VHF radio proves its value

The new safety rule requiring all boats racing in the Squadron’s Harbour Summer Series to carry a VHF radio proved its value in last Saturday’s fresh to strong winds. As did the rule empowering the Race Officer to order crews to wear PFDs as a safety measure.

Race officer Ian Kingsford Smith effectively used VHF to communicate with the fleet in the International Dragon and International Yngling Mini Regatta about a delayed start and course change.

Hoisting code flag Y, he also used the radio to advise the Dragons and Ynglings that he was invoking Rule 40 for the last race, requiring all crews to wear PDFs. 

“This is not a mandatory safety rule, but can be invoked as the discretion of the race officer,” Kingsford Smith explained. “Conditions were deteriorating with the southerly increasing to 20 knots plus and as there had already been some wild broaches and a man overboard situation in the Yngling fleet, I decided it was a wise move".

“The crewperson who went overboard was recovered quickly, again underlining the Squadron’s requirement that all boats must have a creditable MOB recovery plan. I hoisted code flag Y at the warning signal for the final race and also notified competitors by radio. “In fact, as Miss Pibb crossed the finish line, flying under spinner, we noted 26 knots on the committee boat,” he added.

Kingsford Smith said he had used the VHF radio to communicate with the Dragons and Ynglings that the race committee was postponing the start of the Mini Regatta after receiving information that a southerly was moving up the coast to the harbour. “Using the radio, we were able to tell the crews the reason for the postponement and indicate a change from a westerly course to a southerly course”.

Miss Pibb, skippered by Hamish Jarrett, clinched the Yngling mini regatta with a spectacular win in race three,  following an equal third in race one and a win in race two. 

Miss Pibb finished the regatta with 5.5 points, just half a point ahead of Schadenfreude (Daniel Marlay) which won the first race and followed this with a second and a third.  Third overall went to Karma (Gary Wogas) with only four of the nine boat fleet starting in the final race as the southerly continued to freshen. If you are travelling to UK to sail have a look at this Heathrow Airport Transfers website to book cheap airport taxi home.

A disappointing fleet of only three Dragons turned out for the mini regatta with Liquidity (Richard Franklin) winning two races and French Connection (Anthony Armstrong the other winner.

The strong southerly took its toll on the International Etchells fleet, with eight of the 17 starters in race two of the Spring pointscore pulling out as the breeze freshened to 25 knots-plus on the main harbour course.

Michael Coxon steered North Star to a comfortable win from Alchemist (Richard Hammond) and Wobbegong (Doug Flynn).

Division 1 saw a close handicap result with Equiknox (John Molyneux) winning by just 31 seconds on corrected time from I Super (Robert Peter Campbell), third place going to Ultreya (Rod Pearse).

The front runners in Division 2 also did well on corrected time.  Limelight (Alan Husband) finished third across the line but won handsomely on handicap from line honours winner Jessica Rabbit (Bruce Millar). Soundtrack (John Amos), second to finish, placed third on corrected time.

Robert Albert’s Norn finished second in fleet but first on handicap in Division 3, with Tingari (John Jeremy) notching up a second, third going to Windsong 2 (John Vickery, the first boat to finish.

In Division 4, Til the Fat Lady Sins (David Smith) again outsailed the fleet but did not finish far enough ahead to repeat its double the previous Saturday. First place went to Beowulf (Stafford Watts), second to Til the Fat Lady Sins, third to Hornblower (Steve Sweeney).

By Peter Campbell