Festival of Sails Day 2 - Action packed start

Festival of Sails 2013 day 2
Festival of Sails 2013 second day of racing had an action packed start for those classes starting the Melbourne to Geelong passage race.

The passage start was postponed twice, delaying up to 250 impatient and eager crews by nearly two hours while the race committee monitored a forecast strong south westerly front.

Royal Yacht Club of Victoria historian Ruth Plummer said that to her knowledge the start has never been postponed or cancelled.

Sails were eventually hoisted just before 11am as the fleet made their way to the two starting lines off Point Ormond at Elwood on the western shore of Port Phillip Bay.

The race committee went into the start sequence at 11.40am and racing began at 11.45am, some boats individually recalled. The omission of the Sandringham mark was the only amendment to the course.

Royal Geelong Yacht Club Commodore Andrew Neilson explained the reason for the delay was due to a gale warning issued by the Bureau of Meteorology,

'We predicted this might happen. Safety is paramount; we love the fleet and we try to get them d
own to Geelong in a safe manner.'

The promised south-west front came in shortly after the passage race start, delivering difficult conditions even for the most seasoned skippers. Winds peaked at 30 knots from the south, then settled in at 22-25 knots.

Line honours and first place went to Gusto a MBD Open 66 from Cruising division B. Skipper Brian Pattinson was pleased with the result, 'We’ve never won line honours in the Geelong race before, so it’s pretty great'.

Gusto’s official finish time was 3.48pm giving them an elapsed time of four hours and three minutes for the amended 30 mile course. Gusto’s crew recorded a top wind speed of 40 knots on the dial and a top boat speed of 19.5 knots.

There were a number of incidents in today’s passage race including broken gear and three confirmed dismastings; Rising Sun, an Elliot 7.4, Freestyle 1, a Cavalier 37, and Champion, a Van De Stadt Pion. This afternoon the race committee has confirmed at least 20 retirements, a number likely to increase.

Full Results available here.