DESTINATIONS: ADELAIDE AND PORT LINCOLN
Will 2008 really be the ‘last time’ for South Australian yachting legend Dick Fidock’ Richard. H. Fidock AO has sailed in and probably won nearly every keel boat title or event that South Australia has to offer. From five Premiers Cups, to numerous Yacht of the Year titles at his beloved CYCSA, Inshore and Offshore Club Championship titles both IRC and PHS. Dick has also competed in many national events from Sydney Hobart's, Hamilton Island Race Week's, Geelong Race Week's and many others. If you were unfamiliar with Dick Fidock, then by now I am sure you’re starting to get the
Although a previous winner of the Lexus of Adelaide Bluewater Classic on several occasions, after taking out the IRC double of the 2007 Lexus of Adelaide Blue Water Classic as well as the 2007 Lexus Lincoln Week, he described it as ‘one of my fondest memories in 51 years of competing in this fine regatta.’
Later in 2007 ‘Uncle Dick’ or ‘Tricky’, as he is known to many, handed over the reigns to long time friends and protégé’s Geoff Boettcher and Andrew Saies, as he announced to a packed audience that his beloved Beneteau 40.7 As Good As It Gets was finally heading off to her new anchorage in Careening Cove on Sydney Harbour.
A former President, former Commodore, Founding and Life Member of the Cruising Yacht Club of South Australia, Dick is also a member of the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron and planned to put his feet up while sailing the occasional harbour twilight. That was until long-time friend and Mariner Boating identity Trevor Joyce convinced him to have “one more crack at it”. Dick jokes ‘I only agreed to Trevor’s suggestion on the proviso that he sailed the event with me and that he picked up the tab.”
It is this sense of humour that has made Dick such a great character and helped him make so many great friends during his 50 plus years of racing. The Lexus of Adelaide Bluewater Classic has been a special race for Dick ever since competing in his first in 1956. ‘It is one of those special races that combines navigation and tactics with skill and experience, as well as a bit of luck. The 2007 race started out light. We were sitting comfortably amongst the fleet before the change hit us just before Marion Reef. We managed to lay the reef on one tack as the 30-40 knot squalls caught many off guard. This allowed us a reach to Althorpe through the night with our new Assy. By day break we were ahead of most of the fleet, including many of the ‘big boys’ and had a comfortable square run home.’
It hasn’t always been this textbook as Dick recalls, ‘I remember 1960 pretty well, I was helming Ingrid, my timber ketch at the time, back in the good old days before GPS and the like. We had made great time on our run home after rounding Althorpe, only to realise that we had over-shot to Rabbit Island and were forced to beat home to the line.’
‘The Lexus of Adelaide Bluewater Classic really is the highlight of the year. I have witnessed the evolution of this event first hand and let me tell you, with the growth over the last few years and the new professionalism with the management of the event, both on and off the water, this unique event is on track to become one of the countries must-do regattas. It is a credit to the volunteer based Port Lincoln Yacht Club for their vision and delivery of this great destination Regatta.’
‘I am not sure what’s best, sailing the State's most famous offshore destination race, or staying on and sailing in the State's best regatta on some of the best waters for yacht racing in the country. I would encourage all skippers from around the country, whether keel boat, multi-hull, sports boat or trailer sailors, to think about adding this one to the list, especially as it is right after Geelong Race Week.’
Grant Warrington will once again be lining up for the Lexus of Adelaide Bluewater Classic with his Skandia. As in the past few years Skandia will be crewed by the Women On Water Team, an initiative that brings many of the countries finest women sailors together in the quest of smashing the race record. In a break from tradition, local sailing hero and joint SA Sailor of the Year Geoff Boettcher, along with Tim Cowen from Doyles and PLYC’s Steve Kemp will be jumping onboard for a ride with Warro and the girls.
With Geoff’s beloved Secret Mens Business out of action after the disastrous turn of events on the start line Hamilton Island, Geoff says, ‘I bumped into Warro recently and he asked if I was sailing the race, I said that ‘I didn’t have a ride yet’ and he said ‘Yes you do, you’re coming with me’.” It will be a change not being at the helm but I’m sure Kempie and TC will keep me occupied. I wouldn’t miss Lincoln for quids.’
Geoff and the SMB boys missed both Hobart and Geelong Week this time round, although with his brand new Reichel Pugh due to hit the water in July 2008, ‘our sights are firmly set on a return to the circuit starting with the usual Sydney Gold Coast race, followed by Hammo, Hobart and Geelong campaigns before returning home for the 2009 Lexus Lincoln Week Regatta.’
