19th OGA of Western Australia Swan River Regatta

by OGA of Western Australia

Chris Robinson, OGA President and Jeremy Stockley, Regatta Coordinator

On Sunday 10th April 2016 the OGA of Western Australia held its 19th Swan River Regatta at Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club on a morning which opened with very fresh E-ESE winds exceeding 10 knots (and over 20knots forecast for Melville Water), foreshadowing a great day’s racing on the Swan River for 24 yachts.

The start was a handicap start as is usual for our annual regatta and used RFBYC’s Number 2 start line taking the fleet out eastward and upriver before returning to race around Claremont and Mosman Bays to the finish line.  The Results

A Fleet
Fastest                     Roulette               A McMillan
1st Handicap           Kasey                   P Ferry
2nd Handicap          Canobie               O Stacey
3rd Handicap           Hero                     M Jurat

B Fleet
Fastest                     Bicton Belle         B Glazier
1st Handicap           Genevieve            R Argyle                                   
2nd Handicap          Rosen                  C Colvin
3rd Handicap           Hakuna Matata    J Stockley

C Fleet                   
Fastest                     Kailani                  J Bennett                
1st Handicap            Whimbrel             P Kovesi
2nd Handicap          Gryphon               C Robinson
3rd Handicap           Wee Birlinn           J Black

D Fleet*
Fastest                    Bacchante             M Speicher
1st Handicap           Bacchante            M Speicher
2nd Handicap         Anna                     J Wright
3rd Handicap          Wynella                G Stanley

E Fleet**
Fastest                    Solquest               R Kornweibel
1st Handicap           Solquest               R Kornweibel

Note: *  Only three yachts entered.  ** Only one yacht entered.

The handicap start achieved its objective of close finishes in all four contested fleets.  Only 17 seconds separated the leading boats in A and D Fleets, sailing the same course. Even Solquest, the sole E Fleet participant was not alone, finishing just a minute ahead of the leading boats in B and C Fleets, all sailed the same course.  Unfortunately the only Sea Scout entry, from Waylen Bay, found the conditions a bit too challenging and wisely decided not to start.

Thera retired with a suspected crack in her mast, leaving Bacchante (D Fleet) unchallenged as the fastest boat in the Regatta (1:39:02), with Roulette (A Fleet), the fastest gaffer (1:48:03), in second place.

Thanks to RFBYC for their assistance in the race organisation and the use of their facilities before, during and after the races, to the Couta Fleet for scheduling one of their consistency series to be sailed as part of the Regatta and to the H28 visitors from SoPYC for giving Bacchante some competition, albeit with a generous head start.  Lets see more of you next year, along with more classic boats to give Solquest some added competition.

The photographs below were taken by Brian Cain from the start box at RFBYC (great shots Brian).

Further photos and a video are available on the OGA of Western Australia website at http://www.gaffrigsailinginwa.org/2016-oga-regatta

The 2017 OGA Swan River Regatta will be held on the morning 9th April 2017 at RFBYC.

Thera, skippered by John Fitzhardinge, at the start line. (Photo Brian Cain)

Bicton Bell (EF3) and Rosen (RF121) (Photo Brian Cain)

Genevieve skippered by Rory Argyle (Photo Brian Cain)

  Canobie (R97), Bicton Belle (EF3) and Kailani (60) (Photo Brian Cain)

Clockwise from top left: Arriette (G3); Vagabond (C1), Bicton Belle (EF3) and Gryphon (R183); Wee Birlinn (R141) and Araluen. (Photos Brian Cain)


Walpole in the Trees Regatta 2016

by OGA of Western Australia


By Peter Kovesi

Making the trip to Walpole this year were Crazy Bird with John Longley and his team, Wee Birlinn with Jim Black and Dave Archer, and Whimbrel with myself and Paul Ricketts.

To their great credit, with 100 entries and over 200 sailors, the Walpole Yacht Club now runs one of the largest sailing events in WA.  The organisation was superb, everything was laid on and your time as a competitor was pretty effortless.  It seemed that the whole town had turned out to help run the event and a significant number of local businesses had provided sponsorship and support in kind.

The large and varied collection of boats assembled on Coalmine Beach were split into nine fleets.  The Moths, Mirrors, Sabres, 125s and Hobies each had their own fleets.  The rest were bundled into mixed fleets of various kinds.  We were placed in the mixed trailer sailer fleet which was, indeed, very mixed.  The largest boat was a trimaran, followed by two trailerable cats, a sports boat, various trailer sailers, a very modified sharpie, and our three gaffers.  The starts were an entertaining display of mayhem.  At 15' long we were very much the smallest boat in the fleet.  Not being interested in taking things too seriously I would handle the helm and main at each start while Paul would scramble about the boat seeking to photograph the chaos around us. 

