Every SOMR has its own character- windy, weird, wild, wacky or wimpy, but I’m sure SOMR 2010 will be remembered as the” Wet One “. As far as I can recall we have never before sailed a SOMR round in quite the downpour conditions experienced this year on the first day of competition.
It was not as though it was unpredicted; the BOM was cheerfully telling us all week that we were gunna cop it on Saturday, and guess what? They were right. Things looked OK from the race office at the beginning, except for a certain lack of breeze for a start, Then the rain came...
According to reports from the Drowned Rats when they returned to the dock, navigation was reduced to touchy- feely along the Middle Bank in some cases. I presume all competitors did find all the marks in the correct order.... Couldn’t see a thing from shore.
The BOM also predicted Gale Force winds and more rain for Sunday. Accordingly, when there was no sign of the Bureau lifting the Gale warning on Sunday morning, we cancelled the day’s racing. There were a few grumbles around the HYC clubhouse on this decision but interestingly, none from the competitors who would be actually coping with blow on the day - more credit to them, and an indication of the wealth of experience in our current fleet.
Just to clarify: MYCV runs SOMR for the enjoyment and pleasure of all competitors. It is not a world championship or “sheepstation” event, it is a mixed fleet category 5 multihull series. Our experience over the last twenty years has shown that racing in Gale warning conditions stretches our ability to provide safety coverage to an unacceptable degree. It would be simply an unfair liability on our host Club, our own officials and of course, the competitors themselves. BOM’s definition of a gale warning is 34-47 Knots with gusts maybe 30% higher; not nice. We will race under caution in predicted Strong Wind Warning conditions, 27-33 knots, and consider a mandatory PFD instruction but in case of a Storm Warning (48-63 knots) ? Forget it ! ( of course the big winds did not quite eventuate on the day, but that’s not the point)
Monday was catchup day. Apologies to all for the 8:30 am first race start but that was the only way we could get a meaningful result of four races for the series and not have people out on the course when they should be whooping it up at the Presentation shindig. The conditions were just enough to our series of short courses underway and all went beautifully until a large black mono appeared to be wanting to join in the event. Fortunately spotted by our committee boat crew who postponed the start and let them steam through- it seems the Iron Monarch doesn’t have a fixed departure time in the Port Movement schedule. It just goes when it wants to, and very quickly too. Wonder what it rates?....
Race 3 presented the race committee with a bit of a dilemma. The fleet were sailing to a shortened course flag instruction wherein the course was finished at Channel marker 27, a porthand turning mark. Now because the crew could not anchor the committee boat in the channel, they had to place the finish line on the opposite side of the mark. The fleet, sailing down onto 27, saw the committee boat on the left of the mark and did the what seemed to be the logical thing, charge through it! Whoops, shoulda passed 27 to port guys, and come back through the line in the opposite direction. A couple of crews realised the mistake and undid the track, a couple got really confused and sailed around in circles and the rest were oblivious. What to do ? Enforce a ruling and blow a Keating result ( a nice set of numbers) for the series? Nah, this is a fun regatta, everybody made the mistake, there was just enough ambivalence in the situation, times were recorded for the first line crossing and the final result was not going to affected anyhow. We let ‘em off the hook. Our event, our rules OK?
The Presentation dinner at HYC was the usual hoot. The singer chick is looking slinkier each year, the food was great and the vocal ribbing of the prizewinners was well up to standard. One mystery, what happened to Shrek? rumour has it, the early start and no boat dramas was just too much for him - or maybe he is just saving himself for Geelong.
Much cred and thanks to E-Marineworld for their support of SOMR including supplying the trophies, and to HYC for their generosity and great spirit in hosting our event.
And my own thanks to all the competitors for making it a safe and successful SOMR ...
Cheers, Ian A
Principal Race Officer
(P.S. Full results to follow when I can work out how to tabulate them)