Tough Port Fairy

Double-handed 'Joker on Tourer', Grant Chipperfield’s Elliott 1250 Tourer, has won the ORCV 2023 Melbourne to Port Fairy yacht race.

10 April 2023


Double-handed ‘Joker on Tourer’, Grant Chipperfield’s Elliott 1250 Tourer, has won the Ocean Racing Club of Victoria (ORCV) tough and gruelling 2023 Melbourne to Port Fairy yacht race, while Andrew Neeson’s ‘Jaffa’ took line honours.

“We knew from the start it was going to be a tough race” explained Chipperfield.  “You need to do these sorts of races every now and then to prepare your boat and help sort things out and learn how to manage these conditions.

“The boat is well set up for double-handed racing so there are not a lot of sail changes needed and the physical side comes down to tacking and reefing.


“As we headed out of the heads, the breeze was 30 degrees more east than our route had predicted. We started out flying the code zero and managed to get it goose-winged before changing to the headsail in preparation for the wind building which allowed us to quickly flip it over and overtake 4 boats as the wind built.”

“We thought this would be a race of 2 parts. Slow tacking into the wind to Cape Otway and then as we rounded the Cape, we could crack the sheets for a nice reach to the finish.”

Chipperfield continued, “As we rounded Cape Otway, we found the wind was still westerly and on the nose, where we saw winds of 25 knots, gusting to 35 knots with a decent swell, especially as we passed the Twelve Apostles landmark.”

Grant went on to say “I must admit that as we approached Apollo Bay, I did think the pub was looking good there, as the race at this point was gruelling, challenging … and wet – but a good one to gain experience from as we set up our campaign and look towards Osaka in 2025.”

Tasmanian crew members Lillian Stewart onboard ORCV Commodore, Cyrus Allen’s, Beneteau First 50, White Spirit commented, “I loved the race, if you’re doing offshore racing the Port Fairy had all the elements to make it fantastic, sometimes scary but in the best ways and totally exhausting but that’s what we do offshore racing for.

“Arriving into Port Fairy, which is stunningly beautiful and being cheered in by the club members, now that’s special and that’s why we do destination racing for me, so thank you Port Fairy Yacht Club.”

Joker on Tourer will be retired now to a cruising life as Grant Chipperfield and Peter Dowdney prepare Joker X2, their new J133 boat and start the campaign with the upcoming double-handed race and 70th Apollo Bay in May, in preparation for the Osaka 2025.

Race Results:

Overall Winner – Joker on Tourer (MY1250), Grant Chipperfield, 1st on AMS, ORC, PHS and Double Handed

Second on ORC, AMS, PHS and Line honours,  Jaffa, Andrew Neeson (R39)

Full results can be found here.

Entries to the May Double Handed race and the 70th Apollo Bay race are open online. 

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