Upcoming Events

Melbourne to Devonport Rudder Cup

Friday, 3 Nov 2023 - Saturday, 4 Nov 2023
Time: 06:00 pm - 11:30 pm
Location: Queenscliff

Safety & Sea Survival Course Full & Refresher Course

Sunday, 19 Nov 2023
Time: 08:15 am - 05:00 pm
Location: Wesley College

West Offshore Products Coastal Sprint Race 2

Saturday, 25 Nov 2023
Time: 07:00 am - 05:00 pm
Location: The Heads, Port Phillip Bay

Melbourne to Hobart Westcoaster

Wednesday, 27 Dec 2023 - Friday, 29 Dec 2023
Time: 12:00 pm - 12:01 pm
Location: Portsea Pier

Rip Tour of Port Phillip Heads

Sunday, 24 Mar 2024
Time: 09:45 am - 11:00 pm
Location: The Heads, Port Phillip Bay

West Offshore Products Coastal Sprint 3

Saturday, 20 Apr 2024
Time: 10:00 am - 05:00 pm
Location: The Heads, Port Phillip Bay

Safety is our focus, safety related news articles are shown below.

Safety is embraced and encouraged before and during sailing events.  It is fundamental to our training, our racing and culture.


ORCV Safety and Training.

Might is Right!!!

Hardly groundbreaking news by now, as it happened on 6 June, 2011, (UK time) and there'll be more than enough opinions running around, but just remember, MIGHT is RIGHT and don't mess with that theory! Rule one is avoid collisions at sea and the tanker had probably not been able to see the yacht for like the last 600m, nor felt a thing as she ploughed on in. Even if she'd wanted to, she could not go anywhere, anyway.... It's not their job in a situation like this - it's yours - that's why they're called Yankee Foxtrots. QED. I can here the clang from Weekend At Bernies now.


Cowes Week and the Extreme Sailing Series and, well, this pink kite... Go HERE for the YouTube version on events. Good viewing and just think, Port Phillip can be a bit like this...

Winter Series Passage Race is on this Sunday. Geelong event approaches too - on September 10, so you'll need to start doing the online entries or added information if you've been doing the Winter Series, very soon...

Boats everywhere. Just look.

© John Curnow, ORCV Media

Please contact me for re-issue rights.







M2H-eastcoast-A M2L-A M2H-westcoast-A




ORCV Safety and Training

October Ripper Tour.


Somewhat lovingly known as, the Ripper Tour, the ORCV's fully guided and on-water tour of the Rip at Port Phillip Heads, has become a hit with sailors, fisherman, boaties, beach walkers, historians and the families of the crews who dpeart this world-renowned passage, each time the ORCV runs an ocean race.

To be next conducted on Sunday, October 2, this event is size limited, so that the boat, whilst large, has ample room for guest to move around and change viewing platforms, as and when required. There are always testimonials that come out fo this training programme and they all refer to how the experts light up the plethora of information about this narrow stretch of turbulent water and take the volumes of reading and turn them in to real know-how. A touch of history keeps people amazed and the kids, well, they just the dolphins and seals. $75 for members and $85 for non-members usually gets people adding bargain in to their commentary.

You can board from either Sorrento or Queenscliff, with the latter being a much shorter trip. Either locations give you a great opportunity to do some touring or have a sensational lunch and bottle of wine. Quite simply, if you haven't been in daylight, had a bit on trimming and stuff at the time or want to show your family what it's like, then this is a great way to let them see them how the two pincers that form Port Phillip Heads work to create the Rip.


The pincers that go together to form the Heads. Point Lonsdale (West) above and Point Nepean (East) below, where you can see the standing wave out towards Corsair Rock.



Our very good pals at the Port Phillip Sea Pilots, aboard Akuna IV on the right, were watching all the action as the 2010 Xmas fleet headed out to sea, led by Brian Pattinson's Open 66, Gusto.

