The second running of the Victorian version of the Seawind Rally took place on the weekend of March 1-3, again based from the Martha Cove Marina of Safety Beach.
A fleet of six Seawinds took part this year, with three 1250’s (Whiskers, Imagine VII, and Lauren Maree), a solitary 1160 (Solaris, renamed from Marion), and a couple of 1000’s (La Marionette, and Song of Mona). All of the the 1250’s and the 1160 were returning from 2012.
Colleen and I were boatless, but John and Maria of La Marionette were kind enough to have us on as crew.
Terry Jones (Whiskers owner, Victorian Seawind representative, and all-round top-notch organizer) planned a triangular course for the Saturday race, with the smaller boats having a smaller course. The wind was predicted to be around 25 knots, which caused a few concerns as the fleet headed out for the 1430(ish) start.
On board La Marionette, we held back to avoid the cut’n’thrust of the start line and approached the line in the wake of the ‘experts’ on Imagine VII. Unfortunately they could not make the bottom mark of the line, and we had to follow them in a turn-about. Damn. Last over the line.
The handicapping was kind to the smaller boats, and we recovered to make the first turn ahead of a couple of the 1250’s who had a longer path to travel. Lauren Maree and Imagine VII did not make up a lot of ground on us, and with another shorter leg to run we kept ahead of them to finish in fourth.
That had been my first sail on a 1000, and I must say I was impressed at how well we could control the sails with the traveller at calf level. The targa-mounted traveller on the 1250’s and 1160’s might keep the clutter of everything out of sight, but for racing the 1000’s have some points in their favor.
After the race it was back to the marina for some refreshment, followed by an excellent BBQ dinner (with dessert!) put on by the marina cafe. (Possibly a Samoan dinner next year!) Early night for most.
For the Sunday race, Terry arranged for the use of the yacht club’s light tower for the start, and had each division (1000’s/1160’s/1250’s) starting at five minute intervals. Song of Mona had a 200m break on us at the start as we headed off on the out-n-back course, with the rest of the fleet soon to be on our heels.
The fleet stalled for about twenty minutes, and then suddenly Terry found some breeze from somewhere and shot off after Song of Mona. They enjoyed a good battle before the line, and the rest of us finally found some breeze and dragged ourselves over as well.
The fleet then rafted up to hold the final presentations and enjoy some lunch and a bit of a swim. We initially were all hanging off Song of Mona‘s little anchor, but we soon decided six catamarans were probably exceeding the rating of the pick so we dropped a couple more. Rafting up was new to a lot of the fleet, but it was performed with very little drama. We attracted quite a bit of attention, with a few boats coming over to see what was happening.
After a relaxing couple of hours, it was time for the Melbourne-based boats to depart so farewells were made and the fleet dispersed. Here’s to the 2014 Rally!!