Cockburn Sound Regatta

The Cockburn Sound Regatta, organised and run by The Cruising Yacht Club of WA, is a 4 day event held between Boxing Day held on the beautiful and protected waters of Mangles Bay off Rockingham. Two years ago some of the afternoon races were blown out by persistently strong sea breezes and last year conditions were light and very hot with the temperature reaching 44 degrees on Day 1. This year however, conditions were perfect with a variety of winds providing some really interesting racing.

The Kwinana Industries Council Race to Rockingham is the feeder race for any metropolitan based yachts and this year 16 faced the starters gun to make the 14 nautical mile trip down from Fremantle to join the rest of the fleet. The sea breeze was in early reaching 18 knots which gave the crews a fast passage south as they were able to crack sheets slightly and sit on starboard tack once they had reached the main shipping channel. Last year’s winner, Ray Martin’s Farrier F85SR, Beatrix was forced to retire early with halyard problems but managed to make it down early the next morning. Bill Henson JPK45 Sirene was first to finish from Salacia II, Ross Norgard’s beautiful S and S timber sloop. On corrrected time however, Malcolm Thompson sailed his Archambault 35 Moneypenny well to take out the win and the much coveted KIC trophy.

45 boats of various sizes, types and dimensions competed in the regatta this year, slightly down from last year’s total, and the yachts were divided into 2 Spinnaker Divisions, 3 Jib and Main Classes, and a Sportsboat fleet. With the borders having opened up and sailors able to travel freely, this was to be expected.

The trimaran Beatrix joined the Division 1 fleet which made for some interesting viewing for the spectators as she tended to clear out upwind but then get mown down off the breeze, notably by The Bus, Murray Smith’s MC 31. Beatrix continued to have gear problems and only managed to complete 4 races.

The Bus sailed consistently fast and beat Jolie Breeze by 2 seconds in the last race, to force a tie in the overall result. Level on 18 points after the drop, David Hepburn’s S97 had done enough with 2 wins to 1 to take out the prize on a countback. Tapestry, skippered by David Atkinson was 3rd on 21 points. It was a similarly close result in the IRC competition with The Bus having 4 wins to Salacia II’s 2 wins. They had finished level on 10 points each with Jolie Breeze coming in 3rd overall.

Division 2 was a race between 3 smaller boats, two of which had made the long haul down from South of Perth Yacht Club. The consistent SS22 Wildfire, skippered by Bruce Uren held the whip hand leading into the last race. She led from her bigger sister, the SS27 King Canute skippered by Matt Rose, by 13 points to 16. King Canute however, won the final race with Wildfire coming in 3rd. After the drop there was another tie between these 2 on 12 points and that final win gave King Canute the honours and bragging rights for another year. Local boat Lady Irene (Sam Threlfall) was 3rd.

The Jib and Main entrants were divided into 3 fleets and in JAM 1, Deckchairs Overboard skippered by Wendy Harrison had a better time of it than last year and took out the win by 2 points from Jason Poutsma’s Stimulus Package. One morning Jason was spotted heading out with some breathing gear and a soft broom so he obviously takes his racing very seriously. Ken Waller sailed his beautiful Jeanneau 53, Jean Genie into 3rd place a further 4 points behind.

The 2 S80s, Surcouf and local boat Vintage Red slugged it out at the pointy end of the JAM 2 fleet followed by Kevin Schroeder’s Farr 9.2 Dragonheart in 3rd place. James Pattison’s Surcouf held out local skipper Lindsay Kenworthy by 3 points with a vital 2nd place in the final race to take the honours.

JAM 3 was another close fleet. Ross Davidson brought his Peterson 30 Legend up from Mandurah to triumph over the smallest boat in the bay, the trailable Castle 650 Alcazar, by just 1 point. David Darn’s Alcazar won the last race but unfortunately for her, Legend did enough by coming in 2nd. Indulgence II skippered by Basil Collins, also from Mandurah, came in 3rd a further 2 points behind. Alcazar provided a highlight for the onwater spectators by crossing the fleet on a port tack start in one of the races and going on to record a first and fastest. After an enforced absence last year it was great to see Deborah Fisk back with Blue Chip.

5 boats lined up for the Sports Boat series but unfortunately breakages to the two local R8s No Etiquette and Parabellum early on in the series left only 3 boats to battle it out. The local Fremantle 8 Make No Mistake, skippered by Kevin Phillips won by 4 points from the 2 Elliott 7s of Gavin Taylor and Jake Mitchell. Tiger was 2nd followed by Pretty Woman in 3rd place. Kevin will be hoping to replicate his success in the Yvonne Australian Championship being hosted by the yacht club straight after the regatta in the New Year.

The Overall Regatta Champion is determined by a formula taking into account a boat’s gross points score and the sum of the total numbers of boats starting in each race in each Division. With this approach it was always possible that the winner might be a boat that hadn’t won its own Division and that’s exactly what happened for the first time this year. Vintage Red, skippered by former local skipper Lindsay Kenworthy, was declared the Overall Regatta Champion. Lindsay also won this prize in 2005 sailing the Binks 25 Start Again so it pays to keep sailing!

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