Top Gun takes out Australian Women’s Keelboat Regatta
Top Gun, skippered by Erin Peters and helmed by Anne Antrecht, is again the champion boat of the Australian Women’s Keelboat Regatta, sailed on Melbourne’s Port Phillip over the June long weekend.
The well-sailed Adams 10 from the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria won all three handicap divisions, including taking first place on corrected time in five of the six heats under the international IRC handicap.
A Tasmanian crew, skippered by prominent Hobart yachtswoman Dianne Barkas, sailed the chartered Sydney 38 Scarlet Runner to line honours in all six races, placing second place overall in the IRC division and third in the AMS division.
A fleet of 21 yachts, ranging from a Thompson 7 sports to an ocean racer, crewed by 150 women sailors from Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania, contested the 19th regatta specifically for women conducted by the Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron and sailed over windward/leeward courses at the top end of the bay.
Winds varied from a 5-8 knot northerly on the opening day to a gusty 18-25 knot westerly on the final day, described by Dianne Barkas as “challenging”.
Top Gun and her Victorian crew sailed an almost faultless series, winning every race on IRC corrected time with the exception of the light and fluky race three in which they placed fourth.
Scarlet Runner was almost as consistent, leading the fleet home in every race, the crew showing excellent heavy weather sailing skills in carrying a shy spinnaker to the final of the final race, with the westerly gusting across the bay under leaden skies at 25 knots.
On corrected time, Scarlet Runner notched up four seconds, a third and a seventh place, and an excellent result for the women who come from three Hobart clubs, the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, Derwent Sailing Squadron and Bellerive Yacht Club.
Third overall in the IRC Division went to another Adams 10, Salamander III, skippered by Janet Dean from the host club, the RMYS.
Top Gun won the AMS Division with placings of 1-2-5-1-1-1, beating fellow RYCV entrant Nouanne, a Scampi 30 skippered by Tanya Stamford, third place overall going to Scarlet Runner.
The arbitrary PHS division produced wider results, with Top Gun not winning a race, but achieving overall success with generally consistent sailing. Despite being disqualified from race six, the Beneteau 35S5 Allegresse (Kathryn De Gris, Royal Brighton Yacht Club) placed second overall finishing one point ahead of Meridian Passage, skippered by Alison Binks from RMYS.
“It’s been a marvellous regatta, with a wide variety of competition and weather conditions, but we managed to take line honours in all six races, although today was very challenging,” Dianne Barkas said after the last of three races on Monday.
“We were glad we had ten girls on board for the final race, with the wind freshening to 16-22 knots and while many boats elected not carry spinnakers, we were able to fly a small kite without any problems.”
“A lot of the girls did not carry spinnakers in the final race, but we handled a smaller kite well on the Sydney 38, although the finish was a very, very shy reach to the line,” Dianne added.
A fleet of 139 yachts took to the start line for Race Seven – the largest fleet yet for the Audi Winter Series 2009. After six races this was the chance for some to break a tie in the pointscore or to try to score extra points over their nearest rival. Some divisions only have one to three points separating the leader, while there are ties for first or second place in three divisions, which meant racing was vital for many.
The promising westerly winds that were present when the race committee took to the water evaporated just before the start of racing, forcing a delayed start.
“It was a real test of light weather sailing skills. Those who did the best today were those that were able to pick the shifts in the breeze and got themselves on the more easterly side of the course,” said PRO John Hurley.
In Division A, Geoff Morgan and Andrew Banks’s You’re Hired finished first in Division A, with Matthew Short’s Shortwave second and Dick Cawse’s Vanguard third.
In Division B, Tim Casey’s St Hilliers Quest finished first with Jeff Carter’s Edake second and Noel Cornish’s St Jude third.
“It was an exciting day in cold and variable conditions. We thought we were out the back at the start of the race, due to the light winds, but halfway through the race we thought that we weren’t doing too badly,” said Tim Casey.
In Division C, Sean Langman’s LBxx finished first with Howard de Torres’s Nips’n’Tux second and Michael Selby’s Cyrene 3 third.
