OFFSHORE IRC CHAMPIONSHIPS DECIDED BY COUNT BACK
by Bernie Kaaks
After a close fought seven race series, a count back was needed to determine winners in two of three divisions taking part. In Division 1, David Walling’s Farr 40 “The Next Factor”, fresh from a detailed re-work, finished on 9 points, along with Tony Mitchell’s Farr 47 “Sled”, which had Olympic gold medallist Tessa Parkinson calling tactics during the final two races. By virtue of its greater number of first placings, “The Next Factor” won the title.
A similar situation occurred in Division 3, where Laurie Flynne’s Beneteau 34.7 “Dynamic” and Alison Stock’s “Selkie” both shared a total of 16 points. “Dynamic” finished with a couple of blinders, winning both the final two races to clinch the title. The hard luck story in this fleet belonged to the early series leader, Dennis Vincent’s Beneteau 34.7 “Wyuna”. Last Saturday’s performance earned a seventh place, her worst of the series to date but in the second of Sunday’s two races, the yacht became entangled in the anchor line of the top mark, lost a lot of time and finished 11th. So instead of dropping a seventh place, she now had to drop the 11th and carry the seventh, ending the series in fourth place.
By contrast, Craig Carter had a convincing win in Division 2 with his Archambault 40 “Hoodoo Man” claiming first place with 9 points. Will Hammond’s “Nimbus” was next on 19 points, followed two points further back by Robert Halvorsen’s Farr 395 “Giddy Up” helmed by his son, James.
Last weekend also heralded the conclusion to Fremantle Sailing Club’s Valmadre Cup Series, run over five races around Gage Roads and attracting a total of 46 boats. Weather for the series was light and unlike most years, not one race was lost due to either too much, or too little breeze. Many boat owners took the opportunity to invite their sail makers to join them, hoping to learn more about the optimum settings for their sails.
Division 1 honours were evenly shared. “The Next Factor” won the IRC trophy by a point from “Sled”, while “Sled” won the YAH trophy by 1.5 points. A similar result in Division 2 saw “Hoodoo Man” winning the IRC trophy comfortably ahead of Domenic Papaluca’s Bull 9000 “Wild Bull” but “Wild Bull” won the YAH trophy just as convincingly.
In Division 3’s IRC fleet, Alison Stock’s Northshore 38, “Selkie” won the IRC trophy with a very consistent performance ahead of “Wyuna” by just one point, with Eric Gath’s Farr MRX a further two points behind. A delighted Tobias Byrne sailing the Northshore 34 “Topaz”, claimed the YAH trophy by two points ahead of “Wyuna” and “Hydrotherapy”.
Last Saturday’s race ended early for Jaye Martin’s “Nuzulu”, when Emma Craig slipped on the foredeck and fell heavily on one knee against a deck fitting. Emma was taken to Fremantle Hospital but was released later with a brace to stabilise the injured leg.
Fremantle Sailing Club conducted the series very professionally with race officer Trevor Milton and his Offshore Race Team doing a great job in managing the event on the water.