by Bernie Kaaks
After Sunday’s wild and windy conditions at Redink Homes Geographe Bay Race Week, there was some relief for sailors when a beautiful south easterly filled in on Monday, lasting all the way through to the IRC fleets’ night race. With a lay day on Tuesday (ending with a burlesque show which still has the audience talking!) there were some sore heads when racing resumed today.
Jaffa in the last of the light for our photography session with Cape Naturaliste in the background.
IRC fleets began Monday with two snappy windward and return races before returning to shore for a rest and tackling the popular night race in the evening, and today sailed a medium passage race in very light conditions. Peter Milner’s little Melges 30 upset Black Betty’s record with a solid win in the second of the short races and led the fleet around the second mark in today’s light airs to run away with another win. Black Betty paid a heavy penalty for inattention during the pre-start, being caught well to windward at the start and desperately heading back with a spinnaker up!
Dunsborough Yacht Club played host to all the cruising fleets on Monday when races finished off their clubhouse. Crews settled in for a picnic barbecue before a leisurely sail home again late in the day though several opted to stay in Dunsborough to enjoy their hospitality overnight.
If the big boat IRC division scores look settled, the small boat division has about as cramped a leader board as you could imagine. Last year’s winner Mulberry started slowly, but has since added five wins to her record and now sits three points clear of Mind’s Eye with Dynamic completing a trifecta for Beneteau yachts.
Black Betty has been dominant in her demolition of the IRC division one fleet and with six points on the board and despite today’s start, is well clear of Paul Eldrid and Scott Disley’s General Lee.
Rob Male’s Jindarra won Monday’s division five race for yachts under 10 metres, and also the third of today’s windward leeward races. The points score in this division is now very close with the front runners not doing well in today’s light breezes. Many yachts struggled in today’s challenging conditions, battling big wind shifts and changes in breeze strength.
Division 6 (Premier Cruising Blue) is another with very close results. Graeme Monkhouse’s J122 Lithium consolidated her place on top of the table with another win today, but Bunbury yachtsman David Clifton (Eftel) and Brian de Vries (Steel de Breeze) are still well in contention.
Fred Talbot spent Sunday in hospital and left his crew to sail the boat (they broke a backstay but continued to race and finished second!) was back at the helm again on Monday to notch another second place behind Ben Olsthoorn’s Ngkunde, but today it was Geoff Williams’ little Tokoloshe which won, ahead of George Mardon’s converted Diamond, Intruder, and Gordon Dunbar’s Dufour 40, Spritzig2.
With warmer weather forecast, winds for the remainder of the regatta may be challenging for yachtsmen and officials alike.