19 April 2015

Shirley Freeman Memorial Race Wrap up

Port Phillip Women’s Championship Series – Prince Charming

You simply cannot argue about it anymore. Hughie, the God of Wind, is male and he did himself no favours with the ladies today, proffering up a charming 30+ knot Sou’wester. Yes it was the full regalia that included a 2m seaway of ugly Port Phillip chop, 14˚C ambient temperature on land, storms containing cold, icy bullets of rain and so on. Hhhmmmmm. Lovely stuff.

So one can honestly say that they were glad it wasn’t them out there to experience the joy. Still, as the Swedes say, there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. This must have been the pervading thought for all as they huddled around at the currently WIP that will be the new Hobsons Bay Yacht Club (HBYC) clubhouse. The Mexican Fiesta that had engulfed the club definitely had something to do with it, as well. The Fiesta proved that hot, spicy food, cold cervezas and the odd shot of tequila do conquer anything. Areeba, indeed!


Who’s going to smash the piñata?

This, the fourth round of the Port Phillip Women’s Championship Series (PPWCS) is named the Shirley Freeman Trophy. For the first time, two divisions were offered for this Lady Skipper’s event. 20 Div1 vessels would have specials (spinnakers) and the 10 craft in the newly created Senorita Cup for very novice or complete beginner skippers would strictly have no specials.

Dr Shirley Freeman AM passed away late last year. She first became a member in her own right in 1974 and subsequently bought her own keelboats, after dabbling in OTB catamarans very early in the 70’s. Now just as in her professional life, where her Member of the Order of Australia was bestowed on her for public service, she worked tirelessly to make sailing more accessible for the broader community, especially for women. Needless to say, Shirley would have been very happy to see the new division created, have its own start line and shorter course, but more importantly, have a mandate to get first-timers on the tiller or wheel.

Now they really tried to honour Shirley today, with the AP holding them ashore for firstly one hour and then half more again, before even getting them out there for a bit to see if it was at all possible. It wasn’t and home they returned home. Racing abandoned. Kerrie Goodall was one of those who left the pen. Additionally, she sponsored the trophies and her Father’s business, Lightning Products, donated the gift baskets of boat cleaning products for the owners. Her Grandfather started the business in Fitzroy 65 years ago, was then in Williamstown for 50 years and a few years ago moved down the road to bigger premises in Altona.

Skippering Three Ring Circus on the day, Goodall said, “Definitely a shame we could not get a run, as it is our sort of conditions for the Southern Ocean 30. Looking forward to the re-run, which they’ll announce the dates for soon, given the flight path is pretty full these days and a spot will have to be created. Our crew all used to sail the Cape 30, Airframe, which was designed by the Whitbread/Volvo master navigator, Andrew Cape. He even sailed it when he was last in Melbourne and then a little while ago it was sold to him and sent to the UK. It was dropped on transport back there, so he has had a little work to do, but he is proud of his baby. Daddy will fix! He has welcomed us all to sail with him over there and we’ll take that up whenever we can”, said a very enthusiastic Goodall. (And why wouldn’t you be?)

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Kerrie Goodall on the tiller of Three Ring Circus.

“We’ve been a crew for five plus years, with people such as Ian Robertson, Tony Green, Michael Cavanaugh and his son Kelly. As for today, the catering was loved so much we nearly ran out. That means no waste, so happy times all round. Sangria and tequila sunrises were a real hit, too, as well as the very healthy chicken and veggie tortilla wraps that simply got demolished. For next year’s event the new clubhouse (which opens in August 2015) will be just as awesome as this year’s food.”

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Three Ring Circus setting sail behind one of the many breakers.

