Melbourne to Apollo Bay Race 2017 – Summary.
For all of the talk we here about Global Warming and it’s continuing negative effect on the climate and our general day to day weather, it seems that there might also be some positive effects, like mild (dare we say even pleasant!) conditions for sailing in the Bass Strait in late May!
With all 21 yachts and crew now either making their way home having spent the night in Apollo Bay Harbour, or home safe and sound with their families, having returned overnight, all of them will feel very pleased that they chose to participate in this year’s race.
The race started on time at 0700 off Queenscliff in a light NE breeze of approximately 7 to 8 knots, and shortly after, the fleet was treated to one of the most spectacular sunrises you will ever see on the water.
All yachts transitioned the Heads successfully with no incident, and they were soon slipping south-west towards the Great Ocean Road coastline, under spinnaker, soaking up those pleasant conditions.
Our mobile race management team caught their first glimpse of the fleet from the hills on the southern side of Torquay, with many of the fleet choosing the go west early, adding an even greater spectacle for the many land lubbers who also took advantage of the weather to escape the city and venture down the Surf Coast for the day.
By the 1205 Reporting Sked, the majority of the fleet were either abeam of, or further south of Lorne, making the most of the most of the light northerly breeze of approximately 10 to 12 knots, and it was evident even at this early stage, that if these conditions held, we were certain of many of the competitors would be finished by late afternoon or early evening, and that is how things went.
As the bearing to the finish line changed, spinnakers were exchanged for Code 0’s or large Genoas, and the front runners pressed on to the finish line to stake their claim on this year’s prizes.
The only multihull competitor, Peccadillo, relished in these conditions and found her way around Sugarloaf and down to the finish line in Apollo Bay, to take Line Honours at 15:47:30, followed by Extasea as the first monohull competitor finishing at 16:26:50, and then Avalanche at 16:45:22 and Shimmer at 16:55:28.
With the light breeze remaining fairly constant as dusk approached, the majority of the fleet made solid progress towards the finish line, and at one stage it appeared there was more traffic offshore than on the famous Great Ocean Road itself.
Our mobile race management team were kept busy with a flurry of finishers just after 1700, with the following yachts finishing in close succession, Soiree Bleu 17:10:31; One For The Road 17:14:36; Blunderbuss 17:14:38; White Noise 17:14:47; Arcadia 17:15:32; Merlion 17:16:10; Antipodes 17:18:52 and Maverick 17:19:34.
With just enough time to catch their breath, the next couple of finishers arrived in reasonably close succession, with Archie at 17:32:05 and Allegro at 17:40:42.
Without too long to wait, another group arrived with Try Booking at 18:40:17 and Hush at 18:46:51, followed by Algy Rose at 18:49:52 and Red Jacket at 18:51:01.
With just the small yachts in the fleet, the next finisher was one of our Beyond the Bay participant’s from 2014, Alex Tseberg and his crew on Phoenix, finishing at 19:27:47, and our two cruising competitors following up the rear, with Laafin finishing at 19:27:47 and Madrigal at 21:06:16.
The lighter constant breeze proved to be the ideal conditions for the smaller yachts in the fleet, and with the top honours going to Daniel Edwards and his team on White Noise taking the top prize in IRC, AMS and PHS divisions, with the lead Double-Handed entrant, Rod and Tyson Smallman aboard Maverick, also picking up podium positions in IRC, AMS and PHS divisions.
We trust everyone involved with this year’s race enjoyed the experience, and we appeal to all of our long-term supporters and participants to re-think their annual program and make the new “normal” of pleasant sailing in May, part of their annual racing program.