Bring out the drifter for the Nautilus Marine Winter Series.

Former Sydney Ferry, Lady Cutler, watches Gienah sail past. Different laws on Port Phillip… - Nautilus Marine Winter Series
With the isobars of the Mean Sea Level Pressure chart spread about as wide as the whole State of Victoria, it was never very likely that there would be a blow out for today’s opening round. In essence, the question for the Nautilus Marine Winter Series would be whether the impending drifter would waft in from the East or the South.

Mrs Overnewton brings Seaya and Take Five down with her. - Nautilus Marine Winter Series

Super clear skies, frigid nights and golden sunny days had more than set the scene for the last few days, so early in the morning, the Eastern quadrant was holding sway. By about midday however, the Southerly took charge and if you hung around long enough, you may have been lucky to see a massive seven knots howl through the anemometer. For the rest of the time it was a blistering three to five.

Handfuls of kite during the drop for Archimedes. Harder with cold hands… - Nautilus Marine Winter Series

Still, if you’ve been around racetracks long enough, you’ll know these are the days you really have to sail for your win. So if you were lucky enough to be on a boat with a Drifter as part of its wardrobe, then today would have really been the day to give it an airing.

Importantly, there are over 20 prizes available to the fleet and include $1000 discounts off your next insurance policy for the winners of the three divisions in both IRC and the Australian Measurement System (AMS) categories. The money does not end there, for second and third places earn $500 and $250 respectively and the performance handicap (PHS) and non-spinnaker divisions also share in the pool, which is over $12,000 large.

Former Farr40 AFR Midnight Rambler, now Primitive Cool. - Nautilus Marine Winter Series

Little wonder then that just under 30 boats hit the seas for this second year of the Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron’s Winter series. A Windward/Leeward course on an axis of 185? for 1nm was set and as you can imagine from the weather briefing above, this was more than enough.

Race Officer for the series is Tim Wagland, who further explained, 'Division Three and the non-spinnaker fleet did four laps, where as Divisions One and Two did six and we finished them all at the leeward end. I’m really happy to get the first one locked away in light breeze that ultimately dropped out. Well done to all my team of volunteers out on the water. All of the boats had a good race, which was clean and with no infringements, which really makes for a super day. Here’s to a great series and many thanks to our sponsor.'

Tigris (Red) and Addiction come to the bottom mark together. - Nautilus Marine Winter Series

Division One saw Tigris shine in the light breezes and correspondingly flat water to get Line Honours and the wins in both AMS and PHS. Third in AMS was Gienah, who would also claim the IRC scalp, where Matador and Ellipse were second and third, respectively.

Murray McCutcheon’s Bull 9000, Matador, is one of the few vessels racing in both Division One IRC and AMS and today had a second and fourth place in both of the measurement categories, respectively, with a third in PHS, too. He said, 'We’d be more than delighted to collect one or more of the magic $1000 vouchers. We were slammed a little at the start by boats with taller masts, so flopped over onto Port tack as soon as we could and went after it. Being with boats the whole time meant we knew we were doing OK and are absolutely looking forward to see if we get some stronger conditions and the old Olympic Courses during the whole series, as these really suit us.'

Richard McGarvie is away from his beloved Inglis, Addiction, but said from afar, 'Glad to hear they had a second place in Div1 AMS and PHS. It always happens when I’m not there, so perhaps they’re telling me something?!'

Good thing they did it before the race. - Nautilus Marine Winter Series

In Division Two, Portofino would get a win in both AMS and PHS, so it was good that they had their kite practice before the race, where they shook out any Winter cobwebs, by using that chance to have a complete malfunction. Salamander III would take out IRC and second place in AMS and these two craft would hold on for first and second in PHS two. Other vessels to start making their claims in Division Two include Mrs Overnewton, Archimedes and Sea Eagle.

See. All AOK once racing was underway. - Nautilus Marine Winter Series

Division Three saw Take One get the nod from Take Five in AMS, with Sunshine in for third place. The two ‘Takes’ would hold the same positions in PHS, but Revenge came up for third. Jurgen Pfeiffer from Take Five was also one of the happy participants, with a second in both Div3 AMS and PHS. He commented, 'We did well and enjoyed the beautiful day - simply a great opportunity in the light and somewhat shifty conditions. Honestly, if you were not out there you’re silly, it was simply wonderful.'

Division Three’s well-sailed, Take One. - Nautilus Marine Winter Series

In the Non-Spinnaker Division, Dalliance got up for the win. Leilani and Vagrant took the other places. Graeme Pettingill commented, 'Only three on board today, so very thankful to Joey and Sharron for a sterling job. Let’s hope we can continue it for the series. Nice to back up last year’s series win with another race win now, so hopefully I have not just put the hex squarely upon us. Apologies to the crew if I have…'

It just took three for the win on Dalliance. - Nautilus Marine Winter Series

Rod Austin, the General Manager from the RMYS said, 'We’re absolutely delighted to have wonderful racing conditions like we experienced for the Australian Women’s Keelboat Regatta and hope it is a harbinger for the remainder of the Nautilus Marine Winter Series. We do hope any crew looking to have a great Saturday’s racing will come and be a part of it and offer a complimentary pen for the night before and after the race. By next year we’ll be able to offer them that in our new floating marina. Which is progressing well.'

There are six race days comprising the 2013 Nautilus Marine Winter Series, which culminates on August 1. You can choose to be a part of the whole game or select days you want to partake in. With the last day also providing the added attraction of your first round of drinks on the sponsor, you could well bet that one will be suitably attended.

See rmys.com.au for more information or to sign on for your chance to get amongst the dollars in the form of discounts on your Nautilus Marine insurance policy.

Everyone came out to watch the NMWS, including this Stand up Paddleboarder. - Nautilus Marine Winter Series