The Mickey Ink Port Douglas Race Week and Clipper Cup is a low-budget but high-octane event reknowned for its hospitality and tropical fun attitude. The following update was emailed to us this week:
We have 24 entries so far and almost as many telling us they will be entering. With just five weeks to go it looks certain that we’ll break our recent record of 29 set last year and we’re hopeful of bettering the 44 set in 1995. Not a bad effort for such a remote outpost of the sport!
We have five J24’s entered in division 4 so we have introduced a sub-division for the J24 class within div 4. There are eleven J’s in the Port Douglas and Cairns region that we know about so we’re hoping we can get a few more interested and build an annual class division for the J’s. Several J24’s have entered in recent years but we’re yet to see any claim a name on the famous trophy. The closest has been Bruce Clarke (Kaizan II) from Cairns who managed second place in division 4 in 2014. Bruce has entered for the fifth consecutive year and is a close favourite to take out the inaugural class division and possibly the double, going one better in division 4 this year.
We already have three boats sailing up from Townsville, Dusty Muzzle, Guilty Pleasures VI and Champagne. These guys are doing their best to encourage some more. Ron Knott and the crew of Dusty Muzzle have been competing for the trophy since 2011 and will be back to defend their 2014 division 1 win. Leon Thomas and the Guilty Pleasures team have raced here before in 2013 and will be trying to go one better than the second place they achieved in division 4 that year.
Dusty Muzzle will have a serious challenge on their hands defending their division 1 title with the likes of veteran local racing legends Belinda Cooper (Agnes) and Doug Ryan (Shazam) both previous winners on other boats.
In the multihull division Mal Richardson has entered his NACRA 36 Malice which has been winning just about everywhere it goes. We’ll have some serious handicapping to do with this fast OMR cat competing against cruisers like the Seawind 1000. Malice won the 2011 Clipper Cup when all the boats raced in one division. We didn’t have enough competitors for multiple divisions back then. It was a nightmare trying to handicap such a diverse fleet.
We’re a lot more organised these day with five divisions this year including the J24 sub-division. Malice might get a bit of competition if we can muster some of the local racing cats to get their entries in.
The social scene is set to be huge with competitors planned to be berthed next to the club at Closehaven Marina. With a big brekkie on the go every morning and entertainment every night there’ll be plenty to keep the social scene humming. It is also Port Douglas Carnivale that week so there will be a multitude of events and activities happening all around town. Perfect for any non sailing partners of visiting yachties to get involved with. Visit www.carnivale.com.au for details.
We’ll also be running a fun team competition in line with the teams event that was the original Pan Am Clipper Cup many years ago. As with everything at this great club we do it all for fun as our motto proclaims “This Club was built for fun”.
Chris Furey has again taken some great pics of the J24 States in Melbourne on the weekend. So here they are as thumbnails – approx 235 pics ! I have been through them and there are sensational shots of most boats.
Chris has been very kind and generous with his photography and as agreed to help us support the Luke Mathews fund. We have agreed to a small fee of $25 for up to 10 shots – if you want more then another $25, this will go to Luke’s Fund. So anyone can buy shots for this small donation to help Luke.
Here is what you need to do to get your selection.
Choose your selection and make a list of these picture numbers
Go to the ‘Pay Victorian Assoc Online’ page also on this site (under VIC on the top navigation bar) and fill in your name, your email and your list of numbers into the ‘Description’ field. Fill in the amount in the ‘Amount’ field.
Click the ‘Checkout’ button and use your credit card to pay the amount due.
I will then email you your high res files once Kirby has passed your selection on to me
This donation is purely planned to help Luke as much as possible, so I do suggest that your crew buy some shots as well rather than sharing files you buy, so be honest and help Luke and Karen get through this terrible time.
If I get inundated with requests this may take me some time to email all but the result for Luke’s Support Fund could be wonderful. Some pics are a little fuzzy where the reflected sunlight has played with the focus and this may not be apparent in the thumbnail.
Without taking anything away from the excellent Nationals in Adelaide earlier in the year, the Vic States have been warming up to be the real contest of the year. And so it was.
The Black Prince of Sandringham took it from the “Young” Sydney Fox with the Canny Scott third.
What that means is Dave Suda (VIC) 1st, Steve Girdis (NSW) 2nd and Doug Watson (SA) 3rd.
Performance handicap was won by Dave MacKay from Cronulla, our own Stephanie Strong took out second in the Sidetracked youth boat and Steve Girdis was third. Hugo Ottaway, the real Mr J24 and deep thinking scribe takes on the finer details.
“This year’s 2015 Victorian J24 Championship may be remembered by the “could have been champions” as a regatta of lost opportunity. Despite only achieving 4 races due to a 40+ knot squally Sunday, the championship reached a milestone in Australian J24 sailing. Of note is the following: starting at the top, 27 entries including every J24 at Sandringham Yacht Club, 6 entries from NSW and 4 from S.A. Oldest skipper 70+ youngest 23. Two youth boats, four female skippers, two all female crews. A Jury and Race management of National and International standing and possibly up to 50% female participation.”
There many hard luck stories in any fleet, probably about 26 of them in this regatta! But look who we are up against. Hugo continues …
“To ease the pain of the masses, the calibre of the leading bunch reads like a who’s who of sailing. Our winner, David Suda sailing Pacemaker from Victoria has won two J/24 and one International cadet National titles. Second, Steve Girdis (NSW), three J/24 National titles and 5th in the Osaka worlds. Third, Doug Watson (SA) 2nd in the J24 Nationals and 4th in the Sigma 33 Europeans. Fourth Hugo Ottaway (VIC) one J24 and one International Cadet National title, then fifth God himself, David McKay (NSW) one 16 foot skiff and two Moth WORLD TITLES, one J24 , Etchell 22 and 18 foot Skiff National title and 1969 Yachtsman of the year award. Sixth, Simon Grain (VIC) four New Zealand Tornado Catamaran National titles.”
