by Bernie Kaaks
Redink Homes Geographe Bay Race Week - A fleet of 16 yachts turned out for last year’s Premier Cruising Division. With entries up to 32 this year, organisers wisely decided to split the fleet into two. With 83 nominations received this year, numbers have improved slightly on last year’s, but with a distinct decline in IRC numbers. Last year’s three IRC fleets were consolidated into just two this year, but if today’s windward leeward races are any indication, competition will be just as tough.
Tony Carter's Beneteau First 40 set to renew hostilities with Hoodoo Man by winning race 2.
One of the features of last year’s regatta was the close tussle between Tony Carter’s Beneteau First 40 Just Cruisin and The Archambault 40, Aardvark.
The A40, now in the hands of Royal Freshwater Bay’s Craig Carter and renamed Hoodoo Man, was expected to maintain the rage and set the tone in race one by beating the Beneteau home by a massive 11 minutes to claim the handicap win. But Just Cruisin hit back in the next race by finishing within a minute of her rival, well inside her IRC rating difference, to claim first place.
Gary McNally’s GP42 Black Betty has also stood out, claiming back to back line honours wins.
The Premier Cruising Blue fleet includes bona fide racers such as John Moore’s Charlotte, a Marten 49, David Clifton’s S12.2 Eftel and Graeme Monkhouse’s J122 Lithium. Charlotte won today’s short passage race with a line honours/handicap double, but with boats like Kim Ramen’s X-55 Audeamus and Charlotte’s sister ship Sue Sea in the fleet, we can continue to expect fireworks in this group.
Rod Turner’s well-travelled Farr 11.6 Nexus also claimed the handicap/line honours double in the Premier Cruising Green fleet ahead of Gordon and Diana Dunbar’s Dufour 40, Spritzig 2. The Dunbar’s annual battle with John Wallis’ Bavaria 42 Golden Eagle is expected to produce more tight finishes during the week.
Some of the sports boat fleet put on a brilliant display late in the afternoon when a fresh southerly replaced the light north westerly breeze that had blown for most of the afternoon. Line honours winner Indecent Haste, a Shaw 650 sailed by Peter Chalmer, took off as the new breeze hit, followed closely by a brace of Melges 24’s. Sam Monkhouse’s Viper Hissteria took the handicap result ahead of Rod Beurteaux’s Don’t Forget Alice.
A laid-back and friendly welcome ceremony was held at the Geographe Bay Yacht Club last night when local member and State Deputy Premier Troy Buswell formally opened the Redink Homes Geographe Bay Race Week.