The Iberia Race starts at Fremantle and runs down into Cockburn Sound, out the South Passage and into Bunbury Harbour, then directly down to Port Geographe finishing just outside the marina.
With similar conditions to the Bunbury Return only four weeks earlier, we were keen to utilise the lessons learnt while racing the same piece of coastline.
Electing to take a more western course, just south of Garden Island, we were rewarded when the breeze went from 130 to 210 degrees, and we quickly jumped ahead of the two bigger boats, Knee Deep and Sled. It took time for them to recover with Knee Deep overtaking us at Coventry Reef and Sled at around Mandurah.
With the benefit of new upwind speed through a rigorous re-tune of the rig and new sails, we were able to hang onto the bigger boats as we tacked our way all the down the coast to Bunbury. Around three miles from Bunbury, the breeze finally started it’s shift back to the East…a good thing for our corrected time on the boats ahead, but bad for us with the boats behind! Being lifted into the mark, the smaller boats 20 odd miles behind would be reaching in, taking time out from us.
On leaving Bunbury harbour we knew we had to push hard to limit the damage the little boats behind us would be doing to our corrected time. With the wind now at 20 knots we hoisted a FRO (Fractional Code Zero) and started the 20 mile blast to Port Geographe. The more we sailed, the more the breeze increased – as did the boat speed! We eventually crossed the finished line in 30 knots of wind doing speeds in the mid 18’s – enough to beat the big boats but we were unsure of the smaller boats behind. In the end we were 2nd on IRC behind Blondie. We sailed well and made the most of the Easterly advantage, followed by Nexus in 3rd.
Many thanks to RPYC and their volunteers for a fun race and to the General Lee team for a race well sailed, and to John and Leanne Suriano who drove the vans and people movers to Geographe to take a tired, but happy team back to Perth at 4am!