Storm sets challenge in Hillarys Yacht Club keel race to Rottnest


Covert Operation heads back to Hillarys and into rough weather.
Lamotrek beats to windward on her way to third place.
Covert Operation heads back to Hillarys and into rough weather. Lamotrek beats to windward on her way to third place.

SAILORS set off for the annual keel race to Rottnest in mild sunny conditions on Saturday as part of the action at Hillarys Yacht Club on the weekend.

Little did they know they would be finishing in strong gusty winds, rain and lightning as Perth was lashed by storms on Sunday afternoon.

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Roric Smith on Surfer Rosa, a Pogo 12.5, excelled in the conditions on Saturday taking line honours by nine minutes from the flying catamaran Sally Malay skippered by Ian Walker.

It wasn’t enough however with handicap honours going to Perle, Sally Malay and First Impression (Ron Marian).

In division two the fastest yacht Covert Operation skippered by Graham Atkinson also took handicap honours by one second from Bruce Ellery on Show Me and Mark Taylor on Helga.

In division three Comfortably Numb (Stephen Okeefe) was first and fastest with Sensei (Brett Bailey) second and Rob Bills on Catabatic third.

A sleepless night for those who were anchored, sore heads for others and an unkind weather forecast greeted sailors for the return race to Hillarys.

In a frustrating, variable easterly, yachts tacked their way back to the coast before being hit with the storm front.

The wind increased to 25 knots and gusting much more, the sails flogged and boats heeled. All made it to the safety of the club before the rain bucketed down.

In division one First Impression was fastest and on handicap second to Perle with Lamotrek (John Akers) third.

In division two, although Covert Operation was fastest, handicap honours went to Show Me, Pandora (Chris Kelly) and Xtreme (HYC Youth squad). The results of Saturday were repeated in division three for Comfortably Numb, Sensei and Catabatic.