The GANT Portsea Cup was held on Saturday 9 January 2021.
After holding ashore, waiting and wishing for the breeze to build, 45 Couta Boats headed off to Portsea to challenge the variable breeze and ripping ebb tide.
Boats had to choose between the heavily tide favoured pin end of the line or the course favoured start vessel end. After 2 General Recalls under the P flag the U flag was used and the boats got off to a clean start.
With the increase in pressure those that picked the start vessel end quickly tacked, they were going right, that was the favoured leg to sail.
The first mark was a bit exciting as the boats converged on the mark on port, just passing the mark then tacking off to head to the wing mark. Because of the ripping ebb tide, the wing mark was repositioned so that the “reach” would be a down-wind leg and there were boats coming down on both Gybes.
Although the bottom mark was laid before the start, it was basically thrown in as Tally the mark boat was taking on water and the inner bilge pump wasn’t keeping up so she had to be lifted out of the water. The Race Committee did a good job to re-group and get things sorted for a start and then after the start the bottom mark was re-laid into the correct position to square up the beats.
Regardless of the position, so many boats misjudged the tide and wind approaching from mark 1 and mark 2 so there was a bit much happening for the umpire to call every incident with certainty – What was the zone overlap and what was the gap and course of the boats that went around up to 6 wide.
Some boats worked out they broke a rule and took a voluntary penalty, some boats made a free penalty by gybing from Starboard to Port after they passed mark three and were on the new leg – a beat.
Others had the help of the umpire to decide on the rule breach.
There were lots of calls to make throughout the race. In Div 2, Fiona clawed back on every leg after starting toward the pin but couldn’t catch up on the lead that Sally Law’s Duchess had built from her start vessel start strategy taking out the victory in Div 2.
In Div 1, Beau had the Admiral on board and chose a right side strategy getting to mark 1 with the leaders and went on to get third, Georgia was second and after 35 years, Peter Hannah with son Tim was back on the podium with Armadale.
Line Honours went to Jocelyn helmed by Steven Bond in Div 1 and Michael Cantwell’s Aliscia in Div 2.
First Heritage Boat in Div 1 was Davide Kamer’s C14 Surprise – great to see her back racing again helmed by Tom Chisholm.,
Sunday’s picnic and presentation was on Lavendar Hill and the fleet were thrilled for the winners. A particularly popular win was Sally Law in Duchess, who made a heartfelt speech, thanking all of her supporters including Andrew Creek, who have helped her in her journey as a new Couta Boat owner.
Thank you to GANT for their ongoing support. The results were:
Div 1: First heritage boat: Surprise C14 David Kamer / Tom Chisholm
Handicap: 1st Armadale C58 Peter Hannah
2nd: Georgia C2015 Peter Blake / Jeffrey Richardson
3rd: Beau C1998 Nick Dorman / David Beck
Line Honours: Jocelyn C2014 Mal Hart
2nd over the line: Romy C2003 David Hendy
Handicap 1st: Duchess C21 Sally Law
2nd: Fiona C81 Graham Cunningham
3rd: Blondie C15 David Birkill
Line Honours: Aliscia C33 Michael Cantwell