Although Geoff has sailed with and against Dick for more years than either of them would like to remember, in recent times the person who has sailed the most competitively alongside Dick would be fellow 'beach ball' owner/skipper Andrew Saies. Andrew remembers sailing in the late 1970s with Dick, in fact he sailed his first Sydney-Hobart with both Dick and Geoff in 1980. He recalls: ‘Having started out sailing dinghies and trailables, it was this early time in my sailing career with Dick that really planted the keel boat seed for me. I have a great respect for Dick as a mentor for South Australian keel boat racing. It was just fantastic winning the Geelong Race Week Teams trophy in 2007 alongside Dick and Geoff.’
The three of them also finished third in the teams event in 2006. Andy has been campaigning his 40.7 True North for around four years now and the CYCSA program has provided Andrew and Dick with basically their own private match racing series. ‘The racing is just so close between us. It’s always great sailing when you get two very competitive, evenly matched boats sailing head-to-head. If you make one mistake you might be lucky and get away with it, but if you make two, it’s all over.’
‘Ocean racing is just as much a passion of mine as around the cans, that’s what I love about the Bluewater Classic and Lincoln Week. I’ve sailed over 20 of them now, many of them with Dick. You get to combine both disciplines of our sport into one great event.’
After finishing second on IRC to Dick last year, Andrew and his True North crew will be looking to go one better this time around. ‘Hopefully we will be coming into the event in good form having returned home from the Sydney-Hobart and Geelong Week double. This will be my first Hobart campaign as skipper and Geelong is always tough, as the old saying goes, when you compete in Hobart’s out of South Australia, you have to sail three of them just to make it home, but the crew and I are well prepared and what better place to spend a week than on the wonderful Boston Bay and enjoying the party after racing.’
‘I remember 1960 pretty well, I was helming Ingrid, my timber ketch at the time, back in the good old days before GPS and the like.” Dick Fidock
Lincoln's newest competitor
The South Australian built 12.75 metre racer/cruiser, Spirit of Lexus, will be launched this month at the annual Lexus of Adelaide Bluewater Classic in South Australia. A Farr designed yacht; the Spirit of Lexus is the third of its kind to be built at Austral Yachts.
This Farr 42 racer/cruiser is the brainchild of avid yachtsman Michael Keough, director of Adelaide-based Austral Yachts, one of the most respected yacht building businesses in Australia, with over 30 years of yacht building experience.
Michael approached a number of international designers at the end of 2004 about designing a new boat. ‘We wanted something that was both a cruiser and a racer which would rate well under the IRC rule, capable of successfully competing in serious off-shore events such as the Sydney to Hobart, international standard racing regattas and club racing,’ says Michael.
“It was imperative to us that the yacht was the perfect combination of racer and cruiser ‘ it must be comfortable and easy to handle for the family to meander through the Whitsundays as well as being fast, practical and competitive for racing in key events.’
After much research and analysis, it was decided that the new yacht would be commissioned from the largest and most respected racing-yacht design team in the world – Farr Yacht Design. Its long-running achievements date back more than 25 years and include 40 World Championships won at international grand prix yachting events such as the America’s Cup, Admiral’s Cup, Commodore’s Cup, Southern Cross Cup and the Whitbread Round the World Race (now the Volvo Ocean Race).
With such a brilliant design pedigree, this yacht is a hybrid, capable of satisfying both power-hungry speed demons who want to win and their families who can take over for a leisurely extended cruise, enjoying all the creature comforts.
Designing the Farr 42 took three months with up to 16 people working on different design elements. The building phase in Austral Yachts’ Adelaide yard took 18 months. By October 2006 the vision became reality and the first Farr 42 named Laurelle was completed.
Since then, Michael and his team at Austral Yachts have built one for a customer in Ireland and now the Spirit of Lexus, owned by Austral Yachts is the third Farr 42 to be launched.
The thoroughbred good looks on deck are also reflected below with a very generous height for the full length of the cabin and efficient layout of the galley and navigation station. Blending contemporary design with comfort, polished carbon and timber combine with sumptuous upholstery to give an interior that is smart and practical.
To create this perfect balance, Austral Yachts has also employed the latest in boat building technology, using composite infusion and robotics to build the Farr 42. The obvious connection between Lexus’s modern and sleek designs coupled with the latest in innovative technology including hybrid engines is a fitting match.
‘As principal sponsor of the Bluewater Classic, it was logical to expand their involvement in the event by building a partnership with an innovative South Australian boat builder. Both Lexus and Austral Yachts believe in the importance of the Bluewater Classic to South Australia and hope to grow this event, while showcasing some of the State’s best leisure activities,’ says Michael.
