St Helena Cup 2021 Race Report from Magic Shadow
By Adrian Relf
The annual St Helena Cup hosted by Wynnum Manly Yacht Club was run on the weekend of Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 October 2021. Promoted as the biggest “Big Boat” regatta in Southern Queensland, 2021 did not disappoint with 105 boats entered across 3 Divisions – including 18 multihulls.
Thankfully COVID restrictions and lockdowns which have been a feature of 2021 stayed at bay and allowed for a relatively normal regatta atmosphere at WMYC at the Friday night briefing and following racing on Saturday and Sunday.
With 69 yachts in Monohull Division 1, the Race Committee made a point at Friday night’s briefing that a long start line would be set. They also introduced all competitors to the Code Flag “Z” which would be flown at the restart if a general recall was required. Under Code Z any boat that was in the triangle between the start boat, pin and first mark in the time period from the 1 minute warning until the start gun would be penalised 20% of their points. It seemed to work with both the Saturday and Sunday starts being relatively sedate affairs.
As per prior years, the multihull fleet started 30 minutes behind the Division 1 yachts, and would have the fun of picking their way through both Division 1 and Division 2 yachts.
The 18 strong multihull fleet included 5 trimarans ranging from Jacana, an F24 through to Prophecy a 36 foot Grainger that had made the trek down from Scarborough. Tribute (F31), Peter Hackett’s very rapid Full Bore (F9) and Magic Shadow (F28R) rounded out the pickleforks.
The 13 strong catamaran included the usual mixture of Extreme 40s (High Voltage and Parabellum), Schionnings (Zero, Esprit and McMoggy), Cut Snake, Indian Chief, Kestrel, Rushour, Rogntjuduuu and Ritalin. Rounding out the regular Manly based boats was the recently launched Stealth 12 Coconuts (similar to Cut Snake) and Free at Last, a Lightwave 38.
Saturday was a beautiful day on the Bay with light N/NNEs forecast. The race started in around 8-10 knots with the fleet being reasonably tightly bunched from the start to Mark A. With the wind coming from the NNE the first part of the race from the start until the northern Mark C was sailed under main and jib. Conditions were suiting the lighter cats and Full Bore, with the remaining performance cruising cats and trimarans reasonably closely bunched.
As the breeze still hadn’t come in for the downwind leg from Mark C to Mark D the challenge was running the right angle to keep the asymmetric kite filled without deviating too far from the rhumbline while picking our way through the monohull fleet.
We had been having a great tussle with McMoggy all race. On this leg they’d managed to sneak in front sailing deeper than we could. Prophecy was charging through the fleet with its masthead kite with Kestrel not far behind.
McMoggy made the best of the Mark D rounding, with Prophecy and a handful of monos fighting over the same piece of water. We were on the inside and having buoy room were able to round and get clean air. The leg from Mark D back to Mark B was a tight two sail reach and we were chasing McMoggy and able to edge back in front of Prophecy.
From Mark B it was a short kite run back to Mark A then another upwind leg to the finish. Given the light conditions the majority of the multihull fleet taking over 3 hours to complete the course.
Parabellum took out line honours as well as OMR. Coconuts was 2nd on OMR with Full Bore in 3rd. Tribute took out PHS honours (racing without a kite with appropriate handicap adjustment) followed by Coconuts and Full Bore.
The forecast for Race 2 on Sunday was for more breeze with N/NE forecast up to 20 knots during the course of the day. On the way to the start the breeze started building and by the time the gun went there was a solid 15 knots. The first leg to Mark A from the start was again upwind with some tide and chop to contend with.
The stronger conditions allowed the bigger boats to stretch their legs. We’d botched the start by being too far down the line – lots of clear air but having to fight the tide – and found ourselves playing catch ups as we went around Mark A and Mark B. With the breeze well and truly in at this stage, we set the kite for the run to Mark D and set off to chase down Jacana, Tribute and Prophecy.
With speeds consistently above 13 knots we quickly found ourselves once again in the heels of McMoggy as we headed towards Mark D. Rounding the mark behind McMoggy, and with Kestrel and Prophecy in sight, we started the upwind slog to Mark C.
Despite 8-9 knots of boat speed, the chop gave the longer cats and tri the advantage and they were able to extend their lead as we made our way north up the bay through the bulk of the monohull fleet. We rounded Mark C and set the kite for the run back to Mark B and then between the islands.
The second downwind leg on Sunday made up for sedate Saturday race with this leg sailed at 15 knots plus. Our Mark B rounding was memorable as we again were closing in on McMoggy but found the kite halyard and jib halyard had become twisted at the mast base when the jib was hoisted. With plenty of boatspeed (around 16-17 knots) we couldn’t fully lower the kite halyard! Thankfully Erin - in between hanging onto the kite on the leeward tramp - somehow managed to blow the halyard snap shackle which was still about 8 feet off the tramp. With the kite down, the halyard flying free in the breeze we managed to clean up the mess while 2 sail reaching at 14 knots plus and make it to the finish without any more dramas. Alasdair from McMoggy said they saw 18 knots on the leg from Mark B between the islands.
High Voltage took line honours and 2nd on OMR. Parabellum, who finished 12 seconds behind High Voltage took 1st on OMR with Indian Chief 3rd. PHS was Indian Chief, High Voltage with Coconuts in 3rd.
Overall results were:
|PHS||1st – Coconuts||2nd – Full Bore||3rd – Indian Chief|
|OMR||1st – Parabellu||2nd – High Voltage||3rd – Coconuts|
The Sunday race was also MYCQ Mixed Race 4 / Coolaroo Trophy. Results are below with Indian Chief taking the line honours/OMR/PRS trifecta – well done Geoff!