2018 Apollo Bay Race Wrap Up


Congratulations to all podium place getters for last weekend's Apollo Bay race. This category 3 race bookends the ocean racing season and is always well attended. This year was no different with 22+ entrants putting their hands up for the race. In the event there were a couple of drop outs before the gun but all who were able lined up at 0330 on 19/05 2018 for the start.

The weather was kind to the participants. A stalled high (still stalled at the time of writing) made conditions fairly predictable with a general WSW airflow over the race area ranging from 15-20 in the morning to 20-25 in the afternoon.

This of course led to an interesting problem for navigators. It was a beat all the way to Apollo Bay but do you go inshore or offshore. Inshore the wind was lighter and the water was flatter while further offshore the wind was heavier as was the sea state. Either way, to add to the excitement there was a strong current flowing down the coast against the fleet. This was especially noticeable around Cape Patton as several boats found to their cost.

The challenge was to balance all these factors out which some boats managed very well and some less so. In the end, Jason Close's new yacht Patriot managed the balance better than others to walk away with all the major prizes (IRC, AMS & PHS). Daniel Edward's White Noise also did well snaring 2nd in the same categories. Third places were shared between Extasea (IRC, PHS) and Alien (AMS). Extasea also grabbed line honours. The Double Handed division was taken out by Halycon and Multi-Hull Line honours went to Peccadillo. Congratulations to these boats.

There were a few casualties along the way. Cavallo had an early exit due to power issues and "something bad up front". Sagred lost their furler which was needed to tack due to there rig set up. Jinot lost a spreader in their rig but saved the mast and motored into Apollo Bay. Commiserations to these.

Some radios left a bit to be desired with Under Capricorn leading the way. Fallback arrangements worked well with some yachts submitting position reports via SMS to the race director's phone. However, your VHF radio is an essential communication device during ocean races and to have so many go on the blink is not good. This will be an area of focus next time around.

Another area we have to get right is the passage through the Heads, outbound and inbound.

The Heads is a high traffic area through a narrow, dangerous stretch of water and there is no getting away from this. Large ships and yachts share this stretch of water and pass in relatively close proximity to each other.

All this traffic is overseen by VTS at Point Lonsdale and in Melbourne. They know what the ships are doing and, for the safety of all, they need to know what the yachts are doing and thinking at the same time. There are rules and conventions to ensure we don't interfere with each other and we need to make sure we follow them. Remember, yachts will always end up second best if there is a collision.

We have mostly got race starts sorted with the exclusion zone agreed with the harbourmaster keeping us clear of shipping until well outside. There is still room for error as was demonstrated by a yacht sailing under the bow of a ship near the pilot pick up area shortly after the race start. Yachts must keep an active watch and take early action to not only avoid but keep well clear of them.

Yachts returning can also cause VTS to become anxious. They have ships transiting the Heads and there you are. You might be well outside the channels but they don't know what you are going to do next. Do you know about the ship coming? What channel are you going to use etc. etc.

When transiting the Heads, it is good practice to call Lonsdale Light VTS on VHF 12 and let them know who you are, your expected time of arrival at the Heads, what channel you plan to use and to request information on any expected traffic. Then monitor VHF 12 until you are through and past Shortland Bluff.

Once again, well done to all competitors and congratulations to all podium finishers ( pictures shown below). 


                                                      ALIEN                                                                                                              EXTASEA

                                                      HALCYON                                                                                                             PATRIOT          

                                                    PECADILLO                                                                                                              WHITE NOISE



Vertigo takes IRC honours in Apollo Bay Race Vertigo, the Summit 35 owned and skippered by Tim Olding, has won the IRC Division of Ocean Racing Club of Victoria’s (ORCV) slow-going 52 nautical mile 2019 Apollo Bay Race, which started on Saturday at 8.15 am with a record fleet of 29 entered.  Olding and his daughter Clare, who missed this weekend’s race, regularly make the podium in Victorian offshore and keelboat events. This time Vertigo beat Justin Brenan’s Lidgard 36, Alien, and Archie, the Archambault A35 of Jeff Sloan and Simon Bell for the overall win under IRC.    [ ... ]

It's going to be a close call

It's going to be a close call. Late afternoon with still challenging conditions for all saw teams having time between puffs of wind and sail changes for dolphin watching. The arrival now of the first boats is close, hopefully in the next hour. At 1pm today, we said farewell to Norma Jean. All safe onboard. With the finish close, it's going to be close call with Carrera S leading from After Midnight, Extasea, Jaffa and Peccadillo.