Other division winners included Peter Sorensen’s The Philosophers Club (Division D), Vaughan Stibbard’s The Business (Division E), Rob McConchie’s Wave Dancer (Division F), Kim LeGras’ Irrepressible (Division G), Brett & Karen Pearce’s Broulee (Division H), Peter Franki’s Salt Shaker (Division J), Robert Hunt’s Attitude (Division K) and The SubZero Syndicate’s The SubZero Goat (Sydney 38OD).
Two impressive new trophies will be introduced at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week in August to recognise the yachts that have dominated the race for line honours during the regatta.
One of the trophies will be awarded in the IRC Grand Prix Division, where the fastest yachts in the fleet will be competing. The other will go to what is judged to be the best performing line honours yacht across all remaining divisions.
Brisbane yachtsman Peter Harburg, whose 65-footer Black Jack scored the majority of line honours wins during last year’s AHIRW, has welcomed news of the new trophies.
“There’s something very special about crossing the line ahead of the fleet and hearing the gun,” said Harburg.
It’s likely that Black Jack, and Bob Oatley’s near sistership, Wild Oats X, will lock horns and stage an intense line honours battle across all nine races they will contest this year.
However, they may not get things all their own way. Steven David’s 60-footer, Wild Joe – a former Race Week champion – has been fine-tuned and will be particularly competitive in light breezes.
Another competition is the Prix d’Elegance which can be won by yachts with no chance of topping the handicap results, or being first to finish.
Prix d’Elegance trophies will be awarded to The Best Presented Yacht and Crew (yacht in first-class trim, and matching crew uniforms), and The Best Fun-Themed Yacht and Crew (let your imagination run wild).
Meanwhile, it was as if Trans Tasman rivalry between Australia and New Zealand had unwittingly surfaced when the Brisbane based yacht Lady Fay, owned by Gavin Bicknell, became the 100th entry lodged for this year’s Audi Hamilton Island Race Week.
Only minutes earlier one of the greats of New Zealand yachting, Ray Haslar, just missed out on what is seen as a milestone for the big event when he registered his very successful Davidson 35, Jive Talkin’, and became the 99th entry.
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week will be staged from August 22 to 29.
Newcastle Round Lord Howe Island Yacht Race
Move over Hobart … a new Category 1 ocean race has just been added to the Australian bluewater calendar, with the inaugural Butlers Newcastle Round Lord Howe Island Yacht Race to start on Mother’s Day next year.
At 770 nautical miles the race will be 140 miles longer than the Rolex Sydney-Hobart, although it has been timed to coincide with seasonal sou’easters and nor’westers which should allow pleasant reaching conditions rather than a windward slog.
The racing division will sail non-stop, rounding the island then heading straight back to the finish in Newcastle Harbour. The leading contenders could take as little as 70 hours.
Entrants in the cruising division, meanwhile, will enjoy a lay-over of up to six days on the World Heritage-listed island awaiting suitable weather for the return. A maximum of 15 yachts are permitted to moor in Lord Howe lagoon, with five more in South Passage.
Both yachts and multihulls are welcome to compete, fully crewed or short-handed. IRC and PHS systems will determine handicap honours.
Just as a carnival atmosphere surrounds the Hobart finish, race organisers are hoping Novocastrians will embrace and celebrate the race. An accompanying Taste of the Hunter festival is one idea being bandied, replicating Tassie’s week-long “Taste”.
Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club (NCYC) members Tony Purkiss and Bruce Bragg conceived the race concept, secured a keen sponsor in Butlers Business and Law, and won approval from the club board to proceed.
The world’s busiest coal port is now home to a fast-growing yacht fleet and the NCYC opened its clubhouse doors last December.
Kordia will run the radio scheds and provide positional updates for the race website, while AMSA will assist with EPIRB collation. Contact Tony Purkiss on 0411 057 362 or firstname.lastname@example.org
RORC enlist Skandia to help revive the Admiral’s Cup
The Royal Ocean Racing Club has secured the support of Skandia to undertake a feasibility study into the revival of the Admiral’s Cup, one of the world’s great international regattas, as the premier offshore racing regatta on the world circuit.
RORC, through Chief Executive Eddie Warden Owen, has been working on reviving the Admiral’s Cup for some time.
“With this commitment from Skandia we can put resources in place to carry out a thorough feasibility study leading to a plan that could enable our vision to become a reality,” said Eddie. “We have considerable interest from all over the world but we want to ensure that the Admiral’s Cup meets the needs and expectations of all prospective competitors.”