“I am sure as I go down the list there are many others amongst us who also boast similar achievements, however we very rarely acknowledge the pedigree of fellow sailors, to win either a state or national J24 title is tough, hard to come by and first rate.”
So what are the hard luck stories, well the first would be the whole regatta with the sailing on Sunday closed down. That meant we had a series, but no drop and there were many who needed it – badly. Myself for one, going left nicely all day and then going right in the last race – wrong! John Neville, our hard working Vice Pres who has been sailing like a demon all summer, last seen burying his head in a beer in despair after scoring the unlikely bottom double. Next time John! Half the fleet overlaying the top mark in the first race! Holes in the wind in the second race that left the top boats wallowing in nothing within spitting distance of the finish line while boats behind them sailed by – spitting chips maybe! And from Hugo, “finally the best gag of all, watching the class president start at full speed one minute early on a black flag, with no one else around….. great stuff.”
I could go on, but one of our newest owners does, Mike Bond shares his experiences:
“The J24 Vic States had been on the agenda for 6 weeks and we were all very keen to participate after having bought Code Violation. We had only been out once or twice as a team so things were going to be interesting come the first race. In true beginner style we missed the first race completely due to poor clock work. I took the blame for that one as I was the only one wearing watch. The second race was our best of the series and I do believe we were coming 7th around the top mark however we ended up 14th with some poor kite work and some bad tacks. The third race wasn’t great either, we had a good start but just couldn’t maintain boat speed. The last race we came dead last which in the end was quite amusing. We took the wrong side of the course (behind Simon) and got blitzed. All in all, it was great fun and we were a bit disappointed we couldn’t sail on the Sunday due to poor weather conditions but after the 2nd beer we were fine. Special thanks to Simon Grain and the crew on Jet for all their help as well as Hugo Ottaway and David Suda.” That’s the kind of fun the newest guys are having.
The conditions were great sailing for the first two races with a westerly around 12 knots, boats powered up on genoas and the race track full of boats. After the second race the wind died, the sun came out and lunch was served with sails down while we drifted in the tide waiting for wind. The last two races were held in a sputtering and dying westerly as we watched a black roll cloud gather it’s skirts on the southern horizon. The fleet finished and just made it back to the marina as a 40+knot front blew through minutes later!
Back in the bar, we were very lucky to be able to watch our if only’s on the Yachtbot site – no consolation to some, but very interesting for most. YachtBot and CYCSA had been stupendously generous to us both in terms of their time and resources (CYCSA loaning us the trackers for nix and YachtBot set us up as a Pro level registration for free also) If you want to see more or the racing replay, go to www.yacht-bot.com and choose a race, or link directly to the races at www.yacht-bot.com/races/6958 to 6961. Our thanks go out to all our sponsors, Monjon Security in particular for your continued support again this year, Sailor Sunscreen and Iguana Design. To all our volunteers both on the class committee and SYC, a big thank you for your efforts.
Also a huge thank you to all the interstate competitors who made the effort to come to the regatta, your contribution to our fleet makes the difference to the flavour of the competition.
Hugo wraps up a few more stats to finish “Other points to note, three different brands of sails in the top five, both youth boats supplied with new and almost new sails courtesy of their owners, about 25 new sails measured in for the regatta. 135 competitors from 4 states. What I think makes this a great class is the generosity of the members, $1300.00 raised during the regatta to help Luke Mathews (Trimmer off Pacemaker) and his family who is recovering from a very bad road accident.”
The class BBQ and free beers, as always pulls everyone together after the racing and enjoyably the stage show that is the prize giving, with a forthright intro speech by the irrepressible Doug MacGregor (VicPres) and the brilliant John Neville doing the raffle draw had everyone in stitches and rounded off a great, if short regatta for both the locals and the visitors – you should have been there if you weren’t !
We don’t say goodbye to our interstate friends for too long, the next regatta is the Macquart Marine Short Course Regatta at Cronulla in NSW on Queens Birthday long weekend, 6-8 June this year. This was brilliant last year (see pics on the CSC site). The NSW States normally held in early November (dates TBA) and then the 2015-16 season biggie, the Nationals at Sandringham on the 4-8 January 2016, where we planning a regatta to attract a fleet of over 30 boats – this one you do not want to miss !
More stories and pics to come, but the short answer is the Black Prince of Sandringham has taken it from the “Young” Sydney Fox with the Canny Scott third.
What that means in plain language is Dave Suda 1st, Steve Girdis (NSW) 2nd and Doug Watson (SA) 3rd.
Performance handicap was won by Dave MacKay from Cronulla, our own Stephanie Strong took out second in the Sidetracked youth boat and Steve Girdis was third.
All the racing was held on Saturday only with 4 races sailed in medium to very light winds.
The highlights on Sunday were Luke Mathews making it to the lunch table at the club for his first major outing after his terrible accident, sadly he didn’t see any racing as the weather closed down the regatta with high winds – so no racing and third, the stage show that is the prizegiving with intro speech by the irrepressable Doug MacGregor (VicPres) and the brilliant John Neville doing the raffle draw – well you had to be there !
And 27 boats and around 135 people were there !
Here is one of the best pics of the regatta – not a J left on the hardstand anywhere