The Melbourne to Vanuatu race took anywhere from 5 days 23 hours to 12 days 21 hours. The fleet saw all conditions from 60 knot boom breaking gusts and large washing machine seas to boredom inducing light winds.
The fleet began with Alive, Jazz Player, Cartouche, Escapade, Trybooking.com and Geomatic.
Alive had a stellar run and I am not sure they ever sat below double digits on the speedo. The crew smashed the race record by almost two days, taking just 5 days, 23 hours and 52 minutes to complete the voyage. There is some great footage of their trip here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sk1qBuH9ekw
Jazz Player was technically the third team in port, but the second in line honours. As the only 2 handed boat in the fleet the Matts (or M&M as they are now known) made it to Vanuatu in 10 days, 6 hours and 47 minutes. After the thrilling ride, the boys have said that “it was a tough race and apart from the last two days it was nothing like the brochure”. Upon arrival in Port Vila the Matts had to pull up on the customs buoy overnight waiting for customs to reopen the next morning. Thankfully a passing cruising boat brought them some beer to tide them over. A huge congratulations goes out to Matt and Matt for completing their longest ocean race so far (also their first 2 handed ocean race). They pulled out some great results – 2nd Line Honours, 2nd IRC, 1st AMS and 1st PHS. Excellent effort!
Cartouche was the next boat in port after 12 days, 9 hours at sea. South of Gabo Island the race got serious for the crew on Cartouche during a crash gybe which resulted in bruised / cracked ribs. They made the decision to stick close to the Australian Coast, rather than heading out into the East Australian Current (EAC), but after a few days and an ease in the breeze, the injured crew member was feeling better, so they headed towards Lord Howe and on to Vanuatu, but not before a swim in calm conditions and shredding their headsail in treacherous conditions.
Escapade sounds like they had a wacky time during their 12 days, 17 hours of sailing, skippered by RMYS member, Debra Allen. There was a special guest appearance by Russian Maid Svetlana, who amused the crew with her raunchy photo shoot poses around the boat until the skipper reappeared on deck. Their liquid refreshments didn’t last the distance to Port Vila and they managed some excitement intercepting a pan pan call.
Trybooking.com having completed their race in 12 days, 21 hours had a battle with Escapade the whole way. Sometimes Escapade watched the “Trybooking Movie Theatre” from the front and sometimes from the back. Little Ted even got to steer the boat once the weather calmed down a bit.
What I took out of everyone’s social media reports, is that they all ate well. Lamb shanks, pasta bakes, freshly baked bread and even croissants….and that’s not even the cruising fleet!
On that note, the cruising fleet which consisted of Myuna and The Secretary (once Ariel II had to pull out due to a broken boom and return to Melbourne) seemed to also have a lovely time. The upside of being in the cruising group was being able to motor-sail, which helped the frustration levels in times of little or no wind. George on The Secretary issued a challenge to all the yachts to put together a poem or song including all the names of the yachts in the race and rally. Not sure who won this challenge, perhaps it was so close it hasn’t been decided yet.
All in all it sounds like everyone had an amazing time, though some of it (let’s face it, the majority of it) was a bit rough. For some great reading, check out the articles on the ORCV website.
For the full results check out this link: http://orcv.org.au/index.php/m2v-live/results
Thanks to Denise Setton for the photo.