RORC is consulting with yacht clubs, boat owners and sailors from all over the world with a view to holding the event in the summer of 2011.
Australians understand the impact the rabbit has on our environment, but our waterways are equally vulnerable to being over-run by introduced marine plants and animals, with devastating consequences. Just like land pests such as rabbits and foxes, most marine pests reproduce rapidly, are opportunistic eaters and spread widely. Marine pests prey on native species, steal their food, take over their habitats and destroy their breeding areas.
Marine pests can also have severe impacts on maritime industries, including fisheries and aquaculture, as well as our recreational past-times such as recreational boating and fishing.
Marine pests can affect your boat
- They damage the paint and hull where they attach
- They increase drag and therefore fuel costs
- They clog pipes, motors or propellers causing engine overheating
- They increase maintenance costs
Marine pests can affect your fishing
- They increase pressure on fish populations by competing for food, damaging their habitats, or preying on them
- The Northern Pacific seastar can even steal your bait!
Marine pests are typically non-native species that arrive from overseas, however some pest species are native to other parts of the Australian coast, and can go on to become a pest in another location.
Marine pests have been introduced into Australian waters in various ways, including in ballast waters, attached to the hulls of international ships or recreational boats, or imported as aquarium or aquaculture species.
Boats, yachts, dinghies and cruisers can also easily carry new pests into pristine pest-free areas – stuck to the hull, tangled in nets, rods, propellers or anchors, held in damp burley buckets, bilge, pipes, anchor wells etc.
Once a pest arrives, it is almost impossible to get rid of it. Eradication attempts are very costly and can have drastic environmental effects.
The pest seaweed Caulerpa taxifolia has already become established in Sydney and along the NSW and Victorian coasts, and action needs to be taken to avoid other pest species arriving in our estuaries.
In 2008 over 1,650 boat owners completed a voluntary online survey conducted by the Sydney Metropolitan Catchment Management Authority (SMCMA) with NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI), allowing valuable data to be collected and your opinions to be heard.
This study also identified key pests, such as the Asian bag mussel, Northern Pacific seastar, European/ green shore crab and Japanese kelp, which have a high risk of being transferred to Sydney’s waterways by boating traffic from southern NSW and other states.
A booklet is available with tips to keep your boat and gear free of marine pests and how to identify pests. Pick up a booklet at your local marina, bait and tackle store, NSW Maritime or NSW DPI offices, or visit www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fisheries/pest-diseases.
If you are interested in having a short presentation to your club or organisation about marine pests, and are located in the Sydney area, please contact Erin Dixon on (02) 9895 7428 or email@example.com
Prototype 18-footer wins on Lake Geneva
The flying 18-footer Mirabaud LX has won the classic Genève-Rolle-Genève – one of Switzerland’s most important regattas – in the monohull division and smashed the event’s record by 12mins, held until now by a Psaros 40.
Thomas Jundt, Antoine Ravonel and Eric Gobet on board their spectacular hydrofoiled 18-footer Mirabaud LX, sailed the 32nm return-course between Geneva and the town of Rolle in 3hrs 43mins.
Jo Richards and his crew onboard Full Pelt finished two minutes later, whilst Oyster – the Seb Schmidt prototype – completed the podium 15 minutes later.
Pushed at great speed by a strong westerly flow, 237 boats crossed the starting line. Mirabaud LX started badly and struggled to find her rhythm in the strong gusts and big chop generated by so many boats. The crew finally started flying, lifted by its hydrofoils and overtaking the fleet at great speed.
The wind blew between 10-30 knots throughout the race – a rare occurrence on Lake Geneva. Showing fantastic speed and stability, downwind as well as upwind, Mirabaud LX clearly proved the validity of its concept, overtaking Lake Geneva’s spectacular and expensive carbon fibre prototypes one by one to finally take the lead in sight of the finish line.
Here’s a cool new app for all you techie sailors with iPhones: The ‘Wind Meter’.
It works by measuring the volume of the wind on your iPhone microphone and converts it into a wind speed reading. To use, simply point the microphone into the wind and push Get Wind! Wait a few seconds and push Got Wind! The final reading is the average of the period.
