lou Abrahams. Today he was on John Chatham’s 38 Degrees South. 'I think it was a good day for the class and all of the Sydney 38s sailed well to be in the top ten. The guys on board 38 Degrees South were fired up, as we had spent an hour before racing to tune the rig for the conditions. As a result, we had good speed, which gave us clear air and the ability go where we wanted, pick the shifts and use them to our advantage. The result was a really good race', said Rowan.
John Chatham added, 'Pretty happy about winning IRC, AMS and PHS on the one day. Fantastic sailing conditions and we had such close competition, especially with Audacious, who were all over us. We had to work hard in the fickle conditions and learned a bit from Rowan, too. Thanks to the race organisers for a wonderful day and apologies to Bombora, whom we had to duck very quickly at one point.'
As mentioned, 38 Degrees South had a clean sweep of Division One. Ikon also had a sweep, taking second in all three categories and being the best placed Beneteau on the day, also won the Sundance Marine prize of a bottle of premium French liquor. And just to keep the theme going, Audacious picked up a trio of third places.
Division Zero had hoped to get three races in for the day, but settled on two. Accolades were reasonably evenly spread, with Scarlet Runner, Calm, Calm 2, Goldfinger and XLR8 all seeing certain parts of the podium on the day. Jason Van Der Slot of the Calm Sailing Team said, 'Had a good day and great to get the first real race in. Learned a lot from the day, especially that Calm 2 likes to be completely flat and is so different to the other boats. There is not so much of an Achilles heel with this latest generation of TP52 and being a little too sticky in the very light conditions. Have to also say that it is also wonderful to see the John ‘Willow’ Williams and Graeme ‘GA’ Ainley combination back out fighting on Calm. We’re all happy and enjoying the evolution. Great stuff!'
Club Marine Series website