Winter at the Club Marine Series.

Kookaburra I lead Division One around the track today - Club Marine Series
Last time I checked, The Club Marine Series on Melbourne’s Port Phillip was a Summer event. Just confirming, you see, as the forecast for Saturday February 2 was looking decidedly grim with just 19 degrees on offer and a cool Southerly blowing through briskly that only penguins could love.

At least the big heater upstairs was turned on to nearly full and the chill was far less Antarctic, but the waves came clean over the bow of everything that ventured out there, none the less.

From 185 degrees and 15-20 knots, with more like 18-22 on offer at race’s end, Huey blew consistently all day and this knocked up the more than occasional 1.5m faced wave of green coloured coolness.

So it was a little testing, but certainly not scary, unless you happened to be on board the host club’s (Royal Brighton) Committee Boat, Tarni. Just before the start of Division Zero’s second race at 1350hrs, Reverie also from Royal Brighton Yacht Club came careening in to the very much-anchored vessel and looked all set to lay a very heavy T-bone on Tarni’s starboard side. Indeed the Race Officer on board, Greg Sinclair, commented, 'At 15m out, I thought we were well and truly gone and the ladies did not know which way they would have to jump.'

Just before this occurred, Reverie went hard to wind and took a major chunk out of the wooden vessel’s toerail. From our position on board the media vessel, which was directly in front of Tarni’s anchor chain and two boat lengths ahead (OCS), we were all set for the major crunch as Reverie’s bow came straight down on Tarni’s topsides. Mercifully, this did not occur. Reverie should not have been in this position in the first place and secondly, why not choose to bare away and go below the Committee Vessel, as is the common practice?

To not come back and enquire as to the condition of the boat’s occupants, also seems a little curious to all of those that witnessed it. Perhaps this is why the Committee Vessel was asking a couple of boats that did indeed ask as to the state of their health, if they may perhaps have some spare toilet paper. We thought a quick Scotch may be a better idea, as the team was very much shaken by it all. 'The screams from the Reverie crew were possibly heard from ashore, even in that wind', Greg Sinclair added.

Audacious - Club Marine Series

Greg Sinclair, RO for the Division Zero and One course, said also, 'Apart from that incident, what a great racetrack it was today. It settled in at 185 degree and was just fantastic. Certainly there were some bumps out there, as there were loads of sheep in the paddock, but it was really good racing and predominantly very clean, as well.'
'The Sydney 38s seemed to be having a great day and I understand that they are also really enjoying the series. Let’s hope it all continues for them.'

Living Doll - Club Marine Series

The first race of the day was Division Zero’s two-lapper at 2.2nm. It was good to mark the return of Michael Hiatt’s Living Doll to the track and for the first lap, it seemed that it would be a golden moment as well. They rounded the top mark a couple of hundred metres ahead and also were in the lead at the bottom mark. This was as good as it got, however, for Calm 2 would overtake from there and grab the first gun, too.

They would retire from Race Two with no headsail, as the foil had been obliterated. It seems the tack point was further aft than usual after some work had been carried out on the vessel and the sail then just cleaned up the foil. It is terrific to learn that they will be on the racecourse for the remainder of the Club Marine Series, so that will be good. Also retiring from Race Two was XLR8 with a tangled kite.

Calm Two own Division Zero in the 2012/13 Club Marine Series. Having just had three wins at the Audi IRC Australian Championships, the same as Class A winner, Shogun V and Hooligan, you can bet they will be fired up for next week’s TP52 Southern Cross Cup and then the three remaining rounds of the Club Marine Series.

Jazz Player - Club Marine Series

In Division One, it was a day for another of the newly crowned Audi IRC Australian Champions, Class B’s Ikon. They had plenty of Sydney 38s around to ride shotgun and the Bakewell-White Z39, Jazz Player was in the mix after the day’s race, too. In terms of the series to date, the top of the table is possibly sealed off, but the list of potentials for minor places is long and deep.

Greg Fisher, Club Marine’s CEO said, 'It really has been great to see 130 crews take to Port Phillip in Melbourne over Summer and enjoy the Club Marine Series. Sure there are some usual suspects at the top of the various leader boards. However, there are vessels like Nouannie and Under Capricorn that are always sailed well, but may not often hold a spot on the dais. Let's hope that continues for them.'

