It has been a week since returning from Geelong and I thought a little update wouldn't hurt. The regatta in Melbourne was an interesting one as far as organisation and regatta management goes. As the multihull nationals are in Port Lincoln in Feb a few of the race boats made the effort to fit the Festival of Sails Regatta in as well.
The regatta started in Geelong with the 36nm sail to Melbourne. The forecast was perfect, blowing 15-20kts from the South. We had a great start on Box Office leading the Nacra 36 and SeaCart 30 into the channel when their waterline length started to pay dividends. The new 60m2 screecher from LR sails was a feature and once we where back into the bay it was deployed once again. The boat really handled the short chop of the bay brilliantly and was a safe and easy sail for us even when it was gusting 20kts with full main. We where third boat home and the same on rating after averaging 17.5kts boat speed for the course!
The second day saw two fixed mark windward leeward races around the bay. Melbourne again turned it on and the day was sailed in a 18kt SS-E'er. Again the boat outperformed our expectations in the short sharp waves of Port Phillip Bay finishing both races 3rd on line. The powerful Nacra 36 was the boat of the day sailing way from the 30ft Tri and the little Box Boat.
The third day was a day off so we headed out to get our new helmsman up to speed. The conditions couldn't have been more perfect but on the first run we suffered rudder damage and spent the rest of the day on the tools. The following day was the famous long race from Melbourne to Geelong. The conditions can only be described at appalling with rain and 5kts of wind to fight it out in the left over sea from the 18kts that had been blowing all night. Needless to say it was far less than ideal for us on Box Office, although we had a great start and led the Nacra and a number of 50+ft monohulls to the first rounding mark 3nm from the start. Unfortunately we took the low road and all the boats in the right benefited from a soft land breeze. Once the forecast Southerly piped in we were well back in the fleet but the boat soon got going, averaging 15kts on the tight jib reach into the channel. It was enjoyable passing 50ft monohulls left and right.
The following day called for a short bay course for the multi fleet. We got off to a reasonable start and got to the top mark in the same water as the Sea Cart 30 following them closely around the mark. Having a better set we soon rolled them and set of after the Nacra. It wasn't to be tho as soon after the first gybe the leeward rudder again suffered damage only this time significant enough for our regatta to be over!
It was great seeing the multi guys again in Victoria. They are a great bunch of guys and the racing is relaxed yet serious enough to be very enjoyable. Congratulations to Mal and the team on Malice on taking out the regatta and thus defeating the seemingly invincible Morticia.
Next the boat is off to the nationals that start on the 24ft of Feb with new rudders and a few other tricks to keep the development happening!