Latest News and announcements from ORCV

Finally a beginning

The remaining boats of the EastCoaster fleet arrived overnight. First Ingenue and then Pretty Woman.

For Roger Wale's Pretty Woman, this was a momentus occasion as they completed their first Ocean race. The 13.4m Elan proved to be a comfortable passage maker - and Roger and his team are planning to undertake more ocean races in ther future!

The happy crew are pictured below:







When in 2007, the Ocean Racing Club of Victoria made the bold decision to run their Blue Ribbon Hobart race down the east coast of Tasmania, they could not anticipate just how popular the event would prove.

Again and again the competitors commented on the desirability of a race on that shore.  Not only did it provide immense challenge to the navigators in the fleet, due to the coastal nature of the course. Also it provided scenery of great majesty, wildlife in abundance and quality sailing.  ORCV are a club who listen to and respond to their membership and so the new Eastcoaster course was born.

This year the course was changed slightly with Flinders Island being a mark of the course and Maria Island not being.  The weather for this race started a little softly but competition was fierce amongst the leading group of boats.

Kevin Robinson, skipper of No Fearr, commented ‘It was a very scenic trip around Flinders Island.  It was a great course.  The only thing is that crossing Bass Strait there is a few things on the rhumbline, like Deal Island and Devil's tower.  Also you have to keep clear of the shipping lanes.'

Shamrock, the Mornington based Reichel Pugh, stamped their authority on this race from the very beginning. At each sked they seemed to gain a little more ground on their competitors.  Helsal II, Ocean Skins, eXtasea and Icefire all worked hard to peg back the lead but the final straw was when Shamrock rounded Flinders Island.

The boats on the coast had fallen into a hole, with eXtasea reporting just four knots of breeze.  Shamrock came home to finish at 6.30pm on the 29th, so emphatic was their Line Honours victory second place getters, eXtasea, did not finish until 3.55am the next morning.

eXtasea and Helsal II certainly had a battle to the finish with just a five minute difference  in the finish time.  Ocean Skins followed some half an hour later and Icefire an hour after that.

Whichever race the yacht comes from and whatever time they arrive the welcome at Elizabeth Pier is warm.


Since about 10am this morning we have been in the doldrums. Last night  in general conditions were changeable but ok. The light weather allowed a bit of much needed housekeeping. Hard to describe the scene and particularly the smells on a 46 foot yacht on day three of an ocean race. Without going into too many details for our friends at home...we are not real fresh right now.

 Still, the boat was sponged out, wet clothes dried, sails put on deck to dry and dirty underwear and socks put back in their rightful place - ie: not on bunks! Things look better for sure on extasea today. About 6pm the weak westerley finally arrived and we are underway again. We have heard Shamrock have finished, very well done to them for getting through everything so quick. We are just a little jealous that they will be drinking tonight and we won't. Looks like the line honours and IRC double for them. 

Some of the rest of the fleet converged during the day including us. We have also seen some of the Sydney Hobart fleet around us, a couple of Sydney 38's including Geelong's Cinquante and another couple of unidentified boats. Got to hand it to the 38's! Tasman Island has seemed a million miles away all day but as soon as the breeze came up they went off match racing again. Tacking the whole way down. We just want to round the mark and get on with it! Impressive to see close racing on day 4 of their race.

 StormBay and the Derwent? Well, who knows.  We will be there sometime in the night or morning we hope. Just as the parking lot opens! We are expecting it to be light there but you never know. Dinner tonight was a stew prepared by our illustrious skipper Paul Buchholz and cooked to perfection by JD. Consensus is best off shoremeal of all time!

 Off watch now. Ocean racing is mostly sailing eating and some sleeping. 3 of our favorite things.


Bass Strait

First Impressions

Champagne sailing has greeted the fleets as they make progress across Bass Strait but where are the Northerlies?

Victorian sailors have a lot of experience with Bass Strait; most ocean racers would take a trip through the heads at least four times a year.  It is not often that they are greeted or is that gifted with the weather they have seen since the start of the races yesterday.



 (Photo courtesy of Teri Dodds)

Whilst the preference would be for the promised northerlies to kick in, they have enjoyed the flat seas and 15 knot southerlies.  Overnight the wind speed dropped, particularly for the more eastern fleets headed to Launceston and the east coast of Tasmania.

Matt Short and his crew of mostly family members have continued to consolidate their lead as they come abeam of King Island.  With the progress they are exhibiting the TP52 is still on track for a record run but they will be looking for the northerlies to kick in as soon as possible.

Ninety Seven, skippered by Alan Saunders, with sailing master Noel May has not quite reached King Island and is closely followed by Tevake II and Spirit of Downunder.  Interestingly Alex – Team MacAdie have taken a more westerly course, presumably this is a tactical step in anticipation of the promised northerly change.

The leaders in the Launceston fleet could be covered, if not by a blanket, certainly by a large spinnaker.  With five boats in the pack they could almost think they were match racing on The Bay.

