Nervous Cape Naturaliste and Return race crews wait on protests

Just hang on & hike! - General Lee hit a top speed of 23 knots on the trip to Cape Naturaliste. - Cape Naturaliste Ocean Race
Bernie Kaaks - copyright
Royal Perth Yacht Club’s Protest Committee faces a busy night after the fired-up crews in the 235 nautical mile Cape Naturaliste and Return ocean race proved just how serious they are about blue water racing.

The over-the-line placings after 27 hours of intense racing saw Trevor Taylor’s Marten 49 Optimus Prime first by nine minutes from Phil Childs’ Farr 49 Knee Deep, with Tony Mitchell’s Farr 47 Sled a further six minutes astern, and Paul Eldrid & Scott Disley’s smaller Bakewell-White 37 General Lee 77 minutes further back. But these results give little indication of the final outcome, with protests lodged by Knee Deep against Optimus Prime and Sled, and by Sled against Knee Deep over a separate incident.

Asked to comment on the protests, Taylor stated 'Our sport is self-regulated and protests are part of that. There is no umpire out there to blow a whistle off Bunker Bay at 4am in the morning, so sometimes questions need to be resolved 'in the room'. We never take it personally.'

With one race of the seven race Evolution Sails Blue Water Series for the Siska Trophy remaining, the protest results will have a huge bearing on the outcome as the series goes down to the wire. Sled currently looks the favourite, with Optimus Prime, Knee Deep and General Lee set to pounce given the slightest opportunity, which could include an adverse protest outcome.

In the groove - a relaxed Trevor Taylor and his experienced Optimus Prime crew have had another consistent offshore season, and are looking forward to the trip to Hobart. - Cape Naturaliste Ocean Race
Bernie Kaaks - copyright

In Royal Perth’s concurrent events, the 48nm Coventry & Return and the 30nm Rockingham & Return races, variable wind conditions led to huge gains and losses. In the Coventry, Garth Curran’s big Inglis 57 Walk on the Wild Side continued her recent good form, slipping away to the Division One triple of fastest, first on IRC rating and first on YAH handicap. In Division Two, it was a small boat race with Simon Torvaldsen’s flash new S&S 34 Blondie rolling home with the building sea breeze to finish sixth over the line and take the IRC/YAH double.

In the Rockingham race, the four yacht Double-Handed fleet saw John Holder’s Farr 11.6 Plus 16 take fastest time and the IRC win, while David Kay’s Topaz was the YAH winner. In the Coastal Cup fleet, East Fremantle Commodore Peter Kennington’s Whiting 32 Traffic Jam was first & fastest.

Full final results will be announced at the presentation ceremony at Royal Perth Yacht Club this Wednesday evening at 7pm.

Here we come! - Knee Deep has found an extra gear downwind with her new square-top mainsail. She's also heading to Hobart in December. - Cape Naturaliste Ocean Race
Bernie Kaaks - copyright

In the hunt - Sled shows her power reaching ability offshore. - Cape Naturaliste Ocean Race
Bernie Kaaks - copyright