Course particulars:

  • This is a weather dependant course to be held on Sunday, October 2, 2011. Please ensure you are appropriately dressed and on time for your choice of boarding location.
  • One completed enrollment form per passenger please, so that we can be sure to reach you in case of postponment due to weather.

N.B. We ask that you please read and comprehend the course outline and then complete the enrollment form,

which is linked off the bottom of the said course outline. Go HERE to start that process.


Follow it all here and via the ORCV Facebook page, so make sure you go and "Like" the page, now. 144 Souls already have and thank you to all of them.



© John Curnow, ORCV Media

Please contact me for re-issue rights.










The Rip Tour was featured in an eight page
special inside, Cruising Helmsman.

On the right, Anthony and Martina Collins
went on the Rip Tour before heading sticking
their nose out into Bass Strait for the first time.
They had a blast and found it all very
informative and worthwhile.







ORCV Safety and Training

Forecast Explorer from the BoM.

The Bureau of Meteorology has just released the Marine component of the Forecast Explorer for Victoria and New South Wales, today, Wednesday 27 July, which you can find HEREThe new services provide a significant improvement in the level of forecast detail available to mariners operating in these coastal waters.


This is the page you'll land on when you use the link above...

Features of the Marine component include:

  • Forecast maps for Combined Sea and Swell, as well as wind speed in knots available in three-hourly time scales.
  • Ability to zoom into each section of the coast for more localised detail.
  • Defined place markers for key marine reference locations
  • Point and click functionality to view the wind and wave forecast for any grid point on a 3 hourly basis for that day.
  • Ability to loop the forecast maps over the next 4 days.


As part of the release, the following grids will be displayed for coastal waters areas.

  • Combined sea and swell
  • Wind speed in knots and direction
  • Weather
  • Max and Min temperature
  • Rainfall (chance of rain, rain amount (50% exceedance), rain amount (25% exceedance)

When you click through, this is what you'll find.

Forecast Explorer -


VIC WINDS... is that the classic light and variable?!


VIC COASTAL SEA STATE - looks good today!



Computer Model -





The material can be animated and there are many other charts and details to choose from, so go check it out.

Thanks BoM - love your work...




© John Curnow, ORCV Media

Please contact me for re-issue rights.













ORCV Safety and Training

Health for Masters.

In our fourth piece from Andrew Verdon, who is the Australian Sailing Team (AIS Squad) fitness coordinator, he takes us on an exploration of the best way to stay fit, as a Master.

Most of the competitors in sailing span a huge age range and there always seems to be a cry to get more and more younger people involved with keelboats. That coupled with a lot of Masters entering the sport for the first time means there are a lot of more mature souls around. As a general rule, people in Andrew's profession use the term Masters to broadly encompass anyone over the age of 35- 40 years old. However, in rowing for instance, the first Masters Category is 27-35 years.

Andrew also points out that the following mistakes can be seen across all age groups! So with many thanks to Andrew for the use of this material, here are The Mistakes Masters’ Make.

Research has shown us that an older person’s physiology declines with age, which occurs from 25 years onwards. It’s also shown us that we take longer to recover as we age. To find out more information on getting fit as an over 35 year old sailor, I spoke to the expert on Master’s Athletes, Professor Peter Raeburn.

Peter is a 54-year-old Associate Professor in exercise and sport science at Central Queensland University, where he has recently finished a highly-successful seven years, as a Head of Department. He received his PhD in Exercise Physiology from The University of Queensland.

I asked Peter what, based on this experience and knowledge, are what he sees as the five most common training mistakes older athletes make, especially for those masters athletes coming back into competitive sport, after many years away. This is what Peter had to say:

Mistake One: Believing body and mind are still 20.

There is no doubt about it. Older athlete’s minds are still young. However, our bodies are aging. Research has shown us that as we age, muscle mass drops and the heart does not beat as fast. Thus speed and endurance, in general, decrease with age. Research has also shown us that our ability to recover from hard training decreases and that for genetic or lifestyle reasons, our chronic disease risk factors can catch up with us. These factors mean we need to start training more cautiously and slowly and recover longer and smarter between training sessions. Not go like a ‘bull at a gate’, as we used to.


