The 40th and final Whitsunday Fun Race, Airlie Beach, August 19, 2017.

  • 20 Aug 2017 23:49
    Reply # 5039193 on 5038364

    It was the final Fun Race, but at the prize ceremony the commodore said that the club may restructure it in later years.  It was once a thriving event but faded away in recent years, possibly due to official interference (Aus gov loves it's rules!) that stopped a lot of the high jinks between boats, plus kids were barred from the after-race party, due to alcohol being served, wet t-shirt competitions etc.  The tradition of naked figureheads, and water fights between the boats was also frowned upon.  Just 10 years ago there were 200-300 boats in the race and up to 3000 people at the party afterwards, but this year's fleet of 40 was the biggest in several years.  The first year of the race, 1977, was also the first time I sailed into Airlie, delivering a boat built in the yard I was working in, though the cruising yachts did not participate in that first race, just a couple of luggers who were chartering here.

    I carry my dinghy on the cabin top aft of the mast when making open sea passages, such as my 500 mile passage from Brisbane to Sydney in 2014.  I think it would be ok on the davits in a moderate blow but would not like it to be out there in a serious gale.

    I wasn't seriously worried about the mast bend as I am confident that my mast is more than strong enough for this sort of thing, though I wouldn't drive the boat like that on passage.  I like Roger Taylor's approach of sailing the boat softly on long hauls, taking more time but breaking nothing.  Pitching into a left over sea, with a dying wind and the yard slamming around, concerns me more, and I have seen the top of the mast twitch like a fishing rod under those circumstances.  The solution is simple though - I drop a couple of panels and bring the yard down a bit.  Then it is as solid as a rock once again and the only risk is to the skipper's temper! 

    Yes, I am having a good time.  I'll be sailing south in October.  I still have days when I am ill, but I am damned if I will sit around and wait for the undertaker!

    Last modified: 20 Aug 2017 23:51 | Anonymous member
  • 20 Aug 2017 22:43
    Reply # 5039128 on 5038364
    Good for you, Graham.  Excellent to see you both strutting your stuff there - I bet you raised a few eyebrows, with your little boat beating all comers!  It's wonderful to hear you having such a good time again.

    I put a straight edge on my screen against the mast in the photos, and could hardly see any bend.  Nothing like a Needlespar would be doing.  I think it probably looked more alarming from the cockpit because you're not used to seeing it :-)

    BTW do you carry your dinghy in davits offshore?  I'm wondering about this trip to Fiji ...

    Was it your final Fun Race or the final Fun Race.  It sounds like a truly fun event and it would be a shame for such a thing to end.  Still, all the more reason for you to get here and join in our Tall Ships Regatta!

  • 20 Aug 2017 10:11
    Message # 5038364

    I feel a bit cheeky posting in this forum, but since we won the classic yacht division of the 2017 Whitsunday Fun Race on handicap yesterday, August 19th, I decided Arion deserved the honour.  It was blowing 20-25 knots, occasionally lulling to 15, and the course for the classic yachts was a reach out and a reach back, about 8NM, while the other divisions sailed a 14NM triangular course.  We started with one panel reefed, crossing the start line just one second after the flag came down, being forced to luff up at the leeward mark.  I shook the reef out and put it in a couple of times, but crossed the finish line on a close reach, with all rag flying in 20 knots of wind.  It felt perfectly safe, no fear of anything breaking, but the photo shows a bit of mast bend.  I wouldn't push the boat quite that hard cruising, though I have a reputation as a hard driver.  I am learning to reef earlier off the wind, usually!  I have posted a few photos to my 21014-2017 photo album where you can view the other photos.  Clicking on the photo below will take you to the album.

    Last modified: 20 Aug 2017 10:14 | Anonymous member
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