2023 Winter Series: Race 7 post-race notes

Race 7 – another day of wild classic yacht racing on Port Phillip

Race 7 sure didn’t start to well.

None of the forecast 10-15 north westerlies. Instead of the simpering 1 knot from race six we had 20 knots on the race tower wind gauge at 9:30.

signal flag: yankee
Code Y. PFDs on thank you

It was an easy course selection. A twice past the race tower to cover the need for a shorten course if the wind strength increased. Sure enough we started reading 25 knots North Westerly with bullets in between.  After starting a two handed race with the Y flag flying a decision to keep the Y flag flying for the classic race was made. Wind bullets and crew on the foredeck are what makes a great day turn into a disastrous day.

Between the noise of high strength wind and luffing sails, radio calls and sound signals had strong competition.

From the helm of Snow Goose came the race seven description “It was wild!”

For the record when code Y is flying all crew competing in the  designated race are required to don PFD’s. Make sure this happens. It’s a mandatory DSQ for non-compliance.

Classic conditions for the race 7 fleet

Smooth waters and strong winds was the conditions mix needed by the fleet of fourteen classic’s that were all set to compete in race 7. Let’s keep it that way was the tower comment.

Race seven saw the welcome return of Tandanya to our Port Phillip classic yacht racing scene.

OCS was the call

signal falg: xray
Code X – Individual recall

Our previous race six start saw division three fleet Astrud and the first timer, Jean the Netboat make fine starts. For race seven it was a bit too fine. Wind noise didn’t help Jean hearing the OCS call.

For division two our Tumlaren Snow Goose again breasted the start line in the same fine style as she did for herrace six start. 

For our division one boats, that knocking wind didn’t help with the starting tactics of any boat.

Not a quiet slog up to the top mark

The good news was we had a decent beat for everyone to make the top mark. The not so good news was the wind build with white caps. With a strong northerly wind in operation the northern end of Port Phillip is still a flat water sea state. But when the white caps are having their heads blown off by plus 25 knot wind bullets it’s race tower time to think twice.

We all know the fleet is more than capable of handling the conditions it’s an unknown story for the crews. As knock downs were being managed and no kites were in use the decision to continue the race was made. Kite sheets springing tight during kite take down problems caused by bullets are not a good story.

The race to the shortened course finish

A sad call for some as our on water time wasn’t that long but with the expectation of sustained 25 knot winds and some very wet crew, the call to shorten course had to be done.

Trouble was the conditions were such with everyone hanging on and the tower sound and radio signals being blown away and the Code S flag hard to identify many finishes carried on. Finally the repeated shortened course radio calls were heard. Not before some of the fleet almost went to Williamstown on their futile beat to make the second rounding of the top mark.

It’s the common story. While the boats can handle the conditions can the crew.

Race results

Irrespective of the shortened course we still had a tight race seven corrected times story.

Congratulations to Cyan for her corrected time take out. She was closely followed by the well sailed Merlin. Mercedes III took the third placing podium on corrected time podium.

Division one line honours went to Mercedes III after her battle with Boambillee. Div two went to Snow Goose who maintained her lead after a great starting line performance. Div three line honours went to Akala. From the tower we had a well worth watching finish line battle between Astrud and Snow Goose.

Another notable finish time was the Netboat Jean. She placed herself with a finish time that was a notable performance compared to the Tumlaren fleet finish times.

Tandanya. Pic by A J MCKinnon Photography

Sail of the day

The most notable sail of the day was put in by our first time winter series entrant, Tandanya.

Her performance in the race seven conditions was well watched from the tower.

Race 7 comments from Mercedes III skipper

We can report that Mercedes lll was comfortable at all times. We decided early not to fly the spinnaker given new crew members and the risk of being hit by a gust during dropping. Our boat speed was 7.7 to 9 knots, so increase from a kite marginal vs the risk. The yacht behind us from G to E carried their kite comfortably, but had difficulty with the drop.

Post race 7 catch up

Once again our post race catch was a lively scene on the RMYS Marine and cockpit of Mercedes III.

Race 7 management committee

It’s a big vote of thanks to Colin Orchard for the fast organising of the HBYC rescue boat, Shirley Freeman, for us on Sunday. Colin was well assisted by Garry Undy. Garry recently submitted a new CYAA member application.

Next Winter Series Race is Race 8 13th August at RMYS

Entries and allocated handicaps are now available. Click here to check them out. Late minute entries are always welcome. 

2023 Summer Series

This event is now accepting entries via the Top Yacht Portal.

Regards to all
Peter Costolloe
CYAA (Vic) Handicapper

Download a print version of these Race 7 post-race notes (pdf) 

Thank you Sarah Low for these on-water pics… 

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