Offshore yacht racing is an exciting part of the Western Australian yachting scene but it is rare for the local community to get a chance to watch the sport. That will change this year when Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club brings the race course for two major events along the Perth metro coastline with a major turning marker for the yachts off Cottesloe Beach.
On Saturday 8 December, the Dolphin Race will be part of the Rockingham Race Regatta, a weekend event for offshore racing yachts which includes the IRC Youth Cup Series. The fleet will start at 10am in the area west of Leighton Beach in North Fremantle and sail north, keeping to rounding markers along the coastline. They will arrive at a turning mark in front of Cottesloe Beach, then head south to Rockingham.
It will be a spectacular sight to see the large racing yachts turning so close to Cottesloe Beach. The marker will be positioned in front of Barchetta, the beachfront restaurant is in prime position for the best view.
Phil and Jane King from Barchetta are very pleased to have the yachting featured in front of their restaurant. They comment “We often see yachts sailing past and it’s a beautiful sight. But to actually have the racing brought to us in Cottesloe and be able to provide the information to our customers and the local community is very exciting”.
In April, the sailing will return for the start of the Rottnest Festival of Sail. This time the start area will be close to Cottesloe Beach as well as the first two turning markers. The fleet will be racing in Cottesloe before the yachts turn and head offshore for a circumnavigation of Rottnest Island then to the finish area in Thomson Bay.
Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club (RFBYC) is pleased to partner with Barchetta for these events to connect the local community with the offshore yacht racing. Spectators and interested locals will be able to pick up event information, view the race tracker to follow the teams and read about the yachts and their crews. Around 40 yachts are expected to compete in each of these events.
Several of the yachts have completed some very tough well-known races such as the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. While most will have logged many miles in local races such as the Bunbury and Return Ocean Race, Cape Naturaliste Return Race and the challenging Fremantle to Geraldton and Return Ocean Classic. Having the racing so close to the shoreline in Cottesloe is a fantastic opportunity to see these remarkable ocean racing yachts in action.
Spectators are sure to see the current WA offshore champion Indian, a Carkeek 47 owned by Craig Carter. The experienced team have completed three of the great races to Hobart finishing a commendable 5th in IRC Division One in last years race. Alan Stein’s GP 42 Dirty Deeds will be racing too as well as the very racy looking Black Betty, an optimised GP 42 owned by Commodore Gary McNally from RFBYC. There will be a couple of new yachts racing this year too, Simon Torvaldsen’s Blondie and Geoff Bishop’s CheckMate are expected to give similar teams such as Weapon of Choice (Mark Nagle) and Obsession (Paul and Ceris Arns) a good challenge.
Not just about the modern racers, there will be several traditional yachts in the racing such as the S&S 34 class. The design was made known locally when Jon Sanders sailed his S&S 34 Perie Banou twice around the world.
Manfred Speicher from RFBYC Offshore Racing Committee comments, “Never before has offshore yacht racing action from Cottesloe shores and viewing platforms been so prominent. Great for families, friends of the teams and onlookers to witness colourful ocean racing up close”.
Keep a look out for event information through Barchetta in Cottesloe, on social media and on the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club website, rfbyc.asn.au, follow the link to the ‘Offshore Racing’ page.
RFBYC Offshore Racing Administration
This news story is featured in the Post newspaper, edition 25 August: