by John Curnow
Two little Hick 30 foot yachts had a great time in Race Five of the Ocean Racing Club of Victoria’s Winter Series.
Division One got away cleanly. - ORCV Winter Series
After early morning fog lifted in a very gentle Northerly breeze, sunny skies and flat water on Melbourne’s Port Phillip were the order of the day. The wind died completely for a brief but frustrating moment as it swung from out of the North to hold a more Southerly direction, which it did for the rest of the day as it built in firstly towards a genuine ten knots and then crept just over that mark as the sun very much waned for the day. By that stage, all the boats were indeed home and happy crews had enjoyed the traditional passage race that has been a feature of the Winter Series during its 41-year history.
The Race Director for the Winter Series is ORCV legend, Robin Hewitt and he had this to say about the day and the racing. ‘There was thick fog to the South of us (from our proximity to Recreational Mark #2) and as a result, the shipping was going slow - read proceeding with caution!!! We had six knots from the North for the start and it was more than a little overcast, which later cleared and calmed out. Speaking of starts, Division One got away quite orderly, but Division Two had two individual recalls for being on course side.’
Robin also went on to say, ‘Goldfinger was the first to round R2 and head off to the spoil ground with a spinnaker. Some anxious moments followed when an unnerving calm appeared, right when the boats were traversing the main shipping channel. We had to get on the radio and use the course boat to ensure our yachts did not impede shipping. Those who persevered West of the Channel reaped the eventual local seabreeze first. The new breeze maxed for us at around 7 to 8 knots, at about 3pm. To add to our busy times on board the Committee Boat, we had an absolute dead-heat finish with Dry White and Schüss and had a big scramble to fire the gun, as Toecutter 2 (one of the little Hicks) appeared amidst Division One to actually take Line Honours for Division Two!’
Looking over the results, we find that Toecutter 2 and Godzilla (the other little Hick) came in twelfth and fourteenth overall on the day, respectively, which was well ahead of the next Division Two vessel, The Secretary. 12 minutes, in fact. In IRC corrected times, Godzilla beat the Division One winner, Challenge, by 11 minutes, with another two of the Division Two boats, White Noise and Laurelle, also getting 'home' before the Sydney 38. So it is hardly surprising then that Godzilla got a win in the performance category, as well.
Tom Fowler's little Hick, Godzilla. - ORCV Winter Series
Now not only did both of the Hicks beat the Division One Australian Measurement System winner, Dry White in absolute terms, in AMS corrected times, Toecutter 2 got 'home' 23 minutes before Dry White and Godzilla was 22 minutes clear. The biggest result out of all of this is that Toecutter 2 has now given herself a clear and distinct margin in the race for the Lord Warden Trophy, which is awarded to the vessel with the lowest pointscore in the series from any division. At just five points, she is six points clear of both of her nearest rivals, Jazz Player and winner for the last two years running, INSX, who are on eleven points.
Robert Hick's ultra-light and well-sailed 30 footer, Toecutter 2. - ORCV Winter Series
Principal Race Officer, David Leroy, from the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria said, ‘We set a short, 3/4nm beat North to R2, before the fleet headed off to the Spoil Ground mark. OK. In the politically correct world it's Dredged Material Ground. Once there, they turned back for a 5nm run towards Williamstown and the Pipeline #3 mark. From there it was over to Gellibrand and finally R4, the last mark before a shortened 3nm beat back towards Brighton and the laid mark finish.’
‘Setting off in six to seven knots from the North, they rounded R2 and went off on their reach to the DMG. Of course it went quiet at the Channel, which was terribly handy with the shipping around at the time. The breeze did come back out of the South and everything ended up fine. There were plenty of happy faces and many a thank you, as the crews crossed the line, which was really great. Pretty Woman was the last home, but things did not separate too much during the race. Sure the usual suspects stamped their mark, but it was not overly spread out as that dead heat shows’, David finished on.
After heading in towards the CBD, the yachts all headed out to the dredged material ground mark. - ORCV Winter Series
The ships in Australia’s busiest container port were certainly prevalent on the day and Race Management’s efforts in ensuring the maximum safety are commendable, especially in light of recent events on the other side of the globe captured on video for the entire world to see. Well done to all crews for listening and looking.
Race Six, the penultimate round of the Winter Series is on Sunday, August 28. The fun that is the final event, the race to Geelong is on Saturday, September 10. An ever-growing fleet appears from all around Port Phillip to fill not only the racing divisions, but the terrific cruising categories, too.
XLR8 takes in the lull in proceedings. - ORCV Winter Series
Dry White was earning a thirst. - ORCV Winter Series
Division Two were not all behind the line. - ORCV Winter Series
Division One got away cleanly. - ORCV Winter Series
Clear demarcation is a good way to ensure yacht safety near shipping. - ORCV Winter Series
Full results and standings, along with details of the race to Geelong, are available at orcv.org.au