BY HARRY FISHER
A DOMINANT display by Geoff Boettcher’s Secret Men’s Business in Port Lincoln this week helped his team to an overall IRC victory in the state’s premier keelboat racing regatta.
The Club Marine/Lexus Lincoln Week Regatta win caps off a successful 2015/16 season for the 52-footer following on from an overall IRC victory at the Geelong Festival of Sails in January and a third overall in the IRC nationals in Hamilton Island last June.
|Geoff Boettcher’s Secret Men’s Business took out the Club Marine/Lexus Lincoln Week Regatta. Photo: Take 2 Photography|
Ward sailed well to be well clear of third place however wasn’t fast enough for the champion, taking just a single race win away from Secret Men’s Business after they suffered spinnaker damage in the second to last race.
Boettcher’s crew work was just a little more seamless than the other boats in the fleet and the weather conditions and courses seemed to suit the larger boats on the IRC rating system.
|Jason Ward’s Concubine was second overall in the Lincoln Week Regatta. Photo: Take 2 Photography|
|Phil Coombs’ Simply Fun finished fourth overall. Photo: Take 2 Photography|
BY HARRY FISHER
Geoff Boettcher’s 52-footer was closely matched by Jason Ward’s 45-foot Concubine, which finished with a third and a second on IRC in the opening two races.
|Some of the fleet sailing downwind on the first day of Lincoln Week. Photo: Take 2 Photography|
“It’s going to be excellent racing from now on, there’s nothing in it,” he said.
“The second race we did win but we didn’t think we did, we thought Concubine got us but we were lucky to have snuck in nicely.”
|Jason Ward’s Concubine racing on day one of Lincoln Week. Photo: Take 2 Photography|
“I think the bigger boats tend to clear out a little bit in the longer races, as long as we’ve got enough wind, the big boats might have a good day tomorrow,” he said.
|Scott Mutton’s 3 Cool Cats was third on division one PHS in the first race today. Photo: Take 2 Photography|
SATURDAY, 20 FEBRUARY 2016
BY HARRY FISHER
Fresh off a line honours and IRC handicap victory in the Club Marine/Lexus Adelaide to Port Lincoln Yacht Race, Geoff Boettcher’s Secret Men’s Business heads in to the Lincoln Week regatta as a heavy favourite but will be put to the test against a range of competitive boats eyeing a regatta win.
|Jason Ward’s Concubine is one of many boats capable of claiming IRC honours in the Club Marine/Lexus Lincoln Week regatta. Photo: Down Under Sail|
Lincoln Week regatta chairman Andy Dyer said there were several boats capable of winning the regatta on IRC handicap this week, which included several from interstate.
“We’ve had a really good contingent come over from Victoria and it certainly improves the regatta and makes it more of a national type event,” Dyer said.
He said as well as Secret Men’s Business and Concubine, several other South Australian boats such as Adelaide’s Aikin and Port Lincoln’s Fresh were going to be capable of winning.
“We’ve just come back from Geelong’s Festival of Sails and I think our IRC fleet is probably as competitive, if not more so, as it was down there.
“Concubine and Secret Men’s are definitely two of Australia’s premier IRC boats at the moment so we know that the competition this week is going to be between some of the best boats going around in Australia.”
Six races will be sailed in the four-day regatta that finishes on Thursday, with the first two in-shore races scheduled for Monday on Boston Bay.
BY HARRY FISHER
A STRONG Victorian contingent made the trip to South Australia last week to sail from Adelaide to Port Lincoln in search of a good time on the water and a fun, laid-back regatta.
Phil Coombs, owner and skipper of the Sandringham-based 42-foot Simply Fun, led a fleet of seven Victorian keel boats in this year’s Club Marine/Lexus Adelaide to Port Lincoln Yacht Race.
|Cheryl and Phil Coombs sailed in the Adelaide to Port Lincoln this year, which they think is one of the most enjoyable keel boat events in Australia. Photo: Down Under Sail|
He said people in Victoria had been talking about the reputation of the Adelaide to Port Lincoln, as well as the Lincoln Week regatta that follows, as an event with an enjoyable culture that was attracting more interstate teams.
“I think it’s recognised in sailing as one of the best regattas you can do with a keel boat,” Coombs said.
“People are now moving towards looking to have a lot more fun with their racing, to be able to have their boats, do something with it and have a lot of fun so this regatta, I think, will gain in strengths.”
|The Simply Fun crew in Adelaide before the race. Photo: Down Under Sail|
As well as Simply Fun, six other Victorian boats participated in the race including Alien,Bandit, Hartbreaker, How Bizarre, Laurelle and Wicked, as well as a few sailors fromHush that joined in with a South Australian boat.
Coombs, who did his second Adelaide to Port Lincoln race this year, said he was eager to bring wife Cheryl along to experience the event and that many Victorians were spreading the word about how enjoyable Lincoln Week was.
