Please select your home edition
Edition
Southern Spars

Americas Cup- A visit to Ravensbourne

by Colin Preston on 2 Mar 2012
Ravensbourne Boating Club on right of pic with view up to Dunedin Colin Preston

Ravensbourne Boating Club, on the shores of Otago Harbour, Dunedin, was Russell Coutts training headquarters in his P class days before moving to Auckland, and winning gold at the 1984 Olympics.

Crossing the railway tracks to meet club commodore Warwick Graham, the blustery conditions had cancelled the Optimist training plus 29er and Z Class racing for today. The same happened the previous week with the cold dense breeze producing more guts than further north says Graham. Learn to sail and race sessions regularly take place most Sundays to keep the new blood flowing through the club.

Manoeuvring boats across the Port Chalmers freight train tracks has been a regular occurrence for many years, with the access walk bridge needing to be raised recently following track maintenance.


The club formed in 1896 and its current membership of 44 has some big modifications planned to boost its growth into the 21st century. With six 29ers, two 49ers, 10 Optimists, four Z Class, etc. the club is well equipped to get budding new sailors out racing on the water. The Z class built for the younger sailor tends to attract the ‘masters’ age group to their races providing good competition with this years South Island Z Class Champs, due to have sailed the weekend before, one good days racing and the second day lost due to 30 knot southerlies.

As well as the regular roaring forties winds to contend with, sailors must negotiate a man made obstacle beneath the waves. Built by the early settlers and running part of the length of Otago Harbour is a rock wall to force a channel up the western side of the harbour for shipping into Dunedin.


The downside is having a menacing underwater brake waiting to smash any wayward boat appendages should they misjudge its location. Warwick could tell many tales of destroyed centreboard cases and broken boats that have hit it over the years from racers trying to capitalise on as much free water to beat their competition. With the wall to avoid, most sailing is done on the southern side of the wall, with sailors needing to navigate through a small gap in the wall just east of the clubrooms.

It would be interesting to watch an AC45 manoeuvre in this challenging harbour and one shudders at the thought of those carbon fibre rocket ships hitting the wall, so best keep them in safe open waters. But the likelihood of a visit from one these latest challenging designs from the Coutts list of achievements will never be on the agenda.


Similarly the America's Cup may never get another chance to be seen in the club - with its sole hope of that happening being dashed by a protester armed with a sledgehammer. Warwick tells how Russell had organised to bring the Cup to the Dunedin club in 1997 - only for it to be destroyed the day before the planned flight south.

Despite this bad luck, Russell donated his America's Cup winning medal to the club where it is on display amongst the many other club trophies. Likewise his name is displayed on the club wall being a reminder to all members of his origins with the club, and they would welcome a visit from Russell in future.

http://www.ravensbourne.co.nz/







Wildwind 2016 660x82Bakewell-White Yacht DesignNaiad/Oracle Supplier

Related Articles

EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour hangs in the balance after crucial Leg 5
Team Al Mouj Muscat edged across the finish line in Dubai just one second ahead of EFG Bank Monaco after intense racing In one of the closest leg finishes ever seen in seven editions of EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour, Team Al Mouj Muscat edged across the finish line in Dubai just one second ahead of EFG Bank Monaco after 34 hours of intense racing from Doha.
Posted today at 11:45 am
Cruising Club of America names annual award recipients
The Cruising Club of America selected Michael J. Johnson (Santa Fe, N.M.) to receive Club’s Blue Water Medal for 2016 The Cruising Club of America (CCA) selected Michael J. Johnson (Santa Fe, N.M.) to receive the Club’s Blue Water Medal for 2016, awarded for his extensive cruising for over 40 years, covering more than 125,000 nautical miles and including an east-to-west circumnavigation below the five great southern capes.
Posted today at 4:02 am
JJ Giltinan 18ft skiffs - Replay Coverage of Race 3
Catch the latest race of the JJ Giltinan Trophy for the 18ft Skiffs, sailed on Sydney harbour. Catch the latest race of the JJ Giltinan Trophy for the 18ft Skiffs, sailed on Sydney harbour. Great coverage from the very knowledgeable team on the Camera Cat, including commentary from Peter Shipway, Bob Killick and Andrew Buckland.
Posted today at 3:41 am
Les Voiles de St. Barth - VORs in the spotlight
With curtain set to rise on Les Voiles de St. Barth in just over six weeks no fewer than 57 boats signed up for event With the curtain set to rise on the eighth edition of Les Voiles de St. Barth in just over six weeks (10 to 15 April, 2017), no fewer than 57 boats are already signed up for the event. Among these will be an impressive and rather unique fleet of Volvo Ocean Race boats, including both VOR 60s and VOR 70s.
Posted today at 3:05 am
Unreal acts of seamanship
It was a pleasure to watch Kiwi Conrad Coleman cross the finish line to complete his Vendée Globe. It was a pleasure to watch Kiwi Conrad Coleman cross the finish line to complete his Vendée Globe. He lapped the planet without using any kind of fossil fuels; just wind and solar to power an array of instruments as well as the all important (and power hungry) auto-pilot.
Posted today at 12:11 am
Vendée Globe – Slow down, you move too fast
The Dutch skipper has been forced to slow down to attempt to let the gales move away ahead of him in the Bay of Biscay. After the arrival of five skippers last week, there are now only two left at sea this morning: Pieter Heerema and Sébastien Destremau. The Dutch skipper has been forced to slow down to attempt to let the gales move away ahead of him in the Bay of Biscay.
Posted on 27 Feb
Vendée Globe – Why Pieter Heerema has to wait a little while longer
The Dutch skipper has less than 600 miles to go to reach Les Sables d’Olonne but is not likely to finish before Thursday The Dutch skipper has less than 600 miles to go to reach Les Sables d’Olonne, but is not likely to finish before Thursday, when he is expected to take seventeenth place
Posted on 27 Feb
11 boats to race the first ever GC32 Championship
Paul Kohlhoff, who represented Germany in the Nacra 17 catamaran at Rio 2016, is skippering SVB Team Germany Land Rover BAR Academy announced its squad for the 2017 season today. Like last year, the crew here is unusually being led by its bowman, in this case with former shorthanded offshore sailor, Rob Bunce, taking over from Neil Hunter, who has graduated up to the Land Rover BAR America’s Cup sailing team.
Posted on 27 Feb
RORC Caribbean 600 – A totally unique race
Close to 900 sailors from 30 different nations competed in the ninth edition of the RORC's classic offshore race. The 2017 edition will be remembered for highly competitive racing throughout the fleet, with American yachts winning the major prizes. The race was affected by unusual weather conditions, with a low pressure system sending the wind direction spinning through 360º of the compass.
Posted on 27 Feb
Land Rover BAR Academy with big ambitions in Extreme Sailing Series
Land Rover BAR Academy today becomes the final team to join the line-up for the season opener in Muscat Land Rover BAR Academy today becomes the final team to join the line-up for the season opener in Muscat, as it launches its second campaign in the world's leading global Stadium Racing circuit.
Posted on 27 Feb