It's now the Great Ocean Road Sail Challenge

  It's now the Great Ocean Road Sail Challenge Not long after the start, saw an explosion of colour as yachts host their spinnakers in light northwesterly winds, crews applied sunscreen and popped on sunglasses to admire the shoreline of the Great Ocean Road, giving a beautiful photo opportunity to those driving along the Great Ocean Road today. Late morning saw a change with a large number seem to be darting around looking for a "breath" of wind. It's now the Great Ocean Road "Sail Challenge" Photos:  Top - crew on Faster Forward just after the start.  Lower:  Boa [ ... ]

9am Race Update

9am Race Update With the fleet finally on their way. We find that Patriot is leading the balance of the fleet along the rhumb line. Allegro seems to be taking the offshore approach and chasing the breeze, east of the fleet. With a light breeze reported at 5 knots from the NW, the fog has now burnt off and on all accounts, it's shaping up for a stunning run down the coast. A great introduction for Jill Blunsom, the ORCV Beyond the Bay participant, who has joined the crew of Blue Water Tracks for her first ocean race experience.

We say farewell to Etoile who has retired and is heading home,  [ ... ]

New start line and time

New start line and time for the 2019 Apollo Bay Race 6.40am Saturday 18th May Light winds and low fog cover has race director Nick McGuigan announcing the alternative start will be used for the 2019 Apollo Bay ocean race. The 28 boats and 188 crew will now start outside the heads at the alternative start line (as indicated below) with a new start time of 8am.   As this race is close to the coast with good reception most of the way, you can follow the boats via Marine Traffic (web or app) or follow our posts on Facebook


The Apollo Bay Harbour Master and his team have been dredging all week and advise that the entrance is in good condition. The soundings shown below, taken on Thursday the 16th show depths and Lowest Astronomical Tide pus 1m.  These depths are very similar to those which can be expected at low tide at 4.45pm on Saturday 18 May 2019. Tide information is given in the S.I.. Please note that the leads for the Harbour entrance have recently been renewed and should be used in the Approach.  Boats are asked to raft up against the jetty beyond the floating marina unless otherwise direct [ ... ]


Thursday May 16th 6.00pm
2019 Apollo Bay Race News A big welcome to all entrants in 2019 ORCV Apollo Bay race. The ORCV Race Director is Nick McGuigan (myself) with the able assistance of Ryan Blackstock. Ray Shaw will be handling starting arrangements with Gary Tomlins and his team of Coast Guards manning the start boat and in addition, Ray will be managing the midday position schedule. Light winds weather forecast has been the topic of discussion over the past few days. A large high-pressure system over Victoria means light winds are predicted and the race it will be slow. On the plus side, [ ... ]

Offshore Championship - Deciding Race

ORCV 2019 Offshore Championship The ORCV Offshore championship is scored using each boat’s best 4 measurement handicap results in Unrestricted Monohull Division races. In summary each yacht scores points under a system which is driven by the number of boats beaten over the finish line with a weighting which reflects the assessed difficulty of the race.  The skipper of the yacht with the highest number of points is the Offshore Champion. With the cancellation of the Port Fairy Race, 5 boats are in serious contention. Each has completed only 3 events in the series so all races will co [ ... ]


Plastics out of the Ocean - Clean Seas - An ORCV initiative    This video provides an overview to the campaign. It is estimated that more than 8 million tonnes of plastic is dumped into the ocean each year (as of 2018) and by 2050 there will be more plastic by weight in the ocean than marine life. This year, the ORCV Apollo Bay Race has set up a campaign "Plastics out of the Ocean" as part of "Clean Seas" which urges the teams to share ideas on how they can run a more sustainable boat. You can donate by supporting a boat. All funds raised go to the Australian charity The Tanga [ ... ]

Apollo Bay Harbour Update

Apollo Bay Harbour Update With 2 weeks to go the fleet is currently standing at 26 yachts and the harbour at Apollo Bay is in great shape. The harbour leads have been renewed, providing an accurate guide to the entrance, and the dredging restrictions which effectively prevented entry last year have been lifted. The Harbour Master advises that the entrance is currently dredged to 2.5m above low water. Tides are favourable on the day of the race with the predicted low tide at 4.45pm being 1.1m above low water. On that basis we currently expect that the harbour will be open for the vast majorit [ ... ]

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