Saturday 4 November 2017
By Ceris Arns

18 yachts took to the start in the Roland Smith race last Saturday in sunshine and 10-12kt easterlies.

The Div 1 fleet was headed up by RFBYC’s Indian and an upgraded Black Betty, returning to some ocean racing after a two year hiatus playing in the river. A small Div 2 (3 boats) and the 2 double handed entries of Selkie & Dart Vader made up the rest of the fleet. The regular contingent of FSC 40 footers were all ready to race with several competing in their second Siska Trophy event. The planning boats were expecting favourable conditions and a fast run back up to Cape Vlamingh with the forecast wind change to increasing southerlies throughout the late afternoon.

The start was incident free as was the top mark rounding and the boats headed off down the channel and into Challenger Passage where the breeze dropped off markedly. The smaller boats lost the breeze as they headed down the channel, further increasing the gap between them and the frontrunners. By midday the breeze was back from the south and the fleet settled in for the push to Mandurah, dodging whales and prolific numbers of pots on the way. Indian was chased hard down the coast by Black Betty with Walk on the Wildside close by.

Most of the Div 1 boats rounded Mandurah Mark B mid- afternoon and set up for the downwind leg to West End. As the breeze built, the lighter boats took off and the displacement yachts had to do the best they could with the wardrobe they had. A stunning sunset and a fantastic rising full moon made for a picturesque reach along the back of Rottnest and into the finish at South Mole. The big boats got their wish and although Indian took out line honours and a new race record of 8:16:16, it was Black Betty taking the win on IRC by just under 2 mins on corrected time, followed by Indian and BB’s sister ship Dirty Deeds finishing 3rd.

On YAH, again Black Betty was 1st, Indian 2nd and Weapon of Choice made the podium in 3rd spot. The smaller Div 2 and Double handers had a longer night with Farrago winning on both IRC & YAH in a time of 12:34:36 in Div 2 and Selkie & Dart Vader splitting the DH prizes– Selkie winning IRC finishing a minute before midnight closely followed by Dart Vader 10 mins later. The positions were reversed on YAH. Credit for endurance/perseverance must go to Michael Thorpe in his S&S 34 Soon who copped the Easterlies in the early hours, beating to the finish line at 5:43am. Thanks must also go to the Race Control Team will have definitely deserved their Sunday rest. Full results can be found HERE.

A comprehensive race review has also been published on Sailworld.com –link can be found HERE.

Next Offshore Racing is 25 and 26 November
Royal Perth Yacht Club is the Organising Authority for the Carnac Island Race and the IRC States Week One and Southern Regatta over this weekend.  Details including SSI’s are here

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