Croatia Yacht Rally 2011 meandered toward its conclusion in Dubrovnik last week with a race from Korcula to Mljet, a distance of just twelve miles. Six yachts ended up finishing in the same minute on the water!
The south westerly course and the prevailing twelve knot mistral produced a wind angle of 90 degrees, and for the first part of the race five boats had ran each other off left of the course.
The winner Alan Woodward stuck to the rum line with the other four of the ten identical Beneteau First 45’s. The fleet eventually came together as they approached the finish line and in the end six of the ten yachts finished in the same minute.
The next and last race was set on a course across to Kobas on the mainland but dawn broke on a glassy sea with very little prospect of wind. Around twelve, however, and to everyone’s surprise, a twelve knot south easterly filled in around 1pm and the fleet worked across the passage on a flat sea in perfect summer conditions. Once again the fleet split and those who stayed to sea caught the yachts seeking non-existent lifts along the shore. After a run to the finish the yachts again finished in a 'heap'.
The wily Alan Woodward of the Royal Brighton Yacht Club stayed out of the match racing frays between Roger Hickman, Steve Barlow from the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron and David Buckman from the Port Lincoln Yacht Club. Alan eventually won the day on handicap from Alan Hare, a racing novice who revelled in leading the famous Roger Hickman for a big part of the last race.
One Design works just fine the Beneteau First 45 One Design Croatia Yacht Rally 2011:
Mariner Boating Holidays recently conducted its first Beneteau First 45 one design yacht rally in Croatia – starting in Split and finishing in Dubrovnik Croatia. The fact that everyone had the same yacht to play with enhanced every aspect of the rally.
The Beneteau First 45 impressed even the most demanding sailors; racing gurus Roger Hickman and Steve Barlow to name just two. The winner of the event, Alan Woodward from Melbourne already owns a First 45 so he needed no persuasion.
Champagne sailing conditions prevailed for most of the second half of June as the fleet of ten yachts hopped along the 145 mile route of the rally. The summer thermal-powered north-westerly breeze typically stirred late in the morning, built to 12 – 15 knots during the afternoon and then died in the evening.
The courses in general headed in a south easterly direction but there were passages when the 45’s were called upon to excel on their preferred point of sail – close hauled. This is rare for a charter yacht but the triple spreader rig of the 45, composite sails, 2.5 meter draft and folding propeller gave this yacht a real urge to get cracking and the typical twelve knot breeze on a flat sea could not have been better.
In two of the races with running finishes, six of the ten yachts finished in the same minute on the water; the crews were literally passing beers to one another. Luckily there was a camera on the finish boat because race director Maggie Joyce could barely write the times down fast enough. The rally route included an interesting mix of stops, from well-known must do Trogir, Hvar and Korcula to lesser known Brac, Vis, Lastovo and Miljet.
The rally will run again in 2012 from June 8th and is filling fast – Phone Mariner Boating Holidays (02) 9966 1244 for more information.