Mandurah Weekend is organised by Fremantle Sailing Club and hosted by Mandurah Offshore Fishing & Sailing Club.
The extravaganza that is WA Ocean Racing makes its annual visit to Mandurah this weekend, with a large fleet of yachts set to make the short journey south from Fremantle.
The event is traditionally a light weather event with the host club making the visiting sailors very welcome. It is one of the few destination races on the offshore program and is popular with offshore sailors.
The weekend kicks off on Saturday morning with the Halls Head Ocean Race, over a 34 nautical mile course from Fremantle to Mandurah via the seaward side of Garden Island and Coventry Reef. If the weather is kind, the larger yachts will start arriving in Mandurah during the early afternoon.
After a quiet night in the sleepy village of Mandurah (population 80,000), the well-rested yachtsmen rise early on Sunday morning to contest the Point Robert Return Ocean Race, which follows the reverse route back to Fremantle.
At the three-quarter point of the season, the progress scores in the Archambault Offshore Series are very close, so the on-water competition will be cut-throat. The overall leader is Ian Holder’s vintage Whiting 32 'Bad Habits' with 33 points lost, sailing in Division Two, with Kevin Brownie’s S97 'Total Recall, also from Division Two, in hot pursuit with 49 points. But with a squadron of classy Division One yachts still in contention, the result remains wide open.
Not too bad - Archambault Offshore Series leader 'Bad Habits' shows form under shy spinnaker. - Bernie Kaaks - copyright
Frank Saraceni’s all-carbon 36-footer 'Al Fresco' (57 points) leads Division One by only 2 points from skiff legend Scott Glaskin in 'The X Factor', a Foundation 36. Only two points further back sits Paul Eldrid and Scott Disley’s 'General Lee', the hot new 37-foot flying machine that will have the opposition watching their backs.
Bitter rivals and best of mates, John Moore and Trevor Taylor, sailing identical luxury Marten 49 racer-cruisers 'Charlotte' and 'Optimus Prime', also remain in contention for Division One honours, separated by only 4 points on 67 and 71 points respectively. Laurie and Maddie Flynne’s Archambault 40RC 'Aardvark' will be looking to carry their Geographe Bay Race Week winning form into the weekend, though with a score of 85 points in the Offshore Series, it would take a supreme effort to challenge the leaders.
This season has featured the launch of a Double-Handed Series for yachtsmen seeking the challenge of sailing big yachts with small crews. This weekend sees a fleet of five hardy double-handers, comprising Stephen Key’s 'Mean Feat', John Holder’s 'Plus 16', Dave McReady’s 'Tom Cat', Dennis Vincent & Hilary Arthure’s 'Wyuna' and veteran Lance Rock’s 'Nyari'. Short-handed sailing is very popular in Europe and is seen as a potential growth area for the sport in Australia.
Mandurah Offshore Fishing & Sailing Club http://www.mofsc.com.au/
Marten wars - 'Charlotte' (left) pursues sistership 'Optimus Prime'. - Bernie Kaaks - copyright