Inaugural Swan River Team Racing Regatta - Close Finish

Inaugural Swan River Team Racing Regatta - Close Finish

An invitation from RPYC to compete in this first team racing regatta started the conversation, where else but in the bar after Thursday evening sailing. Corinthian? – none of our hotshots allowed? Could we field a team of 8 sailors? Where would we start? How could we compete against RPYC who have been training and competing for nearly 3 years?

How wonderfully supportive is RFBYC! We asked the committee for some help and they generously provided training with excellent coaches in Sam Gilmour and Mark Spearman, then for the three day regatta we were lent a rib. Thank you RFBYC.

A few weeks of hasty training, learning now how to stop our boats, then accelerate quickly, how to sail slowly and those rules…. 17 will stick in my mind for ever. Everyone was welcome to come and train and we were delighted to have 12 to 13 people keen to try team racing.










On Regatta day, Trish Ford kindly took the rib to RPYC where Brad Stout and John Low became support team for the whole weekend. Thank you John and Brad for towing us in and out, looking after our gear and us. We fielded two boats with Ethan Low as skipper of one and Chelsea Hall, skipper for Friday and Dave Spearman and Trish Ford alternating for the other two days on the other boat.

Unfortunately day one was written off with no wind and we missed out on having the talented Chelsea showing us all what team racing was all about.

Day two the wind finally arrived and we completed almost three round robins and 17 races with Ethan and crew, James Stout, Andrew Briggs and Conall Hansford sailing consistently and setting up mark blocks to help their team mates: skippers Trish Ford/Dave Spearman with crew Jenny Spearman, Caroline Gibson and Sue Makin.

By the end of the day we had won enough races to put us ahead of both RPYC 2 and Mandurah YC, making us 2nd overall, a surprising position considering for most of us it was our first experience of competing in keel boat team racing.

Day three saw little wind and the finals, a best of 3 series. We competed against RPYC1 and won the first race of the finals, giving RPYC a bit of a scare! The second race saw RPYC1 take the win and then the wind dropped out and we reached the time limit. This meant that RPYC1 had won overall as although it was a draw in the finals, they had more points in the round robin.

In the last race, with the lack of wind and an unfortunate wave, Ethan accidently hit the last mark. Being an honourable young man and an excellent role model for the youths at RFBYC, Ethan took his penalty even though no one else had any idea he had touched the buoy. At the presentations, the Head of the Organising Committee for RPYC congratulated Ethan on his sportsmanship.

We are indeed fortunate to have such a supportive club who have a “can do” attitude. Thank you Debbie Blaauw for your time and efforts in helping us participate in the Swan River regatta and for providing club shirts for us all to wear.

RPYC were very welcoming and ran an excellent regatta. Thank you to all of the volunteers and organising committee for such an enjoyable weekend of competition and congratulations to RPYC1 on winning the inaugural event.

Team racing in keel boats is intense and sharpens both skills and strategy, with 2 boats racing against 2 others. Team work is essential as is good boat handling skills, but most of all it is tremendous fun. We want to develop this aspect of sailing further and encourage anyone interested to join us on the BW8’s. Please contact Dave or Jenny Spearman (owners of Vitalstatistix 11 (BW8) for further information.

Jenny Spearman

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