“Like a lot of things it’s word of mouth. A number of people said ‘look I’m doing it this year because you’ve told me how good it is’,” he said.
“In terms of spreading the word there’s only one way to do it and that’s word of mouth.”
|Simply Fun made it to Port Lincoln in a time of 14 hours, 57 minutes and 9 seconds. Photo: Down Under Sail|
Simply Fun was the third boat to arrive in Port Lincoln on Saturday morning and were also third overall on IRC and AMS.
Coombs headed in to the race with confidence and said Simply Fun would definitely be “in the mix” for the race and the Lincoln Week regatta.
For more information about Lincoln Week and for full results, visit the regatta website.
For more information about Down Under Sail, contact Harry via email at[email protected]
FRIDAY, 19 FEBRUARY 2016
BY HARRY FISHER
Starting the Club Marine/Lexus Adelaide to Port Lincoln Yacht Race in strong south to southeasterly breezes, skipper Geoff Boettcher and his team had the record of 12 hours, 3 minutes and 17 seconds, set by Victorian yacht Scarlet Runner in 2011, firmly in sight.
|Secret Men’s Business sailed in to Boston Bay just before 3am Saturday morning. Photo: Take 2 Photography|
Secret Men’s Business navigator Steve Kemp said the wind went further square downwind towards the end of the race, slowing their boat speed and perhaps costing them the few crucial minutes they needed.
“We got down to Cape Spencer and then had a pretty well square run up to Dangerous Reef which slowed the progress down,” Kemp said.
“We had the pedal to the metal and we knew it was only going to be minutes in it but we couldn’t quite get there in the end.
“But still, records are made to be broken so next year we’ll go again.”
Concubine navigator Jason Clark said they were able to hold on to the slightly bigger and faster race leader while the breeze was on the nose off the start line, but as the race turned in to more of a downwind battle, it became harder to keep in touch.
“We knew once we got over towards the foot of Yorke Peninsula that SMB were going to be hard to beat because from that point on the race was going to be off the breeze and mostly downwind which is exactly what the boat’s quickest conditions are.
“We focused on trying to hang on to them across there and I think we were inside 10 minutes at Marion Reef.”
|The Secret Men’s Business crew on the docks in Port Lincoln. Photo: Take 2 Photography|
The race was one of the fastest in recent years with many of the tail enders finishing close together at about lunch time on Saturday.
Secret Men’s Business looks likely to clinch the IRC handicap honours as well with official resulted being announced at the race presentation at the Port Lincoln Yacht Club on Sunday afternoon.
WEDNESDAY, 17 FEBRUARY 2016
BY HARRY FISHER
A WINDY forecast for Friday night has brought an impressive race record in sight as sailors prepare for what is expected to be a fast voyage in this year’s Club Marine/Lexus Adelaide to Port Lincoln Yacht Race, which starts at 3pm today.
Geoff Boettcher’s 52-foot Secret Men’s Business heads in to the race as the reigning line honours champion and the favourite to take it out again, but this year with a primary goal of getting there in record time.
|Secret Men’s Business off the start line in last year’s Club Marine/Lexus Adelaide to Port Lincoln Yacht Race. Photo: Take 2 Photography|
“We’re out this time to beat the record,” Boettcher said.
“With the wind as it is there’s half a chance we can knock off the record that was set by someone the other side of the border.”
Scarlet Runner competed in last year’s race however was sold during 2015 and unfortunately will not be heading out to the start line on Friday.
|Concubine going for one of it’s first sails in 2015. Photo: Down Under Sail|
Ward’s purpose-built ocean racer will thrive in the windy conditions and will be looking to arrive in Port Lincoln along with Secret Men’s Business in the early hours of Saturday morning.
MONDAY, 15 FEBRUARY 2016
BY HARRY FISHER
MANY yachties say sailing is in their blood, but in the South Australian offshore racing scene, there is one particular person who has the right to state the claim.
Adam “Rat” Common, who mans the bow on Adelaide-based TP-52 Secret Men’s Business, will this year compete in his 17th consecutive Club Marine/Lexus Adelaide to Port Lincoln Yacht Race – however the most impressive thing is that he is only 26 years old.
|Adam Common, 26, is no stranger to the Club Marine/Lexus Adelaide to Port Lincoln Yacht Race and will compete in his 17th race on board Secret Men’s Business this year. Photo: Down Under Sail|
Common was introduced to offshore racing when he competed in the race to Port Lincoln for the first time at the age of 10, racing in the cruising division with his parents Jeff and Sylvia on the family-owned Pion 30.
He continued racing with his parents and did about five races with them until he got involved in the Secret Men’s Business program, which he has been a part of ever since.
Common said he had noticed a lot of changes over the last 17 years of the race and he had also enjoyed the experience of learning new things each and every year.
