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Southern Spars

Huff and Bluster at the Club Marine Series

by John Curnow on 1 Dec 2012
Calm 2 chasing high teens for boat speed. - Club Marine Series 2012/2013, Melbourne, Australia Teri Dodds © http://www.teridodds.com
The last event on Port Phillip before Sail Melbourne takes over, was Round Three of the 2012/13 Club Marine Series. It is the last one before the holiday period and the Race Management team set three races for Division Zero, two for Div1 and one for each of Div2 and 3.

Now all week, there had been a lot of huff and bluster about a blowy day being on the order books, which had been bandied around by literally anyone interested in weather. Those familiar with the place, know that one of the best devices for predicting the weather in Melbourne is to wait until the day and actually get out there. So on Saturday morning, the wind was flicking around from the Sou’west to the North, back to the Sou’west and thence on to the East, ranging from five to fifteen knots along the way. Indeed at midday there was actually nothing for a little while before a gentle five to ten knots from the East to Sou’east came in. That was enough to eventually get Div0’s first race in.

On the Eastern Course, Dennis Livingston from the Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron was the RO for the day and he commented, 'We did struggle early to find the middle of the breeze, as the top was certainly showing differently to the bottom of the course. So holding them up for 10 minutes seemed prudent and we then got both away, with Div2 starting at 1410hrs and Div3 at 1415.'


'It still managed to flick around and a 10 degree change of course was put in to account for it going more Easterly from our original 140. At 1.15nautical miles it took the leaders of Div2 around 80 minutes and more like 90 minutes for Div3.'

'Right at the end, a Westerly change came through delivering 15+ knots from 160 to 180 degrees and there were some changes of position, as a result.'

Dennis finished by saying, 'A successful day’s racing and the support from Royal Brighton Yacht Club and Hobsons Bay YC to get all the marks sorted out was fantastic. Well done team. The racing had something in it for everyone and the good crews would have seen the changes roll in and made the most of it.'


David Ellis from Penfold Audi Sport commented, 'Tight result at the end and good to get a win to keep us in the hunt for the series win, which is important to us. Most of the race was softer than expected and it really built on the last lap. Where’s Wal? and Under Capricorn deserve a mention and overall, our Division is so competitive and enjoyable, that we really get something from it. Seems a lot of crews do too, you know.'


At what is kind of the halfway point in the seven round series, Penfold Audi Sport hold the Div2 IRC mantel, with Executive Decision, Under Capricorn, Top Gun, White Noise and Windspeed all able to make some sort of charge. In the Australian Measurement System (AMS) category, the top three are identical and the fight goes all the way back to eighth place. Similarly, the Performance Handicap System (PHS) goes all the way back to seventh, but Matrix hold a solid lead there, with Where’s Wal? and Mrs Overnewton owning the minor places, currently.


In Div3, Intrusion leads IRC, with Skipjack and Watermark II keen to see what they can do about that. In AMS, Nouannie holds it from Watermark II, with Intrusion, Footloose and Wavelength all in striking distance. Nouannie also leads PHS, then it’s Y Knot, Hot Shot, Footloose, Intrusion, Skipjack and Bushido. They all deserve a mention, for it is close and results are sure to change at some point.


'Today we were expecting to have a fight on our hands in 25knots, but it was really a gorgeous day and the wind came up for just the last 10 minutes of the race. Our virtually all girl crew is marvellous and we are having a great time with it. Bring on 2013', said Tanya Stanford of Nouannie.

Over on the Western Course, PRO David LeRoy from the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria commented, 'When we first went out in the morning, the breeze was running from 290 degrees. The two breezes that were around for a lot of the day certainly kept us on our toes. Once the real one arrived at about 1500hrs, it was on for young and old. There was tight racing amongst the Sydney 38s and the Beneteau 45s, the latter went the bottom mark together. Goldfinger retired unharmed from Div0 after two races and Mille Sabords was a DNF from Div1.'

'We used 1.8nm for two laps all day, although we shortened a bit to 1.4 for the first of Div0’s races and then changed to 115degrees, back from 130 and further reduced to 1.2nm. We had to change to 125degrees for the next race and mostly it was pretty true, although it always kept flicking to some extent.'


'Ultimately, it was a good way to finish off the 2012 component of the Club Marine Series and there are some wonderfully close results too', said David.


Div1 IRC reflects this close racing with Ikon ahead of four Sydney 38s no less - Clockwork, Audacious, 38 Degrees South and Chutzpah38. In AMS, it is kind of the same, Ikon leads, but it is Chutzpah38 in behind, with Clockwork, Audacious and 38 Degrees South all keen for a piece of that pie. Clockwork leads PHS from Dark and Stormy, then Addiction and Ikon.



Well and truly at the front of Division Zero, Calm 2 continues to show just how good a pure nomex-cored, 7.2 tonne gross, four tonne foil and bulb, carbon wonder machine can be. Today alone, they managed to put more than enough distance on all their fellow competitors in an amazingly emphatic statement of sailing in both light and fresh breezes.

Calm 2 dominate the IRC scoreboard from the earlier Calm and then Goldfinger and also have a clear lead in PHS, with XLR8 and Calm in behind them. I was fortunate enough to enjoy the last two of today’s three races from on board this exciting, fast and truly captivating vessel. Little wonder, her owner, Jason Van Der Slot, was smiling and commenting about how happy he and the team is with her, as Calm 2 charged back to her pen on a 14+knot, two-sail reach.

Here is a vessel capable of doing well in to the nine knot range uphill and in the huffs and puffs of the last run downhill as the squirts ran to 24 knots, Calm 2 pulled out an impressive and exhilarating 19 knots of boat speed, literally bolting away from her older sister and anyone else on the course. One of the media vessels was no match for her, either!

She is sharp edged, wet, twitchy, demanding of respect, attention, loads of action and quite possibly one of the best things I have done in some time - certainly that you can write about in an article like this. The crew, which includes Ian ‘Barney’ Walker, is to commended for their quiet boat, work ethic and observations to avoid calamities. All processes are done in about 30 seconds, whether it’s a hoist, gybe, drop or tack. It is a long way to the water from the windward rail and an even longer way to the opposing leeward rail and there are a lot of things to hit during your journey, too!

Look out for the new TP52 circuit when it comes to Australia in 2013. These things are going to be a little like a combination of V8 Supercars, Superbikes and those jetboats that run around man-made courses in the middle of paddocks. Jason commented, 'We’ll get Calm up to Sydney soon in time for the Hobart and then there is the IRC Championships in Geelong, so plenty of varied and competitive yachting to come in both vessels.'

Of course, huff and bluster is a good way to prep the fleets for Sail Melbourne, as there is every chance they will be dealing with some of this very type of weather in the early part of next week.

Many thanks to Sandringham Yacht Club and the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria for providing the media vessels. This ensured that a thorough set of images was taken across both courses.

Remember, it is never to late to be a part of it. If you're based in Melbourne and enjoying reading this, then maybe you should come out and get amongst it. Casual entry is welcome and in fact, very much encouraged! Just use you home club's entry system and you are in...

The Club Marine Series is proudly sponsored by Australia’s largest marine insurer - details and full information about the series can be found at clubmarineseries.com.au.

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