by John Curnow
It was hot, bright, sunny and very cheery too on Melbourne’s Port Phillip today. Of itself, that would seem to be a perfect reason to be Ladies Day, but in actual fact there were more women sailing on the 130 vessels in the Club Marine Series today than previously. Perhaps this was so because the Port Phillip Women’s Championship Series starts tomorrow with the Jennifer Goldsmith Perpetual Trophy from the Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron.
The Old and New trick - Kookaburra I with Calm 2 in the back ground - Club Marine Series
Greg Sinclair was the Race Officer on the Division Zero and One course for this Round Five of the Club Marine Series, which was hosted by Sandringham Yacht Club. He said afterwards, 'Not a bad little day, considering the shift in the breeze. We set the Division Zero race away at midday for 2.2nm to 340 degrees with a moderate seven knots blowing. However, we chose to display ‘N’ for no race, before they got to the top mark.'
Some of the fleet in the first race for Division Zero. - Club Marine Series
'We had to get them back down to reset and at around the same time, the promised Sou’easter kicked in and we got them away on an axis of 140 degrees at 2.2nm for two laps. Shortly thereafter, Division One went off as well at the designated 1400hrs start time. That was the latter’s only race for the day and we sent Div0 around again, but it moved slightly on us to the right, so we moved the top mark to 165 degrees to meet it.'
'The Club Marines Series is proving both popular and fun, so it is now off to Round Six, which is the traditional Keeping Cancer at Bay day, where all the monies get donated to charity. Such a good thing to do', Greg finished with.
Mark Welsh from the Division One vessel, Wicked, commented once ashore, 'Just a great day for sailing on Port Phillip today. There were simply perfect conditions and a nice little breeze to get us around the track. Racing for a bit longer would have been nice, so as to be out there enjoying even more of it.'
Division One gets away. - Club Marine Series
'It will be hard for us to beat Ikon from here, they are sailing their boat so well. We are out there giving a red-hot go, but they seem to have our number, well and truly. It might not be our best series this year, but we will always be out there. The Club Marine Series is the best racing on the Bay', Mark finished with.
Audi IRC Class B Australian Champion, Ikon, picked up another win today, with Wicked in third place. Ikon was second in the Australian Measurement System (AMS) category, being nudged out by Swordfish Trombone and holding out Clockwork who placed third. Swordfish Trombone also collected a Performance Handicap (PHS) win today, over Schüss and Wicked. Ultimately, this Division really is about Ikon now, with Audacious, Clockwork, Chutzpah38 and Addiction looking for elbowroom on the podium.
Swordfish Trombone lead a couple of the fleet in to the top mark - Club Marine Series
Jason Van Der Slot from Calm 2 spoke of his TP52’s departure form the course after the first Division Zero race. 'The breeze was building and we were quite comfortable. I did not think we were going to go into another one, and as we had five souls away for Port Lincoln and other duties, we decided to let the last race of the day go, as we have firsts and DNF to use for drops. John ‘Willow’ Williams and Calm look like they have won (Line Honours) the last race, so that is pretty good indeed.'
A good day for the Terra Frima crew, back out in the CMS again - Club Marine Series
Calm 2 do have an unassailable lead in Division Zero and hold a significant 13 and a half point lead from Calm and a massive 30.5 buffer over third placed, Goldfinger. It was good to see the Cookson 50, Terra Firma, return to the track today and they were rewarded with a second and then first place on corrected time. It may well be enough to get them back, again. Calm 2 also have a massive lead in the Performance Handicap stakes, with XLR8 and Calm 10 points astern from there and Goldfinger and additional 13.5 back, again.
As highlighted earlier, the Northerly wind seemed to do a countdown too, just like the one prior to the gun, showing 4knots, then 3, 2 and 1, before it went South. As it transferred direction, it would be different from top to bottom of course, with 160 on display from the course boat and 135 degrees on offer back at the start on board the Committee Boat. Once settled it started to climb the other way going through from 8s to mid-teens, as all of the racing continued throughout the afternoon. Further up the Bay, Divisions Two and Three appeared on the racetrack before 1400hrs for their two races of the afternoon and an axis of 145degrees was set for them to complete two laps up and back.
