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The Stanley fleet had a challenging race for the season opener. The yachts started in a southerly wind of 20 knots which meant one tack was favoured, but as the wind was predicted to move south-east and later more east, which side of the rhumbline was going to favoured?

 

At the first sked it was obvious that opinions varied over the fleet, with lots of boats to the east and west of the rhumbline. As the day progressed the wind did move south-east, but it dropped to six knots. The yachts progress was hampered by a short sharp sea, which inturn lead to some seasickness and 2 retirements.

 

The Ocean racing Club of Victoria was trialing a new yacht tracking system which was working well, but the yachts were moving so slowly that it wasn't very exciting watching them crawl across the screen.

 

At the 5pm sked the wind had swung more east and increased to 18 knots, the question was who was in the best position to take advantage of the new wind. For Georgia and Shogun who spent most of the race insight of each other just east of the rhumbline it became a drag race to the finish. As the two boats approached Stanley the wind increased to 25 knots, and neither boat was able to gain the advantage and Shogun crossed the finish line just 5 seconds in front of Georgia. They were followed by Goldfinger, Chuzpah, Shamrock(the ex Secret Men's Business) and Oceanskins.

 

The remainder of the fleet had increasing wind and sprung sheets with many of the boats surfing across the line and the last boat was in by 10.30am on Sunday morning.

 

Chutzpah who was fourth across the line just 45 minutes behind Shogun had a great race and won both the IRC and the AMS handicap divisions. It is great to see Bruce Taylor and his crew rewarded for all the hard work they have put in to optimising their yacht. This should put them in great position to challenge for overall handicap honours in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht race. Martin Vaughan's Wild Side had a great race finishing at 6.30am on Sunday morning well ahead of many larger boats and won both the performance handicap division and finished second in the IRC and AMS division.

 

In The IRC division second by 13 seconds was Martin Vaughan in Wild Side and third was Ian Murray in Cinquante. For full results click here

 

In the AMS division second was Andrew Munro in Godzilla and third was Martin Vaughan in Wild Side.

 

In the Performance division first was Martin Vaughan in Wild Side followed by David Bingham in Mirrabooka and Robert Sill in INXS.

 

The Lions Club and the community of Stanley organised a great function for the finishing yachts and were on hand from 2am on Sunday morning to welcome the crews with a cold beer and some hot food.

 

At the prize giving there was great anticipation as to who was going to win the prizes donated by Gill for the divisional winners. George Shaw the ORCV's new Commodore then raffled a reel Dyneema rope donated by Donaghys (valued at $700) which was won by Godzilla.

 

Most of the yachts waited for the southerly change on Sunday night for a fast return passage to Melbourne

It has been a very exciting early morning in Stanley, the race was won by Shogun by five seconds from Georgia and then Goldfinger. The next boat in was Chutzpah not far behind the leaders and looking good on handicap. From the on it was a steady stream of finishers. Please click here to view the finish time on the yacht tracker.

 

At the 4am schedule the smaller boats are not far from the finish so it looks like the small boats might be wearing the great gear supplied by Gill.

The boats in the Stanley race have picked speed since the 5 o'clock schedule and the leader Georgia is only 2 miles in front of Shogun with Shamrock a further 3miles back. I expect the first boat to finish by 2am.

 

The rest of the fleet are not far behind so it is defiantly going to be a small boat race. The conditions in Stanley are almost wind free so the leaders might have a tough time finishing at that time of the morning.

 

As the conditions have been slow I have decided to have another position report at 4am on Sunday morning. Please click here to have a look at the 10 o'clock position report on the tracker

The Stanley race fleet had a bash down the bay and all 34 yachts confirmed as starters. My phone then rang at 4.10am, it was Phil from Magic, who advised that he thought his boat and the Stanley race were never to be, his alternator was not working so he regretfully had to retire from the race, for the second year running.

 

The rest of the fleet had a clean start at 5 o'clock this morning. The wind at the start was west-southwest at 20 knots. The wind is forecast to move to the south east at 10 15 knots and strengthening to 20 - 25 knots this afternoon. So it will be hard on the wind all the way to Stanley. Next position update will be at 10 30 am

The Stanley fleet is making good progress in a 17 knot south-easterly. The fleet is been led by Georgia followed by Shogun, Shamrock and Goldfinger . There seems to be multiple options, on which strategy is right as the fleet is separated east to west by 20 miles, so the tacticians and skippers will come under harsh questioning if they have gone the wrong way.

Slinky Malinky has retired and is heading back to Port Philip.

If you click here you will be taken to the yacht tracker