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Geographe Bay Race Week wrapped up by Limit

by Bernie Kaaks on 5 Mar 2011
Aardvark recovered to lead the Division 2 fleet before reaching the second mark. - Geographe Bay Race Week 2011 Bernie Kaaks - copyright
Geographe Bay Race Week is hosted by the Geographe Bay Yacht Club and is the largest Yachting Regatta in Western Australia. It is held from February 25th to March 4th 2011.

Day 6.

Alan Brierty’s RP62 Limit hung a huge question mark over the current state of ocean racing in WA by winning all but two of the week’s races in the IRC Division 1 fleet (the two she 'lost' were seconds!). Even relatively short windward and return races, where her size placed her at a distinct disadvantage tactically, the big yacht outperformed the local fleet in every discipline.

The Next Factor, a Farr 40 optimised three years ago to make the best of the IRC rule, was helmed by New Zealander Simon Minoprio and surprised many of her opposition by comfortably taking second place with 20 point lost. Third was Peter Ahern’s Farr 40 Yo!2, with 39 points, underlining the dominance of the top two.

Racing in IRC Division 2 was tight all week, and today was no exception. Laurie Flynne’s Aardvark, a new Archambault 40, had played second fiddle to Tony Carter’s First 40 Just Cruisin’ until yesterday’s windward and return races, winning all three. Realising that today needed a do-or-die effort, Flynne started nervously, which cost him a 720 degree turn to exonerate a start line infringement. From there it was all Aardvark. By the second mark the boat had assumed the lead and she went on to take the IRC win the series on a countback from an Archambault 35 Archimedes, sailed by Anthony Kirke. Kirke recruited match racing bowman Graeme Spence and sailmaker Brad Sheridan for his campaign, and but for Aardvark’s heroics in the last four races, would have taken the trophy home. Just Cruisin’ finished third with 31 points lost.

Ian Holder’s modified Whiting 32 Bad Habits stayed in contention in IRC division 3 until yesterday, sharing the honours with Michael Finn’s S&S34 Constellation, but lost out over the final two days of competition to finish second to Constellation by 7 points. The Adams 10 The Addams Family won today’s final race to finish third overall.

Rod Beurteaux did not have to sail today to win the sportsboat division, electing to drop today’s race for a total of 18 points. Tim Reger’s Don’t Forget Alice was second with 22 points and Snake Charmer (Chris O’Keefe), which won today’s race, finished third with 24. All three are Viper 640’s, which are enjoying spectacular popularity in W.A.

The Premier Cruising Division was won by Rob Thomas’ Davidson 50 Finistere by one point from the little modified Diamond (with a lid!) Intruder, sailed by Bunbury yachtsman George Mardon.

It took a win in the final race for local yachtsman Mark Blizard to win the under 10 metre racing division in the Fremantle 8 Ziggy Stardust, relegating the early series leader The Fox, a BW8 sailed by Alan Thomas, into second place by just 4 points. Conrad Todd’s Thompson 870 was third.

Harry Beaver’s Flying Tiger, New Tricks needed a countback to win Division 4 ahead of the Adams 10.6, Sante, sailed by Simon Prosser. Albany skipper Michael Cameron was third in another Flying tiger, Matador.

The smallest multihull in the fleet, Roger Harrison’s Farrier Tramp Tri-umph narrowly won its division ahead of Bob Hall’s Asteroid with Ken Mills’ Vamos third.

Always sensitive to the mood of the competitors, Geographe Bay Yacht Club has moved the 2012 regatta forward a week to separate it from WA’s Labour Day long weekend, a move that will be welcomed by most participants, many of whom like to compete in their State Championship events during the long weekend.

There is no doubt that this year’s regatta, though down slightly on numbers from last year, ranked with the best. The notoriously fickle breezes were cooperative, racing in all division was close (except for Limit) and the experiment to delay starts until the afternoon to avoid the 'noon lull' for which the Bay is famous, was an unqualified success. Congratulations to the hard working bunch of volunteers at Geographe Bay Yacht Club for producing such an excellent event.

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