Sunday, 18 May 2014

CYCA Land Rover Winter Series : Light Airs for Race 3

The fleet heads to the first mark. Image copyright David Brogan/

by Jennifer Crooks

Over the past few days Sydney has been blessed with fabulous Autumn weather – beautiful sunny days with temperatures up to seven degrees above average, however today was a different story for Race 3 of the Land Rover Winter Series – light airs forced the shortening of racing and some cloud cover kept the sun hidden.
Despite the lack of breeze, the team onboard LuLu Belle kept their spirits high to come away with the win in Division K. “It was me and my harem,” Peter Lewis said of his all-girl crew.
LuLu Belle is renowned for the fabulous food the crew indulge in whilst racing and today was no different. “The food and wine were excellent today. We started to the day off with sushi, BLAT chapatti rolls and pastries for main course. Everyone has gone home with a full belly and Wilson (the boat’s mascot) is happy which is important.
“The girls called all the tactics and made the right decisions at all the critical moments. We didn’t see the back markers all day (which is unusual) and we slowly caught up to the front markers,” Lewis added.
“Considering LuLu Belle isn’t built for light winds, I’m really happy with how she performed today. We just had to put more weight on the boat to go fast downhill,” he laughed.
Adding to the excitement of the day, the crew also spotted a whale at the Heads and finished the day in true LuLu Belle style, celebrating the win with a glass of French champagne.  Stormy Petrel (Kevin O’Shea) was second with Monkey Business (Paul Glynn) third.

 Race Officer Steve Kidson got the fleet of 119 underway on time in a light 6 knot westerly on their respective course A. By 12:15hrs after the last boat had crossed the start line, boats were slowly making their way down the Harbour to their first mark.
“We’ll wait to see how it looks as the first boats come towards the gate, as to whether we decide to shorten or not,” Kidson said early in the day. “They aren’t breaking any speed records at the moment and the breeze has dropped to 5 knots.”

Lulu Belle's all-girl crew made all the right calls. Image copyright David Brogan/

At 13:15hrs, Kidson made the decision to shorten the course as the wind dropped below 5 knots and at 14:45hrs as the last boats were on approach to the finish line, it had petered out to less than 2 knots.
Sagacious V was today’s winner of Division J2 and her second consecutive division win in as many weeks. For David Hundt, his love affair with the stunning Farr 40 Sagacious V started when she was launched in 1987 and since purchasing her in 2006, has lovingly restored her with a view to competing in the 2015 Sydney Hobart – 25 years on from when Sagacious V won the race overall.
“She is a darling boat and the conditions have suited her over the last two weeks,” David Hundt said. “We just kept her going in the lighter breeze.”
“I’m very surprised as to how well she its performing against the other boats in our division. She is probably one of the lighter boats out there and was built magnificently under the old IOR rule.
“It truly is a family affair on the boat with my wife and five kids joining me in racing the boat with a view to building a crew leading into next year’s Hobart race,” Hundt added.
“We’re enjoying the racing and doing it with a purpose – I fly down each weekend from Brisbane just to race her with my son preparing the boat.”
Inkonkoni (Arthur Lane) finished second to Sagacious V with Sextant (Denis Doyle and Lynne Smith) third. It was a double delight for David Hundt as he was the lucky winner of the Range Rover Evoque for the week.
In Division G, it was Will Northam and Jamie Watson’s Etchells Itchy that came away with the win from Velocity (Brian Carrick) and Fiction (Michael Blaxell).
“We hadn’t realised we’d won with the shortened course scoring coming into play – so we’re pretty justified and pleased to get a result,” Jamie Watson said.
“It was a cracking day – there was just enough breeze to get us around and we had a good tussle with Velocity and the Noakes boats.
“The highlight of the day was when we got to the bottom mark at Lady Bay and we had managed to catch up to the rest of the fleet,” Watson added. Itchy was also this week’s winner of the Noakes Group Lift and Stand Package.

Other divisional winners today were:
Division A1 – Victoire (Darryl Hodgkinson);
Division A2 – St Hilliers Quest (Tim Casey);
Division B – Ariel (Ron Forster);
Division C – Arch Rival (Steve Connors);
Division D – Soundtrack (John Amos);
Division E – Hick-Up (Bill Ure);
Division F – Selkie  (Anthony Booth);
Division J1 – Elusive (Paul Billingham and Pete McGee).
The Land Rover Winter Series pointscore continues next Sunday, 25 May. Block entries for the season will be accepted up until 12 noon, Thursday 22 May with casual entries being accepted throughout the season.