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Geelong Week 2011

Now that CV is based Williamstown getting to the start line of the Williamstown to Geelong race is not too difficult. This year the race was sponsored by Audi.

This  article was written by the First Mate Di and published in the Hobsons Bay Yacht Club  monthly newsletter.

Audi Week 2011 -  Highlights (Lowlights??)

SAT 22nd Jan:  Because of the lack of wind in Port Philip it was a long sail to Geelong.   Having tailed the fleet in 2009 it was satisfying for CV and crew to have 10 boats trailing at the Hopetoun Chanel 1 marker.   There was an hour before the race closed at 8.40pm and all was looking positive.   Then a ship decided to steam down the  channel!   To ensure we were out of it’s way the skipper ‘hoved to’  and hovered for around 15 minutes.   This resulted in a stressful race to the finish as the minutes and seconds ticked closer to 8.40pm.    After first mis-reading the finish line CV successfully sailed through the finish with 2 minutes 37 seconds to spare!!    The crew by this stage were freaking out.  To miss finishing after 11 hours of racing would have been devastating.   The day ended well with the RGYC bar easing the knotted stomach stress pains.

SUN 23rd Jan:    Having calmed down over night crew stress returned with a vengeance when getting across the Classic Boat start line seemed to be beyond CV and crew.   Seeing the race support boat lining up to remove the Audi starter buoy added to the strain.   After around 20 minutes from the start siren we tacked over the line just before the buoy was lifted.   To the skipper’s chagrin the  Committee start boat announced “the Bluebird has made it across the line – remove the buoy”!  “It’s a ‘Vertue’ not a ‘Bluebird’” screamed the skipper and started to dive for the radio to correct this heinous mistake.   Just in time he decided it was best to leave well enough alone given the generous amount of ‘start time’ we were allowed.

If only that had been all the day’s excitement.   Later in the day, at the other end of the channel, we found ourselves in the Maxi Yacht’s play-ground!    Made every attempt to get out of there fast but not before a huge 60’ Maxi came swooping down on us.   Bowsprit like an enormous dagger was aiming straight for the First Mate’s chest (mine!).   Could see the whites of the eyes of the 10+ crew hanging over the rail.  Only comfort was that they hadn’t started to jump ship.   Started screaming to our skipper who calmly replied – “It’s o.k. we have right of way, we are on starboard tack”!!!  The Maxi, at the final second, changed course and gave us 1 inch clearance as we looked up to see the soles of the Maxi crew’s boating shoes skimming overhead.   See Photo below  so you can decide if the First Mate was really overreacting!


Mon 24th Jan:     At last lots of wind which CV loves.   With 2 tons of lead we had a good chance of making a strong finish.    90 minutes into the race, for no apparent reason, First Mate looked below.  ‘Oh My God!’ was the scream – the cabin was 6 inches under water and rising!    The ever calm skipper asked for First Mate to take the tiller while he pulled down the main.  First Mate is meanwhile trying to calmly suggest calling race control.   Luckily a race control small boat came along side and radioed,  the Committee Boat to be on stand by for a tow.  A guy on the boat was heard saying “lets go and help – Corio Vertue is part of my youth”. Once the main sail was down the Skipper started pumping.   Good news was that the pumping worked and the water levels retreated.  Motored back to RGYC where a new bilge pump was installed.

Later we heard our ‘mates’ on ‘Quantum Leap’ had considered whether to abandon race to help us in our hour of need and then decided ‘no, lets keep racing’!!

Tues 25th Jan:    Just too much excitement for 4 days so headed back to H.B.Y.C.   An uneventful and enjoyable sail for most of the trip.

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