There are many age groups represented aboard the average keelboat crew of around 8 -10 souls. This is Halcyon - image courtesy of and © to Teri Dodds.

Mistake Two: Not using the principles of training.

If there is one lesson I have learnt over the years, it’s how important the principle of ‘progressive overload’ is. Too many older athletes, particularly those new to sport or not having trained for years, train too-hard, for too-long or just too-often. Tiredness, overtraining, burnout and injuries are usually the result. The key is to progressively increase how long, how often and how hard we train. Importantly, they must be done in that exact same order!!!

Mistake Three:  Not listening to your body.

You know when you are tired; when a joint or muscle ‘niggle’ may mean trouble coming; when your training performance is poor; when the throat starts to croak or when you are ‘short’ with family and friends. These are signs that you need to rest, recover harder and change your training habits. If not, you’ll pay the price.

I have a saying: ‘Train hard, but recover harder.’ For older athletes, this is particularly the case. Research has shown us that our muscles don’t bounce back like they used to. This means not only taking longer between quality (hard or long) sessions, but also being very, very focused on the recovery strategies science has shown to work. These comprise of active recovery, compression garments, hot-cold contrast baths/showers, food and fluids, ice (water), pool work, massage, spas and stretching. Older athletes also need to be aware of managing themselves and cutting back during times of stress. Most of us have family and work commitments. I have two (great!) teenage daughters and a patient wife. I have (at times!) a stressful job and community service obligations (netball coaching and cycling club secretary). All these factors have time demands and thus stress demands. I’ve learnt over the years what the stress research has said for years, and that is that the stress response of exercise and life are the same. Thus, during times of psychological stress, cut back on the intensity, duration or frequency of training and, from my experience, in that order of priority!

ORCV WS 2011 Spirit of Downunder ©Alex McKinnon_8073

On a boat like Spirit of Downunder, you can find twenty somethings through to seventy somethings! Image courtesy of and © to Alex McKinnon.

Mistake Four: Not training hard enough.

I am a huge believer that performance-focused Masters athletes need to train with intensity. While I appreciate not every Master athlete wants to win a medal, most of us want to perform at our best on the day. Research on athletes, young and old, female and male, sprinters or endurance, black or white, has always shown the same thing. Intensity (how hard we train) is the key. However, intensity also brings with it tiredness, fatigue and an increased risk of injury. Prepare the body well for the hard work by developing a good base, getting the muscles and joints strong and then progressively building the intensity.

Mistake Five: Not training smart.

I see way too many of my cycling or triathlon mates who do what every else is doing. Training with much younger people, or following the pack. As we age our physiologies, our health, our ability to recover, and our fitness all change. While it’s great to train and be pushed in groups, there are times when we need to ‘do our own thing’ and that thing is what our own bodies are telling us, not our minds!

My years as a competitive athlete and sport scientist have shown me that Masters athletes struggle to believe these changes occur, and so battle against the inevitable too hard, too often. Masters’ need to ‘listen to their bodies’, train smart and use the ‘principles of training’ as their guide. Train hard but recover harder, and cut back on training when the stress of life, family and work get on top.

Interested in learning more? Peter has a fantastic resource in his book - The Master Athlete. It is available HERE.


If you liked this, you can also Andrew's first piece - How fit are you for sailing? There is also Andrew's second piece for you, too - The physical demands of offshore sailing and then the third, - All about hiking.


Text by Andrew Verdon

Dip. Ex Sci

Grad Dip App Sci

Cert IV Fitness

Level One Strength Coach-ASCA


Mobile  0419 690 121

Email 1 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

PO Box 1552 Neutral Bay NSW 2089 Australia

Fax: 61 2 9908 4211

Skype andrew.verdon

Suite 3 Rear 19 Young St Neutral Bay NSW 2089 Australia

Entry via: 1 Cooper Lane


Andrew is currently completing his Masters Degree in exercise and has been the Australian Sailing Team (AIS Squad) fitness coordinator since 2003, including the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Sailing Teams. Should you have any questions? Feel free to contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and if you're in Sydney, make an appointment to see him in person.




