No wind makes Clipper tough
THE 2013 Exemplar Clipper Cup saw 21 boats across four divisions hit the seas in the search of glory in the form of a trophy and an $8000 prize pool.
As the start time approached for racing on day 1 the fleet faced a gentle breeze and a gentle sea to carry the yachts around the windward leeward course for race 1 and race 2.
With all divisions starting together there was plenty of action across the line in both races for the day.
At the end of the first day Ice held the series lead in Division 1 (monohull) with a double win for the day. In Division 2 (monohull) Ruff Red held the lead with a first and a second, Barefoot held Division 3 (multihull) with a double win and Port FM Mais Oui also had a double win to hold Division 4 (sports boats).
On day 2 the course was set for a rounding of Snapper Island and Low Isles except for Division 4 scheduled for two more windward leeward races.
The start was delayed by an hour and the breeze barely reached above 10 knots and all crews were truly tested to navigate their way around the respective courses.
Dusty Muzzle won Division 1 but remained one point behind Ice while in Division 2 Kai Lani took the win to move ahead of Ruff Red with the latter one of five boats in the fleet unable to finish the shortened course. Barefoot secured a third win in Division 3 to place a firm grip on the series lead.
In Division 4 Ketchup took the win in race 3 and Guilty Pleasures claimed the honours for race 4 but it was Ketchup that moved to a series lead at the half way stage.
The next day of the regatta was a lay day in which crews had the chance to relax and enjoy some time on land which turned out to be a blessing as the breeze barely lifted above five knots all day but it was a different story on day 3 with a gusty 20 knots to contend with.
On the beat towards Low Isles from a mark rounding off Dayman Point, Division 3 leader Barefoot suffered damage to their main beam and was forced to retire from the regatta requiring assistance from the Coast Guard having managed to secure the vessel safely in the lee of Snapper Island.
The withdrawal of Barefoot opened the door for Indigo to take the win but Barefoot still held the series lead by two points. Chalkies Chariot made the most of the conditions to take first in Division 1 with Dusty Muzzle claiming the series lead. Kaos claimed the win in Division 4 but Ketchup held on to the series lead heading into the final day.
Day 4 was a complete reversal of conditions from the previous day as the fleet waited for over two hours for sufficient breeze to start the first race, with the wind not lifting above single figures all day many boats in the fleet struggled to find sufficient motion to steer the course and the conditions on the day proved to seal the fate of many.
The final race was abandoned due to time constraints and the regatta concluded in a flat sea and calm air.
Ice (5) recorded a third win to take out Division 1 ahead of Dusty Muzzle (8) and Groove (12) followed by Shazam (15), Chalkies Chariot (16), Ann Sea (16) and Now or Never (30).
Kai Lani (5) also recorded a third series win to take out Division 2 ahead of Ruff Red (9) and Sea Dove (12) followed by Casuarina (13) and Miriama Te Rua (17).
In Division 3 Indigo (6) scored a win in the final race to overtake Barefoot (7) ahead of Skywalker (15).
In Division 4 Guilty Pleasures won the final race but it was not enough to catch the winner Ketchup (9) with Guilty Pleasures (14) holding second overall on a tie break from Kaizen2 (14) followed by Port FM Mais Oui (16), Kaos (18) and And Then (29).
Port Douglas Yacht Club Commodore Colin Simpson said despite some days being slow, everyone had a good time.
‘‘Without a lot of wind the days were slow but overall it went well,’’ he said.
‘‘I think everyone was pretty happy and people were having fun. Thanks to the sponsors and also to the Coast Guard for assisting Barefoot when they ran into a bit of trouble.
‘‘We will promote next year’s event a lot this year in hopes we can get over 30 boats to enter in the next Clipper Cup.’’