Everyone expected something special from the Golden Anniversary of the Club’s signature ocean race and we certainly weren’t disappointed!
The Geraldton Ocean Classic was much lighter than expected – so much so that competitors agreed at the briefing to sail a shorter course by taking the Rottnest Island rounding out. It turned out to be a very good move, allowing all yachts to finish by Sunday evening.
Mike Giles sailed Endorfin to line honours victory but it was James Halvorsen who picked up the IRC victory in Giddy Up, the Farr395 he owns in partnership with his father Robert. In division 2, Todd Giraudo was the IRC winner after following Wayne Pitcher’s Lithium over the finish line. These two double handers are in for a cracker of a season if this sort of rivalry continues. At 40 feet, Lithium is slightly longer than Kraken’s 36 feet, but their IRC ratings are quite close.
If the Classic was an easy one, the Geraldton Return was anything but easy. In a typical October weather pattern, southerly winds of more than 25 knots greeted competitors on the start line and freshened to around 30 knots as the leaders exited Champion Bay. It was a tough slog, encouraging Giddy Up and Slipstream to sit it out in Geraldton until conditions eased a bit before starting the long haul home.
Chris Higham made his intentions known early. Where virtually every yacht carried reefed mainsails, Argo charged off with a full main to lead the fleet around the windward buoy. She was never headed and even Mike Giles’ 47 footer Endorfin was no match for the 40 foot Archambault. Argo finished the race with line honours, first place on IRC and first place on YAH – a remarkable performance.
The 50th Anniversary Dinner on Saturday 10th November should be a gem. Invitations have gone to most of the old salts who have previously competed in Geraldton Ocean Classics and a good turn out is expected from those who sailed in this year’s race. Anyone who has been associated with the race either as a competitor or as a volunteer, is welcome to join in this festive celebration.
To book, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone the club on 9364 5844. Tickets to the three course dinner are just $55 per person including GST, so get in early!