Michael Keough will skipper the Sprit of Lexus in this year’s Lexus of Adelaide Bluewater Classic that runs from February 22-28.
Finding the fastest track to Port Lincoln will keep navigators busy, reports Steve Kemp.
The 156-mile Lexus Adelaide to Port Lincoln Yacht Race is one of Australia’s oldest yacht races. Each year up to 80 ocean racers compete for the Mathew Flinders Trophy.
Starting on the last Friday of February each year, the race takes the fleet across two gulfs and Investigator Straight. Traditionally, the summer weather sees a south to south-easterly wind pattern for the race.
The race starts off at Adelaide’s Outer Harbour at 1500 hours. The first leg is a short sprint to the seaside resort Semaphore then 40 miles across St Vincent’s Gulf to Marion Reef on the South Eastern tip of Yorke Peninsula. The course is 230° and more often that not the race will start in a 15-20 knot south-westerly sea breeze. The key to this leg is not to overlay Marion Reef buoy. The wind generally backs to the south as the fleet get away from the Adelaide coast and it is important to know your tide calculations as current of up to two knots can be found in this gulf. Navigators need to monitor their cross track to ensure they don’t finish up in an overlay position on Marion Reef.
The next leg is from Marion Reef to Cape Spencer which is a leg along the foot of Yorke Peninsula. This leg is usually always sailed in darkness. The wind is usually trying to back to the E/SE (summer gradient wind) and often fades.
If there is a sign of wind dropping and no cloud cover then definitely stay away from the coast, especially Marion and Stenhouse Bays. The course for this leg is 255° at 47 miles.
The majority of the fleet arrive at Cape Spencer between midnight and 0600 hours and often in light winds. Cape Spencer is a high headland and does have a wind shadow. From Cape Spencer, it’s a 45-mile leg on a course of 307° to Dangerous Reef (famous for its White Pointer sharks). Navigators need to know the tidal flow for this leg. Often it is early morning with light winds across the course to Dangerous Reef. Rule of thumb is not to get caught too far east of the rhumbline as it can be very difficult getting back. Be aware of North East Rocks which are just west of the rhumbline and should be approached with caution. Once around Dangerous Reef, it’s a 12-mile leg on a course of 290° into Cape Donnington at the southern entrance to Boston Bay. This leg is usually off the wind and yachts need to keep an eye to the south for the first signs of a sea breeze as they are often in this area of the race in the late morning to early afternoon.
From Cape Donnington, it is a six-mile leg across stunning Boston Bay to the finish off the end of the main wharf. This race is the perfect length as the majority of the fleet usually finish from midday to early evening on Saturday after about 20-26 hours at sea.
From the finish line, yachts proceed to the main recreational jetty for a cold beer and warm Port Lincoln welcome. Although often a downwind race, conditions can be testing and navigators need to be on their toes when rounding the rocky headlands and offshore reefs, especially near Cape Spencer.
Giving young sailors opportunities in the sport through the Ocean Mentor scheme has thrown up some surprises, reports Matthew Gryst.
The germ of the idea took shape a few years ago when Peter Teakle leased his Sydney 32 out to a family. The son of this family, Simon Turvey was in his mid twenties and had already acquired an enviable sailing CV. After starting out like most juniors sailing Holdfast training dinghies, Simon soon moved on to 125s and progressed through the classes to Sharpies. As an 18yr old who was well over 6 ft, it didn’t help with helming, so when he was approached to jump on board David Buckland's Sydney 38, Simon jumped at the chance and quickly found himself heading up the east coast to compete in the Sydney Gold Coast race and Hamilton Island Race Week.
‘Being an 18 year old and having that opportunity really shaped my yachting future. I was lucky enough to be on the delivery with Ross Lloyd from Doyle's. The knowledge I gained from that experience of living and feeling the boat for that amount of time is still with me today,’ says Simon.
Several years later, upon meeting Simon, Peter came to the realisation that what most kids needed was an opportunity. Many young sailors would struggle if it wasn’t for the support of dedicated parents, especially in regional areas where distance can play a major role in the choice of activities. Then there were the kids who didn’t have a family network or the means. And so the concept of Ocean Mentor was born. Peter was to donate his new Sydney 32 and Simon, was to campaign the boat in the PLYC Sydney 32 fleet with a crew of juniors of his choice.
