News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery : Exceptional weather conditions blast Port Fairy race
Exceptional weather conditions blast Port Fairy race

' sailing into the storm - ORCV Melbourne to Port Fairy Race' Grant Dunoon
The ORCV Port Fairy race started out in ideal conditions and all boats and crew were prepared for a strong southwestly change which was predicted to hit the fleet around 19:00hrs on Friday night. However, once the fleet was around Cape Otway the wind hung in the northwest corner and intensified to storm conditions - only swinging to the west later.

Sustained storm force winds and wild seas continued to hammered the fleet for hours in the second half of the race. In these conditions crews were hanging on and making little progress in the strong headwinds. The predicted shift to the southwest never eventuated and would have enabled boats to ease the sheets, reducing the pressure on crew and gear, giving a more stable angle to steer the boats in the mounting seas.

This 65 nautical mile leg of the race from Cape Otway to Port Fairy crosses the boundary between Bass Strait and the Southern Ocean. Here the big swells from the deeper southern ocean meet the shallower waters of Bass Strait and can create very treacherous seas in strong winds.

As the wind picked up many boats were forced to retire with gear failure and turned back to Port Phillip Bay or preceded under jury rig or motor to the nearest safe port.

Don Watson, skipper of Dry White reports winds of 40 to 50 knots with wind gusts up to 70 knots for over four hours. They managed to keep inching towards Port Fairy and took out winning places in all four categories as the only finishing boat. Don explained 'this was exceptional weather conditions! Dry White was in survival mode where completing the race became incidental to getting the crew and boat safely to port'.

Crew member Sally Williams from The Secretary, which was forced to retire, said 'at 35 knots we were managing but came unstuck at 57 knots and already under jury rig due to hydraulic problems with the backstay. The boat had limited steerage and was only making half a knot so the Skipper decided to turn back to the 'Heads'.

The Secretary was down to three reefs in the main and had the headsail furled when the hydraulic backstay failed. This put enormous pressure on the mast and rig and then when the batten cars jammed in the main track, as they were further reducing sail, they were forced to cut the main free with a knife and ditch it in the heaving sea. There was a tense moment when they struggled to release the huge flogging main still held by the wire outhaul halyard, until fellow crew member, Rosie Colahan, eventually cut it free with a hacksaw.

Dry White, Slinky Malinky, Bandit, Alien and, are now safely tied up in the Port Fairy river. Magazan is tied up in Apollo Bay harbour. Another ORCV member boat called Young Ones, who was not an official race entrant, and had intended to have a leisurely cruise in company with the race fleet, is also safely tied up in Port Fairy. Yoko retired earlier in the race and along with Spirit of Downunder, The Secretary and Dekadence are all back inside Port Phillip Bay.

The six crew of Inception, having been plucked from the water by the crew of, are pleased to be ashore and are being well cared for by the members of the Port Fairy Yacht Club.

During the storm last night Inception took-on water and sank about seven nautical miles west of the aptly named Ship Wreck Coast; approximately halfway between Cape Otway and Warnambool.

A big salute to the crew of who responded heroically to the time honoured lore of the sea - to assist anyone in distress.

by Jennifer Cook

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

10:43 AM Sat 7 Apr 2012GMT

Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.

News - USA and the World

2014 J/111 World Championship - Bigger breeze arrives on day 2! by Stuart Johnstone, Cowes, Isle of Wight

Audi Melges 20 U.S. Nationals - Oleander takes early lead by International Audi Melges 20 Class Association,

2014 Detroit Cup - Sam Gilmour leads by Dobbs Davis, Detroit, Michigan

Audi Hamilton Island Race Week: Riding the AC45 - VIDEO by Crosbie Lorimer, Hamilton Island

America's Cup: Five Challengers sign-on for 35th Match
Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad talks Time and Money (Part II) *Feature
America’s Cup - British Challenge accepted by Golden Gate Yacht Club
Volvo Ocean Race - It’s been emotional, but it’s time to move on
Cork OCR - Sail Canada Senior Nationals wrap up
J/111 World Championships - British Teams take early lead on day 1
Round Britain and Ireland Race - Jellyfish stings British Soldier
International Cadet World Championship – Day 4 at Weymouth, England
Nanjing Youth Olympic Games - Light wind plagues Lake Jinniu
2014 Formula Kite World Championships - Bridges strike back on day 2
AWT Quatro Desert Showdown at Punta San Carlos
SAP 505 World Championship - Holt and Woelfel on top
2014 IFDS Disabled Sailing World Championship - Day 2
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week; MC38s Lindeman Island Race VIDEO
2014 Audi Melges 20 U.S. National Championship - Ready to rock
IFDS Worlds - Wind delays, but racing continues in Halifax
IFDS World Championships - Day 2 images by Jude Robertson
MS Cup - Three days until the start
America's Cup: Rod Davis - Time for a change after ten years with team *Feature
ISAF seeking hosting bids for Nations Cup
Laser 4.7 Youth Worlds - Luvisetto and Alexadr Boite victorious +Video   
IFDS World Championships - Action shots by Tim Wilkes   
Maxi yacht rendezvous this September in Sardinia   
World Yacht Racing Forum 2014: 'Growing the business of Yacht Racing'   
Clipper Race: 2015-16 edition of world's longest ocean race 70% full   
Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland - Swish smash 5th World Record   
Leaderboards take shape at the Nanjing Youth Olympic Games 2014   
IFDS Worlds - Hot competition on first day of racing   
Challenging Conditions - CORK OCR   
IFDS World Championship - Day 1 for the US Sailing Team   
2014 Melges 20 World Championship - Countdown begins   
2014 Nanjing Youth Olympic Games - Day 3   
America's Cup: Team NZ wish Davis well with new team *Feature   
Fisher's View: Sailing perfection at Hamilton Island- Day 3   
Roble and Wilson still number one match racers in the U.S.   
2014 Formula Kite World Championship Day 1   
IFDS World Championship - Day 1 images by Jude Robertson   
Volvo Ocean Race: Forget the f-word - Team SCA profiled   
52 Super Series - Fleet grows, 2015 dates revealed   
420 and 470 Junior Europeans - Teams from 9 nations on the podium   

For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News  

Switch Default Region to:

Social Media





New Zealand

United Kingdom

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World






Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text


Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery


Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery





Privacy Policy



Cookie Policy



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT