It was a busy morning at Milang as around 1000 sailors prepared themselves for the 2016 The Marina Hindmarsh Island Milang-Goolwa Freshwater Classic on Sunday the 24th of January. The fleet of 170 trailable yachts, large multi- hulls and off the beach catamarans and dinghies made for a majestic sight for the thousands of spectators who lined the course, both on land and on water, from Pt Sturt all the way to Goolwa.
The course took entrants across Lake Alexandrina, passing through a gate midway between Milang and Pt Sturt, then another gate between beacon 88 and Point Sturt, along the River Murray, past Clayton and under the Hindmarsh Island Bridge to the finish line in front of the Goolwa Regatta Yacht Club.
The forecast in the week leading up to the race has firstly predicted around 10-15 knots from the South and that is exactly what eventuated.
The origin of the Milang-Goolwa dates back to 1966 when Edith and Esther, wooden river boats, raced from Goolwa to Milang to establish whose boat was fastest. 50 years later, Edith was amongst the fleet of 11 Vintage Wooden Boats to enter the Milang-Goolwa and continue the tradition of being the first division to start the race.
As boats pulled out of the reeds and off the beach at Milang to set their sails, many opted for their largest headsails. With the wind from the south at the start, the fleet split as some headed off on a port tack and others on a starboard tack. The fleet came together again at the first gate and then again at the Pt Sturt gate. From there yachts settled into a close hauled leg before nearing Rat Island where sheets could finally be cracked.
The approach to Clayton saw a few spinnaker division yachts hoist their kites, but it was a short run and quite shy. A large fleet of spectator boats were moored opposite Clayton and their cheers and encouragement boosted the sailors as they entered the final section of the race.
There was a large contingent of off the beach boats and many were grateful for the reassurance, support and assistance of the Victor Harbor and Goolwa Sea Rescue who provided a professional and superb effort on the day.
The race formally concluded back at the Goolwa Regatta Yacht Club, where the Official Presentations took place. Locky McLaren, Commodore of the GRYC, in welcoming competitors and guests thanked the sponsors for their continuing support and noted that: “no other freshwater yacht race brings competitors and spectators together the way this classic yacht race does. I want to thank the hardworking team of volunteers who have made this event such a success.”
The W.R. Appleby Trophy for the first boat on corrected in Division 1 went to Nimue, owned by Michael Jolly and helmed by Ray Brown. Nimue is a Herresoff, built in the last few years but whose design dates back 102 years. Many agree that she is the prettiest and most graceful yacht on the water in Goolwa, and certainly one of the fastest.
Meanwhile, t￼he Patrons Trophy for the fastest elapsed time of an unplaced yacht went to Mambo Queen, skippered ￼by Graeme Foristal.
In a long held tradition, the Keith Veenstra Memorial Trophy for the first Restricted 21 to cross the finishing line was awarded to Nerana, owned by Randal Cooper and skippered by Nigel Kies.
The Commodore’s Trophy for the first yacht on corrected time in either Division 4, 5 or 6 went to Maniac, a Boatspeed 23, owned by Daniel Fidock which also took out the Blue Darling Trophy for the fastest trailable yacht in Divisions 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6.
The Crowhurst Trophy for the first yacht in Division 2 around Point Sturt was Alternative Therapy a Clubman 8 owned and skippered by T Butcher.
Two Dogs, a Taipan 5.7 skippered by Tim Wright, took out the Cock of the Lake trophy for the fastest elapsed time across all divisions. Two Dogs completed the race in 2 hours, 24 minutes and 42 seconds.
Line Honours: Nimue (M Jolly)
On Corrected: Terrible (T O’Connell) Zeta (J Byron) Tern (M Badenoch)
Line Honours: Nerana (N Kies)
On Corrected: Nerana (N Kies) Oh Really! (M O’Reilly) Foxy (D Morrison)
Line Honours: Cat-el (P White)
On Corrected: Neophyte (D Morrison) Windrunner (D Barnes) Incognito (M Barkway)
Line Honours: Champagne (T Quilliam)
On Corrected: After Midnight (J Holgar) Serendipity (A Schilling) Farr ‘n’ Fast (L McLaren)
Line Honours: Sandpiper (B Taylor)
On Corrected: Sandpiper (B Taylor) Lyn Walker (N Steyn) Southern Accents (D Marsh)
Line Honours: Maniac (D Fidock)
On Corrected: Maniac (D Fidock) BOHICA (T Bartlett) P Plater (P Kelly)
Line Honours: Gold Finger (I MacDougall)
On Corrected: Gold Finger (I MacDougall) 50/50 (G Floyd) Hopscotch (S Edgar)
Line Honours: Beer Nuts... (D Snoad)
On Corrected: Beer Nuts... (D Snoad) Under the Radar (P Kirk) FWH Rabbits (C Todd)
Line Honours: Two Dogs (T Wright)
On Corrected: Two Dogs (T Wright) Ram Raider (J Southall) Wild Turkey (B Lienert)