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Earthmovers 2011 Race summary as seen from the back of the fleet by Jeff Southall

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Lacepede Bay Sailing Club’s Earthmovers distance race at Kingston SE South Australia on April 16th was forecast to be run in 10 to 14 knots but the 17 catamarans that competed in the race had a gusty ESE swinging to SSE off shore wind from 14 knots to above 25 knots with the official highest on land recording at Cape Jaffa being 52km/h in the middle of the 2nd lap. The water was flat with chop of about 1ft and no swell making ideal conditions for fast aggressive racing. The wind direction made a elongated triangular course with 5.5km reach from the start line to the Southern mark, followed by 10km downwind to the Northern mark and then 6km upwind SE back to the finish line at the club house. Competitors chose when they or their boats were worn out and stopped at either 1, 2 or 3 laps, by the end of the race, the 10 boats that completed all 3 laps travelled 64.5km as the crow flies and about 70km of racing making it the second longest off the beach race in Australia.

Social activities for the weekend started the Friday night with a BBQ and bonfire at Jeff Southall’s house for visitors from Adelaide, Murray Bridge, Rivoli Bay and locals which finished late in the night.

Early Saturday morning as the buoys were being laid there was a lot of fog which looked like things would be difficult but by the time boats were being rigged the competitors could see the first buoy over 5km away. At the briefing copies of the latest Catamaran Sailor magazine were handed to all competitors, thanks Rick and Mary for the special print run. Volunteers for the event started to fall by the wayside early, a week before the race we were a rescue boat crew down, a visitor from Adelaide, Trevor Short volunteered and Maeve Southall went out with him as club photographer. One rescue boat crew pulled out Friday night and Fergs got his uncle and aunty to fill in, problem 2 fixed. The lady that was running the canteen and baking for the tea got crook with gastro but said she should be right by lunchtime, we said no way we all needed gastro, Marks wife Emily stepped in problem 3 fixed. Two ladies were due to run the tower with start and time keeping, one had a business emergency and the other got held up just as all the boats were on the water ready to start except for Fergs and my boat. Liz who was about to crew for Fergs told me we didn’t have a time keeper or starter she suggested a visitor from Adelaide, Herman Kroon who had settled in to watch the race and went on to sweet talk him into the tower, we now had a race.

While rigging on the sheltered beach it felt like a light to medium day but as the time for the race came up the wind built with it.

It was fantastic to start the race on a reach in building winds with the gusts getting stronger the closer the catamarans got to Cape Jaffa. On the way to the first mark there were no capsizes but a lot of close saves with Paul Short on his A Class “Sunset Strip” tea bagging himself at the first mark but managing to save himself from capsizing and getting back into the race. The spinnaker boats ran up their spinnakers as they rounded the mark with hearts pounding with excitement or in Jeff Southall and John Cantor’s case on Taipan 5.7 “4WildThings” fear, on the way up their spinnaker promptly wrapped itself up in the gust not going up or down, putting them out of the race for a while. They sorted the boat out got back into the race just in time to see Neil Ferguson with Liz Southall on 5.7 Taipan “Men Behaving Badly” do a fantastic pitchpole, trawling its bows under the water trying to save it for 50 metres before gravity got them. The race had already split up into a front running pack fighting it out with regular lead swaps, at the completion of the first lap, Evan Steele with Darryl Brooksby on 4.9 Taipan “Serenity” first over in 1hr7mins58seconds followed by in order Tim Hollingsworth with David Short on Nacra 5.8 “Southern Baptist”, Bob Schahinger with Carina Cartwright on Hobie Wildcat F18 “Inconspicuous”, Tony Barrett on Blade F16 “Lone Wolf”, Emile Barrett on Blade F16 “Speed Racer”, Steve Kroon with Tim Wildy on Nacra Infusion F18 “Painter and Docker”, Rex Gibbs with Julie Gibbs on Stingray “Chasin a feeling”, Paul Short on A Class “Sunset Strip”, Jeff Southall with John Cantor on 5.7 Taipan with spinnaker“4WildThings”, Marcus Towell with his son Nathan on Yvonne 20 “Mauna Kia III”, Johnny Bekin on A Class “Zeus”, Brian Partridge with Sam Gaylard on Stingray “Fantasia”, Mark Watters on A Class “Mistress”, Brad Mann with Sue Westgarth on Cobra with Spinnaker “Scream”, Neil Ferguson with Liz Southall on Taipan 5.7 with spinnaker “Men Behaving Badly”, Wayne Hancock with Pete Pollard on Weta Trimaran “Porky’s Revenge”, Graham Parker with Darren Woon on Stingray “Popeye” retired. After the first lap Wayne Hancock with Pete Pollard on Weta Trimaran “Porky’s Revenge” stopped racing and won the one lap race in a time of 2hrs1min16 seconds due to their brilliant racing, lightning reflexes and the fact that nobody else stopped after one lap so there was no second prize in that race.

