REPORT FROM JANET DEAN
Sunday morning dawned cold and clear, promising a glorious winter's day. Passers-by in Pier Road were treated to the sight of a number of adults in wetsuits and dinghy gear standing around looking a bit bemused.
It was time for the annual Frostbite Regatta – RMYS vs RBYC.
In a change of format this year, we took out the Pacers - red sails for RMYS and blue ones for RBYC. (Thank you to the junior teams who selected the boats so it was easy to see who was who.)
After the juniors showed us how to sail the pacers in their two-race series, the course length was shortened and your RMYS senior team comprising Boat #2: Janet Dean and Dee Mason, Boat #4: Mark Coppens and Jason McCutcheon and Boat #6: Tom Ely and Monica Jones took to the water in competition against Boats #1,3 and #5 skippered by RBYC committee members James Heywood (Club Captain), Clarissa Flockhart and Vanessa Twigg and their crew Nick Chapman, Dennis McConnell and Liam Poulton. Two races comprising one lap with a wing mark and one leg up and down were run.
Boat #3 skippered by Clarissa Flockhart (crewed by Dennis McConnell) from RBYC took out the individual honours and RBYC took home the "Wee Drop of Yarra Water" Trophy.
Thanks to all the race crew who brought William Pat and Marshall Hawes into the harbour, Leigh Brennan-Smith for the Pacers and for taking spectators out on Wally R, Tony Lukeman, Alistair Hart and Allicia Rae for the sausage sizzle and Sean in the Olympic Bar, who kept us going with much-needed early morning coffee.
Put the date in your diary. This fiercely fought competition will be on again next year (on the Sunday closest to the Winter Solstice).
REPORT FROM JASON MCCUTCHEON (Debrief notes to Matador crew)
As part of the RBYC/ RYMS rivalry, every year the flag officers of each club compete in dinghies. RYMS hosted this year’s event, with Mark drafting in yours truly to race pacers in the harbour.
It’s been a very long time since I have done any racing in little boats, and even longer crewing one. However, the really great news was that my wetsuit had not shrunk too much in the past few years and it still fitted. I figured I was going to get wet when Mark said the last Frostbite regatta he had to swim the boat over the line with a sheet between his teeth.
We had a quick practice – one tack and one gybe and got ready for the start. The wind was about a patchy 5-8 knots and sunny. Fortunately there were no spinnakers.
First race saw our boat – Pacer #4 – cross the start line at the favoured end but a little bit back. But through some cunning playing of wind shifts, a bit of luck and distant memories of how to make dinghies go fast we clawed our way towards the front of the fleet. Mark did muse that he expected a comment or instruction from me every few seconds. I tried not to disappoint as I could see that it was paying dividends, although that could have been due to Newton’s second law, that every action has an equal and opposite reaction, my instruction while facing backwards was propelling the boat forwards.
We briefly hit the front before being rolled. Second! This dinghy thing appeared too easy!
My false sense of security was quickly dashed as the wind for the second race picked up to a good 10-12 knots and filled in. A slow start and we were at the back of the fleet, but then tried to pick up some places by playing wind shifts. We could pick the shifts, but we were a long way from being able to roll tack the boat.
At the bottom mark, we had to gybe, and we managed to hit the wrong side of the mark, get fouled around the anchor line and well stuck. At least we didn’t run into the pier like the juniors did in the previous race. By this stage our fifth slipped to last. We did a 360 and finished to comments like “thanks for picking up the last mark for us, it’s really helpful”.
Unfortunately, RMYS didn’t win and we had to surrender the perpetual trophy: 50-year old Yarra River water in a scotch bottle.