The 2019 Rumble in the Reach
Saturday the 19th of January
There's a lot of fun with this regatta and the presence of the Vipers makes it really interesting as the one class boat really gets in the mix. But we have the Thompsons, the Shaw's and other varied types and they add their own spice to the brew. And if Hughie comes along with a stiff breeze it's a merry mayhem on the water on the reach outside the East Fremantle Yacht Club.
The day was hot, make no mistake about it. Even the yacht club was feeling the heat and the balcony was packed with people ready to enjoy the afternoon. All we needed was a breeze and there was a scintilla of a westerly wandering its way across the last of the early dinghy sailors as they made their way onto the beach.
The boats were assembling as we had our briefing and lots of cold water was on hand. The race officials were on place and it was a pleasure to see Zoe Thompson working to get things underway in her role as training co-ordinator at EFYC. Ed Fethers had his dulcet tones in control as the commentator for the event and his assistant statistician Cyril was in charge of everything Tony Pugh would normally do. Water, more beer, chips etc. He was a busy man.
Eleven boats were on offer, slightly down on last year, but a strong field with East Freo's ever faithful "Turkish Delight", a Farr 25, A Thompson 7, an Elliot , three of the SB 20's, lead by the UON team and a bunch of Vipers just waiting to cause upset to a few applecarts.
The first race got away in a fairly light sou wester so it was an easy run to the 1st mark and the work to the top was going to be a case of picking the shifts on the way up. I'll not discuss winners or losers as that's not my work load today, but as a pursuit race the UON boats did have a good handicap. Well sailed those blokes.
The second race and the breeze came in. By the second lap we had 12 to 15 knots and by the third lap it was really starting to kick in and the dash down to the bottom mark was becoming fast and furious. One or two boats began to wobble and the idea of dropping the asymmetric on the gybe to the bottom mark was brought into being. The Vipers were getting a lot faster now and the bigger sports boats were getting a little pushy with their spinnaker use...holding right to the end. Full marks to the Elliott by the way still using a spinnaker! Reminds me of another Elliott out of Nedlands by the way of Childs Play (maybe a rename).
The third race paid for all and the racing intensified with the breeze pushing through with gusts up to 20 knots. Now people were changing down on headsails if they could and there was a sincere appreciation of how sport boats can fall over in a gust. The choice of running a spinnaker was still on as it was nothing like last year, but caution may have slowed down a few boats. By this time some of the Vipers were almost through the fleet by the third lap with still a short lap to go.. but nothing could stop the UON boys.. "push the boat to the limit if we must. We've got a couple of good results lets push it." And they did.
For five or six years they've turned up; to be the begging boys each year. No longer the bridesmaids. Declan Keough, OUN and the SB20 rules. Well sailed.
My thanks to EFYC and Commodore Mike Honer for his invitation to photograph the event. To the organisers and my drivers for the day, many thanks and of course for the hospitality offered. Thanks also to Rod Beurteaux for his sponsorship of the event. But most of all to the sailors and friends who turned up to have a good time out on the water well done and we'll see you again.
Go to slide 39 for an unusual form of propulsion for a yacht.