The second lap was hard fought with continual lead swaps, bigger gusts and more capsizes, at the end of the second lap five cats elected to stop racing, Brad Mann with Sue Westgarth on Cobra with Spinnaker “Scream” took first place on handicap in the two lap race with a time of 2hrs53mins,30secs followed by Johnny Bekin second on A Class “Zeus”, 2hrs41mins37secs, Brian Partridge with Sam Gaylard third on Stingray “Fantasia”, 2hrs49mins 27seconds, Neil Ferguson with Liz Southall fourth on Taipan 5.7 with spinnaker “Men Behaving Badly”, 2hrs55mins,38seconds, Mark Watters fifth on A Class “Mistress”, 3hrs8mins49seconds.

The third lap reach South was heart thumping action with unbelievably fantastic gusts coming off the close shore with little warning that you were about to be thumped, travellers were going in and out, boats were going up and down, The courage of the solo F16 guys was something to wonder at, they popped their kites at the first mark and took off hanging on for dear life, boats went over, bows were stuffed, all through this the Yvonne 20 crewed by Marcus and Nathan Towell just popped its spinnaker and went looking for more wind on a wide angle that gave them a reach back to the Northerly mark always looking for more wind. During this last lap Emile Barrett did a pitchpole on the F16 as did Bob and Carina on the Wildcat, as Jeff Southall jibed at the Northern mark his crew John Cantor did a spectacular backward summersault from the middle of the tramp straight off the boat leaving Jeff to do a leisurely jibe and tack in 25knots to pick him up. The front runners were still changing positions and the run back to the finish line was exciting close racing in a mixed fleet to see Steve Kroon with Tim Wildy on Nacra Infusion F18 “Painter and Docker” take the three lap line honours right on the line in 3hrs23secs46secs. Emile Barrett took second place line honours on Blade F16 “Speed Racer”, 3hrs24mins22secs, Tony Barrett third place line honours on Blade F16 “Lone Wolf”, 3hrs25mins,37secs.

The well deserved handicap winner of the regatta was Marcus Towell with his son Nathan first place on Yvonne 20 “Mauna Kia III”,3hrs50mins30secs, then in handicap order Evan Steele with Darryl Brooksby second on 4.9 Taipan “Serenity”,3hrs27mins,58secs, Emile Barrett third on Blade F16 “Speed Racer”, 2hrs24mins22secs, Tony Barrett fourth on Blade F16 “Lone Wolf”, Tim Hollingsworth with David Short fifth on Nacra 5.8 “Southern Baptist”,3hrs28mins58secs, Steve Kroon with Tim Wildy sixth on Nacra Infusion F18 “Painter and Docker”,3hrs23mins46secs, Paul Short lost places when he capsized just short of the line to finish seventh on A Class “Sunset Strip”3hrs30mins46secs, Bob Schahinger with Carina Cartwright eighth on Hobie Wildcat F18 “Inconspicuous”,3hrs30mins24secs, Rex Gibbs with Julie Gibbs ninth on Stingray “Chasin a feeling”,3hrs45mins,30secs, Jeff Southall and John Cantor were the only Lacepede Bay sailors to complete three laps 10th on Taipan 5.7 “4WildThings”, 3hrs36mins46secs. Evan Steele with Darryl Brooksby second on 4.9 Taipan “Serenity” did a fantastic job to be in the front pack the whole race and not only come fourth on line honours but to round the first mark in front on all 3 laps

The club would like to thank the volunteers who made this event possible, without their help it couldn’t be held, Mr and Mrs Ferguson for manning the rescue boat, the SES for again supporting the race with their fantastic boat, Trevor Short from Adelaide for filling in on the rescue boat, Herman Kroon from Adelaide for manning the tower and timekeeping, Maeve Southall for the photos. Emily Watters for canteen and cooking

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