“With my parents it was quite a long race it seemed, but on the big boat now it’s barely even an overnight race, it’s pretty quick,” he said.
“We just did the cruising division and I probably didn’t do anything, but I was there.
“I did four or five races with my parents and have been on Secret Men’s Business since then.”
|Adam Common (far right) sailing on Geoff Boettcher’s TP-52 Secret Men’s Business in last year’s Club Marine/Lexus Lincoln Week regatta. Photo: Down Under Sail|
Common’s career on Secret Men’s Buisness has involved sailing on several different boats, all under the same name, including the 2010 Sydney Hobart handicap winning 51-foot Secret Men’s Business 3.5.
Common said the boat’s owner Geoff Boettcher was someone he really enjoyed sailing with and was looking forward to getting on the water with him for yet another Adelaide to Port Lincoln campaign.
“Geoff is getting a bit old but he’s still up there as one of the best in the fleet,” he said.
“I’ve always loved sailing with him, I always will, he’s a really good steerer and a lot of fun.”
As well as the race over from Adelaide, Common will once again compete in the Club Marine/Lexus Lincoln Week regatta, which runs for four days on Boston Bay from the Monday through to the Thursday the week after the race.
Common said Lincoln Week created a “mixed vibe” that was different to many other regattas he had sailed and was one of the highlights of the yachting calendar each year.
He said there was quality racing, enjoyable banter and plenty of bar talk at the event, which created a very infectious and enjoyable atmosphere for all the competitors.
After 17 years of competing, Common said the Adelaide to Port Lincoln had become a part of his life and that he intended to compete in it for many years to come.
For more information about Lincoln Week visit the website at www.lincolnweek.com.au
For more information about Down Under Sail contact Harry Fisher via email at[email protected]
WEDNESDAY, 10 FEBRUARY 2016
BY HARRY FISHER
TIMES were a lot different when Royal South Australian Yacht Squadron veteran David Henshall raced in the Adelaide to Port Lincoln Yacht Race for the first time.
There was no GPS technology with sailors using dead-reckoning navigation techniques to calculate their position, the water-proof gear was not quite as warm and the race was often slower and wetter with 30-foot yachts beating to windward at less than five knots.
|David Henshall has sailed out of the Royal South Australian Yacht Squadron for more than 50 years and will this year compete in the Club Marine/Lexus Adelaide to Port Lincoln Yacht Race in his J122 Aria. Photograph: Down Under Sail.|
But even ahead of this year’s Club Marine/Lexus Adelaide to Port Lincoln Yacht Race, Henshall’s excitement for competing in South Australia’s premier ocean race has not changed – he is still looking forward to it just as much as his first.
At the ripe age of 73, Henshall has purchased a new boat, a J122 racer/cruiser called Aria and will be racing over with a crew of about six, which includes his two sons Bruce and Paul.
He said the Adelaide to Port Lincoln was something he always enjoyed racing in and even after many years of committing himself to Etchell sailing, it was something he had always come back to several times.
“We’d take Lara, a Cavalier 395, to Lincoln every now and then,” he said.
“We never had a highly trained overnight crew but finished up in the first 10 most times.”
This will be the first Adelaide to Port Lincoln race for Henshall in his new boat and he said there were still a few things he was getting used to, mainly learning to sail with an asymmetric spinnaker.
He said his sons were also going to be great assets to the team, with one of them a very good trimmer and the other having the electronic smarts to take over the navigation duties.
But when asked what the best feeling about sailing in an Adelaide to Port Lincoln race was, Henshall simply said: “when you get there!”
He said Port Lincoln was a great place with a welcoming club and an enjoyable culture and he had always celebrated in the right spirit after finishing a race over.
Henshall said over time he had seen the race change quite a bit, from a race sailed predominantly by 30-footers in the early days to a race now dominated by boats in the 40-foot range with several appearances from powerful 50-plus foot racing yachts likeSecret Men’s Business and Scarlet Runner in recent years.
He said the strength of the event, especially for sailors who were also interested in cruising, was always going to be in the 40-foot range.
“It’s always a bit difficult for clubs like Port Lincoln to keep on pulling the really big boats,” he said.
“I bought a J122 because it’s reasonably quick, but it’s still a respectable cruising boat.”
Henshall is just one of many sailors in the twilight of their careers racing in this year’s race, but he said it just went to show that sailing was a sport for everyone and the Adelaide to Port Lincoln race was something anyone could take part in and enjoy.
“I just like feeling six or seven tonnes of boat ploughing to windward as fast as you can get it to go – there’s no greater feeling,” he said.
For more information about the Club Marine/Lexus Adelaide to Port Lincoln Yacht Race visit the website at www.lincolnweek.com.au
For more information about Down Under Sail contact Harry Fisher at[email protected]