by John Curnow
Division Two was close from start to finish. - Club Marine Series
You know, as in, 'Please Sir, can I have another?' Lots of souls just love sailing in the rain - not. As we got wet from head to toe, you thought to yourself, gee I wish I could have a lot of this - cold and wet, which is simply yummy. Anyway, at least Hughie the God of Wind came to the party…
We asked the question a little while ago as to whether you’d used up all the good weather recently and yep, you sure had. Doh! Still it was all for a good cause, as today’s racing in the 2011/12 Club Marine Series on Melbourne’s Port Phillip donated all the racing fees to ‘Keeping Cancer at Bay’.
Also of interest was to see some retail therapy at Anchor Marine occurring in the morning before racing got underway. At least one set of wet weather gear was purchased today and that’s the only one that we know. We fully expect that more were hastily secured at other outlets, when sailors saw that the rain was here to stay. You know, during the course of the series to date, there’s been plenty of sun, some wind, even some more after that, a few waves, a bit of temperature, the odd patch of lull, so really, rain was an inevitable part of the final solution. It is Port Phillip and the whole assortment is expected at some point during the Club Marine Series. Last Saturday was 39.5 degrees Celsius and today it is more like 16 and wet, but I think we’ve covered that off now. Ultimately, it did not stop a whole bunch of vessels gathering in the centre of the Bay at their two courses adjacent to Brighton and Sandringham Yacht Clubs. The latter was the host of this penultimate round and the former ran Divisions Two and Three.
Division Zero had three races to look forward to, with Divisions One, Two and Three booked in for just the pair of events. Given that the Easterly winds hung in at the mid teens, just like the temperature, and the rain never gave up, it was not too surprising to see more than a few of the crews thinks one race for the day was more than enough. Most vessels slugged it out as the waves came up from virtually nothing to around a metre. Divisions Two and Three at the more Northerly course did four legs of the windward/leewards, which had been set to 1.3nm and at 095 degrees. Just a little further South, Divisions Zero and One had the breeze from more like 125 degrees, but it was happy to flick around, so that kept race management on the go.
Equally, as the series gets down to the business end, there were a lot of boats and crews that needed to lock in some good results and secure their positions across the various divisions and their measurement and handicap classes. In Division Zero, this was boats like Calm, Goldfinger, Veloce and Rush. In Division One, Ikon, Wicked, Chutzpah 38 and Swordfish Trombone needed to look after their podium spots, whilst in the ultra-competitive Division Two, Penfold Audi Sport, Toecutter 2, Top Gun, Absolut, Dark Energy, Stitched Up and Under Capricorn were keen to make it count and not let the rain put a damp stain on their aspirations for the season. Division Three’s usual suspects of Watermark, Intrusion, Wavelength, Outlaw, Sea Eagle and Good Question were there to make it a real party.
On the day, Division One’s Calm, Terra Firma, Veloce and Scarlet Runner did well, with the latter backing up from their recent win in the Adelaide to port Lincoln event. Calm and Veloce excel on the series scoreboard, with Goldfinger and Rush also deserving a mention.
Division One had Ikon, Chutzpah 38, Swordfish Trombone, Bandit, Reverie, Jazz Player and the old 12m trial horse from the Fremantle America’s Cup defence, Kookaburra I, all claim a little attention on the day. The International Rule, Club (IRC) measurement class is all Ikon at present, with Wicked and Chutzpah 38 also there. After a great day, Bandit is very close to making a statement here, as they are just two points adrift. The Australian Measurement System (AMS) is lead by Swordfish Trombone, Ikon and Chutzpah now effectively just fighting it out amongst themselves, it would seem. Jazz Player should seal up the Performance Handicap class (PHS), but there are another seven boats all with a blanket spread over them to take the other two places and just eight and half points split them. Most are well known to the other results tables already, except for say Addiction, Audacious and 38 Degrees South.
Division Two had boats like Executive Decision, Penfold Audi Sport, Horizon Sprint, Frenzy, Absolut, Toecutter 2 and Nutcracker make a dent on the board for their day’s work. Overall, in IRC, Penfold Audi Sport, Absolut and Top Gun hold the positions down, but after a disastrous Round Five, Executive Decision has clawed back a bit today to be just two points out of the equation. Look to a big finish there! Toecutter 2 holds AMS with Horizon Sprint behind Penfold Audi Sport in the tally. Dark Energy owns PHS, with Under Capricorn and Horizon Sprint there too.
A very delighted David Ellis from Penfold Audi Sport is, ‘…just thrilled to be in front on IRC. We’re keen to finish this the same way we began it all. Seems such a long time ago that I drove to Sydney and back to get the new carbon mast, which went in just four days before Round One. We’ve been tuning and understanding it ever since, I suppose.
We have the added motivation of having taken the IRC State Championship a little while ago to get the double with the Club Marine Series title will be wonderful. Over the last five years we’ve been delighted with the results over the two boats and the original crew of Troy Croft, Jane Richards, Paul Larcher, Alex Gilbert and myself are getting a real buzz from it. Our newer crewmembers for when we got the bigger boat, Ben Howland and Paul Grant, have combined well and for me, it has simply been a delight. The racing inside our fleet is something else – so competitive.’
Watermark II, Wavelength, Intrusion, Outlaw, Mystery and Footloose had good or even sensational days out there. So yes, Watermark II leads Intrusion and Wavelength in IRC. AMS has Rhiannon show up in third, but Outlaw and Nouannie sit very close to them. Sea Eagle holds PHS over Outlaw, just, with Good Question answering most ones asked of them having a secure third place. Like Div2, Div3 will be hard fought, but mostly in Div3 for which way it stacks up inside the leader board.
So there you have it. The 2011/12 Club Marine Series has now had it all. The final round is set for March 24 and you just know it is going to be interesting, if for nothing else than what combination will be served up to the dedicated crews of the 150 vessels. Hobson’s Bay Yacht Club will be the host for the finale.
Many thanks to the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria for continuing to provide a media vessel, just as they have done for the series to date - much appreciated.
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 clubmarineseries.com.au