Sailing Started up again June 6 2020

Winter 2020 and season 2020-21

Activities started as planned on Sunday 7 June 2020 and thanks Ian for organising the day.  With competitive sailing banned owing to COVID19 but recreational sailing allowed under strict conditions, cruises were planned rather than winter races.  Two boats, with 5 persons in total, participated in the first (ever) winter cruise on June 7th.  Route was Queenscliff pier, PE, Parks inner, Queenscliff.  Sundance achieved it, Tiercel was beaten by the tide.  A classic case of two boats, speeds 4 and 5 knots, contrary tide of 4 knots, result: faster boat does 1 knot, slower one does zero knots.  A good day on the water, shifting a few cobwebs.  

No-one provided a halo for me when I was Commodore!
Screen Shot 2020-06-28 at 10.17.31 PM

The second outing was Sunday 28th June. And this was undertaken in light winds, again with two boats but a few more people.  It was a day for experiments with light weather sails.  Tiercel beat the 11.00 ferry out of the harbour and positioned herself in the ebb tide with main and blooper hoisted.  These found barely a breath of wind –  just enough to get steerage way occasionally and let the tide carry her to the outer Parks mark.  By then a little breeze allowed crabbing across the tide to the inner parks mark where she met Sundance going the other way round, having spent some time doing sail trials of her own.  The northerly breeze held (mostly) and reached about 8 knots, but real progress was only made when the tide turned at about 1.40.  Sundance was home well before Tiercel.  

Postponed cruise 3.

Screen Shot 2020-07-19 at 10.54.59 PM

The third planned cruise was postponed from 19th July to 26th July 2020 owing to a foul weather forecast (“near gale”) and then on the 26th the promised 12 knots failed to materialise. Sundance and Tiercel gave it a go but drifted for different lengths of time after a practice start also exercising Swan. The achievements were thus limited to a (rare) competitive start between those two boats and some more light-weather sail experimentation.

And again cruise 4.

For 9 August, the combination of increased restriction (limit of 2 on board) and weather forecast (fresh to strong wind) led to another cancellation by mutual consent.

Cruise on 29th August

Despite a similar forecast for brisk winds but an otherwise pleasant day, Tiercel and Boomaroo braved it and set forth to head in the general direction of Sorrento. In the event, with winds around 20 knots and gusting 24, skippers agreed to  target South Channel Fort (or at least the navigable water south of it). This was reached at 12.55 after about 90 minutes sailing from Queenscliff. The return journey with following tide took about 45 minutes after which Boomaroo explored further and Tiercel returned to her mooring.

Sunday 6 September 2020 tempted quite a few boats out.  Boomaroo and Tiercel for some independent cruising between Queenscliff, Port Phillip Heads and Coles Light, Sundance was on a mission to Geelong and several non-QLYC vessels including Ventura went for a sail.

Saturday 19 September 2020 – A fine day with winds around 15 knots saw Boomaroo, Tiercel and Valentine independently exploring. Significant flood tide caused speeds to range from 7 knots (with tide) to 2 knots (against tide). Race Qs replay.

The Sailing Committee is planning for commencement of racing on October 10th 2020 with a shakedown cruise on October 3rd (briefing 11.30 for a 13.00 start), provided the Covid situation does not worsen again. Racing in keelboats is now allowed, provided that for 90% of the time the 1.5 m distancing rule can be achieved. Thus there will be some restrictions and some modification to normal practice to allow for the situation, including how crews based in Melbourne may be catered for and no spinnakers while the 1.5 m rule is in place. See our “latest news” page for links to the advice concerning restrictions.

Ray Maki race 1 (10th Oct 2020) was blessed with good weather, but only Sundance and Tiercel took advantage of it and had a great day on the water. More to follow on this, but a RaceQs replay for Tiercel is on the “Results and Reports” page. 

Ray Maki Race 2 on 17th October 2020 was blessed with benign weather despite a daunting forecast. See “Sailing / Keelboat sailing / Race results and reports” page. For the first time ever, all boats on the water were logged into Race Qs allowing a replay.

Ray Maki race 3, scheduled for 24th October was postponed owing to a foul weather forecast. In the event, while the worst of the rain just missed us, at least at race time, the wind exceeded even the forecast – reaching (at S. Channel Fort) 30 knots a “near gale” and gusting to 35.

Ray Maki race 4 did occur as scheduled on 31st October 2020, with forecast winds (just) below 20 knots, but in reality reaching over 25 knots. Participants on course 7 were Sundance, Tiercel, Valentine and a welcome return for Indulgence. Indulgence was a bit keen and set off a minute early, Valentine and Tiercel were on time and on port tack (after multiple practice attempts to cross the line on starboard). Sundance had a free run over the line 10 minutes later. Indulgence (unreefed!) was going really well while using the shallows to escape the flood tide. The fleet converged near Pope’s eye beacon, after which the divisions separated in the expected manner. Indulgence lost it by going offshore too soon and copping the tide (which was probably faster than forecast owing to the brisk southerly). The downwind legs saw a lot of goose-winging, with varying levels of success. Over the line and on handicap the order was Sundance, Tiercel, Valentine, with Indulgence a dnf. Salt was rubbed into Indulgence’s wound with an engine failure, resulting in a sail into the swing moorings and involvement of Swan for a tow home.

