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Sunshine brings out the adrenalin at the Club Marine Series

'The two RP46s – Shamrock leads XLR8 into the top mark. - Club Marine Series'    Teri Dodds ©

Race Officer, Tim Wagland, had asked for some warmth after the previous round of Melbourne’s Club Marine Series. He sort of got it with today’s Round Three of the 2013/14 event. The sun was out, which was way better than the two preceding efforts, but it was the cool Southerly that really made its mark. Anyway, glass half full and all, it meant for better colour in the pictures and the expected 20 knots did thankfully not eventuate. Huey instead chose to deliver 10-12 for the bulk of the day, and half metre seas rolling consistently up Port Phillip were a lot easier to work with and far kinder than the washing machine that was served up last time.

So if sunshine was sprinkled liberally over the 1000 plus sailors out there, then someone else must have put pure adrenalin over everyone’s Corn Flakes this morning. At the Division Two start on the Eastern Course there was more than usual amount of jostling, with a good many craft On Course Side before the gun and just about as many squeezed up past the Committee Boat. Luckily for all of them, R.O Tim Wagland fired twice to announce the General Recall.

Robert Hick’s Toecutter continue to display good form on the water. - Club Marine Series -!©_Alex_McKinnon  

Unless it was an Etchells championship, you would normally think this would be enough to get everyone’s stretching and flexing out of the way. So having telegraphed what comes next, it will be no surprise that after two failed attempts the Black Flagged was hoisted and very, very clearly announced over VHF. Now the saying goes that if you’re not over every now and then, well you’re simply not trying hard enough, but after two botched attempts, the Black Flag is not the time or the place to keep testing that mantra out.

For Moneypenny and Absolut the severely cramped quarters up at the Committee Boat end meant they had arrived early and parked. For Alchemist, in just behind them, this was not pretty and with a heap of boats to windward and no room below they went square up the back of Moneypenny. Right up on the bow of Alchemist and performing his coaching tasks as part of the 38 South Boat Sales program inside the Club Marine Series, was Rohan Veal. The two-time foiling Moth World Champion was sent over the bow and onto the stern of the other craft, only his leg got left behind in the life lines. Large amounts of pain, significant swelling, plenty of bark off and some claret flowing were the results and he subsequently got transferred to the Committee Vessel. No doubt there will be some issues going to the Jury Room as a result of all of the day’s escapades, but the really good news is that Rohan is fine, if a little numb in the leg, so he won’t be on pirate duty any time soon.

Dark Energy under that large kite of theirs… - Club Marine Series -!©_Alex_McKinnon  

An axis of 185° and range of 1.7nm had been set. The breeze would wander between 170 and 215° as part of its normal oscillation, even if it was a little wider than usual. Early the left side worked best and certainly most chose that for the second work back up to the weather mark, but it would be the right hand side that offered the better elevator up to the top. Out the front, the little canting keel Hick, Zutem, was off and flying with Dark Energy in pursuit. Merlion was in there too, proving that a bulkier production craft could still get a wiggle on.

Zutem’s Skipper, Stephen Hunter, said of the Line Honours win, 'A great day and just a lovely one to be out sailing in. It all clicked for us, which is very pleasing. Well done to all the crew and we certainly enjoy sailing together.'

Honours for the day went to the usual suspects in Toecutter and Executive Decision, but there was one vessel that has been hammering away and taking themselves from notable entry to serious podium contender. As a result, White Noise now sits atop the Performance Handicap System (PHS) table after five races.

Jason Close’s White Noise – creeping up the leader board almost as surreptitiously as the dreaded white noise, too! - Club Marine Series -!©_Alex_McKinnon  

Owner/Skipper, Jason Close, said of the day, 'Definitely a bit tired after that. We really try to have a fair crack at it and I am sure no one tries harder. Those Adams 10s are tough to beat, but we’re getting closer and going tack for tack for with them. We train outside of racing and the crew are just great, so well done to them. We really aim to keep it all smooth and relatively quiet on board, which keeps the focus on racing and makes it more enjoyable for all.'

In Division Three it was some more usual suspects that had some further scoreboard success, so well done to Intrusion and Watermark II. However, the note of the day has to be Johnny Be Goode who collected a win in both the Australian Measurement System (AMS) and PHS. There has been some new S80s arrive and others have changed hands. The result of that is some very hotly contested racing. Currently Up ‘n Go holds sway, but Outlaw was another to do well on the day.

