When we saw a race with the word ‘naturalist’ in it we thought it might be a nude race. It isn’t, but it’s still a good report from a very colorful Western Australian boat. Thanks to Brent for the writeup; results are here.
Oh and by the way, we are looking for more “local Knowledge” reports from y’all. Anytime you have something you think is interesting in your sailing endeavors, race report, photo, SCOTW, whatever. Send it in. You get brand new SA swag for your trouble!
Friday 25th October saw the running of the 245nm 52nd Cape Naturalist Return race, organized by Royal Perth Yacht club.
Peter Hickson and his Schweppes Australia sponsored Ker 39 “ME II” knew this would be the First hard hit out of the season up against some well prepared boats, including IRC state champion “Hoodoman” an A40rc owned by Craig Carter and previous race winner “Just Cruisin’” First 40 owned by another Carter, Tony Carter.
The race started just on dusk in a nice 10-15 knot Southerly breeze. The forecast was looking like being a very light race.
First around the Day bouy was the Farr 49 “Knee Deep”, closely followed by “M.E II” after winning the first small victory, the drag race of the 40 footers to the Port Lay line, making use of the Harbor groin influence on the breeze direction and positive tide effect.
Just after midnight the breeze took a hard left shift forcing the boats to tack , the boats who were further advanced down the coast and had limited tacks in the first 8 hours, came of better in a case of the rich getting richer. Unfortunately on the tack “M.E II” wrapped a cray pot around the keel losing a few miles but still managing to hold the IRC lead by a slim margin.
As dawn broke 16-18 knots of breeze followed by thick fog had the fleet guessing who was were. The rounding marker at Cape Naturalist saw “Knee Deep” having a slim, 5nm lead followed by “Jaffa” (Runnals 39), “Endorphin” (Sydney 47) and “M.E II” all within a mile.
The breeze began to lighten and lift as the land heated up on the VMG run to the Bunbury gate marker. “M.E II” picked this section of the race the best out sailing “Jaffa” and “Endorphin” to turn a 1nm defecate into a 1nm lead after 6 hours of hard, mentally draining sailing. This can be attributed to the team’s preparedness completing a routine rig check and spotting the sea breeze line at the same time. Unfortunately this section of the race allowed the faster boats to break free, meaning the 5 way IRC tussle was filtered down to 2, possibly 3.
The final marker of the race, being the South Western Windmill saw “Jaffa”, “M.E II” and “Endorphin” basically round 3 wide at about 12.30am. Not bad after 240nm of sailing. “Jaffa” initiated a tacking duel in the flukey 5-7 knot South Easterly wind. This was “M.E II’s” time to shine with Helmsman Brent Fowler fresh on Watch along with Match Racing sailors Sam Gilmour (Son of Peter Gilmour), Peter Nicholas and Alistair Marchesi. “M.E II” worked its way from the wrong side of the course into a controlling position and managed to pull out a few minutes on the Higher rating Jaffa and Endorphin giving them the Race win in IRC Division one, IRC overall Win and 2nd over the line. No bad for a little 39 footer!
The M.E II team would like to thank supporting sponsors, Schweppes Australia (Pepsi Max), Zhik, Spices Group and Quantum Sails WA.