‘I just wanted to give young sailors the chance to race a state-of-the-art keelboat and allow them to gain valuable on-water experience by competing in a fiercely competitive One Design class,’ says Peter. ‘Ocean Mentor not only provides sailing experience, but I like to think that it also provides important life skills by developing seamanship and fellowship, as well as social skills and responsibility. It also hones their radio and navigation skills. The success of the program is evident when you see just how keen these kids are. Some of the crew ride their bikes 15km to training, one of the kids even has to travel 160km just to go sailing.’
And the results speak for themselves. The Lexus Ocean Mentor team finished second overall in the recent 'Sydney Cup' held at the PLYC.
‘We won four out of the five races,’ says Simon. ‘So it was good to give the older blokes a run for their money. Having a great sponsor on board like Lexus of Adelaide has helped a lot. Our main focus now is the Lexus of Adelaide Bluewater Classic and Lexus Lincoln Week. The crew has a great balance right now so we are pretty confident of giving it a nudge.’
This will be Ocean Mentors’ second Lexus of Adelaide Bluewater Classic and Lexus Lincoln Week campaign and Peter is hoping that the rest of the country starts to take notice. ‘I truly believe that we have the potential to produce some of the future champions of Australian sailing and the thought of our Ocean Mentor concept spreading around the country is very exciting indeed.’
For those with salt in their blood Port Lincoln is a great port of call.
The bustling centre is the heartbeat of South Australia’s rugged yet beautiful Eyre Peninsula and a major attraction for all things aquatic. Its fantastic fishing sets it apart yet this laid back southern city has plenty going on.
In fact, Port Lincoln’s aquaculture industry is recognised around the world for producing premium quality seafood from Southern Bluefin Tuna and Western King Prawns to Southern Rock Lobster and King George Whiting.
The Seafood & Aquaculture Trail is a popular tour to do while in Port Lincoln. You can experience the seafood industry first hand by visiting the Fresh Fish Place where you can see how the local seafood is processed, or you can take a cruise with Triple Bay Charters where you will learn about the tuna industry. Within Lincoln Cove Marina you can also take a cruise aboard the electrically powered Telsa and discover Australia’s largest fishing fleet and ‘millionaire’s playground’, hear about the history and brief overview of Port Lincoln’s various fishing industries.
The seafood industry is a key economic factor for Eyre Peninsula as it produces more than 65 percent of the State’s seafood. The $300 million industry is largely buoyed by the huge demand for tuna from Japan. Tony’s Tuna International Pty Ltd, for instance, established by Tony Santic in 1994, is the second largest farmer of Southern Bluefin Tuna in Australia. Tony Santic is also the owner of Melbourne Cup winner Maybe Diva.
In the last 20 years, Port Lincoln’s aquaculture industry has boomed, creating several multi-millionaires and bringing considerable wealth and prosperity to the city. Many new homes and developments have emerged, namely Lincoln Cove Marina, adding to the beauty and appeal of the place. This growth has meant that there are more retail, dining and accommodation options for the traveller than ever before.
Port Lincoln is situated in a stunning natural bay ‘ three times the size of Sydney Harbour ‘ making it ideal for a marina and yacht club. During the summer months Boston Bay is a hive of activity when children take part in sailing lessons and more experienced sailors head for the many surrounding islands for some nautical fun.
Beyond the bay is the often treacherous, Great Southern Ocean, a body of water that is regarded as some of the best in the country for sailing. Out here, the many tuna and Yellowtail Kingfish farms can be seen and fishing charters take keen anglers to the many hotspots to haul in a prize catch.
These waters are also home to the Great White Shark and for those with an interest in adrenalin ‘sports’ a dive in a cage with the Great Whites is a must through Calypso Star Charter or Eco Cage Diving Experience.
If fishing charters, diving with sharks and sailing is not on the agenda, then Port Lincoln offers many other activities for families and groups of friends. There are museums, galleries, parks and playgrounds plus many excellent restaurants and watering holes.
New footie star hotel
A ‘stop-off’ for any visitor to ‘Lincoln’, as the locals say, is the new Port Lincoln Hotel, run by Peter and Jenny Hurley in conjunction with Crows footballer Simon Goodwin and Brownlow medallist and former Crows captain Mark Ricciuto. The hotel is sure to become an icon as its modern design and décor plus ideal location on the foreshore will attract the crowds. The seven-storey hotel features 111 rooms, including 13 suites and nine luxury suites, and fresh local seafood is available in the a la carte restaurant along with many other popular pub dishes.
Another place that should be on the itinerary is Constantia. This fascinating shop/gallery features beautifully handcrafted wooden furniture. Operating since 1977, this group of furniture craftsmen is one of only six in the world to receive full membership to the International Guild of Master Craftsmen.
