Race Four, hosted by Royal Brighton Yacht Club, was the first race of 2016 continuing the 2015 Club Marine Series. Today, February 13, nearly 2 months after the last race, welcomed 129 registrants back to Port Phillip Bay for some action packed fleet racing.
Today’s conditions reflected the summer season with a slow building seabreeze and clear blue skies. Despite the seabreeze not reaching the race course for today’s one race there was still high quality and competitive racing seen through both the Blue and White Divisions.
The light and variable winds created numerous splits in the fleet. This was clearly seen with two similarly matched boats in Division 0. Upon the first bottom mark rounding ‘Terra Firma’ chose the most offshore of the gate marks while ‘Primitive Cool’ chose to go inshore; this decision to split paid off for ‘Primitive Cool’. Owner of ‘Primitive Cool’, John Newbold, enjoyed the close racing and the variable conditions today:
“We’re quite closely matched with Terra Firma, so when we saw them join us in racing (today) we took it as a great chance to measure our crew and boat handling in conditions our boat is not entirely made for. We did make gains going inshore but (we) believe our speed has been enhanced with our new sails assisted by our partners in cause ‘Sea Shepherd’ and having a local crew who can regularly train. Overall, we enjoyed the racing today.”
Division 1 and 2 boats were well spread with the light conditions as each decision either creates gains or can leave you far behind. Some boats thrived in the light winds while others used today as their drop. This happened with Division 1’s ‘IKON’ who stepped slightly out of their comfort zone with a fourth but is still managing to keep the lead in the series- although now tied with the consistent, ‘Reverie’ on IRC. ‘Joust’ took first place in both IRC and AMS with ‘Jake’ securing the lead in the YV handicapping system today.
Division 2 winner in the YV Performance Handicapping division, ‘Tigris’, made a massive leap on the leader board, now sitting mid fleet overall. Owner, Ian Lodewyckx, connects his win with having a solid team on board:
“Tigris is used in the Port Phillip Women’s Championship Series so we maintain our Club Marine Series crew to be 50% male and 50% of the female from the women’s series. Having the women who are familiar with the boat and have been practicing at a recent regatta really makes a difference to our overall crew dynamics. Having such capable crew makes it easier to keep your eyes out of the boat for the next shift or move.”
Similarly in Division 3, a solid crew with regular training helps with building a consistent record and consistency counts for all in fleet racing. Jurgen Pfieffer’s ‘Take Five’ crew have been sailing together for the best part of 6 years now and believe that’s what has assisted them in securing the AMS series lead so far. Pfieffer continues:
“A good crew makes the world of difference. Without them we wouldn’t have survived a few of the situations we were in today (ie late drops, gybe timings etc). I’m very grateful for their hard work and we all find it a lot of fun sailing together. We would have liked to have had a bit more breeze as (Take Five) does really well in the heavier air, but you race in what you have. We’re happy with our current standings and hope we can stay there!”
The inviting conditions welcomed families onto the race course in the Blue Division. Today’s winner of the Blue Series, ‘Feral’, had multiple families on board taking advantage of the nice weather and welcoming atmosphere. Owner of ‘Feral’, Jack Henessy, loves the idea of taking the family racing:
“The conditions were great so we invited a few families on board and had a ‘family day’ sailing. We were pleasantly surprised by the fact that we did well. As the breeze was quite light we ‘popped’ the kite and enjoyed a smooth downwind sail. We managed to gain a couple more spots when some of the other boats had trouble getting their spinnakers down at the bottom mark. Overall, we had a great day out on the water and love the Blue Series atmosphere where families can race in a safe and relaxed environment.”
Overall, today seemed a good day for everyone to get back into the swing of racing; the energy was high and racing was close. The next race is also in February on the 27th hosted by Sandringham Yacht Club.
Overall: Simply Fun
Overall: One for the Road
Overall: Top Gun
Overall: More Noise
Overall: The Bookmaker
Overall: Take Five
Overall: Mood Indigo
Club Marine Keelboat Series