Ray Maki race 5 was combined with the Cole Cup and run on 7th November 2020. A very good day on the water for Sundance, Tiercel, Valentine and Indulgence. See “Race results and reports” page.

Ray Maki race 6 happened on 14th November 2020 in difficult light conditions, with Indulgence and Sundance making it round the up-tide mark before fading winds stalled Valentine and Tiercel (handicap win for Indulgence followed by Sundance). On 21st November, the Festival Race was run as a “She Sails” event, in the form of a sternchaser aimed at ladies or at least ‘crew’ being on the helm for the sake of experience without the pressure of aggregate points. Another win for Indulgence.

This coming Saturday (November 28th) be there for Ray Maki Race 7.  And returning to “Good News” the (late Nov) update from Australian Sailing re Covid restrictions outlines relaxations:-


  • Organised club racing and training for all members (adults and youth) can resume. This includes double handed dinghies and all forms of fully crewed keel boats, trailables and sports boats.
  • Masks and social distancing are no longer required while sailing
  • There is no limit on the number of boats on the water for racing or training.
  • Group sizes limited to 50 people (subject to a density quotient of 1 per  4sqm) in rigging area, keeping 1.5m social distancing unless wearing masks. Multiple groups of 50 to be separated by a clear and reasonable gap.

Ray Maki race 7 was run on 28th November 2020 with three vessels, Tiercel, Valentine and Indulgence.  To compensate for last week’s forecast brisk winds but actually calms, this race brought winds around 20 knots after forecast calms.  Results, both ‘over the line’ and on handicap were Indulgence, Valentine and Tiercel.  See “Race Results and Reports” page.  Report to follow.  

The Ray Maki Supplementary scheduled for 5 December 2020, in which we hoped to pick up the missed RM3 race was cancelled owing to a fearsome weather forecast. After consulting the BoM, Willy Weather, Predict Wind, Windy, etc. it set a new record for both variability and unreliable forecasts. A good show at briefing, with skippers or crew from Sundance, Valentine, Tiercel, Indulgence and Drizabone attending, but all agreed to play safe and ‘give if a miss’. This was encouraged by the sound of wind whistling in rigging and the “paperwork” blowing away and into the boatyard fence. As it happened, by the time we would have been motoring out the wind was down to 4 knots at South Channel Fort and locally – but soon to be in the upper 20’s again. So no complaints about the cancellation, particularly when it started to rain as well, later in the afternoon. Hope for better luck with the second ‘supplementary’ for the Ray Maki series.

The remainder of the 2020-21 racing season was completed with reasonable success despite COVID and weather challenges, with Tiercel taking out the aggregate trophy for the season.  The Presentation Dinner could not occur owing to COVID restrictions.

Season 2021-22

The weather did not grant a very good start to this season with Ray Maki races 1 to 3 being abandoned. Fleet sizes were also depleted by health and other issues. However, the following races were achieved by the end of January 2021.

Ray Maki 4 and 7 plus a supplementary race on January 8 in combination with the Irwin Trophy
Cole Cup, Champagne Sternchaser, Commodore’s Cup, Irwin Trophy, Lady Skippers trophy,
Cec Anderson races 1 and 2.

5th February 2022
The scheduled Cec Anderson race 3 fell foul of the weather gods.  Despite a very suitable forecast, the divergence of reality vs forecast got “personal” with a calm of zero knots at 1.40 pm (S Channel record) and any recovering breeze ‘boxing the compass’ in terms of direction.  After valiant and patient efforts including vessels drifting way down-tide (Drizabone) and/or grounding (Indulgence), the race was abandoned at 3 p.m. In fact two restarts had been attempted with only Sundance crossing the start line and even she unable to make the first mark. The patient vessels “messing about in boats” were Sundance, Valentine, Indulgence, Drizabone and (thanks) Swan.

12 February 2022
Hopefully, if the wind gods relent, the scheduled Lady Nelson Trophy race will happen.

BUT they did not relent and strong winds precluded a race on this day for the opposite reason – winds in the mid 20’s (knots) when forecast was again promising.

19 February 2022

As a change from racing, a cruise for Couta boats was organised, and was carried off successfully. There was joy in getting 5 couta boats out of Queenscliff Harbour and on a cruise over to the other peninsula accompanied by some of the Club’s regular keel boats. A substantial tide was offset by the winds being stronger than forecast.

Commodore Geoffrey keeps an eye on the Couta boats from the helm of Indulgence.

Saturday 19 March 2022

If anyone doubts the malevolence of the weather gods this year, see the timing of the calm which prevented the completion of a “Maritime Weekend” race.

A vindictiveness in timing only matched by the next Saturday (26 March 2022) – scheduled for picking up the Maritime Festival race plus a Ray Maki supplementary. This was coupled with a strong ebb tide.

Despite the shortage of wind during the critical period, a race was achieved (slightly delayed) with 5 vessels, all finishing. Order on handicap Indulgence, Coral Lee, Valentine, Sonsy, Sundance.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s