The Festival of Sail is Australia's largest yachting Regatta and it concluded yesterday. Over 400 yachts, 4500 sailors and 25000 visitors attended the 2002 event.
First held in 1844 and officially established in 1859, it is also one of the oldest sporting events in the nation.
A perfect day for the final races in the Bundaberg Rum Festival of Sail on Corio Bay today. Officials from Royal Geelong Yacht Club were happy the event had provided competitors with such a variety of weather conditions and courses, today being no different.
The day dawned bright, blue skies and sunny, with 20-25 knot winds from the west, with gusts up to 28 knots on Corio Bay. Whitecaps were in evidence and the racing was exciting.
All races got away on time with the Parks Victoria Classic Yachts, BMW Motorrad Couta Boat, Coca Cola Cruising Division, Geelong Radio Cabs Multihull, BIA Victoria Trailer yacht Series and Skilled Open Ballasted Keel Boat finals all underway by 9.00am.
At 11.00am, the International Cadets Australia Day Cup commenced, then at 1.30pm it was time for the Geelong Advertiser Teams and Scotchmans Hill Series Final, and the Bundaberg Rum National Sports Boats Final.
South Australian pocket maxi, Rager (Gary Shanks) led the Scotchmans Hill Series final from start to finish - no incidents today, but it was Another Challenge - Lou Abrahams (SYC) that stormed home to win Race 6 of AMS Division 1 from Great Scott II - Eurof Phillips (RYCV) and Kontrol - Peter Blake (SYC). Overall, Toe Cutter - Brad Bult (RYCV) sailed consistently well to take the Scotchmans Hill AMS Series overall from Another Challenge and Great Scott II, tying for 2nd place. The series allowed for one race drop.
In Division 2, Revenge - G. Mather (SYC) had hers, winning the final race from Owl & Pussycats - Rob Davis (SYC) and Silverado - Ian Robottom (RGYC). The overall winner for the series was the well sailed Owl & Pussycats, from Silverado and Revenge. Winners of Race 6 in the IRC class were Another Challenge in 1st place from 38 Degrees South - John Savage (SYC) and Clockwork Orange - Eric Van Der Griend (SYC). Overall, the 1st place trophy for the series went to Another Challenge, Chutzpah - Bruce Taylor (RYCV) placed 2nd with Farr Too Much Fun - Philip Coombs (SYC) 3rd.
The VYC divisions in the Scotchmans Hill were also hotly contested. In Division 1, Race 6, Advantedge - Len kint (RGYC) finished first from Extasea - Paul Buchholz (RGYC) and Chutzpah 3rd. Overall, the series trophy went to Bindaroo, having sailed an exceptional series with three 1st places from six races - Garry Russell sailing Extasea finished 2nd and Advantedge 3rd overall.
Division 2, Race 6, saw Revenge in 1st place, Dell Era - Roger Lee (SYC) 2nd and Owl & Pussycats 3rd. The overall prize went to Revenge, with Owl & Pussycats performing well across the board to take 2nd place. Mood Indigo - William Casserly (RYCV) came home 3rd.
For a number of yachts racing in the Scotchmans Hills Series, their main aim was the teams events - hard fought for every year, the runners-up each year already planning their revenge for the following year. Each teams event consisting of four boats, allowed for a worst result drop in each race.
Five yacht clubs entered teams for the Skilled Trophy for AMS Division 1 yachts. The winning team was Royal Yacht Club of Victoria with the team of: Chutzpah, Horizon Sprint, Toe Cutter and Great Scott II with a final score of 57 points. Second place went to Sandringham Yacht Club with Another Challenge, Bacardi, Kontrol and Cadibarra with 62 points. The top two really cleared out on the rest of the field, with third place getters the Royal Geelong Yacht Club team of Extasea, Spirit, Outsider and Bindaroo on 128 points. In fourth place was Hobsons Bay Yacht Club, the team comprised: Working Capital, Tevake, Full Tilt Boogie and Turbo, finishing with 129 points. In 5th place was Royal Brighton Yacht Club with Eun-na-mara, Reverie, Lunchcutter and Hitimewewent finishing with 159 points.
The Helly Hansen Trophy for V.Y.C. Division 1 saw seven teams from four yachts clubs compete; Royal Brighton Yacht Club, Royal Geelong Yacht Club and Royal Yacht Club of Victoria with two teams apiece and Sandringham Yacht Club with one team. The top three placegetters were: the Royal Geelong Yacht Club 'B' team comprising Volante, Blade Runner, Bull and Juno finishing 1st overall with 116.5 points. Second place getters were Royal Geelong Yacht Club 'A' comprising French Connection, Advantedge, Nimrod II and Jimmy Blacksmith with a total of 118.5. In 3rd place overall was the Sandringham Yacht Club team comprising Farr Too Much Fun, Fun and Games, Sportscar and Out of the Blue, finishing with 138 points.
