Valmadre Cup - Battle Royal for Valmadre Crown

In the groove – Charlotte shows her R/P racing pedigree as she powers up wind.
Bernie Kaaks
Valmadre Cup - Light and fluky conditions in last Saturday’s Mayflower Race produced some surprise results and set the scene for an intriguing climax to the series. The Mayflower is the third heat of the offshore winter series, conducted by Fremantle Sailing Club on Gage Roads.

In Division Zero, John Moore’s Marten 49 Charlotte sailed a superb race to take line honours by a massive thirty five minutes from sister-ship and arch-rival, Trevor Taylor’s Optimus Prime, with Phil Childs’ Farr 49 Knee Deep making a welcome return from a pre-Hobart overhaul to cross third, only thirty seconds behind. Charlotte’s big margin translated into comfortable wins on both IRC and YAH handicapping systems.

Peter Ahern’s Farr 40OD Yo! 2 continued its consistent series, an inspired decision to go offshore on the long run from Campbell Buoy to the 11-metre Isolated Danger Mark putting her amongst the larger yachts in the middle part of the race. Yo! hung on to record second places under both IRC and YAH, with Frank Saraceni’s Bakewell-White 36 Sports Al Fresco also sailing well to take a pair of thirds.

The star of the first two heats, Tony Carter’s First 40 Just Cruisin’, joined the other heavy forty footers for a frustrating race, being becalmed at the northern end of the course as the southerly breeze slowly dominated the earlier light north-easterly. Royal Perth’s Just Cruisin’s sixth on IRC dropped her to second place on eight points, trailing Royal Freshwater Bay’s Yo! 2 on seven points, with Optimus Prime on thirteen. However, if the fourth and final heat of the series is contested, a discard comes into play, and Just Cruisin’s pair of first puts her in a stronger position. Also in the hunt for the minor placings are Al Fresco and Charlotte, though their paths are more difficult with each carrying one poor result in earlier races.

Under YAH, a cluster of yachts could win, including the consistent Yo! 2 on eleven points before the drop, Al Fresco (14), Aardvark (14), Just Cruisin’ (18), Optimus Prime (19), Charlotte (20), Giddy Up (21) and Wasabi (21).

Smooth operator – John Holder used all his experience to take line honours in Division Two.
Bernie Kaaks

The Division Two fleet also battled tricky conditions, with experience and guile coming into play before Race Officer Bernie Kaaks mercifully shortened the course. John Holder’s Farr 11.6 Plus 16 read the conditions well to take line honours, from the First 34.7 Dynamic, sailed by Paul Spencer in owner Craig Carter’s absence, and sister-ship Dennis Vincent’s Wyuna.

Serial champion Bad Habits, an IRC-modified Whiting 32 sailed by Ian Holder, served notice on the highly competitive fleet of 30-36 footers by adding a second IRC win, after missing the first heat. Another Whiting 32, Peter Kennington’s Traffic Jam, added a second to her earlier first and third to stay in touch, whilst Plus 16 took the third place.

Progressive IRC results show Traffic Jam leading on six points before drops, from Peter Hickson’s First 35 Mulberry (13), Simon Plunkett’s S97 Terra (13), Wyuna (14) and Plus 16 (15), though the elephant in the room is Bad Habits, on 15 points but with a potential 13 point first race DNC to drop.

Under YAH, Plus 16 was rewarded with a first, from Ron MacArthur’s MX and Traffic Jam. The progressive YAH scores do not point to an obvious winner, with Traffic Jam leading narrowly on 12 points, from MX (13), Apo Kato (15), Mulberry (16), Terra (16) and Wyuna (18). The position is even closer after drops, with any of these yachts capable of winning. Kraken and Bad Habits will also challenge for the minor placings with good results in the final race.

Catching the bouquet – will Problem Child’s string of second places be enough to save her from bridesmaid status?
Bernie Kaaks

The 1.030 to 1.080 raters in Division One also had challenges from the weather, with the un-forecast southerly change sweeping the fleet home to the shortened course finish at Hallbank Beacon. After a four hour match race, Steve Hindmarsh’s Farr 30 Leewana got away to cross the line well ahead of series favourite Problem Child, another Farr 30 sailed by Jonathon Clough for busy liquidator Brian McMaster. Anthony Kirke’s Archambault 35 Archimedes was third over the line, with both the IRC and YAH results mirroring those placings.

Progressive IRC results for Division One favour the consistent Problem Child, with six points from three second places. Archimedes is close behind with eight points, from Leewana (12), This Way Up (12.5) and Circa (14). Allowing for a discard, Problem Child and Archimedes are equal on four points, with Leewana and This Way Up on six. As any of these yachts can win, the last race will be the usual prize fight enjoyed by this competitive mid-size fleet.

The YAH progress scores feature the same five yachts, with Problem Child on nine points leading from Archimedes (10), Circa (13), Leewana (14) and This Way Up (14). Archimedes holds the advantage after a discard, but with only two points separating first and fifth, the series is wide open.

The Division Three fleet had no difficulty completing its full course before the breeze shut down, with Mark Trupp’s Chiara scoring the win from Clodagh Irwin’s Anastasia and Graeme Cole’s Double Vision. Paul Arns’ No Rehearsal was again fastest. The progressive results are close, with Anastasia leading on five points from Double Vision on eight and Chiara and No Rehearsal on nine. The results after discard are even closer, with the final race to determine the placings.

The forty-eight entrants in the series will be hoping for fair sailing conditions in the Voladora Race, the final race of the Valmadre Cup series on Saturday week, 6th August 2011. The race commemorates the winner of the first Valmadre Cup race in 1908 – Voladora, jointly owned by L. Hopkins and J. Kennington. Maybe that’s an omen for this year’s Division Two result?

Down to the wire – again. Archimedes is making a habit of being in the hunt at the business end of series.
Bernie Kaaks

Fremantle Sailing Club website