Please select your home edition
Edition
T Clewring J-class

Exceptional weather conditions blast Port Fairy race

by Jennifer Cook on 7 Apr 2012
Trybooking.com sailing into the storm - ORCV Melbourne to Port Fairy Race Grant Dunoon
The ORCV Port Fairy race started out in ideal conditions and all boats and crew were prepared for a strong southwestly change which was predicted to hit the fleet around 19:00hrs on Friday night. However, once the fleet was around Cape Otway the wind hung in the northwest corner and intensified to storm conditions - only swinging to the west later.

Sustained storm force winds and wild seas continued to hammered the fleet for hours in the second half of the race. In these conditions crews were hanging on and making little progress in the strong headwinds. The predicted shift to the southwest never eventuated and would have enabled boats to ease the sheets, reducing the pressure on crew and gear, giving a more stable angle to steer the boats in the mounting seas.

This 65 nautical mile leg of the race from Cape Otway to Port Fairy crosses the boundary between Bass Strait and the Southern Ocean. Here the big swells from the deeper southern ocean meet the shallower waters of Bass Strait and can create very treacherous seas in strong winds.

As the wind picked up many boats were forced to retire with gear failure and turned back to Port Phillip Bay or preceded under jury rig or motor to the nearest safe port.

Don Watson, skipper of Dry White reports winds of 40 to 50 knots with wind gusts up to 70 knots for over four hours. They managed to keep inching towards Port Fairy and took out winning places in all four categories as the only finishing boat. Don explained 'this was exceptional weather conditions! Dry White was in survival mode where completing the race became incidental to getting the crew and boat safely to port'.

Crew member Sally Williams from The Secretary, which was forced to retire, said 'at 35 knots we were managing but came unstuck at 57 knots and already under jury rig due to hydraulic problems with the backstay. The boat had limited steerage and was only making half a knot so the Skipper decided to turn back to the 'Heads'.

The Secretary was down to three reefs in the main and had the headsail furled when the hydraulic backstay failed. This put enormous pressure on the mast and rig and then when the batten cars jammed in the main track, as they were further reducing sail, they were forced to cut the main free with a knife and ditch it in the heaving sea. There was a tense moment when they struggled to release the huge flogging main still held by the wire outhaul halyard, until fellow crew member, Rosie Colahan, eventually cut it free with a hacksaw.

Dry White, Slinky Malinky, Bandit, Alien and Trybooking.com, are now safely tied up in the Port Fairy river. Magazan is tied up in Apollo Bay harbour. Another ORCV member boat called Young Ones, who was not an official race entrant, and had intended to have a leisurely cruise in company with the race fleet, is also safely tied up in Port Fairy. Yoko retired earlier in the race and along with Spirit of Downunder, The Secretary and Dekadence are all back inside Port Phillip Bay.

The six crew of Inception, having been plucked from the water by the crew of Trybooking.com, are pleased to be ashore and are being well cared for by the members of the Port Fairy Yacht Club.

During the storm last night Inception took-on water and sank about seven nautical miles west of the aptly named Ship Wreck Coast; approximately halfway between Cape Otway and Warnambool.

A big salute to the crew of Trybooking.com who responded heroically to the time honoured lore of the sea - to assist anyone in distress.
NaiadZhik Yachting 660x82Schaefer 2016 Ratchet Block 660x82

Related Articles

Michael Marshall triumphs at J/22 World Championship
With a second place finish in Thursday’s only race, Mike Marshall, Todd Hiller and Luke Lawrence are the champions. Heading into the 10th and final race, Marshall and Chris Doyle were tied on points at 30. As the 41 teams arrived at CORK in the morning, the after effects of an overnight storm left breeze in the mid-20s, so the Race Committee postponed on shore.
Posted on 25 Aug
Best pictures of the first 4 Acts of the Extreme Sailing Series™
An influx of fresh talent have all added to the hype, but the greatest evolution is the replacement of the Extreme 40. An influx of fresh talent, new venues and a revised race format have all added to the hype, but the greatest evolution is the replacement of the Extreme 40 by a smaller, faster catamaran: the flying GC32.
Posted on 25 Aug
Return to Russia for the Extreme Sailing Series™
Joining the fleet as the season heads into its second half is Gazprom Team Russia, led by WMRT champion, Phil Robertson. With one week to go, the fleet returns to St Petersburg for the fifth Act of the season, presented by SAP, 35 of the world’s best sailors are getting their heads in the game and preparing for the one of the trickiest venues of the season so far.
Posted on 25 Aug
Marshall and Doyle tied on points at J/22 World Championship
By way of a victory in Wednesday’s third race, Mike Marshall, Todd Hiller and Luke Lawrence are tied at 30 points By way of a victory in Wednesday’s third race, Mike Marshall, Todd Hiller and Luke Lawrence are tied at 30 points with Chris Doyle, Will Harris and Adam Burns. Jeff Todd is still in the hunt in third place with 35 points.
Posted on 24 Aug
Debriefing the 2016 Rio Olympics—Sailing news North America and beyond
Editorial Editorial
Posted on 23 Aug
The Clipper Race turns 20!
Throughout the race, tales of crew celebrating birthdays on board filter back and they are always a special occasion Throughout the race, tales of Clipper Race crew celebrating their birthdays on board filter back and they are always a special occasion, likely to remain a completely unique event in their lifetime.
Posted on 23 Aug
A magnificent fleet gathers in Cowes for Etchells World Championship
58 teams from all over the world have entered the championship, hosted by the Royal London Yacht Club. Twenty teams are from Great Britain and a dozen each from Australia and the United States of America. Four entries are from Hong Kong and as far afield as: Bermuda, Ireland, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates.
Posted on 22 Aug
FAST40+ Class to be the first to have honour of racing for One Ton Cup
14 FAST40+ racing yachts are expected, flying the flags of England, Germany, Ireland, Scotland, South Africa and the USA 14 high performance FAST40+ racing yachts are expected for the One Ton Cup, flying the flags of England, Germany, Ireland, Scotland, South Africa and the United States of America. The crew, of which only five can be professionals, come from countries all over the world.
Posted on 22 Aug
Noroton Yacht Club dominates Hinman Trophy Team Race
Sailors often say it’s the little things that make the difference between winning and lose. 2016 Hinman Trophy Team Race - Sailors often say it’s the little things that make the difference between winning and lose. This was the case for Noroton Yacht Club as they won the Invitational Team Race Regatta for the Commodore George R. Hinman Masters Trophy for the second straight year, though maybe not in the way you’d expect.
Posted on 22 Aug
Drama Queen - Goransson wins Melges 32 National Championship
Richard Goransson and his Inga from Sweden team have claimed the 2016 US Melges 32 National Championship 2016 US Melges 32 National Championship - After a weekend of challenging, moderate conditions in Newport, RI, Richard Goransson and his Inga from Sweden team have claimed the 2016 US Melges 32 National Championship hosted by Sail Newport. Capping a weekend full of tight racing with lead changes around the track, it was fitting that the final race had three teams fighting for the regatta win
Posted on 22 Aug