Div1 Start - Club Marine Series

'Various One Design fleets, like the Sydney 38s, continue to provide fantastic, close, competitive sailing to watch and it is no wonder we see so many of them on the scoreboard. With the weather having been very kind over the Club Marine Series so far, we trust that this blessing will continue for the remainder of the season, allowing for a safe and fun time for all as they enjoy their sport. Club Marine is delighted for the leaders to date and keen for our valued members to continue to do well, too. All the best to the entire Club Marine Series fleet spanning the four divisions.'

ED - Club Marine Series

David Ellis from Penfold Audi Sport and the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria Sailing Captain, said of their dominance of Division Two scoreboard, 'It is an Adams 10 kind of day when we get this amount of breeze, so we just need to hang on for the best result we can get. Executive Decision won Class C at Geelong, recently. Another 10, Top Gun, would get second in both IRC and AMS (Australian Measurement System) for their day’s efforts, as well. These sorts of variations are a perfect example of what the Club Marine Series is all about. It was good to learn that Kookaburra I (KA 11) lead the Division One fleet around the track and they go to windward like nothing else, carrying all that load in the rigging as well.'

Top Gun - Club Marine Series

'Footloose (Div3) had a great day as well, and lead the Club Marine Series in Division Three AMS. Johnny Robb and the crew are always consistent and he may not get the credit he deserves. They sail the Noelex 25 so well and are always a danger in the AMS. Royals as a club are all about being serious with our racing, so it is good to see the club so well represented amongst the leaders.'

John said of it all, 'We had an extra person on board to take us to three for the day and so we feel like we’ve been on holiday, but also really thrilled. We do enjoy it and hope to get on the dais at the end.'

Wavelength - Club Marine Series

S80s and Farr1020’s like Wavelength, Intrusion and Skipjack would have a great time out there, like the Diamonds, Lucy in the sky and Mystery. However, the series is still controlled by Intrusion, Skipjack, Watermark II, Footloose and Nouannie, with none of those keen to relinquish anything. After the closeness of the Sydney 38s in Div1, this armada are always good for a viewing. The overall pace may be slower, but the competition is always fast tracked from gun to gun.

Lucy - Club Marine Series

David Leroy, the Principal Race Officer for the Club Marine Series was running Divisions Two and Three today, right up the top of the Bay, in between Williamstown and St Kilda. 'We had a really nice breeze for a yacht race today. It was 185 through to 200 degrees at times and sometimes a bit from the left, as well. It did not cause us to have to look at resetting, however. At the front end of Division Two, the sailing was really very good, but the same could not be said for the back end.'

'A few people decided to jump off and some things like that. Their crews subsequently retrieved them. One came off Matrix and was in the water for about three and a half minutes and a couple of other vessels went to his assistance. One of these was K2, who had just endured a major kite issue and the other was Under Capricorn. This all took place just before Matrix was coming in for a finish and the others went back to assist.'

'The Bowman came off the Adams 10, Longshot, but he was scooped up as the boat went by. We will look at the usual two-race day next time, provided the weather is OK. We just wanted to allow everyone a bit of a breather after Geelong and everything, so be prepared is what I am saying.'

'The sea state and breeze were calmer for us at the top of the Bay and I think this is because the tide started to back off a little (low tide was at 1430hrs). I now where you were it went from annoying to painful, so it just shows the Bay always has something on offer in its many different parts.'

Div2 Start - Club Marine Series

Many thanks to both Hobsons Bay Yacht Club and the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria for providing the media vessels. This ensured that a thorough set of images was taken across both courses. Lunch from the host club, Royal Brighton, was also enjoyed and appreciated.

Remember, it is never to late to be a part of it. If you're based in Melbourne and enjoying reading this, then maybe you should come out and get amongst it. Casual entry is welcome and in fact, very much encouraged! Just use you home club's entry system and you are in...

The Club Marine Series is proudly sponsored by Australia’s largest marine insurer - details and full information about the series can be found at clubmarineseries.com.au