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It was a good start to the race series and we hope to see some more contenders out this Sunday the 12th for the second race. See you all then.
Race 1 of the Melville Bay series, Sunday the 29th of July saw another beautiful day to start off the first race for the Melville Bay series, which is the second race series of the year for the Gove Boat Club.

Races will be held fortnightly and will culminate with race 6 on the 14th of October.

Seeing as there were only three boats taking part and a large contingency of people wishing to crew, it was decided not to race, but to take to the water in a very informal manner. This allowed the boats to set up with less sail and make more room for those wishing to enjoy the afternoon with the
wind in their hair. Apparently there were no sheep stations at stake.

The three boats that ventured out were ‘Sauvignon’, ‘Tilba Tilba’ and ‘Sans Souci’. Sauvignon had recently changed hands and is now proudly owned by Peter Bailey. She was at one point going to be sailed across to Darwin, but after the sale, it is great to see that she is going to remain in Gove waters and hopefully compete in the racing.  ‘Tilba Tilba’ sailed by Seamus and Donna, has almost become famous after recently featuring on the front cover of the Cruising Helmsman magazine. 
The wind was a nice ironic racing strength of 15 to 20 knots with moderate chop, and the three boats meandered around the tug cyclone buoys, half tide rock and the yachts anchored in the harbour. It wasn’t long after setting sail it was noticed that Tilba Tilba’s mainsail was in poor shape with a large rip along the leech, only held together by the edging. Seamus persisted like this showing off the tenacious qualities of his gear until a reef in the main hid the fact that he would be surfing sails-r-us later that night. At some point as Sans Souci sailed alongside, he was also heard saying something about,“ may as well go the whole hog and get a headsail as well”. It appeared Donna was saying something completely different, although I couldn’t quite make out what it was over the wind.

One of our local boats (Tilba Tilba) makes the front page of Cruising helmsman

Race 2 of the Melville Bay series

Awakening on the morning of Sunday the 12th of August and looking forward to the race later in the day, I was confronted with what could have been termed a winter’s day. Dark cloudy skies, winds that were already blowing twenty knots and throw in a cool air conditioned environment, is enough to fool anyone into the fact that they had been flung far from the tropics, into an extreme Southern latitude. 

Whilst pondering the weather, I get a text from an intrepid (or not so) sailor informing me of a strong wind warning and questioning if the yacht race planned for the afternoon was still going ahead. Seeing as it wasn’t a cyclone I couldn’t find a reason why not. Apparently he could and did.

It wasn’t surprising to find at the briefing out at the club, only one other foolhardy race entrant. Good on ya Lee, you can’t go sailing without any wind and it was just going to be another test of seamanship.

We set off with the course set as close to shore as possible without still being on it. It wasn’t so much as the twenty knots of wind being a problem; it was the issue of the gusts reaching over twenty five or so. Time to turn off the turbo charger and drop the headsail, how else were we supposed to imbibe in the obligatory pale ale and still keep control?

There were certainly no arguments this time around at the finish line, as one boat took first place and the other second. What order that was, we didn’t care, as we had made it back without loosing anyone over the side. Upon entering the club house, we were hearing asides from “dry” members, about some idiots that had apparently been out sailing. Who would have thought? 

Below are pictures of the "idiots" under different conditions. There was no time to take photo's on the day.


Race 3 of the Melville Bay series

In contrast to the last race, the weather for race 3 of the Melville Bay series was nothing short of idyllic. Clear skies, a ten to fifteen knot breeze and seas described by the Beaufort scale as, “small waves with breaking crests, fairly frequent whitecaps”. If we could only find the switch and have it like this all the time. But that would only take away some of the fun.

The four boats that signed on were, Waitere skippered by Lee, Sauvignon skippered by Peter, Wolley skippered by Trakka and Zac and Sans Souci skippered by Pat.

With the weather being as it was for the first race of this series, the course was set for a ten mile run around a mark amongst the moored yachts, the Granites, Strath Isle, five fathom, half tide rock and back to the start line of the tug cyclone buoys.

The Commodore took his family out for the day in his work boat and tied off to the lee cyclone buoy to play starter using an air horn. As the boats were vying for position waiting on the start signal, it became obvious as the clock ticked away, that the race had begun. The air horn start was worth a try, but the wind had muffled the signal to a point that none were audible.

It was pleasant having Brad in his work boat follow and anchor in strategic spots as it gave another dimension to the race. At one point the boats were tacking to make their way around half tide rock and then coming between Hammer Pearl and half tide rock, then tacking and going between a tinny and half tide rock again. That certainly wasn’t part of the race plan, but gave those on board Hammer Pearl, the perfect opportunity to get some great photo’s.

Sans Souci crossed the finish line with Wolley hot on their transom only thirty seconds behind. Waitere triumphed over the monos, coming in ahead of Peter in Sauvignon. Places on corrected time were, Waitere, Sans Souci, Sauvignon and Wolley.

Long-time sailor and town resident Zac, will soon be leaving us, and it was great to see him and Trakka out for one of their last runs on Wolley. She is currently up for sale and would be a great asset for someone wishing to get in on the action. It will be disappointing to see him go, as we have always been close competitors over the past twenty years.

If you hurry, you could be out on Wolley this Sunday for race 4 of the Melville Bay series. See you all then. The Gove Boat Club would also like to say thanks to Cross Survey and Transpacific for their assistance.