A lot of skippers chose to go in towards the beach and those that went out to sea may have had pace, but they had to duck a lot of boats who were still on Starboard tack, so it did not look good early for them.
Of course it is always colourful with Div2 and 3, and that is not just the referring to the spinnakers. It’s the boats, the crew – lots going on to create a true spectacle. Certainly this was even more so with a Black Flag on display after a general recall got everyone thinking about everyone else, to some degree…
David LeRoy the PRO for the series said, 'It does not get much better than what we had today. Breeze arrives on schedule, sunny and warm conditions and even the odd shift in the breeze to help the true sailors make a real race of it. The start line was fair, so the Black Flag went up after the first General Recall, so as to ensure we did not get the repeat offenders being over with 20 seconds to go.'
Dark Energy collect the smoke from another Line Honours victory - Club Marine Series
There was a lot of cloud around the shoreline of the Bay and most of usual suspects chose to go up the centre of the course, whilst a lot pushed the corners of the envelope both out to sea and in towards shore. Dark Energy got the gun for the first race, with Matrix, Sportscar, Executive Decision, Wind Speed, INSX, Horizon Sprint and Gienah in relatively close company after that. Wavelength collected the Div3 gun. No discussion there.
Portofino and Hotspur retired from the next race and despite the warning from the first race, there was an Individual Recall for Dark Energy, Wide Load and Sea Eagle, along with one or two others from Div2. Some even chose a super conservative start to avoid the mess, but there still was fun and games on the line, with stalled boats, clashing tacks and a lot of commentary to be heard. Div3 also had a few on course side (OCS), like Magazan 53 and Lucy In the Sky.
Wind Speed enjoying the day - Club Marine Series
In terms of this course today, Wind Speed have to be mentioned in same space as Executive Decision and to a slightly smaller degree, Horizon Sprint, albeit for the latter that the results on paper do not look nearly as good. Les Browne form Wind Speed said of the day and series, 'We got good starts and picked the correct side of the course, so that has really helped. We are loving the racing and the crew is working together excellently, so we hope to stay on the podium and get a good mention at the awards. Loving the flat water and close competition that has been pretty prevalent in the series so far.'
Stitched Up are always a threat to the scoreboard - Club Marine Series
On the day, the usual suspects in, Executive Decision, Penfold Audi Sport, Top Gun, Wind Speed and Stitched Up were all over the Measurement Categories, with Longshot, Carrera and Primo doing well in PHS. However, in terms of the Club Marine Series to date, Audi IRC Class C Australian Champion, Executive Decision demonstrably leads IRC from Penfold Audi Sport and Top Gun, with Wind Speed joining the podium in AMS on equal third. Then in PHS, it is Matrix over Wind Speed and then Top Gun.
Wavelength are one of the usual suspects... - Club Marine Series
Division Three also saw a lot from the usual suspects with Watermark II, Wavelength, Intrusion, Skipjack and Johnny Be Goode right in there in the measurement categories. PHS was a Duckmobile, Magic Bullet, Y Knot and Magazan 53 kind of day. The series really has a clear leader in IRC with Intrusion holding sway over Watermark II, Skipjack (tied for second) and Wavelength.
One of the many women out racing today - this lady is on Watermark II - Club Marine Series
The latter does seem to own AMS, however, with Watermark II in second from Footloose, who just holds out Nouannie. In PHS, Y Knot has a slender lead from Duckmobile, with Magazan 53 and Johnny Be Goode tied for third.
Many thanks to both Hobsons Bay Yacht Club and Yachting Victoria for providing the media vessels. This ensured that a thorough set of images was taken across both courses. Remember, it is never to late to be a part of it. If you're based in Melbourne and enjoying reading this, then maybe you should come out and get amongst it. Casual entry is welcome and in fact, very much encouraged! Just use you home club's entry system and you are in... Keeping Cancer at Bay is on March 2, 2013.
The Club Marine Series is proudly sponsored by Australia’s largest marine insurer - details and full information about the series can be found at clubmarineseries.com.au