Bought a power boat and joined the club and wondering what to do with it in those colder winter months when bathing in a glorious bay at Rottnest Island is out of the question? Come Time Trialling. The Power Section is a large and very active section at South of Perth, growing in numbers each season. The Section boasts an enthusiastic, knowledgeable Committee with an elected Captain and Vice Captain, as well as training, publicity, courses & handicaps, trophy officer and other portfolios. It is represented at the highest level of Club Management and has representatives on all Club sub – Committees.
So what is Time Trialling?
It’s simple in concept, its fun and easy to start and can be challenging to master. Time Trialling is a competitive event but NOT a race. Each boat starts individually at a nominated time across the Club start line then proceeds along a set course past and around a number of “Check Points” or marks, usually spit posts. Each competing boat nominates their own speed between 5 and 15 knots at which to complete the 12 or so nautical mile preset course.
The Scoring or “Points Lost”
The challenge is to drive the course arriving at each Check Point exactly at your predetermined time without having changed boat speed or course to gain advantage. A number of Check Points are randomly selected by the Starter and manned by officials or recording devices to accurately record the boat arrival time at that Check Point. Points are lost for every second the boat arrives either early or late to the Check Point. Points are accumulative, so you cannot offset arriving early at a Check Point by running late to the next. The objective is to complete the course with zero points lost! Each week is a chance to better your score. Check out the new Time Trialling how-to video below.
The Time Trialling season runs from May to September with Opening Day is the first Saturday in May and kicks off with an opening ceremony, with owners “dressing” the boats for the traditional “Sail Past” parade to salute the dignitaries and then competing for the prestigious Commodores Trophy. Power Yacht time trialling is open to any marina compliant vessel with a motor that can travel at greater than 5 knots and less than 15. Events are scheduled on most Saturday‘s throughout winter. The Red Book: calendar of events & rules is available online.
The Closing Day event is generally the last Saturday in September, just before the Keelboat Opening Day. Power Section Prize Night is in October. SoPYC also joins with other Clubs monthly for a 5 heat CPYC State Series.
The Team and their Roles
Time Trialling is similar to car rally event where each numbered boat is a team of a skipper and navigator. The skipper is the driver and must know the Check Points (spit posts) on the river, various speed restrictions, passing to port or starboard and rules which may apply to the course. Rulebooks are available from OWG and website. The navigator is the timekeeper. Various forms of timing devices are used by navigators (from stopwatches, egg timers, modified kitchen clocks, phone apps and handheld computers. Accuracy is essential.
Events take between 40 – 120 minutes depending on your nominated speed. The socialising can kick off on the water for the less serious competitors, back in the pen or “rafted up. Teams are couples, husbands and wives, parents and children or work buddies. Most teams encourage a “support crew” contingent to join in the fun during competition. There is plenty of time for fun after the event and before results at 1800hrs so other guests can join in for drinks and nibbles. The Power Section hosts social events during the season; the Pre Season Cocktail Party, Kindred Club Band Night, State Heat Dinners, Mother’s Day event, Lady Skipper events, finishing with the Power Section Prize Night in October.
The Announcement of Results in Yachties Bar
The start team get busy compiling results, checking recorded tapes of the Check Points ready for the announcements at around 1800hrs. Members assemble in Yachties Bar eager to learn who have been the winners, share their stories and see how they scored on the day. Results are announced with pennants and trophies awarded by the Flag Officers for Handicap and Championship winners, wooden spoon for the highest score and the “Bent Prop” trophy for misdemeanours. It is customary for the winners to “Ring the Bell” which means rounds of drinks shared in the bar after results.