by Kev Scott
Ocean Marina Yacht Club held its monthly racing in perfect conditions. What more can you want other than healthy sunshine and a strong breeze? This super green sport relies only on the wind and sails to provide exhilarating sport for the crew. Unlike the America’s Cup, you do not need to be a super fit athlete to compete. A whole range of ages and personalities turned out for what was a very successful weekend sport, enjoyed by all.
Three boats ran in the sports boat class and three in the cruising class. Saturday was a testing day for the sports boats because the organisers set four windward leeward courses which gave crews very little rest. A prestart routine provides five minutes of jostling for position to get the best start possible. This is usually a very noisy and exciting close quarters dance which can be very stressful for the owners of the boats as crews race by each other with only inches to spare. Then at the gun, away they race looking for the strongest wind and the quickest route to the top mark. Rounding this mark then has crews raising their big, downwind, spinnaker sails which are mostly brightly coloured and provide great shots for any photographers. The next mark is the leeward mark when spinnakers have to be dropped and boats again head back to the top mark directly upwind. Then another spinnaker set and race back to the finish for a well-earned rest. After 10 minutes and some much needed water to rehydrate, it all happens again. With short distance races, crews have very little time to rest as the rounding marks come up thick and fast.
Great to see Nathan, Espen, Doug and Richard on board Wikki being pushed hard by the new team of Thomas, Lucy, Cecile, Keith and Dave, on board Stingray, an identical boat. While Dave, Allen, Peter, Chris, Kev and Stephanie did their best to match these flying machines with their bigger, but less manoeuvrable yacht, Magic.
The cruising boats were set longer courses to provide a bit more relaxed racing and even give crew time to enjoy the great scenery and “joie de vivre” that goes with this sport. Racing is nevertheless ultra competitive as every second counts. In two of the day’s races, Dan on Tribe and Martin on Nautical Wheeler finished within one, and then two, seconds of each other. How close is that? Making up the fleet was Jon on Mirabooka. Now Jon might not have the fastest boat around the course but if smiling and having a great time scored points Jon would win hands down every time.
And so, after a hard day on the water, crews returned to the marina and then to the beautiful surroundings of the garden restaurant to swop their tales and excuses over a welcome cold beer.
Results were quickly distributed, with the usual cheerful banter associated with this great sport.
This club has a great bunch of people who have the ability to fight hard on the water but respect and enjoy each other’s company away from it.
After a night’s rest it all started again on Sunday although the organiser’s took pity on some tired-looking crew members and set slightly less stressful races. This did not lessen the intense, competitive spirit, however, and once again crews were able to relax and enjoy a much-needed cold beer after two very satisfying days’ competitive sport.
Congratulations to team Wikki and team Nautical Wheeler on their well-deserved ‘first in class’ awards.
Thanks to Ocean Marina Yacht Club for providing all the on water support needed to run such an event, and all in such magnificent surroundings.