Four teams from A.M.S. Division 2 represented for the Cascade Premium Trophy; the winner was Sandringham Yacht Club represented by Dell Era, Revenge, Owl and Pussycats and Rhiannon with a final tally of 63 points, from the 2nd placed Royal Yacht Club of Victoria with Surprise, Working Capital, Western Morning and Footloose with a total of 66 points. In 3rd place was the Royal Brighton Yacht Club team of Double Malt, Alice B, Magazan 53 and Seas the Day, finishing with 95 points, and 4th place went to the Royal Geelong Yacht Club team of Mudshark, Silverado, Spectrum of Coriayo and Magic Dragon, on 101 points.
Finally, five teams sailed off for the Sunsail Trophy for V.Y.C. Division 2 yachts; the winners, Hobsons Bay Yacht Club represented by Eric, Orlan, Deja Blue and Sea Lion II finished with 75 points, the Royal Brighton Yacht Club team of Hot Shot, Wild Spirit, Tiercel and Reckless finished 2nd with 80 points, Royal Geelong Yacht Club came home 3rd with Southern Express, Saga IX, Flying Circus and Highland Ghost on 89 points. In 4th place was the Sandringham Yacht Club team and 5th Royal Yacht Club of Victoria.
The BIA Trailable series was hotly contested with 18 entries. This Way Up (Ian Lane) won the final Race 4 to take the series overall, with Fly Away (Peter Jackson) in 2nd place from Grey Nurse (Craig Rule), who also placed 2nd overall for the series with Maverick (Bill Lodge) 3rd overall.
A large fleet of 28 entered for the Coca Cola Trophy for Cruising Boats, Tara - Graeme Walker (RGYC) winning Race 6 to take the series overall. Tango Too - John Spinks (RGYC) finished Race 3 in 2nd place from Seabird - Richard Hann (RGYC) which finished 3rd to be 2nd overall in the series. Merak - P. Markham (RYCV) finished the series 3rd overall.
Ten Classic yachts participated in the three race series for the Parks Victoria Classic Boats Trophy. Scimitar - Barry Purcell (RYCV) won Race 3 from Boambilee - Chapman Fisscher (RMYS) in 2nd and the overall winner for the series, with Roama - D. Jenkin (RYCV) in 3rd place . Scimitar and Roama finished equal 2nd overall for the series.
Although only four multihulls contested the Geelong Radio Cabs Multihull Series, racing was extremely close between the top two place-getters. Three races constituted their series with Full Bore - Dean Snow (MYC) winning the final race to finish the series 2nd overall, while Cascade - Alex MacNaughtan (MYC) finished 2nd to win the series overall. Fatcat - Stephen Aulich (SYC finished the series 3rd overall.
The BMW Motorrad Aust. Couta Boat Series produced 14 starters in the four race series. Avalon III - Patrick Myer (SSCBC) finished 1st in Race 4 to finish the series 3rd overall. Elise - Wes Oswin (CBC) won the series overall after a battle with Lyndal Lea - Carmen Bell (SSC) the 2nd place getter overall.
A total of 15 boats took part in the Bundaberg Rum Trophy for Sports Boats - almost skiff-like in appearance, the fleet enjoyed some fast tight racing throughout their series. Team G.U.E. - Chris Williams (RPAYC) won the final Race 5 to take the series, Raypak Wild Woman - Peter Layton (RYCV) finished 2in in Race 5 to place 3rd overall, while Chicken Run - Andrew Sayle (SYC) finished 3rd to place 2nd overall for the series.
In the Skilled Trophy for Thunderbird yachts, Catalyst - Stuart Minchin (RGYC) finished 1st in Race 5 for a 2nd overall for the series, Larriken II- Darren Pickering (RGYC) finished 1st to win the series. Scarecrow - Jim Tennant (RGYC) finished 3rd in Race 5, and with Werewolf was 3rd overall for the series - a win-win situation for Royal Geelong Yacht Club.
Finally, the skiff class provided some fast and furious action with ten 49ers and the lone 29er out on the course for their four race series. Melbourne's Gold Medallist in the 470 class at the Sydney Olympic Games, Mark Turnbull, with his crew Nick Partridge, won the series overall after a 3rd placing in the final race. Japan's Kenji Nakamura and Masato Takaki won the final race to finish 3rd overall, while Melbourne's Kirwan Robb and Ryan Griexe were 2nd in Race 4 to finish 2nd overall.
Competitors came ashore tired but elated at having sailed in another successful Bundaberg Rum Festival of Sail. In all, over 400 boats took part in the event, entries coming in from all over Australia with a couple of internationals in attendance to add flavour.
Full marks to Royal Geelong Yacht Club, particularly Regatta Chairman Michael Kelly, Regatta Co-ordinator Doug 'Livewire' Jarvis and the band of volunteers who help make Australia's largest yacht regatta the success it is. Special thanks go to the sponsors for their generosity in supporting this event - without them, the event would not be what it is.
Daily news reports and full results from the Scotchman's Hill Series Trophy, the Team Events, the Keel Passage Race, the trailable passage from Melbourne and Port Arlington, the BIA trailable series, the Parks Victoria Classic Boats Series, the Coca Cola Trophy for Cruising Boats, the Geelong Radio Cabs Multihull Series, the BMW Motorrad Australia Couta Boat Series, the Bundaberg Rum Trophy for Sports Boats, the Skilled Trophy for Thunderbird Class, the Skifffs and the IMS classes are availeble from the event website.