cats in a box
The Audi Centre Bendigo Match Racing Shield was on the line during the weekend of 28th and 29th January 2012. The event began in 2011 as an inter city contest and in 2012 eight teams fronted to contest the Shield. The teams had sailors from a mix of Cities, Shires and Yacht Clubs from around the world and interstate. The Bendigo Yacht Club [BeYC] accepted a team as being international provided the Skipper was a national of the country in which the represented city is located. Skippers came from Utrecht in the Netherlands, Auckland [NZ], City of Troup in Texas [USA], City of Cairns in Queensland [AUS], The Moira Shire in Victoria [AUS], City of Bendigo in Victoria [AUS], the Albury Wodonga Yacht Club [AUS] and the Port Melbourne Yacht Club [AUS].
Racing was conducted using F16 Viper Catamarans supplied by Australian High Performance Catamarans [AHPC]. All courses were windward return starboard courses. Lap numbers varied depending on wind strength at the time of the race. The regatta began on January 28th with the ubiquitous postponement flag hanging limply from the Club’s Signal Yard. Eventually three of the four planned heats were raced in 5 to 10 knot winds. In the first three heats Cairns beat Auckland; Troup beat the Port Melbourne and Utrecht beat Moira Shire. Following the third heat the postponement flag was in use again. It remained in place until well into the afternoon. The wind eventually returned at a good 10 knots. The fourth heat was raced and Bendigo beat the Albury Wodonga in that heat.
With the heats completed, it was decided to run the semi finals back to back. In the 1st Semi final, Troup beat Cairns putting Troup directly into the Final. In the 2nd Semi final, Utrecht beat Bendigo putting Utrecht into the Final alongside Troup. By the time sailing had been completed on the first day, there was not very much daylight remaining. Day Two also began sans wind and the postponement flag was out again; but only for about 90 minutes. A Repechage series was raced to decide third place. In the 1st Repechage Cairns beat Port Melbourne. In the 2nd Repechage Moira Shire beat Bendigo. In the Repechage sail off, Cairns beat Moira Shire leaving Cairns in 3rd place overall. All of the racing to this point had been knockout racing.
The Final was run as a best of three series. Christa Van Helden skippered for Utrecht, Netherlands and Drew Carlyle skippered for Troup, Texas. It only took the Texan two races to claim the Audi Centre Bendigo Match Racing Shield for 2012. The Wing RIB measured Drew’s boat speed to be well in excess of 20 knots on a number of occasions. For the next little while, Troup Texas is “THE” Champion Intercity Match Racing Team. See you all in 2013.