From Paul Eldrid at Evolution Sails.
The 220 Nautical Mile Fremantle to Geraldton race was held in challenging conditions with winds
gusting to 35 knots from the south and a confused sea.
Frank Saraceni’s new
Alfresco bolted after
rounding Rottnest Island
and setting a course North
to Geraldton. Much smaller
than her larger rivals,
Alfresco pushed hard all
afternoon and night to
emerge at the front of the
pack at day break.
Walling and Vern
Williamson’s Farr 40 IRC
The Next Factor was in hot
pursuit, with Trevor Taylor’s
Martin 49 Optimus Prime holding a long way offshore, Tony Mitchell’s Farr 47 Sled staying inshore and
Phil Child’s Farr 49 Knee Deep close behind in the middle, with Davidson 50 Finistere in proximity. With
all boats on the red line and doing speeds in the 20’s, all were inside the record time until the breeze
backed off approaching sunrise.
As the breeze shut down, the
smaller boats behind fell from
contention and the race was well
and truly on for Line Honours and
corrected time. In one of the
biggest surprises and closest
finishes in history, the little 36’ Alfresco raced down the channel in
Geraldton Harbour leading overall,
with The Next Factor only minutes
behind and certain to take IRC
Honours, followed by Sled. Alfresco, The Next Factor and Sled
all had new sails by Evolution for
Representing Evolution at the race were Paul Eldrid. Rees Howell , Ben Gardiner, Emily
Pettersson (WA) and Rodney Keenan & Timn Slatter (NZ).
Alfresco . Line HonoursWinner. Bernie Kaaks Image
The Next Factor . IRC& YAHWinner.
Bernie Kaaks Image
For Frank Saraceni it was vindication for his new little boat and his decision to build a state of the art,
new generation boat that would meet the depth restrictions in his home waters of the Swan River and
Fremantle, instead of building a larger but reduced draft boat. For Dave Walling and Vern Williamson’s
The Next Factor is was
another important win on
their quest to win back to
back Western Australian
and the coveted Siska
Trophy. TonyMitchell was
estatic with his new Sled
and to lead his more
seasoned, bigger rivals
home, although later
withdrawing due to an
unfortunate mark rounding
issue after 200miles of
racingg inside Geraldton
The return race starts this Friday at 0930, and in what looks to be a much more sobering return race,
teams can expect stiff S – SW winds up to 30 knots and cold nights. The race can be followed here.