Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club’s Indian Sailing Team have topped off a great year on the water by winning the Quantum Sails Blue Water Series for the Siska Trophy. RFBYC teams have had a history of success in winning this esteemed prize with a string of six wins from 2008 to 2014.
For the 2015-2016 season, a seven race series was closely contested and there were only two points between Craig Carter’s Indian in first overall with 11 points and Alan Stein’s Dirty Deeds in second on 13 points.
The series began with the Roland Smith Ocean Race won by Peter Hickson’s M3 who took the lead from Indian. The team on Indian bounced back with a race record in the Geraldton Ocean Classic but were second on IRC overall to Dirty Deeds.
In her last race on the west coast before an unfortunate fate, M3 placed first over the line and overall in the return race from Geraldton to Fremantle. Only minutes separating the top three on corrected time. Both Indian and M3 took on the massive task of then heading to the east coast to contest the 71st Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. The race was tough from the beginning with several teams colliding shortly after the start and many others suffering damage forcing them to retire. Of the 28 yachts who retired on the first night, one of those was RFBYC yacht M3 who could not continue after losing her forestay. The team were devastated but pulled together to contest the Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Race where they enjoyed a competitive race with Michael Martin’s Frantic, another TP52 and placed second over the line. Tragic news came in during the return delivery of M3 after the race. A number of vessels had experienced trouble in the area, during this time M3 became disabled and ran aground, thankfully all crew made it safely to shore and were rescued shortly after. The yacht has since been recovered and is currently under repair on the NSW Central Coast.
In one of the most challenging races yet, Indian Sailing Team placed a credible 11th across the line in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. The team then had huge task ahead of them to get back to the west for the next race in the Blue Water Series. She had not come way from the race to Hobart unscathed and it was a battle against the clock to make it to the start line for the 68th Bunbury and Return Ocean Race.
The fourth race for the Siska was sailed in ideal conditions, two of the twenty six strong fleet completed the 170 nautical mile race in record time. Those were Craig Carter’s Indian in first, also taking the overall win and Garth Curran’s Walk on the Wildside who was both second over the line and overall on IRC with Alan Stein’s Dirty Deeds coming in third overall.
The Iberia Race, Fremantle to Busselton, was won by Anthony Kirke / Andrew Nuttman’s yacht Enterprise with Dirty Deeds in second and Indian in third. Scores were tight overall for the Siska. Tough conditions were experienced in the 53rd Naturaliste and Return Ocean Race with rain and variable wind. It was a close race for the overall win. Indian came in first with another race record but the team anxiously waited to see if she would take the overall win and secure the Siska Trophy for 2015-2016. More than two hours later but less than eight minutes behind Indian on corrected time, Dirty Deeds placed second and Enterprise third overall. The trophy would go back to RFBYC.
To end the seven race series, the West Coaster was a slow one with very little wind about. Indian came in first across the line but was fourth overall. Enterprise won with Dirty Deeds second and Brian Todd’s Sue Sea in third.
Craig Carter won the prestigious prize in his yacht Hoodoo Man in 2013-2014 and his team joins other RFBYC teams who have won the Siska Trophy more than once. Dave Walling and Vern Williamson won two years in a row in their yacht The Next Factor (2008-2009 and 2009-2010). Merv and Mike Finn had three non-consecutive wins in Huckleberry in the early 90’s. It was The Next Factor who begun a string of six wins to RFBYC, they were followed by Sled, the late Tony Mitchell, Black Betty, Gary McNally, General Lee sailed by Paul Eldrid and Scott Disley then Hoodoo Man.
What a great year for Indian Sailing Team, three race records, success in Australia’s iconic yacht race and WA’s Blue Water title to their name.
RFBYC Offshore Media