The 2015 FSC Rockwater Coventry Reef Offshore Race (48nm) had a bit of everything, 34 yachts competing in 4 Divisions started the race at around 9.30 in very warm, light ever changing conditions. By mid day it was 38 degrees, and towards the early evening finish we witnesses a violent lightning storm & cooling rain.
Division 2 (IRC 1 to 1.10) had the largest fleet of 13 yachts all duelling at the start line in a 6-knot breeze. It was Giddy Up (Farr 395) – Rob Halvorsen & Joss (J122) Ian Clyne & Cougar – Scott Glaskin who got away best, closely followed by Wasabi (Elan 410) Paul Arns, and Argo (Archaumbault 40) Chris Higgins.
Giddy Up was the first to round the 1st mark, with the majority of yachts launching there A2’s for the 6 nm 2nd leg to the Windward Channel Marker off the south of Rottnest Island. This was by far the toughest & most frustrating leg as the winds lightened, & started to swing from NE to N – added to being in Gauge Roads with large ships powering through the fleet & the Rottnest power boat enthusiast heading to the island, it was slow uncomfortable sailing.
When the fleet finally rounded the Windward Channel Marker, Giddy Up continued to lead, Wasabi had edged ahead of Joss, and Argo had fallen behind. The winds shifted to NW to SW, and throughout the 18 nm leg down to Coventry Reef the winds slowly built to 8-10 knots. Joss using our No 1 Light Gib did the best, catching Wasabi and closing on Giddy Up. The highlight was a 6 tack duel between Joss & Wasabi near Coventry Reef that saw Joss come out ahead, & round the windward Coventry Reef mark 100 m ahead of Wasabi and in clear view of the Giddy Up crew.
With Joss’s Big Light Green A2 flying it was a straight run back to the channel North of Garden Island, Joss & Giddy Up were well matched in terms of speed however it appeared clear that Giddy Ups lead did not appear nearly enough from an IRC rating perspective. Wasabi was falling back so tacked in closer to Garden Island.
Due to the challenging light conditions & the impending Lightning storm race control shortened the race to the Garden Island Channel (40nm), with a downwind finish.
Joss crossed the line 2nd on the water in Div 2, at 5.45pm only 5 minutes behind Giddy Up in a time of 7 hours 54 minutes winning both Div 2 IRC (2nd Giddy Up 46 sec behind, 3rd Wasabi 10 min), and 1st in Div 2 YAH (2ND Wild Bull 1.01min, 3rd Circa 1.06 min).
It was a spectacular motor sail back to Fremantle Sailing Club as the fleet witnesses the awesome power of the huge lightning storm heading our way.
Joss has enjoyed a strong start to the 2015/16 Offshore Season, having won the 2015 Valmadre Series Div 2 YAH, 3rd IRC, & 1st in the recent Roland Smith (80nm) IRC, & 2nd YAH. It now adds the Coventry Reef Honours to its tally.
Ian Clyne, Joss