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Creswell Cup Race

posted Mar 25, 2011, 4:42 AM by Mark Tobin

The Navy’s HMAS Creswell hosted the annual challenge against boats from the Jervis Bay Cruising Yacht Club (JBCYC) on Saturday 19th March.  With a history going back some 20 years, the challenge between the Navy’s own yachts and boats representing the Navy and the JBCYC, yachts faced off against each other in a match-racing format.  Originally with some 26 entrants for the race the dismal weather forecast obviously deterred some but an impressive 20 boats started the race.  With winds exceeding the 15 to 20 knot southerly forecast at least the predicted heavy rain held off through the day to give boats a chance to enjoy the blustery conditions.  The Navy yachts revelled in the conditions with seamanship skills coming to the fore with the Commanding Officer of the base, Jamie Hatcher on the Navy yacht ‘Friendship’, one of the front runners at the first windward mark.  The Navy’s 36 foot Swarbrick ‘Alexander’ with Lieutenant Brad Doyle at the helm had to chase down the fleet after being penalised for crossing the line early at the start.  The clean lines of the boat after a recent refit and sailing skills of Brad showing as they managed to win their match up against the clubs representative Jouissance sailed by Terry & Sharon Ford and crew.  As the boats reached the southern end of the bay the usual variable conditions made for interesting sailing with regular ‘bullets’ of wind roaring over the peninsular, putting boats on the sides.  Spinnakers were rare on the day with many of the brave suffering knock downs and Terry Ford reporting at one stage his windows being used to search for sea life as they were pressed into the water.  The stronger winds again suited the big multi hulls with Darryl McLean’s, Whitehaven 39 ‘Tilbury Cove’, streaking away for a line honours win closely followed by Dennis Godfrey’s trimaran ‘Wahoo’, giving the JBCYC first up points for the day.  The first 4 boats to cross the line in Division 2 were all catamarans with Al Leach’s Tranquillity narrowly beating Brain Saunder’s Sea Change by a mere one second, on corrected time, ahead of John Lawrence’s SasSea and Kevin Lord on Overture.  With boats all safely tied up in the Creswell marina for the night the heavens opened before the presentation took place and with rain falling hasty modifications were required to the tent area which saw sails and spinnakers being strung up between the marquee and a nearby fence to provide shelter for the crowd. Captain Hatcher assisted Club Commodore Mark Tobin with the in prize giving for the races while the results of the challenge match up saw 5 wins each for the Navy and the Jervis Bay Cruising Yacht Club.   The draw made for a tough decision but with the Club holding the trophy from the previous year the rules dictated the Club was to retain the Trophy for another year.   The rain was unable to put a dampener on planned festivities for the night and the band Shrewd Rhythm played into the wee hours under the marquee to an enthusiastic bunch of sailors.  Thanks again go to the Commanding Officer of the base Jamie Hatcher and the Navy personnel who assisted with logistical support as well as the Club Committee who all pitched in to help the weekend to be a success.