in the city
To celebrate an inland sailing recovery from a decade long drought Australia, the Mayor of the Shire of Mt Alexander, Janet Cropley and the Mayor of the City of Greater Bendigo, Rod Fyffe challenged each other to an Intercity Match Race. The newly established Audi Centre Bendigo picked up the naming rights and offered the Audi Centre Bendigo Match Racing Shield as the event trophy.
A father & son team, Peter and Tom Cobden represented Mt Alexander. They had immediate underdog status against the Bendigo team of Greg Goodall, current Australian F18 Champion Skipper and his imported crew, Texan Drew Carlyle.
A best of three series was organised for the 17th April 2011. Yachting Victoria sent four umpires to oversee proceedings. On the day, conditions were very soft. The crews and the civic leaders spent the morning taking happy snaps while waiting for the wind to arrive. Eventually, in very light conditions, the boats went out and were able to complete two, shortened, windward and return courses of four legs each race.
Even though conditions were light, the first race was an excellent match to watch. The boats took opposite sides of the course thereby building an excellent level of spectator tension each time the boats crossed. The second race was pretty much decided at the start and in the prevailing conditions that, as they say, was that.
Most of the sponsors, including the Audi Centre Bendigo, have lined up to support the event next season. Next seasons match racing will be a two day event, involving up to 8 seeded F18 teams competing in 7 knock-out matches on Lake Eppalock. – Anarchist Ralph.