2014 Melbourne to Port Fairy Race Summary
This year's Melbourne to Port Fairy saw a modest fleet of eight dedicated Victorian yachts, Yoko, Blue Chip and Alien from Royal Yacht Club of Victoria, Twitch and Hartbreaker from Royal Brighton, Seduction from Mornington Yacht Club, Merlion from Hobson's Bay Yacht Club and Running Wild from Port Fairy Yacht Club assembled in Queenscliff in the early hours of Good Friday morning. 
 ORCV TwitchDark 140417
Conditions on Thursday afternoon and evening were very pleasant for the trip down the bay, with several yachts choosing to make the most of the mild weather and head down during the afternoon, and enjoy a quiet meal and a rest in Queencliff, ahead of the 0135 Sign On Sked with Charleville Radio.
ORCV M2PF2014 Start 3 140418
With confirmation from Lonsdale VTS that there was only one outbound ship scheduled to exit the heads at 0330, and three inbound ships scheduled for 0345, 0355 and 0405, the race director agreed to start the race at the scheduled time of 0300, and all yachts in the fleet were advised of the shipping traffic and instructed to keep to the west of the main leads, and stay well out of the way of ships.
The breeze eased from 21 knots at 0200 to around 14 knots at race start, however, with the north westerly wind direction, the fleet had good breeze to push them out through the rip without too much concern.
Unfortunately, not all yachts adhered to the instruction of keeping to the west of the main channel and staying out of the way of shipping traffic, and as a result the master of the outbound ship made a complaint to Lonsdale VTS which resulted in a call to the deputy race director to make a further announcement to the fleet to keep to the west of the main leads, and stay out of  the way of the shipping traffic.
ORCV 2014PortFairy FleetExit 140418
The fleet was finally clear of the heads by 0400, and making the most of the following breeze, ahead of the the cold front that was expected to meet the fleet by mid morning, and by the time daylight came, the fleet was in 20 knots.
Robin Hewitt, Skipper of Yoko, advised that the front met the fleet just before 0900, and Yoko immediately furled away the headsail and reefed down to the third reef, and a small staysail, for the long beat down to Cape Otway.
The first casualty of the race was Hartbreaker, which experienced damage to her mainsail, and by mid-morning, our race tracker audience and the race management team was watching them head back towards the heads, without confirmation of their retirement.
By 1230, as the fleet was preparing for the next official radio sked with Charleville Radio, the race management team had confirmation of all three retirements, including Alien who had decided to make for Queenscliff and the train to Port Fairy instead, and Merlion who decided to find a tree in Apollo Bay to assista a seasick crew member.
ORCV 2014PortFairy FleetMidArvo 140418
The rest of the fleet pushed on late into the afternoon, and after many tacks into the south westerly breeze and unfavourable tides, the last yacht, Seduction, rounded Cape Otway just after 1700, giving them an hour or so slightly off the breeze, to get settled down before the darkness of night two settled in around the fleet, and with less than 60 nautical miles to go, the fleet was making good time back on the rhumb line, with the front runners expected to cross the finish line just before midnight.
ORCV M2PF2014 PtFairyFinish 2 140418
As reported in our previous article, the afternoon was not completely without incident, with Hartbreaker reporting that they were taking water through the rudder stock, within 10 nautical miles of Port Phillip Heads, and with the assistance of the ORCV Incident Management Team, they were able to arrange travel lift assistance in Queenscliff Harbour.
As the evening went on, and the breeze eased back to around 15 - 20 knots, the race became a drag race to the finish, and it was obvious that the yachts that had minimised their distance sailed to Cape Otway, were going to capitalise in this last phase of the race, and with Twitch being out in front with Line Honours in their sights, Handicap honours were also looking good for a few hours.
As the fleet closed in on the Port Fairy finish line, it was obvious that Seduction, Blue Chip and Yoko were also going to feature in the handicap placings.
Running Wild guarded the rear of the fleet and crossed the finish line at 0307, and the entire fleet was safely in the Moyne River before 0400, thanks to the assistance of the Port Fairy Yacht Club rescue boat, in time to get a few hours of well earned rest before daylight.
After a hearty cooked breakfast and a few delayed cleansing ales courtesy of our hosts at the Port Fairy Yacht Club, all crews gathered for the presentation, and the official functions were over for another year, leaving all weary sailors to rest some more and enjoy the Port Fairy hospitality, before returning to Melbourne over the remainder of the Easter long weekend.
ORCV M2PF2014 Presentation TwitchCrew 1 140419
ORCV M2PF2014 Presentation BlueChipCrew 2 140419
ORCV M2PF2014 Presentation SeductionCrew 1 140419
ORCV M2PF2014 Presentation YokoCrew 1 140419
The ORCV would like to formally thank all participants and volunteers for making this year's Melbourne to Port Fairy Race another successful event, and we look forward to the return of this event in 2015.
Our next, and final Ocean Race of the season, is the Category 3+ Melbourne to Apollo Bay Race on Saturday 17 May, 2014. 
01 Apr 2018 08:20