© John Curnow, ORCV Media

Please contact me for re-issue rights.










ORCV Safety and Training

Poles Apart.


Tony Bull from Bull Sails in Geelong offers some advice on the symmetric kite. Tony has vast experience and sails aboard the DK46 eXtasea and the Colt, Cinquante, both of which use the symmetric Bag and the accordant spin pole, which also needs trimming, effectively as much as the Bag itself!

ORCV WS 2011 Cinquante ©Alex McKinnon_7524

Cinquante under kite in Race One of the Winter Series. Pic courtesy of and © to Alex McKinnon.

The fine-tune controls used to fly a symmetrical spinnaker off a pole.

When a complete novice first steps on board a racing yacht, invariably the first response is amazement at the number of sheets and lines that run along the deck and up the mast. They find it hard to comprehend that all these ropes have a role in the sailing of the boat. All top sailors will tell you the difference in the relative speeds of similar craft is the ability to constantly adjust the setup of the boat to counter the wind and wave variations as they are faced. This ability to change gears and keep your boat sailing well through the oscillating conditions is what sets the top boats apart.

All these various lines and sheets each have a role to play in these alterations. I see so many boats sail around the course with a very token approach to changing gears. I had a recent experience of doing some two-boat sailing with a couple of sister-ships who race against each other at club level and compete in the odd title for that class. One skipper made the comment before we even hit the water that the other boat always ran faster downwind despite using the same make spinnakers. Looking at the two boats sitting side by side on the hard stand, I pointed out that his boat had a substantial amount more rake in his mast and, looking closer, his spinnaker pole ring on the front of his mast was about half a metre higher than his rival’s. Both of these factors would have a significant bearing on the comparable speeds of the two boats. To be able to change gears, we need to have awareness of what can and should be adjusted to constantly maximise our speed.


Halcyon looking good - Pic courtesy of and © to Teri Dodds.

Sail and pole position

I see boats with their spinnakers flying, the person on the sheet trimming intently while the spinnaker pole is left cleated in a fixed position with no attendance or trimming of the brace, topping lift or kicker (foreguy to some). It stands to reason that every time there is a significant alteration to the spinnaker sheet trim, the brace and pole have to be trimmed as well. If a lot of spinnaker sheet is eased out the pole has to be brought aft or conversely if the spinnaker is trimmed on a substantial amount the pole needs to be eased forward. So it is important to have someone always ready on the brace to be ready to react to the trimmers call. There is no point doing it retrospectively when the spinnaker has collapsed and the boat has slowed drastically. It is very important to trim the brace to the sheet; the sheet trimmer should be the best trimmer on the boat and call when the brace/pole needs to be adjusted. But beware: The sheet is the primary adjustment and all the subtle variations should be done through this. Constant over-adjustment of the brace can lead to the spinnaker being unsettled and inefficient as it moves around in front of the boat.

What is the best position for the spinnaker pole fore and aft? What we should be looking for on most boats is the spinnaker luff to rise vertically off the pole. If the spinnaker luff leans inward towards the forestay then the pole is too far aft, if it rolls outward away from the forestay then it is generally too far forward. A word of caution – this applies to most boats, but in some that have very low aspect, wide spinnakers like Etchells, Solings and the various Metre boats, the sheer maximised width of the spinnaker will ensure that the spinnaker luff rises at over 90 degrees off the pole. This can be OK in these cases. But never on any boat should the luff rise inside 90 degrees to the pole angle when square running.

The alternative way of finding the right pole angle fore and aft is to look at where the spinnaker curls first when it luffs. If it curls on the leech up high then the pole is too far forward, and naturally if it curls low down the pole is too far aft. The curl should sit on the shoulder of the sail about two-thirds of the way up the sail. Work on this to keep the spinnaker pole at the optimum angle. It will make a huge difference to your boatspeed and VMG to the mark.


