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Ted Albert Memorial Trophy at Metung Yacht Club

by Jeanette Severs 26 Jan 12:18 GMT 23 January 2024
Fascination leads in race one in the first leg with spinnakers up © Jeanette Severs

Short choppy waves up to one metre deep and gear breakages on many yachts dominated the three-race series Ted Albert memorial trophy, hosted by Metung Yacht Club this week.

The invitational race series is a preliminary to the Prince Philip Cup/Australasian Championship 2024, and held on the day immediately before the PPC begins.

Metung is on the Gippsland Lakes, in rural Victoria, Australia, and offers a large inland waterway for competition.

This year's Ted Albert memorial races were held on Tuesday, January 23, 2024, Australian Eastern Daylight Time.

The course chosen was east-west across Lake King, at a distance of one nautical mile, with the windward gates towards Metung and the leeward gates - and the start and finish lines - close by Raymond Island.

The full fleet of 17 yachts presented themselves for race one. The wind was easterly, 100 degrees, running at 15-17 knots. Sea was high.

In race one, the Western Australian yacht Gordon was first around the windward gates on leg one, sailed by Richard Lynn (helm), Ethan Prieto-Low and Adam Brenz-Verca.

Gordon was followed by Tasmanian yacht Riga. While Gordon was trailered across the Nullabor to compete at Metung, Riga was brought across Bass Strait on a ferry from Tasmania to compete at Metung.

Riga is owned and helmed by Hugh Wardrop, and crewed by Timothy Vincent and Max Gluskie. Local boat, Wicked II, sailed by Fred Haes (helm), Adrian France and Will Crooke, was third around the windward marks.

This order was maintained throughout the reach windward-leeward, and on the second lap and through the finish line.

Fourth across the finish line was another local boat, Imagination, with Damien Daniel at the helm and crewed by Dean Robson and Dean Smith.

They were followed by Fascination, a local boat hired and crewed by an international crew in David Tabb (United Kingdom), Laerke Norgaard (Denmark) and Jeremy Nolan (Australia). Tabb has brought his own sails from the UK.

The end of the race saw Wicked II retire, followed by Sea Joy VI, with local crew Clive Bury (helm), Terry Grundy and Alan Watkins on board.

NSW yacht Abracadabra, sailed by Chris McLean, Brad Johnson and Nick Cooper, was next to retire, before the start of race two.

Race two course was reset at 70 degrees, and wind was 17-20 knots. The race began with 14 yachts but only 13 finished.

Gordon led Imagination around the windward gates in the first leg, with the Tasmanian yacht Karabos IX following them. Karabos IX is sailed by Nick Rogers (helm), Leigh Behrens and Lucas Upton.

The next yacht around the top mark was Pennyfarthing, another Western Australian yacht that was trailered across the Nullabor into Victoria and thence to Metung.

Pennyfarthing has Stephen Locke on the helm, with crew of Mark Cubitt (owner), Brad Stout and Wendy Campbell. They were followed by Riga, then Fascination. Fascination retired shortly after.

On the second leg, the top three boats remained the same, only the order changed. Gordon maintained her lead, but Karabos IX had moved up in order to second place, with Imagination third around the windward gate.

Liquidity had moved up in order to be in fourth place going around the windward gate, followed by Riga, then Pennyfarthing.

It was a close contest on the final spinnaker run, with Gordon crossing the finish line ahead of Karabos IX, with Imagination in third place.

They were followed by Liquidity, Riga, Pennyfarthing and Saphira, in that order.

Saphira is another Western Australian yacht that was trailered across Australia to compete at Metung. She is helmed and owned by Ian Malley, with a crew of Graeme Farden, Jennifer Willis and Leonie Ward. Gordon then retired from further competition.

Before race three, the course was reset to 100 degrees, and wind was 15-20 knots. Ten yachts started this race, and 10 yachts finished.

Pennyfarthing and Karabos IX contested for an early lead, and it was Pennyfarthing that led Karabos IX around the windward mark. They were followed by another Tasmanian yacht, Xanthos.

Xanthos crossed Bass Strait on the ferry to compete at Metung, and is helmed by Jock Young, with Chris Steilberg and James Cowmeadow as crew.

Saphira and Riga followed Xanthos into the windward-leeward leg. The race leaders changed, with Karabos IX pulling ahead of Pennyfarthing, and Xanthos following in third place.

By the end of the second leg, there was no change in the top three positions, and they crossed the finish line with Karabos IX well clear in first position, followed by Pennyfarthing, then Xanthos.

Riga crossed in fourth place, followed by Imagination. Trio followed the leaders into sixth position.

Trio, from NSW, and the fastest wooden Dragon in the 2023 Prince Philip Cup, is competing in her first regatta outside Sydney Harbour since Michael (Wally) Bartley first purchased her. Trio is helmed by Matty Whitnall and crewed by Bartley and Peter Bevis.

The three-race series finished with Karabos IX in first place, fellow Tasmanian Riga second, and local Metung yacht Imagination in third place.

Karabos IX and Riga finished on 11 points each, and the trophy went to Karabos IX on countback. Imagination finished on 13 points.

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