When Adrienne Cahalan’s Whitbread 60 Elle Racing pumped out its water ballast and flew from Fremantle to Geraldton in a howling tailwind in 1996, she carved out the 220 nautical miles in a staggering 17 hours and 18 minutes. Garth Curran’s Walk on the Wild Side twice recorded sub 20 hour times but was thwarted in his record attempt by morning calms near the finish, while the tiny 36 foot Bakewell-White designed General Lee sailed by Paul Eldrid and Scott Disley, went even better in 2010 when they came within an hour of Elle Racing’s record.
In conditions which were generally lighter than ideal for a downwind sleigh ride, Craig Carter teamed up with principal helmsman and sail maker Paul Eldrid for a serious tilt at the record in the Carkeek 47, Indian. When they led the fleet into Geraldton Harbour and crossed the line at 6:41am on Saturday, they achieved what no boat had been able to before them in shaving seven minutes off Elle Racing’s record. A delighted Craig Carter, after being told that he had set a new record, said: “It was a fast race but we had no damage other than losing our navigation box around midnight.”
Alan Stein sailed Dirty Deeds into second place across the line, just a minute ahead of the unfortunate race favourite, M3 (the TP52 previously known as Calm), which sustained damage to several of its sails and despite trailing Indian by just two miles for the first half of the race, fell away in the latter stages after Indian executed a perfectly timed gybe off Jurien Bay, to keep her in good pressure all the way. Dirty Deeds went on to claim the IRC and YAH double for division 1, edging out Indian on both handicap systems.
Todd Giraudo’s Jeanneau Sunfast 3600 Kraken sailing with a crew of just two, had a comfortable win in the division 2 IRC fleet and finished second on YAH handicap. The veteran Farr 40 Prime Factor won division 2’s YAH handicap trophy. Chris Higham was second on both systems in the Archambault 40, Argo.
The return race from Geraldton to Perth starts on Friday.
– Bernie Kaaks