George Shaw’s The Secretary has a slight lead which may be some compensation for Shaw who had to abandon his Hobart quest.  Shaw, the current commodore of the Ocean Racing Club of Victoria, had intended to take his new J44 down to Hobart on the easterly route but insurance issues meant he found himself unable to do that.  Most of the fleet has been affected by dramatically increased insurance in just the last few months.

David Bingham’s Mirrabooka is tracking slightly to the west of Shaw but in line with William Feore’s Turbo, Aaron Drummond’s Midnight Rambler and Rob Tanner’s Alegria 2.  This race is anyone’s but the race record now looks in doubt due to the southerly pattern they have been experiencing.

The east coast bound fleet is likewise a tight affair.  Tony Donnellan’s Shamrock stamped its authority on the race right from the gun being fired.  They were second around the first mark and second out of the heads yesterday to Shortwave.  Donnellan currently has a slight lead over the next four boats but will not be able to relax for a second with the South Australian Helsal II ready to pounce.  Chris Riggs has recently taken possession of this beautiful yacht which has an amazing history in ocean racing circles under previous owner Bill Rawson.  Under Rawson the yacht covered many ocean miles all across the world as he campaigned it in some of the more exotic places.  In the 2005 Melbourne to Hobart race, then with current ORCV Race Director Simon Dryden on board as sailing master, they took line honours narrowly missing the race record at the time.

Tony Fowler’s Ocean Skins and Paul Buchholz’s eXtasea both Geelong boats join with Jeff Otter’s Icefire to round out the group.  As they head towards Flinders Island the tacticians will be earning their keep.

In the dark of Bass Strait it is impossible to see where the pressure (wind) is but come first light this fleet will be looking for every advantage possible.



Regards ...Jennifer


Double and Then Something!


For the first time ever, the Ocean Racing Club of Victoria will start three major Ocean Races at the same time on December 27, 2008.


After the traditional Boxing Day, Cock of the Bay Race from Port Melbourne to Blairgowrie, the ORCV will, as usual, conduct both the Melbourne to Launceston and Melbourne to Hobart ‘West Coaster'. However, following on from the success of last year's centennary celebrations, where the fleet sailed East across Bass Strait to join up with the Sydney-Hobart fleet coming down, a new ‘East Coaster' has been introduced.


This promises to add even more excitement to racing with the leading contenders for both Melbourne-Hobart races now challenging each other to see who can make port first! "It should be fantastic to watch ‘Short Air' and ‘Helsal II' as they sail off in different directions. I know I'll be tracking their respective progresses on the web! It is a rare occurrence within global yacht racing to have challengers pursue different courses - we're delighted to be associated with the ORCV and these races." said Heemskirk Consolidated CEO, Mr Kevin Robinson.


Indeed these two yachts are as different as the routes they have chosen. ‘Short Air' is an ultra-modern TransPac52, while ‘Helsal II' is the venerable Adams 20, whose innaugural race was the 1979 Sydney-Hobart! "It is great to have such a magnificent fleet of around 60 boats partaking this year - it will make for a superb spectacle at the Portsea start line. We have the latest and greatest, true classics and some real pocket rockets, like the 8m ‘Godzilla'. Favourable winds will make it a spinnaker start and the footage will be tremendous. Some of these boats can make 50kmh!" said ORCV Commodore George Shaw.


"Last year's winner, the Geelong based ‘Extasea', will be right up there too - ready to pounce on any mistake made by the bigger boats. ‘Ninety Seven', the 1993 Sydney-Hobart Line Honours Winner, will also be right up there if it is an upwind race. The West Coaster will be very special too for Robin Hewitt and his crew aboard ‘Yoko'. They will be completely their 27th consecutive West Coaster - a truly remarkable achievement that says a lot about the thrills and safety requirements this race is held under." Shaw went on to say.


The whole season really is a true ‘Spirit of Co-operation' event. "The Sovereign Series comprises the Cock of the Bay, the West Coaster and then the King of the Derwent, which we run in conjunction with the Derwent Sailing Squadron in Hobart. This race, on January 2 2009, attracts entrants from our two fleets, as well as the Sydney-Hobart race, often including the Maxis. You have a lot of the best sailors in the world pitted against each other with the need for local knowledge from Tasmanian Skippers as crews master the very flukey conditions. We are delighted that Wrest Point has again chosen to be involved with us for this great local event that sees a fleet of around 60 yachts cover the course in a sea of colour. And the Launceston fleet up North doesn't miss out either. They complete their own in-port race, the TasPorts, to collect points for the Rudder Cup, which is Cock of the Bay, Melbourne-Launceston and TasPorts." said Race Director, Simon Dryden.


"This year, with the East Coaster also being added, we are proud to announce that the three race series for this fleet will be called the Salamanca Series. This is apt not only for the local Hobart market and café precinct, but also as our sponsor, Heemskirk Consolidated, has operations in Salamanca, Spain, close to where the America's Cup is now conducted." added Dryden.


So look for the Hobart fleets and the crews who raced them, on the Southern side of the Elizabeth Street Pier, somewhere between two and four days after the Start! The Launceston fleet will be at the Tamar Yacht Club at Beauty Point, on or around 28 December.