With less than two weeks left to enter the Ensign Yachts Beneteau Cup and French Yacht Challenge the regatta numbers are looking like topping the record mark.
This year’s event, hosted by Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron will be held on Moreton Bay over the weekend of 30 and 31 October. Event organiser Jane Virtue reports 'at this stage it is looking like 30 entries with seven Jeanneaus and the rest being Beneteaus'.
The first official entry was from Moreton Bay Trailable Boat Club sailors Lawrie Palmer, John Toomer and Paul Driscoll with their yacht, Waterloo Sunset, a Jeanneau 39i. While Palmer has a lot of racing experience on other boats, he has not raced Waterloo Sunset extensively. The first time entry racing with his friends and their families, looks forward to the fun of racing against other French yachts.
'We are entering the Spinnaker division with an almost spinnaker, a smallish asymmetric that we use on it. We should do okay although she doesn’t turn very well and we slide-ways a lot. It should fun and I am getting ready for my croissants now,' Palmer said.
In the Beneteaus the first entry came from Beneteau Cup Spinnaker Division defending champion Tony Kinsman racing his First 40.7 Blunderbuss. Joining Kinsman on board will most of the crew from last year including two of his sons and two Tasmanians.
'The First 40.7 series are more orientated towards racing with slimmer lines and coach roof, with slightly bigger sails and ours has been well rigged up for racing.
'We competed in the Brisbane to Keppel race recently and had a good race. We came second on PHS which was a good result for us. These races are generally not so good for our type of boat because they are down wind and we are moderate displacement so we don’t get onto the plane as easily as some of lighter boats, but given the wind was lighter, that favoured us a little and we kept our concentration.
Kinsman is looking forward to the annual Beneteau Cup. 'With a round the bay race on Saturday, a few windward returns on Sunday and sailing against other Beneteaus, it is fun. The event has a good format and is well run' Kinsman said.
Since there are no other 40.7s in the bay, the Blunderbuss team will be watching closely the new Matrix, Ultimate Positioning, a 44.7 and the quick 42.7s. 'We will probably be seeing a lot of their transoms'.
The boat to watch in the Beneteau fleet this year will be Dave Waller and Jane Virtue’s The Matrix, a brand new First 50. Unloaded at the dock just one week ago, The Matrix is busily being commissioned at the Gold Coast by Ensign Yachts. 'It will be touch and go to get the boat ready. We have Ullman Sails working on the sail measurements. They have their tape measures at the ready for the mast to go up so that they can get their final measurements.
'Dave has designed and built the instrumentation system which he has refined from the systems he developed for our previous yacht, the Beneteau First 42.7 Medina,' Virtue said.
QLD Beneteau Cup, Dave Waller and Jane Virtue’s previous yacht, Medina - Jane Virtue
In background Virtue in her role of helmsman and sailing master is busy rewriting the crew task list for crew. She is also trying visualise an extra eight feet of yacht approaching the start line.
'With a full racing schedule planned starting with the Beneteau Cup it is going to be exciting days ahead.'
The largest yacht in the regatta is expected to be Ian Heathwood ‘s Matika IV, a Sun Odyssey 52.2. Other entries expected are Barry Waugh’s The Waughship, a brand new Beneteau Oceanis 50 from the Royal Motor Yacht Club in Pt Hacking. Sydney’s Ropabull, a First 42.7 owned by Mike Roper, returns for a second year after finishing eighth in last year’s regatta. Two yachts from the Sunshine Coast are also expected; Bruce Moore’s Jeanneau 45 footer Encore and Gary McCarthy’s First 34.7 Brilliant Pearl from Mooloolaba Yacht Club.
The Beneteau Cup and French Yacht Challenge Sailing Instructions are now available for download from the RQYS website, http://www.rqys.com.au/index.php/department/marine-sports/
Entries close on 15 October 2010 and can be lodged by contacting the event organiser, Jane Virtue on jane.virtue(at)bigpond.com