Patriot, the clear winner in a race of snakes and ladders.
Local knowledge as the winds softened gave Jason Close, skipper of the J133 ‘Patriot’ the advantage to win overall in a fleet of 34 yachts in Saturday's ORCV Winter Series 30nm race to Blairgowrie.
The mixed fleet competing in the racing and cruising divisions started out just after 9.30 am using a shortened course start line off Ricketts Point on the thirty-nautical mile race towards Blairgowrie.
Blue skies and good wind at the start Photo ORCV Media
“The decision to shorten course and move the start by six nautical miles was a great decision” explained Mark Nicholson skipper of the J121 Javelin which finished six mins behind Close’s Patriot “this adjustment to the course allowed for most of the fleet to get past Mornington and a better location on the bay to be when the winds lightened.”
Close, Patriot skipper went onto to explain “We had a great start on a reach for about 1.5 hours at 60’ to the wind and as predicted the winds starting to soften about 2 nm prior to Mornington. Soon after, we saw the fleet all start to catch up”
“We always aim to sail fast as we can to the next wind transition and closest to the Rhumbline. Coming from dinghy sailing, when the winds are light, we try to keep our crew’s weight leeward so the boat is as balanced as possible.” continued Close. “We’ve learnt to sit still and move around slowly in order to keep the boat moving forward in what wind there is.”
Faced with the mussel farm and the fleet needing to ‘roll the dice’ to decide do they go inshore or further out searching for wind. “It’s always a gamble to how large the dead patch will be as we waited for the winds to swing WSW to SE explained Nicholson “when we saw Patriot, also a local sailor to the area, head towards to the shoreline, looking to pick up the SE change and lift off the cliff face, we followed taking the same gamble.”
Victorious Patriot crew Photo Jason Close
Commodore Grant Dunoon and skipper of the Moody 54 Blue Water Tracks, commented “Our destination races are always popular and with six new skippers taking part in the cruising division. It was great for most of the cruisers to finish and take advantage of being able to use their motors to get through that dead patch” Commodore Dunoon continued, “what took us forty-five minutes to sail across a windless hole, Ariel II’s skipper Mike Ferguson used his special ‘cruising power’ for eight minutes to motor sail through that hole and on to win the cruising division.
“It definitely was a lot of fun” explained Javelin’s skipper Mark Nicholson “we had a great start in 15 knots and scattered clouds, rain before the rainbow pathed the way to a warm sunny afternoon for crews to bask in as they headed to the finish.”
It definitely was a fun game explained victorious Close “We had good pressure from mark 19 and 10 – 12 knots of breeze, with code 0 flying gave us a nice 9.5 knots all the way to the finish line.”
Foggy Dew's good luck at end of the Rainbow smaller Photo Scott Colquhoun
Top 3 Results
AMS 1st. Patriot (SM133) 2nd Javelin (M9) 3rd Maverick (SM3600)
ORC 1st Patriot 2nd Maverick 3rd Surprise (SM63)
PHS 1st Patriot 2nd Javelin 3rd Maverick
DH 1st Maverick 2nd Blue Water Tracks B1
Cruising 1st Ariel II (SM116) 2nd Hitchhiker (SM42 ) 3rd Bella Vida (4324)
Line Honours Patriot
Full results of the race can be found here https://www.orcv.org.au/results/2021-22/2022MWS/series.htm?ty=15565
Next race in the series 23rd July with entries open here https://www.orcv.org.au/winter-series