Australian Women’s Keelboat Regatta 2024: Day 2 a long one

Despite positive signs early in the day, just one of two planned races were held on Day 2 of the Australian Women’s Keelboat Regatta (AWKR) on Port Phillip; competitors and officials played a long waiting game hoping the breeze would come back in, but the wait was to no avail.

The day, sponsored by Melbourne Debt Collectors, turned into a long affair. Two major wind shifts and breeze anything from 2 to 10 knots and nothing after the first race, made it hard going.

One race to bed, Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron (RMYS) Race Officer, Lou Hutton, had the fleet wait and wait, then finally started a second race, then was forced to abandon it when the breeze evaporated again.

At the end, there was a shift at the top of Division 1 leaderboard, while the other division leaders held their ground and in some instances consolidated on yesterday’s scores.

Counting a win today, Mary Ann Harvey’s Sydney 38 Clockwork (SA) has displaced Clare Olding’s Vertigo (Vic) as the leader of Division 1, but they are on equal points, so tomorrow will decide the outcome.

The Justine Ella skippered Jungle Juice (NSW) has maintained third overall and is four points off the lead. “We worked hard today, it was that sort of day,” t Vanessa Dudley, the boat’s tactician/mainsheet hand said.

Two Dogs, skippered by Megan Aulich (Vic) has held on to both the Division 2 and J24 lead, while fellow J24, Gridlock (Vic), skippered by Erin Foster, is second overall in both divisions.

Auretta, a J70 skippered by Emma Maertens (Vic) has moved up to third place in Division 2, courtesy of winning today’s race and in the new J24 Division, Sophie Davidson’s Sidetracked (SA) has held onto third place overall.

Northern Territory yachts are still holding down the top two spots in the S80 division. So far, nobody has been able to beat Jenny Simondson’s Outlaw, while Fiona McManus’ Mood Indigo has scored a trio of second places. Kylie Balmain’s Hot Shot has held on to third place with a trio of third places.

Anna Purcell, sailing on Hot Shot, commented, “Staying in third place overall is nice for us. The breeze was lovely this morning, but then it got light…”

Williamstown Sailing Club Commodore, Maree Fitzpatrick, had more than the weather on her mind. As skipper of the J24, Double Exposure, Fitzpatrick explained, “We have three dinghy sailors aboard who have never been on a keelboat before. We had just three hours training before the regatta, but they’ve adapted really well.

“It’s been a real opportunity for them and they’ve taken everything in. I could put them on any keelboat now and they’d understand what is what and what to do,” Fitzpatrick said.

“Added to that, I’ve never sailed a J24 before but I’m liking it. I think it’s a great introduction boat for dinghy sailors who’d like to move into keelboats.”

AWKR Chairwoman, Monica Jones, who is skippering her Adams 10 Salamander III here, said it was a trying day for many.

“It was up to 10 knots and variable. Then it lightened off and was shifty. Quite tricky.”

Trimming main for Wendy Tuck on the Beneteau 34.7, Spartan (NSW), respected yachtswoman, Kathy Veel, described the day as “rather long. But it was a great race for us (they finished third). It was the right length windward/leeward course – the race was shortened and breeze was dying out as we finished.”

On what is planned for tomorrow, Lou Hutton explained, “The wind is looking better than today’s. We should have up to 10 knots and we’ll try to get two races in. We’d be happy with that.”

Sailing concludes tomorrow and is set to start from 10am, weather permitting.

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By Di Pearson/AWKR media

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Jeanneau JY60
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