The RYCT 67th TasPorts Maria Island Race 2014 was another excellent opportunity for the Audere Team to further prepare and fine tune in preparation for the 2014 Rolex Sydney to Hobart.
With an evening start, the conditions were again variable along the course, with good pressure and lumpy seas for the night time rounding of Tasman Island – always an exhilarating experience!! The return leg was greeted by a strong sou wester, with steep seas – it would have paid to be 15Nm further along the course!!
The fleet circumnavigated the picturesque and historical Maria Island to starboard. Through the Mercury Passage then outside and off shore. Maria Island is truly an amazing place, in early history the island was frequented by the nearby aboriginal tribe of Oyster Bay, and with post European activity including a convict settlement, limestone quarry, vineyard and in modern times tourism. This World renowned National Park has been formally recognised for its natural beauty, captivating views and complete hiking experience. Whichever way you round the island you can’t help but appreciate it.
Audere had a good race - finishing 5th on both IRC and PHS and in significantly less time than the previous year. The testing conditions made the crew work hard, and provided further opportunity to focus on course and sail selection, and the smoothness of sail changes, tacks and gybes. A serious finger injury to a competing crew member, and a knee injury to one of our own reinforces the importance of safety, and the preparation required to deal with any challenges thrown at you during a race.
Intense racing is great to improve all your skills, and short Course Club racing returns to the River Derwent on Saturday 21st where I’ll be crewing for the local Farr 1104 ‘Invincible’. Invincible boasts an impressive record both locally and in many mainland races over many years. One of the best aspects of sailing, and one I know that many people are fortunate indeed to share and experience, is to be part of a competitive and close team, focussed on the task, and working seamlessly to meet all the challenges experienced in racing. Getting that experience is critical, and the crew of Invincible has helped me learn and grow as a sailor for near on a decade.
My experience on Invincible, and what I have learnt from the Skipper Harold Clark, Darren Clark, and the Invincible crew has been invaluable, and prepared me well for my first Sydney to Hobart later in 2014.