by Ian Grant
Rod Sawyer’s Surefoot designed in the cold northern hemisphere climate by well known Swedish naval architect Peter Norlin continues to register important race wins in the tropical warm and windy Whitsunday Islands.
Surefoot which has the distinction of representing New Guinea under the Royal Papua Yacht Club burgee in the 1983 Admirals Cup in England continues to add impressive results to her distinguished log book.
During her heyday Surefoot raced against the best yachts in the World and has the distinction of weathering the mixed range of conditions from frustrating drifters to fresh and frightening rig stressing gales.
Now proudly owned by Whitsunday Sailing Club skipper Rod Sawyer and officially celebrating her 30th year the veteran class ocean racer has continued to produce the all angle sailing speed to outpace her more modern rivals in club racing.
Naturally skipper Rod Sawyer and his crew of long term Whitsunday Sailing Club mates value the opportunity to wear a Surefoot crew shirt but they remain relentless in protecting the racing reputation of the 'Golden Oldie’.
Skipper Rod Sawyer enjoys a special element of personal pride every time he grips the ‘Dog’s Leg’ when Surefoot heels to the wind.
He has a long list of special sailing experiences and the vintage class ocean racer promises to add more to her impressive career over the autumn and winter racing program.
However with respect Rod Sawyer openly admits to Surefoot having entered the twilight years of her racing career –
'But that does not mean she has slipped off the pace' he said.
Her recent win in the Rum Bucket trophy on Pioneer Bay served notice that Surefoot is on the pace with her skipper and crew enjoying yet another special post race celebration on the deck of the Whitsunday Sailing Club.
While Surefoot has officially entered her 30th season there are no plans in place for her crew to start ‘nursing’ her when the lee side is pressed in the stronger wind and sea conditions.
In fact the stronger it blows the better with Surefoot recording her best results in winds gusting above 15knots.
But she has proved to be no slouch in the lighter wind range where an upgrade to her relatively race weary sail wardrobe including a new headsail has kept the ‘Old Girl’ on the pace.
The Surefoot crew hope to have a few more tricks up their sleeve as they continue to evaluate their boat speed to continue their challenge to win the Club championship.
Surefoot remains as a top contender but first skipper Rod Sawyer and crew will have to be tactically prepared to protect their sailing space against the equally determined crews on Sandpiper, Wobbly Boot, Idle Time, Bobby D and the Terry Archer helmed Questionable Logic.