The Adams 12, Braveheart, was about to have her maiden race with new owners today. Marija Groen explains, “We bought the boat just three weeks ago. I’m half the owner, which really makes me the whole owner, as my hubby Gary ‘Captain’ Cook is the other listed owner. Our engine would not fire today and we just got out of the pen, but not to the start line, so glad we did not miss out all together. Prior to this boat I was the part owner of a Thunderbird and also racing on Gary’s S80, where we were second at State tile this year with an all girl crew!” Groen has been around boats for 30 years or so and her love of sailing is still infectious.

So if the two previous sailors are very experienced, then Juliet Mashford, who has been at it for just five years, represents another category of enthusiast. “I love sailing, love helming, and got into it via an invitation from fellow club member and been the proverbial duck to water ever since. I have been racing around the Bay, including going the bottom of Port Phillip for long hauls and now possibly looking to see if outside in the big blue may be for me, we’ll see…”

“Unfortunately there was no race today. I was to be on the helm of the S80, Jensminc. I have helmed in events like this over the last couple of years. We did make it out for the proposed start at midday and then headed in after it was abandoned at 1230hrs. The club was all frames, but looked wonderful and certainly all was in readiness for the fiesta.”

Now along the way we have seen that the PPWCS has now added the Kingston Trophies PPWCS Perpetual Team Trophy to its array of prizes. This is the award designed to build intra-club camaraderie by maximising the number of boats and female sailors from each club actually getting out on the water.

It’s not the easiest of calculations to achieve (just like saying the full name of it), given there are bonus points for having either junior or senior sailors on board and the tasks they perform. It is also a reflection of the number of craft registered to each club. Yet since the outset, it has been game on for the others to catch the early leader. Based on today’s entries alone, and subject to a re-sail being carried out, Hobson’s Bay YV has just taken a sizeable lead.

The Chair of the Women and Girls in Sailing Committee, Rosie Colahan, said, “A terrific turnout from Hobsons Bay has seen them do really well and gain ascendancy. That leaves Royal Melbourne and The Royal Yacht Club of Victoria only just ahead of Sandy, with Brighton still commanding a firm grasp of the wooden spoon. The Club Captains will sort the re-sail out and well done to those brave crews who headed out to investigate the conditions, but the prudent choice may have been the crews that left their borrowed boats in their pens with all their gear in tact.”

“It was a good call by Race Management, given the differing skill levels and lack of owners out on boats, so it kept a level playing field for all. Now we started the PPWCS with a drifter and have just had a blow out, so I trust the remaining rounds, including that re-sail will be somewhere in the middle of the range. Please?! Hughie, you can be charming…”

Many thanks to HBYC for providing today’s media launch. Yes it did go out. Yachting Victoria, which is the event organiser, would also like to thank the proud sponsors of the PPWCS; Club Marine, Kingston Trophies, AUS Sailmakers and Custom Yacht Covers. Of course, Club Marine is Australia's largest provider of recreational boat insurance.

Now it is a hefty treasure trove as such… Ian Mann of Kingston Trophies donated the perpetual Port Phillip Women’s Championship Series Trophy in 2013 for the inaugural event and is the person behind the new Teams Trophy as well. Sam and Liz Haines of AUS Sailmakers provide an Encouragement Award for each race. Finally, Sue Bumstead from Custom Yacht Covers provides the Encouragement Award prizes based on the whole PPCWS. Ultimately, this all means some boats and skippers will do well with the loot.

The final round of the 2015 PPWCS is Royal Brighton Yacht Club’s BLiSS on May 24. With the re-sail likely to be in before that. Details and full information about the entire series can be found at whilst you’re at it, go and like

More information:

John Curnow

0419 969 959


Enterprize and a grey old Melbourne CBD.

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Norma Malouf taking Kasam out to see about racing.

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Peer as much as you like, but it is definitely wet out there!!! (Kasam)

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Le Cascadeur know a thing or two about racing, but they too had to head home.

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Claire Leslie in command of Shamrock.

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Maureen Dickens was skippering Outlaw.

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Samskara doing some ocean grading – it needed it!!!

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Savage heading back in.

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