by Offshore WA
After a chilly morning Fremantle, Western Australia turned on beautiful winter sun for Saturday’s Arlene Race, the first heat of this year’s Valmadre Cup Series, hosted by Fremantle Sailing Club on Gage Roads. A grand fleet of fifty-five ocean racing yachts enjoyed moderate breezes and tight competition in the 22 nautical mile race, which also counted as the first heat of the WA IRC State Championships.
Cutting to the chase – the new Cutty Wren preparing for her first start.
Peter Ahern’s Farr 40 Yo! 2 showed the benefit of extensive IRC optimisation and a new suit of sails to dominate the bigger boats in Division Zero, finishing third over the line and almost five minutes ahead on IRC handicap. Commodore Ahern’s Royal Freshwater Bay club-mate Sled, an IMS Farr 47, recorded fastest time and second on IRC, with near sister-ships General Lee and Al Fresco taking third and fourth to complete a Freshwater Bay quadrella.
Brian de Vries’ 2008 Siska Trophy winner Steel de Breeze, a Swarbrick 125, made a welcome return to IRC racing after a four year break. Steel de Breeze appeared to be outgunned in Division Zero and may fit better in Division One, but will benefit from the outing in a campaign to prepare for the 2013 Beautiful Indonesia Fremantle-Bali Race.
In Division One, the Royal Freshwater Bay rout continued, with Craig Carter’s Hoodoo Man, an Archambault 40RC, powering away to grab the coveted line honours-first IRC double. Fremantle Sailing Club then finally troubled the scorer, with Giddy Up, a Farr 395, and Adrenalin Rush, a Bakewell-White Titan 36, taking IRC second and third respectively.
Claremont Commodore Dominic Papaluca completed his first Valmadre race in his new yacht, the former Albany-based Bull 9000 Wild Bull, and will be satisfied with his sixth placing in the competitive sixteen-yacht Division One fleet.
The twenty three boat Division Two fleet welcomed two brand new members, the Fremantle-based pair of Minke, a Beneteau First 30 skippered by David Millar, and Peter Henley’s Jeanneau Sunfast 3200 Cutty Wren. While both were beaten by their respective sister-ships Lamotrek and Kraken, the new yachts add depth to the growing short-handed fraternity.
It was the seasoned Beneteau First 34.7 trio of Mind’s Eye, Dynamic and Wyuna that revelled in the fading conditions to finish first, second and third over the line in Division Two, but the fast-finishing Blondie, Simon Torvaldsen’s Royal Perth S&S34, and Ian Holder’s Whiting 32 Bad Habits were too close, comfortably grabbing first and second on IRC. After a nasty moment of being omitted from the results sheet, Brad Skeggs’ Mind’s Eye, representing Geographe Bay Yacht Club and Royal Perth, was confirmed as the third placegetter.
In the non-IRC Division Three fleet, Anita Wyntje’s Fremantle cruiser Flying Sorceress scored first and fastest, with Double Vision, Graeme Cole’s Cole 32 from East Fremantle, in second place ahead of Leonie, a Catalina 355 sailed by Fremantle’s Mirko Moeller.
Full results of the Arlene Race here
The Valmadre fleet will now prepare for the Ensign Race in two weeks, which this year will be made up of a mini-series of two windward-leeward races. Yachts can still join the Valmadre Cup series, or enter individual races, by contacting Fremantle Sailing Club.