Developed by a start-up group of young engineers in Silicon Valley who happen to enjoy wind sports and solving technical problems, the program can be downloaded from http://www.goingapps.com
Yacht designer Prof Peter Joubert honoured
Professor Peter Numa Joubert OAM, the distinguished academic and noted authority on fluid mechanics and the only ‘amateur’ yacht designer to have designed an overall winner of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, has been made an Officer (AO) in the General Division of the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Prof Joubert, now retired and living in the Melbourne suburb of Kew, designed Zeus II, a Currawong 31, which was overall winner of the 1981 Sydney Hobart, as well as other yachts that have won their divisions in the 628 nautical mile ocean classic.
He competed in 27 Sydney Hobarts, mostly skippering yachts of his own design which he named after Australian birds, including the Currawong 31 and Brolga 35. More than a hundred yachts have been built to his designs.
While yacht design was more a sideline to his major research work in mechanical engineering, he is a Member of the Institute of Naval Architects and has authored more than a hundred scientific papers, including 10 papers in the Journal of Ship Research. These have included investigating the forces caused by slamming impact on yacht hulls.
Prof Joubert received the AO for ‘services to engineering through research in the field of fluid mechanics, particularly in relation to submarine design and education.’
However, his research work has extended far beyond that, including the development of a seat belt whilst a World War II fighter pilot on active duty in New Guinea which led to road safety action and safety harnesses for yachtsmen. He received a Medal of the Order of Australia in 1996 for his contributions on road and yacht safety.
American boat designer Phil Bolger
Celebrated American boat designer Phil Bolger has died at age 81. He took his own life with his Colt 45 handgun at his home in West Gloucester, Massachusetts on Sunday 24 May.
Bolger was one of the most prolific boat designers of the 20th century. He designed upwards of 680 boats, including the well-known Bolger Sharpie and HMS Rose, which was featured in the 2003 movie Master and Commander. Many of Bolger’s small craft were designed to be constructed largely of plywood and built on a budget with minimal labour.
Phil Bolger was also a prominent author, publishing numerous books on boats and a novel about apartheid in South Africa, along with countless magazine articles.
Bill Prince, Classic Yacht magazine.
BRP to the rescue at Australian IRB Championships
Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA), BRP Australia, manufacturer of Sea-Doo personal watercraft, and Evinrude Outboard Motors have announced a long-term partnership, which will see a new generation of rescue equipment on Australia’s beaches.
The news comes after the withdrawal by Yamaha Motors Australia from well-advanced contract negotiations, due to the global economic crisis.
SLSA Group General Manager, Michael Hornby, said the partnership with BRP involves support for the 2009 Australian IRB (inflatable rescue boat) Championships which will be held from 24 to 26 July at Kawana Waters, on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.
“Another feature will be a new rescue gear program, which will see BRP products available to surf life saving clubs at highly subsidised prices,” he said.
“We are particularly pleased the Evinrude E-Tec Outboard motors produce much less emissions, demonstrating SLSA’s commitment to environmentally friendly practices around the Australian coastline.”
Gregoire Dupont, General Manager for BRP Asia Pacific, said the new partnership would be forged in trust.
“We are happy to lend a hand to Aussie surf lifesavers, and be the watercraft of choice when it comes to protecting lives on our beaches – no matter the conditions,” Dupont said.
A trophy comes home after 70 years
Seventy years ago the Pittwater Aquatic Club (PAC) was a rowing club operating out of a building in Bayview Park, which later became the Ambulance Station. In the 1930s, well-known boatshed operator, the late Cedric Williams, sponsored a perpetual trophy to be raced on a regular basis between clubs.
The trophy was last raced for in 1939 in a PAC regatta and won by the Balmain Rowing Club. War intervened and after the war PAC had evolved into the general boating club which it is today.
The new clubhouse at The Esplanade in Mona Vale is a far cry from its beginnings in 1924 which was in a boat storage area above the high water mark under Bayview Anchorage, with meetings held in the Cedric Williams’s boatshed until 1935 when the park clubhouse/storage shed was built.
The trophy (a model of a Racing Four complete with sculls, and mounted in a glass case) was made by Stuart Murray a well-known model maker of the time. It sat on top of a cupboard in the Balmain Club for the last 70 years and its origins would have been lost but for a member, George Neilson, who was actually in the winning crew of that event.
It was decided by the Balmain Club that it should be returned to its historical home.