Div2 under kite in Race One of the 2011 MWS. Pic courtesy of and © to Teri Dodds.

Pole height

The other factor in pole adjustment is the height vertically. When running it is best to keep the pole quite high as this will spread the spinnaker and give maximum projected area. If the spinnaker becomes unstable in the head then you probably have the pole too high. It is hard to gauge on the boat what the best height is, but if the spinnaker becomes fluttery or develops that classic “elephants bum” look with a big crease(s) down the middle then lower your pole down until they disappear. Looking at spinnakers off the boat, I like to see the head angle exiting the mast at about 80-90 degrees depending on various profiles. This gives the maximum projected area and gets the spinnaker away from the blanket effect of the mainsail. Keep your pole parallel with the water if you have the adjustment on your mast. The heel or butt of the pole should go up and down with the outboard end to project the spinnaker away from the mast and mainsail.

As the breeze gets lighter it is harder for the spinnaker to fly without sufficient weight of breeze. The lighter loads means the spinnaker will begin to droop as gravity takes over. In this case we need to do several things. We need to lower the pole to enable the spinnaker to fly easier with a shallower profile. We also need to angle the boat up higher to get the wind flowing more across the boat and raise the apparent wind in our sails.

In heavier breezes we need to strap the spinnaker down a bit more. We don’t want it drifting around and making it hard for the helmsman. The biggest issue is the clew of the sail lifting under the increased load. This causes the head of the spinnaker to roll to weather and can trigger the infamous “death rolls”. To counteract this we need to stabilise the spinnaker clew by sheeting it forward and down. Most spinnaker sheets should have a tweaker system in place to enable this. On some boats with a brace/sheet combination you can sheet off the brace position which will suffice. It is also good to ease the pole forward and steer up a bit to stabilise your course. I like to see the centre seam of the spinnaker in line with the forestay and steer the course that suits this. That means we have a stable spinnaker with equal area either side of the boat and are sailing a slightly higher course, minimising the danger of a nasty reverse gybe.

ORCV WS 2011 GodzillaINXS ©Alex McKinnon_7595

Toecutter 2 (with the reefed Bag) and INSX (yellow Bag) during Race One of the 2011 MWS. Pic courtesy of and © to Alex McKinnon.


Reaching with a symmetric spinnaker is never easy. Sail with your pole end on the tack significantly lower than the clew of the sail. This will unload the trailing edge of the sail and make it more headsail-like and efficient. It will make the boat much easier to steer and sail. As the wind gets up the sheer power of the extra sail area can overpower the boat quickly. Make sure you never over-sheet the spinnaker; try to err on the side of just keeping the curl right on the edge. Try and sneak your spinnaker pole aft a little even when close reaching as this can help unload the helm a lot and make the whole boat easier to sail. It also saves damage to your pole/ forestay and headfoil. If it is not viable, just get rid of the spinnaker. Remember the loss made by multiple roundups is rarely overcome by sailing slightly faster with a spinnaker up.

While we need to pay a lot of attention to setting the pole properly and using it to help us sail around the course faster, there are times where it is a huge advantage to sail with no pole. This has become very prevalent in match racing where the tactical options can change so quickly. Practise setting, sailing with and dousing your spinnaker without a pole. It can have so many advantages in positioning your boat at the top and bottom marks. A quick gybe or last minute jib hoist can be so much easier without having to deal with the mechanics of the spinnaker pole.

So next time you are out sailing, think about your spinnaker pole trim. Is it right? Can you improve it? Is the sail at its most efficient? The difference can be literally poles apart.

ORCV WS 2011 ©Alex McKinnon_7494

Chutzpah and Ninety Seven with very shy poles. Cinquante in behind them. Pic courtesy of and © to Alex McKinnon.


Many thanks to Tony for preparing this material for us...



© John Curnow, ORCV Media

Please contact me for re-issue rights.


Tony Bull runs Bull Sails
 in Geelong.