Great line up to open the WA blue water season

Great line up to open the WA blue water season

The 80 nautical mile race, Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club race will open the Rottnest Express Blue Water Championship for the Siska Trophy. Starting at 9am, the Roland Smith Ocean Race will start off Port Beach in Fremantle and take the fleet of 22 south to Comet Bay in Mandurah. After rounding the turning mark, yachts will head north-west to Cape Vlamingh and round Rottnest Island to starboard before returning to the south mole finish in Fremantle.

Last year’s line honours champion, the TP52 M3, will be absent from the race. Peter Hickson’s team are contesting the CYCA Blue Water Pointscore series in Sydney in the lead up to the 2016 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. The team placed a credible 6th over the line in last week’s Flinders Islet Race which gave them a 3rd overall on IRC. A great result for skipper Brent Fowler and the crew in the competitive TP 52 heavy fleet.

With the current forecast of light to moderate wind from the north-west, the race record is looking safe for another year although with a bit of rain about in Perth over the next few days, anything could develop. It will be imperative for teams to listen in to the Friday evening weather briefing by sailor Karina Tarbath from the Bureau of Meteorology, to grab those last minute tips and tricks to look out for.

We could see Alan Stein’s GP42, Dirty Deeds and the Farr 40 Enterprise, Anthony Kirke / Andrew Nuttman up there for line honours or will Al Fresco come back with vengeance. Dom Papaluca and John Rayner’s BW 36 team was away for most of last year’s offshore season.

New to the scene is Twitch, a Beneteau 44.7, the crew include mother, father and son team from the Walsh family. It will be great to see how this new team go in Division Two. The usual offshore racers will be out for the blue water championship, Phil Somerville-Ryan’s S&S 34, Huckleberry with his regular crew on-board including talented blind sailor Ryan Honschooten and Sydney 36 This Way Up, owned by Bryan Thurstan and Hamish Maddern. There is a strong fleet of five yachts in the double handed class and Division Two is sure to be competitive again with Ian Clyne’s Joss, Chris Higham’s Argo and Giddy Up, Robert Halvorsen sure to put on a competitive show.

Follow the race online with YB Tracking or using the free race viewer on mobile devices. Go to the race webpage for more information,

Or follow the race using social media, Facebook and Twitter, #RolandSmithORWA, #RFBYCoffshoreracing.

Susan Ghent

RFBYC Offshore Administration

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