I don't know why, but every photo he took seemed to show me with a manic grin! Once we were away we would typically find ourselves locked in mortal combat with Wee Birlinn and the very modified sharpie. Crazy Bird would generally spend her time well ahead of us and be hassling the slower trailer sailers.

The starting crew operated from one of the sweetest little starting boats I have seen.  I kept expecting to see Popeye and Olive Oyl holding up the flags each time we went past.  Despite their diminutive vessel the start crew smoothly put the nine fleets through five races over the two days.  With some careful setting of the various fleets' course lengths they successfully managed to get all the starts comfortably timed so that one was never rushing to get to a start nor waiting excessively for your fleet's sequence to get underway again. A great effort.

Unfortunately in the start of the second last race Wee Birlinn's beautiful laminated tiller came to grief when it got caught up on the gunwale of a trailer sailer.  Dave reported afterwards that some words were forcefully said, but then apparently Jim quickly recomposed himself and as they sailed back to the beach he was already devising a method of repair.  A short while later Wee Birlinn returned for the start of the final race with a tiller cunningly repaired using the headband from some old ear muffs and a large quantity of duct tape. The last race resulted in an intense battle all the way around the course between Wee Birlinn and Whimbrel with Wee Birlinn finally taking the honours by a boat length.

Presentations and dinner were held in the magnificently huge Walpole rec hall. The place was packed and we all enjoyed the excellent food, live music and the prize giving which seemed to attempt to give everyone a prize of some sort, though we did not get the number of bottles of wine that we were hoping for.  The Moth sailors seemed to have it worked out the best.  Have a small number of boats so that 1st to 3rd covers most of the fleet and sail lots of races to maximise the number of prizes.  We will have to try something of the sort next year!

If you are going to have a sailing trip away I strongly suggest the Walpole regatta. The inlet is such a spectacular sailing venue.  The wind is good, the water flat, and the magnificent trees come right down to the waters edge.  I'll be back next year for sure.

For the regatta details and full results see the Walpole Yacht Club website at http://www.walpoleyachtclub.com.au/

Launch of Fontana, A 6m Francois Vivier Trailable Gaff Yawl.

by OGA of Western Australia

By Chris Robinson, President OGA of WA.

On Sunday 27th September 2015, Tony O’Connor launched Fontana having started building her at his East Rockingham workshop in June 2014 in between his busy schedule of custom boat building, boat repairs and boat modification jobs. Tony’s target was to transport his workmanship to Hobart to exhibit the boat at the Wooden Boat Festival in February 2015, an ambitious schedule.

He did get to Hobart after trailering Fontana across the Nullabor and then Bass Strait in the middle of the Australian summer, quite an achievement.

After Hobart there were still some finishing touches including completion of the installation of the centreboard and rigging detail, all delayed due to pressure on Tony’s time as a boatbuilder, including mine to fabricate a bowsprit for my BR20.

In any event, after a couple of false starts, Fontana made it to the launching ramp at Rockingham on Queen’s Birthday weekend 2015 and after Penny (Tony’s wife) liberally doused Fontana with champagne she gracefully entered the water of Mangles Bay amongst an admiring crowd.

Fontana is a recent 6m Francois Vivier design referred to as Jewell. Her key dimensions are:

LOA            5.99m
LWL            5.40m
Beam          2.22m
Weight        690kg plus ballast 150kg
Sail area      22 sq m

The features of the Jewell design include a cuddy cabin with facility for a small galley, large cockpit and provision for either a petrol of electric outboard. Tony advised that building time totalled 800 hours but promised that the next one would take less time.

The Jewell comes as a CNC kit only and was cut on Tony’s CNC machine at O’Connor Wooden Boats using 9mm and 12mm Okume marine ply.

After the launch and a few adjustments to rigging and sails, Fontana sailed out into Mangles Bay accompanied by Jim Black in Wee Birlinn, Dave Archer in Precious Little and Chris Robinson in Gryphon during which time Paul Ricketts captured Fontana’s sailing performance.

We OGA “C” Fleeters were amazed at the turn of speed Fontana showed whilst Tony took her through her paces, especially as she was sailing with three crew and a full reef in the main. We will have to look out for Fontana during the Retro Series and the OGA Regatta in future.

OGA member Peter Edmonds was on board during Fontana’s first sail and he commented that “ Fontana was a delight to sail aboard, the helm was well balanced, heel was not over pronounced,  the cockpit was a comfortable space for three men and the cabin (cuddy) was open and useable.”  He said “ Francois Vivier has got the design for a day boat with cuddy just about right”.

Enjoy the videos.