Fremantle Sailing Club’s annual Coventry Reef race was moved forward this year to accommodate a busy offshore calendar, but from a weather perspective, the race failed to live up to its usual breezy expectations.
The gloomy weather forecast predicted light north easterlies, shutting down completely around the middle of the day and then turning southward later in the afternoon. The race committee wisely introduced a shorter course, inserting a turn mark off Garden Island, thereby reducing the length of the race dramatically.
Even so, the fleet made its way to the west of the Stragglers before the breeze faltered and then died. At that point, Weapon of Choice was looking good in the Division 1 fleet while Scott Glaskin’s little Farr30 Cougar was blitzing the Division 2 fleet. It mattered little as it happened, for when the leaders stopped in the dying breeze, the tailenders caught up much of the distance, making for a re-start when the breeze finally returned.
Chris Higham positioned Argo a little to seaward of the leaders and was rewarded by favourable breeze, bowling away to a handy lead, somewhat surprising since the Archambault 40 was in company with Garth Curran’s Inglis58 Walk on the Wild Side and the Marten49, Sue Sea. Although Argo was finally run down by Weapon of Choice, it was a masterful display of light weather sailing by Higham and his crew.
In division 2 Laurie Flynn’s Beneteau34.7 Dynamic sailed well after the re-start, and finished less than a minute behind Cougar to claim victory on both IRC and YAH handicap. Ryan Binedell’s Swarbrick S97 Low Flying Duck continued its good form with an IRC second place. On YAH handicap, Lyn Powell’s Fourth Dimension was second ahead of Ron Macarthur’s MX.
Double handed skipper Alison Stock teamed up with Mike Hughes instead of regular crew Brad Skeggs. The combination achieved immediate success with first place on both handicap systems.
In division 1, the IRC result was one of the tightest possible. Ian Clyne’s Joss headed Argo by a margin of just 12 seconds on IRC and 10 seconds on YAH. Paul Arns’ Obsession finished third on IRC while Wasabi scored the minor place on YAH.
All eyes now turn to South Perth and Geraldton Yacht Clubs’ Geraldton Ocean Classic, starting on Friday 13th October. No room for superstition in this year’s calendar!