Albany Ocean Race Report – Bernie Kaaks

Royal Perth Yacht Club’s Fremantle to Albany race attracted a fleet of ten, ranging from Alan Stein;s GP42 Dirty Deeds to Paul Schapper’s graceful Bowman ketch Toroa IV.

Much interest centred on the performance of the two Jeanneau 3600’s in the race.  Todd Giraudo’s Kraken has a track record which includes the double handed Melbourne to Osaka (Japan) race and also the Fremantle to Bali – all two handed with sailing buddy Dubbo White. Pitted against them for the first time was David Davenport’s Crush, sailing with a full complement of eight crew, but in the yacht’s first venture into an endurance event.

As expected, Dirty Deeds led the way, but it was hard pressed by Paul Arns’ Obsession until rounding Cape Leeuwin, when the GP42 was able to use her downwind superiority to finally put some distance between them.  The leg from Augusta to Windy Harbour was challenging when the breeze fell away to almost nothing as it changed direction in the middle of the day.  Deeds staggered for some distance at less than 2 knots while behind her the chasing pack, enjoying good breeze, rattled along at more than eight knots to make significant inroads into her lead..

When the new breeze filled in across the whole of the course area, some spectacular speeds were reported.  Simon Torvaldsen’s , Atomic Blonde shredded first one spinnaker and later another, to give sailmakers plenty of work to do later. The fresh conditions were tailor made for Dirty Deeds which streaked away to take line honours in a little over 40 hours.

Handicap honours went to the boats in the middle of the fleet, which did not experience long windless patches. Overall handicap winner was Kraken, with another solid and performance from the experienced double handed combination.  Newcomer Crush was never far behind to claim second overall, with Ian Clyne’s J122 .Joss in third place.  Joss was the second yacht to cross the finish line, about two and a half hours behind the leader.

The race was run on VHF radio throughout, using two mobile shore stations to keep track of the fleet.  The system was well planned and worked perfectly. Given the generally favourable conditions, a surprisingly high number of sailors reported seasickness at the post race gathering at the Princess Royal Yacht Club.

Presentations will be held at the Royal Perth Yacht Club Annex at 1600 on Sunday 28th April.

Bureau forecasts predict some windy weather over the next few days, so crews relaxing in Albany are anxiously watching the skies before venturing out to sea for the long slog home again.


– Report by Bernie Kaaks

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