Johnny Be Goode – and they have been! Well done. - Club Marine Series -!©_Alex_McKinnon  

Tim Wagland summed up his day, 'The fleet enjoyed the race, that is once they finally got away and it was good to be able to have that slightly longer course length to let them battle it out. It was certainly interesting starting them however, with the bottom of the line pushing the rest of them up. Over crowding for the purpose for purpose cover crowding and they did it three times, so the lesson was not entirely learned for their third attempt at getting away. We had one boat over at the start for Division Three, so clearly most of them got the message from their Div2 cousins. Merak did not return so picks up an OCS. Well done to my team of volunteers. The 12-knot breeze was great and avoided the bash to windward. What a nice early Christmas present to receive from Huey!'

Redline climbs pas the iconic bathing boxes of Brighton Beach. - Club Marine Series -!©_Alex_McKinnon  

The most pleasing aspect of the day was to see so many craft partaking in the new Club Marine Blue Series. Still in its embryonic stages, it has been designed as a pathway for novice skippers and/or crew to get some valuable experience and time out on the water, without the cut and thrust of the main game. Enthusiastic and cheery crews were out on the water hovering for their pursuit start, with Lena getting away first. The well-sailed little S80, Hot Shot, had the lead at about the halfway mark, but Redline saw to that as they passed the iconic Brighton Beach Boxes and went on to take the win.

Saltair, the winner of the inaugural round was out there again, but having caught the eye of the Handicapper the last time out, was not entirely in a threatening position and was sailing well with many a smile on board, albeit towards the back of the 20 boat fleet.

Not a great day for Jazz Player, but a really good way to get a mention for the sponsor! - Club Marine Series -  Teri Dodds ©  

Racing for Divisions Zero and One was conducted out on the Western Course, under the auspices of the PRO for the Club Marine Series, David Leroy. 'We had five over on this course too, so it must have been some special alignment of the planets. Two of them went back very quickly, namely Audacious and Wicked. Two more required some more encouragement to return, which did mean they took a long time to get back. This fate befell Mille Sabords and Reverie. Think Pink (Jazz Player) were well over before there was even the hint of gun smoke and did not return, so therefore score an OCS, but they were trying to shut people out and got left with nowhere to run on the line, so maybe they thought they had better not return.'

'Rush had a great day out on the track and collected the win over Veloce and XLR8. We set an axis of 175? that we then moved to 190 on the last beat, with racing occurring over a range of 1.8nm. The breeze was stable for first two legs and then went left and right before it went right big time towards the end, which necessitated the move. It was mostly sort of eight knots with 12’s towards the end. A lovely sailing breeze with enough movement to keep the afterguard honest!'

'It has been great to see the Blue Division growing and may we have more such great days to get even more people out. Well done to all the owners, crews and especially all the volunteers who make it happen for everyone.'

Now also having a whole heap of fun (issues) out there was Shamrock. The spinnaker was dropped halfway down on the first run and on the second run they held it all the way to, and then subsequently past, the mark and indeed the Committee vessel Moored even lower again, to only then only have to climb back from it all.

Best wine under the sun perhaps, but definitely not the best kite drop on the planet from Shamrock! - Club Marine Series -  Teri Dodds ©  

Tony Walton commented afterwards, 'We had some new crew on board, and so really were on a bit of a training day, just getting to know the ropes. We have had a lot of fun since we bought her (the Reichel/Pugh 46 that started life as Secret Men’s Business 2). It is demanding after the Beneteau 36.7 that we owned previously and we’re learning a lot. Mistakes can challenge you on a boat like this, so we’re happy to keep on the upward curve. Glad it was light in the end, as it helped to not exacerbate the issues any further. In summation, our people are well and we had a good time, so what more could you ask for?'

In Division One on the day, Ikon, Wicked, Gienah, Audacious and even Mille Sabords (after they eventually got going) made names for themselves, but it is really Ikon that deserves a well-earned plug for such a commendable effort in the five races to date. They own the scoreboard with leads in IRC, AMS and PHS. Nice work team and they are lovely people as well.

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 February 8, 2014, and promises to be as entertaining as always.

Gienah picked up a second in AMS and a third in PHS for their day’s work. - Club Marine Series -  Teri Dodds ©  

Blue Division 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

Our photographer’s brother, Brenton, gives a wonderful display of human poling. - Club Marine Series -  Teri Dodds ©  

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. Thank you also to 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

by John Curnow


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2:37 PM Sat 30 Nov 2013GMT

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