For wine aficionados there is Boston Bay Wines. Set high on a hill overlooking the sparkling waters of Boston Bay, this winery has one of the best views in the city. The nine-hectare vineyard produces Chardonnay, Riesling, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Also check out Lincoln Estate Wines in Clarke Lane.
A trip to Mikkira Station offers a great camping site for all the family to enjoy. It features a restored homestead set in untouched bushland with koalas roaming freely throughout the grounds.
Every January the famous Tunarama Festival is held on Port Lincoln’s foreshore. This unique event features the World Champion Tuna Toss, Australian bands as well as local artists, an arts trail, street procession, tug-of-war and keg roll competitions, the slippery pole contest and many more games and contests.
Other great places to visit while on the Eyre Peninsula is Coffin Bay, about 30 minutes drive from Port Lincoln. This sleepy but If touring holds appeal then pack up the 4WD and head to the magnificent Gawler Ranges, 217km from Port Lincoln. These ranges are older than the Flinders Ranges and just as striking. If you have a few days to spare, book into the Gawler Ranges Wilderness Safaris run by Geoff Scholz and treat yourself to outback camping, five-star style!
Another highly recommended outing is a trip to Baird Bay, 280km from Port Lincoln. This pretty bay is home to hundreds of sea lions and dolphins and Baird Bay Ocean Eco Experience run excursions to swim with these inquisitive creatures throughout the year. The tour operators also offer eco accommodation right on the waterfront and it’s a perfect base for a quiet retreat.
In terms of beaches, a visitor will not be stuck for choices when they hit Eyre Peninsula. Poverty Beach between Cowell and Arno Bay is good for surfing and Lucky Bay and Arno Bay are great for swimming.
Sheringa Beach near Elliston has clear water with a backdrop of white dunes. Sand boarding, swimming, surfing or just relaxing on the beach are some of the activities to be enjoyed. Locks Well is a famous salmon surf fishing beach and is well worth the climb down 280 steps to reach this paradise. The spectacular ocean can be viewed and photographed from the beach with plenty of sightings of seals, the occasional whale and bronze whaler shark regularly surf the ocean gutters after the huge clouds of Australian Salmon. Also, Elliston's Waterloo Bay has many great swimming and recreational beaches including Milikin's Beach, Little Bay and Boards Beach (stretching between Elliston’s foreshore and the jetty).
In Ceduna there are beaches for surfing, swimming, water-skiing, scuba diving and snorkelling, sailboarding and boating. Fishing is one the area’s biggest drawcards and King George Whiting is a delicacy in abundance.
Experienced surfers from all over Australia and overseas congregate at the iconic surf site of Cactus Beach to test their skills on two left-hand breaks and one right-hander. This is where they can experience the freedom of surfing in natural, unspoilt surroundings. Wintertime, with its big swells produces big waves, but surfers.
If you’re keen to travel further, then head to the Great Australian Bight, touted to be the longes line of sea cliff in the world. Ideally hit ‘the Bight’ between May and October when the Southern Right whales are frolicking in the waters.
Climate-wise the best time to visit Port Lincoln is in the summer from December to February when the temperature ranges from 16 to 25 degrees. But due to the insulating effect of the surrounding ocean waters, Port Lincoln experiences a delightful Mediterranean climate almost all year round.
Must do’s around Port Lincoln
1. The fun and fascinating Seafood & Aquaculture Trail
2. Stay, dine or drink at the new Port Lincoln Hotel
3. Dive with Great White Sharks
4. Book a fishing charter
5. Visit Constantia, the famous furniture shop
6. Go sailing in Boston Bay or out to the many islands surrounding Port Lincoln
7. Visit Coffin Bay and sample their famous oysters
8. Camp in the Gawler Ranges
9. Swim with sea lions and dolphins at Baird Bay
10. Hit the many beautiful beaches of the Eyre Peninsula for some swimming, surfing or snorkelling
2008 Lexus of Adelaide Blue Water Classic
Friday February 22
Lexus Lincoln Week races
Monday February 25 to Thursday February 28
Port Lincoln Yacht Club
PO Box 628
Port Lincoln SA 5606.
Phone: (08) 86823442
Clubhouse (Sailing (Ben): 0419 828 626
Fax: (08) 8682 6900
Cruising Yacht Club of South Australia
Address: Lady Gowrie Drive
North Haven South Australia 5018
Postal: PO Box 1020 North Haven
South Australia 5018
Phone: (08) 8248 4222
Facsimile: (08) 8248 5888
Rex flies to Port Lincoln from Adelaide approximately eight times a day