Wild Night Ride on Geographe Bay

Limit heads for the setting sun at more than 20 knots - Geographe Bay Race Week 2011
Bernie Kaaks - copyright
Geographe Bay Race Week is the largest yachting regatta in Western Australia and is held from February 25th to March 4th 2011.

Yesterday’s night race started in a 25 knot south easterly which freshened as the night progressed. Limit put in a scorching spinnaker run shortly after the start, disappearing ahead of the fleet at somewhere in excess of 20 knots.

It turned out to be a good night for sailmakers, with many owners reporting torn sails, broken battens and hardware breakages, and desperately in need of today’s lay day to put things right for racing on Wednesday.

Limit scored first and fastest (again!) ahead of Tony Mitchell’s Farr 47 Sled and Peter Ahern’s Yo! 2. Black Betty was prominent again, finishing second over the line and fourth on IRC times.

A fascinating contest is developing in Division 2 between two very different forty footers, royal Perht Yacht Club’s Tony Carter, sailng the First 40 Just Cruisin’ and Mandurah yachtsman Laurie Flynne’ Archambault 40 Aardvark. The two have been swapping places in their contest on the water and on the IRC scorecard, but with its lower rating, Just Cruisin’ may just have the edge when the regatta comes to an end.

Division 3 was a shambles from the outset. Le Jag, sailing two up decided to err on the side of caution and returned to the safety of the marina without starting, and Chris Higham’s new Dufour 35 broke every batten in its mainsail just minutes before the start. Ian Holder’s Whiting 32 Bad Habits looked to be in trouble early, with two men working on a gooseneck problem while the boat was surfing in a brisk downwind run. Amazingly, Bad Habits fixed her problems to finish third over the line behind the S97’s Total Recall (Kevin Brownie) and Skyrider (Dave Watts). On IRC corrected times, Total Recall won the money ahead of Bad Habits, with Michael Finn’s S&S 34 Constellation claiming third place.

Fresh south easterlies during yesterday morning’s race program eased off during the afternoon to give the cruising divisions, multihulls and sportsboats a delightful afternoon’s sailing along the picturesque shoreline of the bay to Forrest Beach and back again.

Richard Pocock’s tri Redshift flew home under spinnaker to beat Mark Crier’s beautiful big cat Forte across the line by nine minutes, to record a first and fastest.

In division 4, Michael Cameron’s Flying Tiger Matador (incorrectly reported as a Bull 9000 yesterday) was much too good yesterday, scoring another first and fastest, beating veteran skipper Lance Rock’s S97 Nyari into second place.

The Under 10 metre division produced the usual tight racing on course. Graeme Zorne and Stuart Campbell’s Thompson 870 scored line honours ahead of Alan Thomas’ tiny BW8, but it was Ian Hensby’s Xtarsea which took the handicap win ahead of Geraldton commodore, Bruce Semple in Farr Side and Rosie Colahan’s S80 D’ Jazz Singer.

Rob Thomas’ Davidson 50 Finistere was again the quickest of the Premier Cruising Division, but behind him Gordon and Di Dunbar’s Dufour Spritzig 2 finally got the better of arch rival Golden Eagle, though neither finished on the podium. First place went to Rick Hoad’s Beneteau Serendipity, with the
Esperance yacht Eagle Rock second and Dufour third.

After bailing out of the previous race with steering problems, James Pearson’s jib and main entry Foolish Behavior won first place, followed by Bunbury yachtsman Phil Truman’s well traveled Sabre, Ayesha.

Black Betty surfs shortly after the start. She finished second over the line. - Geographe Bay Race Week 2011
Bernie Kaaks - copyright

General Lee powers up in the fresh breeze. - Geographe Bay Race Week 2011
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I've nearly got it! Charlotte's bowman feels the pain. - Geographe Bay Race Week 2011
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The Next Factor traveled well early but had a disappointing night by her standards. - Geographe Bay Race Week 2011
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Tony Mitchell's Sled was in on the surfing too. - Geographe Bay Race Week 2011
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Peter Ahern has Yo! 2 in perfect control. - Geographe Bay Race Week 2011
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