Sense of Vertigo

Vertigo takes IRC honours in Apollo Bay Race.

Written by Di Pearson/ORCV media
Photography by Bruno Cocozza

20 May 2019


Vertigo, the Summit 35 owned and skippered by Tim Olding, has won the IRC class of the Ocean Racing Club of Victoria’s (ORCV) slow-going 52 nautical mile 2019 Apollo Bay Race, which started on Saturday at 8.15 am with a record fleet of 29 entered. 

Olding and his daughter Clare, who missed this weekend’s race, regularly make the podium in Victorian offshore and keelboat events. This time Vertigo beat Justin Brenan’s Lidgard 36, Alien, and Archie, the Archambault A35 of Jeff Sloan and Simon Bell for the overall win under IRC. 

Vertigo, from the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria, also took out AMS, while Nigel Rose’s Swarbrick S111 Algy Rose, which finished second in AMS, won PHS overall honours from Alien.

Back at Williamstown, Olding commented, “The race was a game of snakes and ladders. We spent a lot of time gybing to stay in the pressure and kept our heads out of the boat watching the other boats to see where pressure was. We wanted to avoid falling into the holes, and we saw a few fall in.”


Olding said the name of the game was to, “trim, trim, trim the whole way to keep the boat moving. We changed sails a couple of times, swapping between the Code Zero and spinnaker.  There were only four of us on board, which wasn’t bad considering the light breeze, but it meant we had to work hard the whole way. The breeze hung in and we got in just on sunset.”

Vertigo’s next major event is the Australian Women’s Keelboat Regatta in early June, when Clare Olding will take charge and skipper an all-female crew.

Last boat in was John Hall’s Zeston 40, Wingara, which arrived in Apollo Bay an hour before the clock struck midnight.

Jason Close’s J133, Patriot, led the record fleet of 29 from Port Phillip Heads. East of the fleet, aboard the Warwick 67, Allegro, Adrian Lewis and crew looked to be taking the offshore approach when they chased a light 5 knot north-westerly breeze as the fog burnt off.

On the line was the 20-year race record set by Peter Blake’s Kaos in 1999, in the time of 5 hours 24 minutes 4 seconds. It stayed very safe for yet another year, as conditions did not provide anything near enough to do the job.

On the upside, kites hoisted just after the start delivered a kaleidoscope of colour, visible to those driving along the Great Ocean Road. So light was the breeze, crews were given their own opportunity of sight-seeing along one of the most scenic stretches of shoreline in Australia. The natural beauty spot attracts thousands upon thousands of visitors from around the world each year.

Aboard Blue Water Tracks, the well-known Moody 54DS owned by Grant Dunoon, Jill Blunsom from the ‘Beyond the Bay’ program was given an ideal introduction to offshore racing. An initiative of ORCV, the program is designed to help people ‘live their dream’ and to sail the oceans. 

Late Saturday afternoon light airs were still challenging the fleet. Between puffs of wind and sail changes there was plenty of time for dolphin watching and sharing stories. 

As the afternoon wore on, Gerry Cantwell’s Marten 49, Carrera S, was leading After Midnight, the modified Farr 40 owned by Stephen Richardson.

Grant Durran’s DK 46, Extasea, and Terry Posma’s Jaffa were not far behind. Nor was the lone multihull in the fleet, Peccadillo, a Chris White 46 MKII owned by Charles Meredith. In the end Carrera S took line honours shortly after 5pm last evening. 

On arrival at the destination, Paul Cannon from the Apollo Bay Sailing Club was waiting to greet crews with a barbecue and a drink around the fire pit – does it get any better? 

“We are very happy to report a record fleet of 29 boats entered our season ending ocean race,” Martin Vaughan, Commodore of the ORCV said.

“Competitors always enjoy this coastal race and all it entails.

“We thank the Colac Otway Shire Council, which manages the port on behalf of Victoria’s Department of Transport. They have done a lot of work dredging and upgrading the harbour to welcome our fleet and most of our 188 sailors in the race take advantage of an overnight stop to enjoy a warm welcome at the Apollo Bay Sailing Club,” he ended.

The last race of the Club’s summer season each year, the Apollo Bay Race is open to monohulls and multihulls. The course traditionally takes the fleet from Queenscliff, then out of Port Phillip Heads before turning right to follow the coast to Apollo Bay. 

This year however, ORCV Race Director Nick McGuigan announced that due to the light breeze and fog, the race would start outside the Port Phillip Heads at the alternative start line with a new start time of 8.15 am. 

Among the entries was Terry Posma’s Runnalls 39, Jaffa. Three of his crew of five flew in from Perth especially for the race. She was the only ‘stranger in town’ among the otherwise strong Victorian fleet.

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