by John Curnow
ORCV Winter Series race four was held under wonderfully sunny skies and some 15 knots of Northerly breeze, which in turn provided for flat water on Melbourne’s Port Phillip.
Chutzpah38, driven by David Ellis on the day, crosses back on Port after the start - ORCV Winter Series
Race Director, Robin Hewitt, had as warm a report as the rays from the big solar heater. ‘My report? Nothing happened. Sweet as. What a beautiful day. There were some interesting tidal effects, especially at start, but then it all settled to be mostly neutral. There was a 20 degree cycle in the breeze, which shifted for long enough to be of real value to those that were in phase.’
‘All in all, it was a very pleasant day indeed. I took the wind graphs from the Bureau of Meteorology site at 7am today and I have to say, they were right on the money’, Robin finished with.
The Principal Race Officer for the Winter Series, David LeRoy from the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria, said of the day, ‘The most exciting thing was a blown head gasket on one of the ducks we had out there. Seriously though, it was good sailing, we did not have to shift the course from the original 350 degrees, which meant they had to gybe on all of the runs. A pleasant 15 to 18 knots stayed with us until the last couple of boats were in their finishing tacks. We set a 2.5nm course and got Division One to do seven legs and just the five legs for Division Two.’
One of the other things to note today, was that RYCV Captain, David Ellis and his crew were out on Chutzpah38 today, as her owner, Bruce Taylor was onboard his Caprice 40, Chutzpah, doing the Sydney Gold Coast race in not much wind. David and crew sailed their previous boat, Surprise, to many a trophy and have racked a few already with the new vessel, Audi Penfold Sport. Today, they did Bruce proud and got the boat home in seventh place, which earned them second in IRC and AMS. Most notably, they crossed ahead of great friends and rivals, Lou Abrahams’ Challenge.
On the day, Goldfinger led the fleet around, but in Division 1 IRC, it was all production boats with two Beneteaus being split by David and crew on Chutzpah38. Schuss is a First 45 and Dry White a First 40. In Division Two IRC, the virtually always well-sailed INSX got the honours from another Beneteau, White Noise, ahead of George Shaw’s J44, The Secretary. The latter no doubt loving the fact that the whole series, thus far, has been sailed in 15 knots plus.
Australian Measurement System (AMS) Division 1 honours went to Dry White with Chutzpah38 in second and the Bakewell-White Z39 we know as Jazz Player collected third. They, along with INSX and Toecutter 2 are the standout crews of the series and one of them will collect the Lord Warden Trophy for the lowest pointscore of the 2011 Winter Series. Division 2 AMS was taken out by the aforementioned Toecutter 2, with White Noise and The Secretary getting the minor places.
The crew aboard Dry White was indeed pretty happy with the day. ‘It started off pretty cold and didn’t show much promise of improving as we came out of the pen at 8.30am for a bit of practice. We set the spinnaker and did at least five gybes before getting ready for the start. First we put the medium headsail up, then changed to the heavy, back to the medium and then settled with the heavy again.’
‘After the first beat to windward, the spinnaker popped beautifully and we then set about changing headsail again, as we set off for the bottom. The crew’s clothes were also being changed, as they opted for lighter gear, throwing the heavier stuff below. Returning back uphill, the left side of the course paid off, but pushing out there for how long and how far was the real question.’
‘Most crews sailed for over two and a half hours and to be honest, it felt like we were actually sailing in latitudes further North. Not a skerrick of water appeared on deck during the day and by the time we got back to the clubhouse at Sandringham Yacht Club, the deck was alive with crews in their colourful T-shirts. A really good day and it was all pretty neat and tidy’, said the crew spokesperson.
Arch Rival, a Jones 40 that is new to her owner, John Hall, collected the Division 1 Performance mantle today, with Dry White and Spirit of Downunder vying for the minor places, with just nine seconds separating them for the result. White Noise won Div2 PHS today, with Beyond Outrageous and The Bookmaker collecting second and third respectively. It is wonderful to see these two great campaigners get a mention.
Race five of the Winter Series is a passage race around fixed navigational marks inside Melbourne’s Port Phillip and will be on Sunday, August 14. It is a chance for boats to shine in a way that windward/leeward racing cannot provide for and further training for heading out to sea.
One boat that will be keen to do well is Chutzpah38, who currently lead IRC Division 1, just ahead of Jazz Player and then Schuss. In Division Two, INSX has a great lead, but the minor places are less settled, with The Secretary and Alibi ahead of the next bunch.
The AMS results are a little more clear cut, with obvious leaders and placeholders. In Division 1, Jazz Player stands ahead of Chutzpah38 and Dry White. Division Two has the likely Lord Warden Trophy winner, Toecutter 2, ahead of The Secretary and Addiction.
In all the cases, there are vessels just off the podium, currently, but well able to feature in the end, so in order to finish first, first you have to finish. The Performance Handicap System will have to go to the wire, as well. Jazz Player leads from Spirit of Downunder and Schuss in Division One and The Secretary holds it from Addiction and Joint Venture in Division Two, but there are at least three boats outside the rankings that could feature, especially if someone above has any issues.
Ultimately, there’s plenty of racing to come, including the finale, which is the much loved multiple course race to Geelong.