The 2018 State Women’s Keelboat Championships

Sailed at Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht club.

On a cool and sunny morning, the waters of Freshwater Bay were awakened to the rattle of halyards and the cheerful call of sailors preparing to take on their competitors.

Six clubs were involved and the odds were that it could have been a royal flush with both Royal Perth and Royal Freshwater Bay yacht clubs fielding multiple teams in the contest to see who was the best club in Perth. Hillarys, East Fremantle, South of Perth and Fremantle yachts clubs were running with one team apiece and Royal Perth had two, with Royal Freshwater Bay carrying three teams under their banner.

But the crunch came back to the calibre of the crews and Freshie had put together a super team forged from the pickings of the very best on the river; young and old together with Adele Jackson as the helm on a boat of ladies that had a superlative track record across sailing on the river.

Up against her was the South of Perth team headed up by Mara Lowry on helm with Jessica Eastwell on trim and tactics with their troupe of well seasoned sailors. Mind you they hadn’t put the team together until the last minute and it was with hearts in their mouths, they fired up on the start line on the light nor easterlies and found themselves in strife almost immediately with a penalty earned in the first race. A good recovery brought them back to a fifth place but that put them on the edge as there was only one drop for the race.

Consistent sailing over the next two races had them back in the hunt, but two Freshy teams were ahead of them by the end of the third race and something special was needed. A chancy move out to the right of the down wind finish gave them pressure and a good and fast angle to come home on. The result… home by a cat’s whisker against Adele’s Freshie A team. All of a sudden the odds were better.

The breeze came and went and the last three races were started with the start line hard up against the RFBYC start box and the nine boat fleet belting up and down pens prior to the race start. Exciting times for all, including the umpires who were ducking in and out of the pens to avoid imminent collisions with these 36 foot behemoths. All of a sudden you could see why they were considered good sailors.

The next two races had South of Perth take strong seconds against the rest of the fleet with only the top Freshie team ahead of them. Strong efforts by the Freshie team B headed by Sandy Anderson had them come into third place, but they didn’t have the luck to get those necessary points.  Interestingly these are the same three helmspersons who took the placings last year.

Once the racing finished, it was clear that Adele had whitewashed the series, but with typical pluck the South of Perth team had taken a strong second, taking the only win of the series that Freshie A hadn’t won.

This ended the run of luck that South of Perth has been enjoying with three years in a row, but it was possibly the time for Royal Freshwater Bay to take the win; Adele’s team were well trained and in good form. They gelled on the day and came home winners.

Congratulations to the South of Perth team and their magnificent effort given the time frames involved. The second place was against the best on the river and shows the depth we have available to us at the club.

Many thanks to Swan River Sailing for providing the organisation and yachts for the event.