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Geographe Bay Race Week 2011 - Hot start

by Bernie Kaaks on 27 Feb 2011
Div one starts were do or die. - Geographe Bay Race Week 2011 Bernie Kaaks - copyright
Geographe Bay Race Week 2011- Stifling conditions greeted sailors on arrival in Busselton. Searing temperatures combined with abnormally high humidity made for a warm welcome function in every sense of the word.

Conditions on day one of the regatta, although hot, saw a pleasant south westerly breeze blowing across the bay at around 10 knots, making for a glorious day of competition for both cruising fleets on a short passage race and three IRC divisions sailing windward and return courses.

Competition was hot on the water. Alan Brierty’s Limit waltzed away with dual line honours wins in IRC Division 1 as expected, but behind him the battle was ferocious. John Moore’s Marten 49 Charlotte kept everyone at bay in the first race, but in the second race Gary McNally’s newcomer, the GP43 Black Betty took up the running to be the next boat after Limit.

The stand out boat in the fleet was the past champion, David Walling’s Farr 40 The Next Factor. With a second place in race 1 (behind Limit’s first and fastest performance) they won race 2 with a corrected time margin of more than two minutes and go forward with a great deal of optimism. The fact that they were able to achieve that without their previous principal helmsman is a tribute to Walling and his crew.

Tony Mitchell’s Sled sailed consistently and Peter Ahern’s Yo! 2 also performed well in both races.

No yacht has been able to establish any dominance in IRC division 2. As expected, rivalry has been ruthless and as was the case a year ago, this looms as the toughest division in the regatta. The most consistent to date have been Arajilla, an Archambault 35 sailed by David Gilham, and Brad Skeggs’ well performed Beneteau 34.7 Minds Eye. Rob Halvorson’s Giddy Up, steered by his son James, is another who is well placed at this early stage. Even line honours were mixed, with Laurie Flynn’s Aardvark winning the first race and Tony Carter’s First 40 Just Cruisin’ taking the second to reverse their positions.

Constellation and Bad Habits resume their rivalry in division 3 and finished day one all square. Constellation won the second race and was third in the first, while Bad Habits finished well with two seconds.

Peter Chalmers’ brand new Shaw 650 Indecent Haste, which was launched just a few weeks ago, made a good start to her campaign with a line honours win and a second place on ASBA handicap. Former sharpie champ Tim Reger was the first of 6 Vipers to cross the line and placed first on handicap.

Division 6, for yachts under 10 metres, was dominated by the Thompson 870’s Gypsy, which took line honours and sister ship Stand Aside, but Alan Thomas sailed the Bakewell-White 8 The Fox finished third, clinging doggedly to the larger boats throughout their short passage race. Handicap results will be announced on Monday.

As expected, Finistere won line honours in the Premier Cruising division, but the rivalry between the 40 footers Golden Eagle and Spritzig 2 has been rekindled, with John Wallis’ Golden Eagle drawing first blood with a margin of two minutes.

Richard Pocock’s little Farrier F82R Redshift loved the light weather and blitzed the fleet of multis to claim line honours ahead of Mark Crier’s big Crowther cat Forte.

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