Cruising’s colour spectrum at Audi Victoria Week

Start of the Sunday’s Club Marine Cruising Spinnaker Division B race - Audi Victoria Week 2011
Audi Victoria Week 2011.

The four Club Marine cruising divisions that make up the bulk of the near 400 strong line-up contesting Audi Victoria Week’s 167th edition today brought the full colour spectrum to Geelong’s Corio Bay as they criss-crossed the expansive waterway.


While the high profile IRC fleet might take the majority of the headlines, the cruising component of Audi Victoria Week take the cake for adding significant weight to the starter’s list, each with their own colourful story.

And you can forget the paid crew, sailing in the cruising division is about combining with friends, family and workmates for a quasi competitive on-water hit out, decent on board catering and plenty of tall tales in the yacht club bar afterwards.

Peter Dunne’s Beneteau First 36.7 Upbeat from Sandringham Yacht Club finished today with the perfect scorecard, two wins from two races, which has shot him to the top of the Club Marine Cruising Spinnaker B Division leaderboard.

Dunne has only been sailing for eight years, in that time covering dinghies, J24s, S80s and finally a Beneteau.

'Our strategy today was to keep windward of the fleet and in clean air,' said Dunne. 'By and large our plan worked except in the channel where it was really busy as boats tried to keep from running aground, not all successfully.'

It was a frustrating day for all Audi Victoria Week competitors with the breeze averaging 3-4 knots until late this afternoon, in the case of Dunne in the final 15 minutes of an almost three hour race when a 15 knot sea breeze at long last made its presence felt.

Another gun boat with two wins from two is Georgie Mitchell’s Victorian Spacesailor 24 called Mary Bryant, named after the Cornish convict sent to Australia who became one of the first successful escapees from the fledgling Australian penal colony.

Mitchell raced today with her partner, Kim Ford, and a girlfriend but tomorrow it will just be Mitchell and her beau and they will share the helming in the anticipated fresh conditions.

'If we don’t kill each other we might actually have a chance at winning,' laughed Mitchell this evening.

The Hobson’s Bay Yacht Club member and junior program coordinator is being driven to the podium by the weight of the previous owner’s expectations. The best he managed with the 1975-built boat was a second overall at Audi Victoria Week, and he’s challenging Mitchell to go one better.

The leading spinnaker Division A boat is Douglas Lithgow’s Soiree Bleu and the leading spinnaker Division C boat is David Barnett’s Nuyarra.

The three cruising with spinnaker divisions and one non-spinnaker division are now at the half way point of the four race series sponsored by Club Marine. All cruising divisions will contest the Portarlington race tomorrow then finish off their series with a final race on Corio Bay’s inner and outer harbour on Tuesday 25th January.
Tomorrow’s forecast is for cooler temperatures and west to southwesterly winds 15 to 20 knots in the early morning turning southwesterly up to 25 knots at lunchtime.

Audi Victoria Week Website