Saturday, March 24, saw the opening round of the Jervis Bay Cruising Yacht Club’s Autumn Series with the running of the Creswell Cup.
(min cost $8)
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The Creswell Cup is the highlight of the club’s racing calendar where competing teams from JBCYC and the Navy are paired up and match race along Jervis Bay.
The race began at the southern end of Jervis Bay, near HMAS Creswell. Jervis Bay Marine Rescues vessel Colin Woods, with its volunteer crew, served as the race committee boat and formed the eastern end of the start line. Commander Nyree Cornelius, the Executive Officer of HMAS Creswell, aboard the Colin Woods, started the race at 12 midday.
Seven pairs of yachts began the race in choppy seas and 15 knot winds. The Navy entry Franklin, skippered by Jim McDonald, got off to the best start in the challenging conditions and led around the 1st windward mark. Franklin was matched with the JBCYC entry Bundeena, skippered by Frank Taylor, that followed Franklin closely but couldn’t get past them.
The winds eased slightly as the fleet headed north passing Huskisson but then gained strength as the yachts turned east towards Honeymoon Bay. By the time the yachts reached the eastern side of the Bay the winds were 20 knots, with gusts of up to 25 knots.
Franklin retained their lead for the whole race and was the 1st boat in the fleet to finish in 2 hours and 3 minutes, beating Bundeena back by less than 2 minutes.
Two smaller Division 2 yachts Matana, skippered by Paul Gooey, and Wotalife, skippered by Denis Meredith, were matched, with Matana on the Navy team and Wotalife competing for JBCYC.
Wotalife was able to establish a substantial early lead over Matana as the boats headed north into the wind. As the yachts turned and reached east across the bay Matana did peg Wotalife back but couldn’t get close enough as they headed back into the wind towards the final race marker.
Wotalife was the 1st yacht to cross the finish line in Division 2 taking 2 hours 42 minutes to complete the course, over 6 minutes in front of Matana.
The Creswell Cup would go to the team that won most of the match races. The two teams were tied on three all until the final pair of yachts finished. The decider came down to a race between two catamarans, Sarah skippered by John Fletcher, racing for the Navy and Extasea, skippered by Jim Lay, on the JBCYC team. While Sarah put in a valiant effort, in the testing conditions, Extasea beat her across this finish line clinching the 2018 Creswell Cup for JBCYC.
The day’s racing was also Round 4 of the club’s Round the Bay Series. After four races Alan Leach (Tranquillity) and Wine Down (Brian Horley) lead Division 1 and Paul Gooey (Matana) leads Division 2. But with one more Round the Bay race to go in April the series is still open, with both Jim McDonald (Franklin) and Denis Meredith (Wotalife) still in the running for their respective division wins.
After the days racing concluded, the participants headed back to the clubhouse for a social function and the presentation of the Creswell Cup. It was a fun social evening with music provided by Paul Greene.
The Jervis Bay Cruising Yacht Club combines competitive yacht racing with a fun social atmosphere. The club’s next race is on Sunday, April 8, and any existing crews and new members are welcome to participate in its regular race days and events. See their website jbcyc.com.au for more details.
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