The 28th Annual Commodores’ race was preceded by a day of heavy rain, no wind and cancelled races. After an anxious period of calm in the early morning a gentle 12 knot NW breeze arrived. Unfortunately Le Jag was unable to start due to damaging the roller furler whilst lowering the mast. Morning Tide had to race under a jury rigged staysail after the roller reefing genoa separated at the luff – particularly annoying for Jim as the sail wasn’t very old. Swagman suffered stripped backstay adjuster and had to remove it just prior to the race to be replaced with a steel plate (which Bill Walby insisted be kept on board for just such an emergency!).
The race started in perfect sailing conditions and the fleet headed for the windward mark. Well, most of the fleet did – Constellation headed towards where their chartplotter said the mark should be – unfortunately it had been programmed with the wrong mark. Perhaps paper and a sharp pair of eyes is better than electronics! They only lost a moderate amount of ground, and were not far behind the leading yachts around the first windward mark. However, it was Swagman first around, followed by Huckleberry, with Arwen, Kungari and Perie Banou III not far behind. Polaris was a little off the pace, with the jury-rigged Morning Tide bringing up the rear.
In the light conditions the fleet closed up on the downwind legs, as can be seen from the photos. Swagman led the way, with Huckleberry slowly closing the gap under poled out jib, and the rest of the fleet not far behind. By the leeward mark Constellation had caught up with Huckleberry, and managed to get past after rounding the mark.
On the final beat of the shortened course it was close racing between Swagman, Constellation and Huckleberry. Huckleberry tacked away to the north. This proved costly and as the boats headed toward the finish line it was Swagman and Constellation, racing side by side, with Constellation gradually gaining ground. The finish was thrilling, with Constellation across the line just 4 seconds ahead of Swagman. Huckleberry crossed third, but had to give ground on handicap to Arwen and Kungari. Perie Banou III was not far behind, followed by Polaris and Morning Tide.
But results are not everything in this race. Fremantle Sailing Club, as always, laid on an excellent reception and lunch prior to the race and well deserved tea and cakes at the presentations. The Commodores and skippers received bottles of wine for their efforts and the winning Commodore the perpetual Commodores Trophy.
Andrew Waldby, Swagman, was presented for the second time with the David & Kathleen Walters Memorial Trophy. The trophy consists a scale model of half a S&S34 hull beautifully mounted and inscribed with the names of the winning yachts in future Commodores Races.
|1||Swagman||Rick Reghenzani||The Cruising Yacht Club||Andrew Waldby|
|2||Arwen||Ray O’Bryne||East Fremantle Yacht Club||Guy & Nicola Bessell-Browne|
|3||Constellation||Mark Fitzhardinge||Royal Perth Yacht Club||Mike Finn|
|4||Kungari||Ken Treen||Ocean Reef Sea Sports Club||Geoff Connor|
|5||Huckleberry||Phil Lammonby||South of Perth Yacht Club||Steve Humphries|
|6||Perie Banou III||Gary Webb||Fremantle Sailing Club||Colin Sanders|
|7||Polaris||Greg Hill||Nedlands Yacht Club||Steve & Leesa Kerr|
|8||Morning Tide||Iain Grassick||Freshwater Bay Yacht Club||Jim & Margaret Putt|
|DNS||Le Jag||Gerry Pietersen||Mandurah Offshore Fishing & Sailing Club||Roger & Marissa Raymond|
Click here to read more about the Commodores race
Photos taken by Simon Torvaldsen (aboard Swagman).
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