ORCV Hutchwilco Melbourne to Stanley (M2S).
Well, what a night.
It had all the hallmarks of being a biig night. Kind of like taking a call from Lindsay Lohan, telling you that you were going out bar hopping and having a blast. Only this particular tempest was going to be full of wind and rain, somewhat intent on trying to break equipment and crews.
We had had high hopes of the first finisher being in around 8 to 9pm. It got dashed a bit when they slowed dramatically, but just when you thought there would be a quick nap, the picture changed and they wewre due more like 11pm. Coming back down to the waterfront, it was plainly evident that the wind was still rising and the first drops appeared as I made the van and jumped inside. From there it was game on and we could tell from some of the comms, that the picture was just as bleak and possibly more so, for the crews out at sea between King Island and the North coast of Tasmania. 35-40knots from East Sou'east was the predominant message received, but it was not the exclusive arrnagement. Some were left waiting for their lot and some had it from other directions. At 2310hrs, the first retiree came over the air. Scarlet Runner felt there would be insufficient room after the finish and so turned before having to take that extra challenge on.
Calm crossed the line at 23:36:30 to take Line Honours and probably IRC. You could tell they were keen to come in for all things refreshing, but as the slammed around in front of the finger of the old pier, we became as concerned as they. The radio call to say they were heading back was no surprise, but incredibly disappointing for all.
Day breaks to reveal the remnants of the clouds and waves, which were still able to smash themselves over the breakwater. But an hour or so later, the sun was gleaming in an effort to win something or someone over and wind was down to a faint puff. Boats still out there like Dry White, can see The Nut but have had to do circle work for a few hours as they await even the faintest of breeze to head them in the right direction once more. In fact, at 0900, Alien had had enough and turned on the iron topsail to make for port and Dry White is in visual range of the finish.
First to appear in the new day was Jazz Player, who took second over the line.
Once tied up, the cold, wet and tired sailors did not seem to mind so much...
Getting a very impressive third over the line and likely to do well in the handicap department was Kiss Goodbye to MS with some new sails, too.
Weren't they happy about it, too... Was a good effort and from early on they were punching above their weight, so they certainly can feel proud.
So back to the night, and Cadibarra 8 also retired at 0044, when they too felt that docking was a challenge they did not need to overcome. at 0130, XLR8 turned for home with a damaged mainsail. Around one, Biddy Hu II copped 45 knots and bent their boom, forcing their retirement. 0142 and Spirit of Downunder chose to head North again and then at 0157, eXtasea retired with a broken mainsail track. 0158 and her sistership, Dekadence also retired. At 0204 it was Matrix's turn and then 0257, it was Addiction's turn as reports of 35 and well in to 45 knots became evident. Often these were bullets with little or no warning. At 0259 Dark and Stormy said enough of the dark and stormy conditions. At 0303, Gusto, barely 3nm fromt he finish had a headsail go over the rail and retired as they spent the better part of an hour sorting all that out. So apart from some minor gear damage, all are well and here in Stanley, trying to get here or on the way back to the Heads.
After the first three, there was Tevake II, Arch Rival and then Bandit.
Arch Rival spent quite a few hours without a headsail when the foil packed it in...
Bandit motor in. They have sailed well, having beaten their two sisterships in to port!
If you want to follow it all with the pretty graphics via the sat trackers from Yellowbrick - see HERE for Flash empowered devices and HERE for non-Flash. NB. As per the Information tab on the tracker site (bottom right), the Yellowbrick Trackers transmit every 30 minutes, the map will update whenever it receives new information. A big thank you to all the people commenting on the FB page about the trackers - great information. Cheers.
Right then, we had 37 vessels in the M2S, but Chikara Outlaw withdrew a few days ago, so it's 36 now - Addiction, Alibi, Alien, Arch Rival, Bandit, Biddy Hu II, Cadibarra 8, Calm, Cavarlo, Dekadence, Dark and Stormy, Dry White, eXtasea, FullyNPushing, Gusto, Halcyon, Independent Endeavour, Jazz Player, Kiss Goodbye to MS, Magazan 53, Magic, Matrix, Mille Sabords, Mirrabooka, Nutcracker, Pretty Woman, Scarlet Runner, Slinky Malinky, Spirit of Downunder, Tevake II, Trybooking.com, Under Capricorn, Weekend Option, White Noise, XLR8 and Yoko, which is excellent. Well done and good luck to all.
ORCV Land also extends on to the ORCV Facebook page, so make sure you go and "Like" the page, now. 242 Souls already have and thank you to each and every one of you.
© John Curnow, ORCV Media
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The ORCV's Hutchwilco Stanley race
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