Hillarys Yacht Club racers head from Fremantle to Geraldton


Jon Sanders on Perie Banou II starts his circumnavigation with the Fremantle to
Geraldton race.
Jon Sanders on Perie Banou II starts his circumnavigation with the Fremantle to Geraldton race.

THREE yachts from Hillarys Yacht Club were amongst 23 that set sail from Fremantle on October 16 in a two-leg race to Geraldton.

They went on to Denham as part of the celebrations for the 400th anniversary of the landing of Dirk Hartog on the island that now bears his name.

The race start had been postponed 24 hours due to the forecast of dangerous wind and swell conditions off Cape Vlamingh, so with colourful spinnakers flying, the yachts were pushed along by the strong southerlies to set fast times for the leg to Geraldton.

Kraken sailed by Todd Giraudo was the most successful Hillarys yacht, winning the double-handed IRC division, whilst Mulberry (Mark Pitt) was sixth in division two and Perle (John Bird) was 11th but hit back, winning the Lobster Pot series on the lay-days in Geraldton.

With the strong southerly winds building, some anticipated a delay to the start for the Denham leg but this was not to be and several yachts withdrew before the start.

During the day the wind strengthened to 25 knots and then to more than 30 knots, gusting to 40 knots after midnight.

Kraken was one of two yachts to lose its mast and a third yacht lost steerage.

Surfing downwind at 14 knots, Perle gybed and the force broke the gooseneck, so the mainsail and boom were brought down and lashed to the deck.

Eleven yachts finished the race and five retired, including Perle and Kraken.

Mulberry went on to finish second in IRC and YAH division two, only eight minutes off first after racing for 32 hours, 47 minutes.

Jon Sanders, using the races to commence his 10th circumnavigation of the globe in Perie Banou II, sailed conservatively in the strong winds and after finishing rested for two days before sailing on to Carnarvon, which is his official exit point from Australia.

We wish Jon fair winds and calmer seas than were experienced in the Dirk Hartog classic ocean race as he sails around the globe.

As Alan Stein, who collected most of the trophies on offer in Dirty Deeds said at the presentations: “Thankfully the race is only held once every 400 years”.