Valmadre Cup Offshore Winter Series 2011, organised by Fremantle Sailing Club, starts on Saturday 25 June.
An impressive fleet of forty eight yachts has assembled for the prestigious Western Australian four-race offshore winter series that commences with the Arlene Race this Saturday. The entrants have been divided into four fleets depending on speed, with many old rivalries likely to be re-kindled and new ones created.
Impressive! Charlotte’s crew will be extending themselves in the hunt for the historic Valmadre Cup. - Bernie Kaaks - copyright
At the front end of Division Zero, the big boat brigade of Charlotte (Marten 49), Finistere (Davidson 50), Optimus Prime (Marten 49), Sled (Farr 47) and Syrenka (Swanson 60) will engage in a battle of the Titans. Temporarily missing from that group is Knee Deep (Farr 49), which is awaiting new rudder bearings as the yacht is prepared for the Sydney to Hobart race. Also absent are Sue Sea (Marten 49) and Walk on the Wild Side (Inglis 58), both of which are heading for the East coast after completing the Visit Indonesia Fremantle Bali Race.
Unfinished business. Tony Carter’s First 40 Just Cruisin’ has dropped six IRC points and will be looking to avenge a disappointing fade out at Geographe Bay Race Week. - Bernie Kaaks - copyright
The back half of Division Zero sees the forty footers Aardvark (Archambault A40RC), Giddy Up (Farr 395), Jaffa (Runnalls IRC39), Just Cruisin’ (First 40), Yo! 2 (Farr 40) and Wasabi (Elan 410R) slugging it out with the flying full-carbon Bakewell-White 36 Alfresco, which has just been reconfigured to carry a spinnaker pole as well as a bowsprit.
Division One is again the closest matched fleet, with the usual suspects Alchemy (C and C 115), Archimedes (Archambault A35), Aquila (Northshore 369), Circa (C and C 115), Fourth Dimension (Dufour 40E), Highlander (Swarbrick 36), The Longboat (Adams 13), The X Factor (Foundation 36) and This Way Up (Sydney 36CR) being joined by Without Fear (Swarbrick 34) under its new owners and Fat Wallet Lost, a new Elan 350 which has sailed up from Bunbury for the series, as well as a trio of Farr 30s, Leewana, Problem Child and Red Fever. The yachts in this division traditionally sail around the course in a pack and are separated by seconds on corrected time, so the smallest mistake can cost a podium place.
Division Two also features some old rivalries, with offshore regulars Bad Habits (Whiting 32), Dynamic (First 34.7), Le Jag (S&S 34), Le Truck (Farr 36), Plus 16 (Farr 11.6 – probably competing double-handed), Traffic Jam (Whiting 32) and Wyuna (First 34.7) being joined by inshore campaigners Crazy Horse (Farr 1104), Raya (First 36.7) and MX (Macarthur 32), as well as river racers Apo Kato (Farr 36), La Premiere and Mulberry (First 35s), Lionheart (Farr 9.2) and Terra (S97- the yacht formerly known as Wyuna 2).
An interesting offshore debutant in Division Two is Kraken, a brand new Jeanneau Sunfast 3200 OD, sailed double-handed by the experienced Todd Giraudo and David 'Dubbo' White. Two years ago, White completed a double-handed Trans-Atlantic race in a sistership, and was so impressed that he convinced Giraudo to join him in bringing one to Western Australia. Along with Plus 16, it is intended to enter Kraken in the inaugural double-handed division of the demanding Fremantle to Geraldton Race in October.
Division Three is targeted at smaller and cruising-orientated yachts and is sailed on slightly shorter courses. Entrants so far include Anastasia (Beneteau Oceanis 33), Chiara, Double Vision (Cole 32) and No Rehearsal, the Hanse 40 that recently won the 2010-11 Coastal Cup series.
Entrants are closely monitoring the weather forecast, which is somewhat unpredictable due to the likely passage of a strong cold front on Friday afternoon. The most recent weather models show a sou’wester of around 15 knots, but whatever eventuates, competitors will benefit from a course expertly selected by Race Officer Bernie Kaaks, the doyen of Western Australian race managers.
Vintage red. Bill Burbidge and his trusty IOR Farr 36 Le Truck are completing their 26th consecutive offshore season- and they are still accumulating trophies. - Bernie Kaaks - copyright Click Here to view large photo
Freemantle Sailing Club website
Dark horse from the north. After returning from Asia, Peter Ahern’s Farr 40 Yo! 2 leads Terry Posma’s Jaffa at Geographe Bay Race Week in February. - Bernie Kaaks - copyright