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Moguls at the Club Marine Series

by John Curnow on 10 Nov 2013
Tigris playing in the waves. - Club Marine Series Teri Dodds ©
The bumps were pretty decent and always capped with the fresh white stuff skiers adore. It was even cold enough to be the snow season, with the wind chill making it feel quite nasty, actually. Speaking of evil, the seaway was terribly confused. Yes, the predominant direction was Sou’souwest, but there were cross lines about as clear as those on the hash tag symbol so many people are fixated on these days. Only problem was they were neither anywhere near as a parallel as those, nor always from the same direction.

Back in 1990, David LeRoy had an idea to get boats from all the clubs around Melbourne’s Port Phillip to race against each other. Today he is the PRO and on Saturday November 9, 2013 the newest component of the mix got underway. 'The Club Marine Blue Series has been created to help novice skippers and/or crew get more racing experience, without being forced immediately into the cut and thrust of fleet start style racing. It really is great to see the extra boats partaking in this annual event and what a tremendous thing it is for our sport. Well done to Sarah Allard and Saltair for being the first winner of this great new initiative. I am sure it will become a permanent fixture', said David.

'Out on the traditional White Series course for Division Two and Three, we saw some really good sailing and some not so good at all. In the case of Executive Decision, the same crew gave us plenty of examples of both. Their gybes proved they’re good and why they win a lot of things, but this time the edge bit back. When you sail at the limit, sometimes it will come unstuck. Any number of people had issues, even seasoned campaigners like David Ellis and Penfold Audi Sport, who endured a challenging wipe-out.'

'The sea state was very short and so bumpy. By way of example, Billy, who is 80 years plus, was leaving the deck as he hauled in the marks after racing. What a guy. He used to sail the little Hick, Hick Up. Actually, speaking of Hicks, Robert Hick did really well and had a couple of bullets in the Australian Measurement System (AMS) with Toecutter. Like them, the crews at the top end of Division Two all carried spinnakers and gybed well. It was really good to watch.'

'At one stage in mid-fleet of Div2, we had four boats in the bottom gate and one guy was really letting loose with the verbal barrage. We could hear it, but not decipher it, which could be a good thing. The breeze had a few small shifts in it, but was mostly solid. We set an axis of 185° over a range of 1.4nm for four legs and the winner did it just under one hour, so happy days. Dark Energy romped home, then Executive Decision, now sporting the conservative white spinnaker, over the ridiculous blue one.'

'Our second race was on an axis of 175° and with that slight clocking to the left the chop increased some more on top of the swell lines. Not nice. We never saw more than 24 knots and the lowest was 16, with an average of say 20 to 21 knots. Having the temperature up a couple of degrees would have made it spot on!'

'Given the forecast, it was just terrific to get the races in. We’re now in happy days, with four races completed and just five more to get a whole series covered off and five race days to do it in. Before the next round of the Club Marine Series, we have the Lipton Cup on November 23 and 24. It is short course sailing on the Saturday and a long course on the Sunday, with a Cruising Division on offer for those who would like to savour it all a bit more. See for more information', said David by way of finishing.

In Division Three, Up ‘n Go was a vessel that did just that. Gary Mackinven commented afterwards, 'We had two really exciting rides downhill in that first race and certainly had the pace on the other S80s uphill, so we’re very happy to chalk up a win in IRC and also the Performance Handicap System (PHS). Cheers to our crew of Deanne, Len, Brian and Chris - what a great job - bruised and battered and some sickness too, but we all slugged it out and had a great day.'

Other boats to do well on the Division Two and Three course on the Eastern side of the main shipping channel and not always mentioned were, 2Xtreme. Wild Side and Skipjack. Now out on the Western course it was a day for boat with a name that stands for a beacon – Ikon. Bruce McCracken said of it all, 'We’ve had our core crew for six or seven years now and it really does make a difference in these sort of conditions. We are really happy to be extracting all that we can in both light and heavy going.'

'The sets of waves that came through were really challenging and it was hard to keep way on. The good, clean and long start lines helped, so we jumped off the line and took them ‘round the track for two guns. All in all it was very tiring and we were physically on the go for the whole five hours we were out there. Oh the aches and pains', said Bruce of his own ailments. 'Well done to the crew, other competitors and all those great volunteers on the support craft, especially the ones on the boats on anchor!'

Other boats deserving of a mention today were Wicked, Gienah, Kookaburra and Mille Sabords.

Tim Wagland was the RO today for the Division Zero and One course. 'That washing machine reminded me of Bass Strait along the Surfcoast there – unpleasant and ordinary, which is code for something far less palatable. Thank you to my team for really slogging it out in tough conditions. They earned triple frequent flyer points! Both races were run on an axis of 185° over a range of 2.1nm, in 16-23 knots of wind, with a little 30 surprise every now and then. We lost half the fleet between races with halyards shattered, a split mainsail on Addiction and some reports of sea sickness.'

'Most chose to fly spinnakers - some did so quite well, whereas others danced a merry tune all over the track. In second race, the crews flew well and must have had the odd the moment of joy as a result. Good rides for good times! All said thank you as they finished, so must have a had a least enough joyous times to all look forward back for the next round. I have put in my order for 12 knots from the North and 30 degrees Celsius, so Hughie (the God of Wind), you had better be listening!'

Finally, vale Jason Van Der Slot, last year’s winner of Division Zero. He truly loved his yachting and definitely brought a certain type of panache to it all. Our thoughts go to his wife and two children.

If you're based in Melbourne and think the Club Marine Series sounds like great fun, then you’d be right. So 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 next round is on November 30, 2013, so get your crew organised now.

Division Blue is a new initiative to get novice skippers and/or crew out racing from fleet starts and begin the process of learning their boat and the rules and nuances of racing. If you’re short of crew, perhaps see the Melbourne Sailing website, where there are around 40 sailors looking to get into sailing and out on the water. They range from beginners to intermediates, but all are keen. Full details can be found at

Many thanks to all the participants for being involved in the Club Marine Series, but also and especially the many volunteers it takes to run two courses on the day, let alone the preparation beforehand. For braving the cold on the day, thank you, as too Yachting Victoria and Sandringham Yacht Club who provided the media vessels for the day.

The Club Marine Series is proudly sponsored by Australia's largest provider of recreational boat insurance - details and full information about the series can be found at

Ancasta Ker 40+ 660x82upffront 660x82T Clewring Cruising

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