THE first Fremantle to Exmouth Ocean Race and Rally in 30 years was held this week, but this time with more than a quick finish in mind.
The beginning of the revived race proved challenging for some, with racing newcomer Enterprise NG virtually becalmed at the start line, along with Weapon of Choice.
Enterprise quickly recovered, but was beaten for line honours by two-time Siska trophy winner Indian.
“Distances blow out very quickly,” Exmouth race officer Bernie Kaaks said.
“The Indian is asserting her authority which is part of her size.
“She’s a much bigger boat…and as the breeze softens you would expect her to pull away a bit.”
Mr Kaaks said there were “heartbreaking” engine problems on Michael Cameron’s yacht Freja coming into Jurien Bay last weekend which forced him to retire from the race.
Rally boat Giddy Up met a similar fate with spinnaker problems at Steep Point.
The revamped race had more at stake than being the first to cross the finish line in Exmouth, with Fremantle Sailing Club putting a strong focus on reducing the environmental impact of 38 yachts sailing up WA’s fragile coral coast.
According to research scientist Scott Fields, sailing boats are responsible for petroleum, human waste, trash, and potentially toxic metals seeping into coastal waters.
Race teams vied for a $300 cash prize this year by reducing their impact. Criteria developed by an environmental committee focused on tplanning menus to reduce wastage, using reusable cutlery and ensuring the engine was free of oil leaks.
“We’ve become very environmentally conscious, to the point where when you take off on a race these days, everything you took on the boat either stays on or comes off in a plastic bag,” Mr Kaaks said.
by ZOE HOGAN