Offshore newcomers welcomed

Fearless campaigner – Louis Suriano and Mark Nagle are continuing Without Fear’s proud offshore history.
Vanessa Cornwall

The ocean racing debut of a number of new yachts and crews has been a highlight of this winter’s Valmadre Cup series, conducted by Fremantle Sailing Club in the waters between Fremantle and Rottnest Island.

Crews are currently preparing for the Ensign Race, the second race in the series, with an ideal forecast of chilly ten to fifteen knot easterlies and flat seas for this Saturday morning.

The nineteen-boat Division Two fleet has welcomed the most newcomers, including the Beneteau First 35 Mulberry, sailed by Peter Hickson of Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club, which scored a fastest time and IRC third in the first race of the series, the Arlene Race. Sister-ship and archrival La Premiere, skippered by Mike Campbell of Royal Perth Yacht Club, is also entered for its first offshore series, as is Todd Giraudo’s new Jeanneau Sunfast 3200 Kraken, from Hillarys Yacht Club. Kraken hopes to receive its IRC certificate in time to qualify for an IRC result in the Ensign Race.

In addition to the new boats, Simon Plunkett of RPYC is campaigning his newly-acquired S97 Terra, the former Wyuna II. Fremantle’s Belinda McManus, sailing her Farr 1104 Crazy Horse, along with the RPYC Farr 9.2 Lionheart skippered by Warren Westaway, are also enjoying the ocean racing experience.

In Division One, Ray Le Guier has brought his new Elan 350 Fat Wallet Lost up from Koombana Bay Sailing Club for the series. The distinctive Elan, built in Slovenia, features a wide stern with a hard chine and twin rudders, akin to a Volvo 70 round-the-world racer. 1990 Geraldton Race winner Without Fear is in the new hands of Louis Suriano and Mark Nagle of East Fremantle Yacht Club, who are continuing the well-known Swarbrick 10.2’s proud offshore history.

The Division Zero fleet welcomes the well-credentialled Farr 40 OD Yo! 2, sailed by RFBYC Commodore Peter Ahern, which has been brought home to Perth after a number of years campaigning on the Asian regatta circuit. With an all-star crew, Yo! 2 immediately showed her potential with an IRC second in the Arlene Race.

The Valmadre Cup was first contested on 1st March 1908, for the silver trophy donated by Fremantle gentleman, A.G. 'Paddy' Valmadre, Esq. The race was won by George Stanton’s Arlene, from Fred Sweetman’s Ensign, the two yachts whose names are commemorated in the first two races of the current day incarnation of the event, which this year has attracted forty-eight entries.