Fremantle Sailing Clubs famous hospitality offset at least a little of the damp/blustery conditions the crews of 11 S&S34’s observed from FSC's balcony just prior to the start of the 27th Commodores Trophy Race. By the time the luncheon and wine had been polished off (one brave crew actually took a bottle of red out with them – not sure how much of that got drunk!) the wind had lifted to 17-20 knots and it didn’t take long for the fleet to get from the shelter of the marina to the start line just off Fremantle harbour.
After a few quick tacks for the Commodores to get used to the boats in the lumpy swell so typical at this time of year, the warning gun went off. Tactics, as always, play a major part of a yacht race pre-start and today was no different; Delphis (Commodore Maurice Cooper, SoPYC) thought the gun was a 10 minute warning so headed off towards Rottnest Island instead of the start line, Constellation (Commodore Greg Hill, NYC) reached to the pin end of the line in an attempt to get clean air on a port start, yet it was SuperStar (Commodore Greg O’Bryan, EFYC) who timed the start to perfection and got the drop on the rest of the fleet with a near perfect starboard start (where is that best start trophy??).
Unfortunately Commodore O’Bryan’s advantage wasn’t to last long and by the first mark he had slipped down the fleet as the usual racers easily overhauled him. Slight navigational errors in laying the top mark upset the first half of the fleet thus giving the tail enders a chance to make up a little of the gap. A rolling run back to the leeward mark made for interesting tracks as the Commodores struggled against the quarter seas that did everything possible to prevent steerage in the desired direction.
Despite, allegedly, undergoing extensive pre race training program with much tactical support from the rest of his flag officers, our host Commodore (Garry Webb, FSC) sadly had to retire without completing the first lap. I believe his reelection hopes are now resting on extensive damage control at the yacht club bar!
A second lap in gradually increasing wind and swell managed to soak any remaining dry crew members but also resulted in smiles all round for the nominated Skipper / Commodores; I think all of them were impressed with the solid handling of the S&S34 in such challenging conditions. Once back in the club house tall stories were exchanged and tea can cakes consumed prior to the results and presentations.
Commodore Tim Anderson (PFS) sailing Arwen collected the Commodores Trophy which is an excellent result after receiving the ‘Two Knot’ trophy last year (i.e. if he sailed 2 knots faster he may have won). Commodore Maurice Cooper (SoPYC) was this years recipient of the ‘Two Knot Trophy’ for, well averaging about two knots around the course. Maybe next year …
Guy and Nicola Bessell-Browne, owners of Arwen, collected the ‘David & Cathleen Walters Memorial Trophy’. This is the second year the trophy has been presented in memory of our great friends who are very much missed here in WA.
More reports and photo’s to follow
|1||Arwen||Tim Anderson||Perth Flying Squadren|
|2||Polaris||Tony Carter||Royal Perth Yacht Club|
|3||Swagman||Peter Marshall||Swan Yacht Club|
|4||Constellation||Greg Hill||Nedlands Yacht Club|
|5||Perie Banou III||Garry Cunningham||Hillarys Yacht Club|
|6||Huckleberry||Colin||Koombana Bay Sailing Club|
|7||SuperStar||Ray O’Bryne||East Fremantle Yacht Club|
|8||Kungari||Rick Reghenzani||The Cruising Yacht Club|
|9||Venustus||Brian Johnstone||Mandurah Offshore Fishing & Sailing Club|
|10||Delphis||Maurice Cooper||South of Perth Yacht Club|
|11||Bird of the Morning||Garry Webb||Fremantle Sailing Club|
Best Start: SuperStar
Click here to read more about the Commodores race