Veloce 4 takes line honours in the 2023 Ronstan Cock of the Bay Race

The weather gods have been causing havoc across Australia this week but there was nothing they could do to dampen the spirits of the 2023 Ronstan Cock of the Bay Race’s 82-boat fleet in this year’s event. 

Race Director Martin Vaughan made life jackets mandatory for the 21 nautical mile race on Port Philip Bay after a strong wind warning was issued, with the winds certainly making for a character-building experience for the 561 sailors. 

The fleet started in a 15 to 20 knot east south easterly breeze which increased to 25 during the race. The boats hugged the shore, closing tacking all the way from Port Melbourne to Sandringham, at times just 200 metres from the land giving the hundreds of spectators gathered along the shore a spectacular view of the colourful fleet. 

The Race Committee issued individual recalls for Oohbleck, skippered by Jim Leckey, Raku, skippered by Matthew Ross, and Mrs Overnewton, skippered by Leslie Norton, all just a bit too eager to get their races underway. 

Veloce 4, skippered by Phil Simpfendorfer, got a great start and rounded the Sandringham Yacht Club mark first, proving just how fast the high-performance lightweight carbon fibre Melges 40 is, taking line honours in a time of one hour, 44 minutes and 10 seconds.  

Alex Team Macadie, skippered by Jock Macadie and sailing fully-crewed for this race finished in second place across the line in one hour, 51 minutes and 48 seconds while Ari Abrahams sailed his Melges IC37, Fargo into third place on line honours just ten seconds later. 

Mercedes III enjoyed the challenging conditions, reveling in the heavy close-hauled sailing, but struggled to keep up with her high-tech rivals in the fleet.  

The hugely popular Cock of the Bay Yacht Race serves as a lead-in event for the 2023 Melbourne to Hobart Yacht Race (M2H), the blue water classic, which starts at 1pm on Wednesday 27 December from Portsea Pier.  

The forecast for the 2023 Melbourne to Hobart Race is for a 10 to 15 knot southerly for the start with the wind picking up to gusts over 20 knots and two metre seas as they close on King Island. Strong winds are expected to hit the fleet on Friday offering the fleet a quick ride across the Southern Coast of Tasmania.

The 2023 Ronstan Cock of the Bay is the first race of the three race Sovereign Series which includes the Melbourne to Hobart Yacht Race and the King of the Derwent. 

Jane Austin/ORCV media 

Website https://www.orcv.org.au/cock-of-the-bay 

Find us on Facebookwww.facebook.com/OceanRacingClub   

Further information: Steph McDonald 0431 286 745 /  media@orcv.org.au   

About ORCV: A leading authority on ocean sailing, racing and training in Australia, the Club was formed so that ocean races in Victorian waters could be efficiently developed and run by an organisation focusing specifically on the needs of ocean racers. 

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