Quadruple treat for Damien King in 70th Anniversary Race to Apollo Bay
A quadruple treat for Damien King on Margaret Rintoul V (MRV), who took line and overall honours under AMS and ORC while celebrating his 50th birthday in the Ocean Racing Club of Victoria’s (ORCV) 70th anniversary Apollo Bay Race on the weekend, with Ginan and Arcadia filling out the top three.
King’s yacht finished in 5 hours 57mins 35secs, falling short of the 5h 24m 04s race record set by Peter Blake’s Kaos way back in 1999, but MRV won overall by a resounding 42 minutes.
Because of the tide, it was a very early start for the 39 boats in the 52 nautical mile race, which started at 6am from Queenscliff. The fleet was blanketed by a dark sky, the only light visible emanating from lights on the yachts.
South-westerly winds of 10 to 20 knots gave the fleet a fast reaching ‘drag race’ from the start and along the Great Ocean Road to the finish.
Pods of smiling dolphins raced alongside numerous boats – and kept up – while a rainbow stretched across the course area. What a way to celebrate the 70th race!
“We had a very good run, but a very cold early start,” King said. Heaps of dolphins put a smile on everyone’s faces. We didn’t do any tacks. We started on starboard and stayed that way. The only thing we did was put up a Code Zero till the wind went forward and down it came.
“It was my 50th birthday, so a great way to celebrate and we all enjoyed it,” commented King, who said he and the crew prepared the boat well beforehand.
“We had an outstanding crew with lots of experience: America’s Cup, Volvo Ocean race sailors and Olympians. We usually sail with 10, but sailed with 13, for the fact that everyone was there celebrating my birthday.”
King ended by saying, “I’m a big fan of what the ORCV does. They are great organisers and do what they do with passion and style. They couldn’t be more helpful, making it an effortless process for competitors to race.”
The race is also a great race for those trying ocean racing for the first time, as it is an enjoyable shorter destination race. The ORCV works to inspire others to come try ocean racing whether that be their partner clubs or newcomers from various programs. Among them this year were three from Apollo Bay Sailing Club, including Anton Tibbits who began sailing 10 years ago.
Tibbits, who raced on Cyrus Allen’s White Spirit said is attraction “was to gain more experience. I’d watched the race finish over many years and had always wanted to sail in it.”
The race also attracted graduates from ORCVs 2022 Beyond the Bay program. Serendipity (Dean Davenport) and French Bred (Tim Hosking), proving the program has the desired effect.
ORCV’s newly commissioned Race Van undertook skeds along the way and ensured a welcoming home out of the conditions for race officials. As part of the Club’s latest initiatives in offshore races, crews took part in water sampling along the race track, which will be tested.
The Apollo Bay Race also decides the ORCVs champions for the season. Ryujin (Alex Toomey) won the Offshore Championship, while Ginan (Nigel Jones and Cam McKenzie) won the Coastal Championship.
“We’re overjoyed to be the Offshore champions,” Toomey said of winning the Perry Fletcher trophy.
“Our main focus was the double-handed component of offshore races, but we’ve also done a few races fully crewed, including the Apollo Bay Race. Three of our crew had never done an offshore race, so it’s good to introduce a few new people who enjoyed it and will continue to race.
“We sailed five up, which was a bit of a challenge. Sudsy (well-known yachtie David Sudano) sailed with us. He also helped us a lot with boat preparation for the Melbourne to Hobart. He’s a good sailor.
“It’s been a fantastic year being able to do 50th Melbourne to Hobart, the 70th Apollo Bay and the 51st King Island Race. It’s a milestone year for the ORCV. I always enjoy their events, they put so much energy into their races,” Toomey finished.
Main photo: Damien King at the helm of Margaret Rintoul V. Photo by Steb Fisher