The Western Australian Offshore Season started on the weekend with a record number of 44 starters. Perfect spring conditions of 23 degrees and 15-20 knot East – North East winds as the Archambault Offshore Cup Division 1 & 2 fleets as they prepared for the 42 mile race across gage road to Rottnest Island, then around Cape Vlamingh, over to Challenger Passage off Garden Island and down Cockburn Sound to the finish. The Sailing Products Australia Coastal Cup and Double Handed Fleets raced a shorter, 24 mile course.
After a general recall at the first start the fleet got away the second time with Marten 49’s Optimus Prime, Charlotte and Farr 47 Sled clearing out quickly up the beat. Things were tight just behind with The Farr 49 Knee Deep Wines, Farr 40’s Southern Star & The Next Factor, the two little Bakewell White’s Alfresco and General Lee and Jon Hanson’s new Elan 410R Wasabi and Terry Posma’s Runnalls 39 Jaffa all in a tight bunch. Knee Deep approached the windward mark on port amidst a wall of sub – 40 footers and got all chicken winged up trying to keep clear including a crash tack – it was spectacular racing!
Around the day buoy Sled took off under an A3 in pursuit of Optimus Prime and Charlotte, and closely behind Alfresco and the General Lee set A2’s and jumped onto the plane. A wipe out stalled Alfresco and let the General Lee fly by unopposed and from this point the General Lee had it’s hammer down, deploying Spinnaker Staysail and surging to 18 knots with it’s crew all stacked aft powered away from the fleet to round Kingston Mark at Rottnest first, then onto Cape Vlamingh by a healthy margin.
Text Box: Alfresco IRC Bernie Kaaks ImageText Box: Sled – equal 4th IRC Bernie Kaaks ImageText Box: Sled – equal 4th IRC Bernie Kaaks ImageText Box: Sled – equal 4th IRC Bernie Kaaks ImageThe big boats eventually overtook the small boats on the windward work to Challenger Passage, Optimus Prime getting the better of Charlotte and Sled closing in fast under her new keel and Evolution sail inventory.
In IRC the General Lee looked to have the race sewn up at this point, with a tight contest between Alfresco, The Next Factor and Sled for second and third. Around the No12 Channel marker it was back onto spinnakers in the sprint down the sound towards harbour entrance and a short upwind beat to the finish. General Lee had enough time taking the win in IRC and YAH in her Western Australian debut. Current Offshore champion The Next Factor got their time back to finish 2nd and Alfresco finished 3rd. In an unbelievable outcome, Tony Mitchell’s Sled and Trevor Taylor’s Optimus Prime tied on IRC corrected time for 4th place after 5 hours of racing!
Look at the General hauling ass on this run, Good lord in a ford…