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WA IRC State Champions crowned after a tight contest off the coast

by ORWA/Suzzi Ghent 21 Dec 2020 17:30 PST

Perfect conditions offshore in Perth for the Ocean Racing WA IRC State Championships hosted by Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club. The weekend regatta was held over the 28 and 29 November as part of the Rockingham Race Regatta. The big yachts were watched by beachgoers in Cottesloe on Saturday morning and the locals enjoying their brunch. Racing was tight and exciting to kick off the event, a fantastic spectacle for the public.

For the IRC State Championship there was a mix of boats and experience. The racing included two coastal passage races of up to 27 nautical miles and up to four around the buoys (windward/leeward) races with a target time of 45 minutes each.

In Division Two, Hustler Race Team were out in their Etchells and Crush, a Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race contestant in 2019 is a Jeanneau Sunfast 3600. For Division One, great to see a couple of sports boats out from the river with Boom (Rob Scharnell’s Melges 32) and defending champions The Cadillac (Peter Chappell). They were up against seasoned offshore racers and Siska winners Ian Clyne’s J122 Joss and Craig Carter’s Carkeek 47 Indian.

The Race Management team were kept alert by the shifting morning breeze which was up and down in strength and coming from the south. This would eventually build to a fresh afternoon breeze that Perth is well known for. The Cadillac was off to a great start by winning the first two races. The MAT 1245 Obsession owned by Paul and Ceris Arns placed second in race one and race two went to Chris Higham’s Argo, an Archaumbault crewed almost entirely by sailors under 30. There were a few navigation mix ups by teams for the afternoon passage race south to Rockingham. It was won by Geoff Bishop’s CheckMate a Summit King 40 and The Cadillac placed fifth, this would be their discard over the six race series.

In Division Two David Davenport’s Crush was looking for a win in the event after being runners up in the 2019-20 championship. They followed the same great start with two wins in the short course racing in Cottesloe and then a fifth in the passage race. Racing on a chartered Farr MRX, Anthony Kirke’s team on Enterprise SP had two seconds and a third followed by Jason Poutsma’s Hustler with two third places then a second.

Teams moored overnight in Rockingham and enjoyed the hospitality at The Cruising Yacht Club. RFBYC’s Power fleet accompanied the yachts for the weekend to enjoy the social side and a weekend away with fellow yacht club members.

It was calm in Mangles Bay on Sunday morning but a southerly breeze again developed just in time for two short course races in view of the Rockingham foreshore. The racing was close, yachts crossing tacks many times and plenty of sudden moves ducking behind competitors who had right of way. It was a test of boat handling skills for the teams. Both The Cadillac and Crush had perfect scores again in the morning session. In Division One Joss and Argo sailed consistently to pickup a second and third and for Division Two, Royal Perth Yacht Club teams Wyuna (Dennis Vincent/Hilary Arthure) and Atomic Blonde (Simon Torvaldsen) picked up a third place.

Perth turned up the wind strength for the run back to Perth in the afternoon’s passage race, the last chance for teams to get a good score on the board. For Division One The Cadillac collected a win with Indian in second and Boom in third. Hustler and Enterprise SP drew for first place in Division Two with David Lynn’s Adams 10.6, Adams RIB, in third.

Overall results in Division One had defending champions from RFBYC, The Cadillac in first. Joss was second and CheckMate in third.

The team on The Cadillac are mostly sailors from the Etchells class. The 31 foot lightweight racer was built to put the fun in to sailing. She’s regularly seen with her large spinnaker set, charging up the Swan River in the Saturday afternoon keelboat racing at the Club. Owner Peter Chappell was pleased with the performance of his experienced crew. He commented “there were very few unused wind shifts for us, our team made the most of our downwind speed using the pressure lines and shifts to full advantage. We had a plan for the series against the bigger boats and that was to get a clean start and have the ability to take the first shift, stay in phase with the wind and to keep out of the packs, to stay out of trouble”.

Peter was extremely happy with the hard work and performance of his team. They certainly prepared themselves well and ensured they put in their best effort. Even their hull trim was a priority with a lot of attention paid to minimising drag both upwind and downwind. It all paid off for the team, after discarding their worst result, a fifth place, they kept only wins on their scorecard. A great team to watch, we hope to see them back again next year.

The team of Crush were delighted to take the overall win in Division Two, they are keen to achieve this season throughout the Ocean Racing WA series. Runner up for 2020-2021 was Anthony Kirke’s team on Enterprise SP, with a new yacht on the way for next year they are sure to be back for another go at the state title. Jason Poutsma’s Hustler came in third.

The event wound up with a Cocktail Party at RFBYC a few days later. It was a fun evening to present the awards and included the lucky draw for the IRC Youth Cup Series. Thirty-five youth and young adult names in the event this year with the full set of wet weather gear won by Amelia Catt from the Argo team.

The volunteer Race Management Team ran an excellent series of races. It was a great weekend for the yachts contesting the Ocean Racing WA IRC State Championship and the additional eight yachts who joined in for the passage races. The Dolphin Race and Gordon Craig Ocean Race are part of the RFBYC 44th Farrawa Cup Series and the Dolphin Race is one of the eight ORWA Short Haul races towards the Siska Trophy.

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