Glorious Port Fairy again turned on the picture perfect weather we have begun to expect of this Easter Weekend race. The small fleet started in moderate winds with fine sailing until near Cape Otway. The wind swung and built to over 20, with some gusts to 30 knots, never extreme and then slowly died away again but still good to keep the fleet moving jauntily to its ultimate destination. It did mean though a somewhat confused sea state which took its toll on White Noise. Skipper, Daniel Edwards, regaled the gathered crews at the presentation with stories of 'spewing'. Spewing on the rail, spew [ ... ]

29 Mar 2018 01:50

2018 Melbourne To Port Fairy Race Simon Dryden, PRO for the Osaka race and backup Race Director for the Port Fairy race, has produced a good summary of the weather situation for us on YouTube at: https://youtu.be/V7giguic7pw As he observes, the models are coming into alignment now, with minor variations. The weather is influenced by the leading edge of an approaching high but it looks like it won't have any major influence on the race area except a general lightening of the wind towards the end of the race. Winds will initially be from the NW, swinging SW around mid-morning. There is a bit  [ ... ]

12 Apr 2017 07:20

A slow Port Fairy race is on the cards Looking at the weather at high pressure is crossing Victoria over the weekend. The fleet will have South Westerlies for the start, with the wind moving more south over Friday, once round Cape Otway the wind could come from all points of the compass with it finally settling in from the west, the models are not in agreement so watch this space. The trip home is looking great with West to South westerlies on Sunday and Monday       Predictwind Map for a Beneteau 40

16 Mar 2017 14:00

Melbourne to Port Fairy Ocean Yacht Race  Traditionally held over the Easter holiday, the race to the historic and picturesque western district town of Port Fairy is one of three coastal races conducted by the club. The 135 mile course is often a race in two parts. The first takes competing yachts south-westwards past the coastal resorts of Torquay, Anglesea, Lorne and Apollo Bay before rounding rugged Cape Otway. The second part is from Cape Otway to the finish line where it is often possible to ease sheets for a reach or run. All weather berthing is available in the Moyne River exc [ ... ]

24 Mar 2016 01:30

Port Fairy Race Weather Since yesterday the wind has increased in strength a bit,  the direction at the start will be South West at 6 to 8 knots, then shifting 20 degrees to the west and increasing 10 to 15 knots. By lunch time the wind will be a westerly The boats will be tacking to Cape Otway and the 40 footers should reach the Cape by 3pm on Friday. From there it should be long tack. short take to Port Fairy. Friday night will see the wind clock more right and become a bit more shifty. The waves will increase in size as the days goes so helming will be critical to you success. The P [ ... ]

23 Mar 2016 02:23

What do the weather Gods have to say about this weekend’s Port Fairy race? Looking at the weather maps for weekend there is a very slow moving high pressure that will endure for the weekend. The race will start under south to south easterly winds of 8 to ten knots moving to a westerly and going to the west after that. Looking at the Predictwind models they are in broad agreement that a Beneteau First 40 will be finishing early Saturday morning. So sailors we will keep you updated, but plan for light weather and you will need plenty of diesel to come home.  

30 Oct 2015 04:512015 Stanley Weather

Weather Forecast for Melbourne To Stanley Yacht Race Forecast at 1200 0n Friday 30/10/2015 So Overall things are looking set for a great race across to Tassie. The Predict wind models are all very consistent and you can see from the course tracks they are all following closely the rhumb line. The larger boats in the TP52 size should expect a fast trip arriving by Midday Saturday and maybe threatening the race record. The smaller boats in the Beneteau First 40 range will arrive around 1400 and the latest boats should be enjoying festivities by 2200. All in all a pleasant, fun and fast event f [ ... ]

30 Oct 2015 00:33


01 Apr 2015 22:18

Boat Beacon AIS smartphone/tablet app - Aids to Navigation Further to our website article on the Boat Beacon AIS smartphone/tablet app, one of many benefits of Automatic Identification System (AIS), is virtual Aids to Navigation (AtoN). For the trial of the Boat Beacon app the ORCV is conducting during the 2015 Melbourne to Port Fairy ocean yacht race, Steve Bennett the CEO of Pocket Mariner (the Boat Beacon developer) has created some virtual AtoN.  These AtoN only appear in the Boat Beacon app, not on global internet based AIS traffic sites like Marine Traffic. To follow ar [ ... ]

27 Mar 2015 00:32

2015 Port Fairy Race Documents Available Sailing Instructions, Radio Sked sheets and the Leave at Home Document for the Port Fairy race have been published on the website. Click HERE for all the information.