2018 Inverloch Classic Wooden Dinghy Regatta – Report

You can view the 2018 ICWDR Gallery here: 2018 ICWDR Gallery

So this year was a bit different to last year, this year they knew we were coming.

I think it is a safe bet to say that Chris Cleary, Ian Milton and myself had been looking forward to this regatta since January last year, when the 2017 ICWDR came to an end. In the meantime we all had some sailing going on, at Ballarat, at Narrabeen, at the CHS in Belmont and at Cairn Curran, but the 2018 ICWDR was what we were all working towards.

After the Classic Dinghy Weekend at Cairn Curran in November it was time to focus on “getting the band back together” for another run, so emails were sent, promos were posted and people were bothered on the telephone. Not everyone who made it along last year could make it this year due to other commitments but there were a few new faces and one surprise entrant to keep the numbers up. And then, with just a few weeks to go, we had a surprise elimination from the regatta, when Chris Cleary attacked his garage door with his head. The garage door won and the surgeon grounded him, evidently further blows to the head were considered to be not in Chris’s best interests.

Two of the classic boats of the Sailfish class were on display at The Hub, Jack Carroll’s original Sailfish, Debonair and Mrs Vicious, the boat Leigh Marriott built and sailed to success in the first National Titles. We had ten entries for the Regatta itself, so, as Lyn Wallace said, that makes twelve boats, one more than last year, and more than any other class, again.


We arrived on Thursday afternoon to have time to set up Mrs Vicious in The Hub before the event proper kicked off on Friday. Dropping Bruce! and Stanley off at the sailing club first we met Ian Ward and caught up with Jim French who were just on their way up to The Hub to help with the setup of the Moth displays. We arrived at The Hub just in time to help lift in Olive, the original Inverloch 11 footer, the precursor to the International Moth class. Olive proved a heavy lift for six of us, so right there is a great example of how what became the Moth has evolved over the last 90 years. Chris Drury turned up just in time to help me carry in Mrs Vicious and to help set her up and with that we were done for the day.

IMG_20180128_094756498Debonair and Mrs Vicious on display at The Hub, 2018 ICWDR. [By Greg Barwick, Inverloch, 28 January 2018]


Friday morning dawned clear and bright and it was off to the South Gippsland Yacht Club to check out the lay of the land and see who was there.

The beach, where the hell was the beach!


Boat ramp and not beach, Saturday morning. [By Greg Barwick, Inverloch, 27 January 2018]

High tide around 0800 meant that the ramp disappeared into the Inlet and all there was for some time was rocks. Back up to the clubhouse for the now usual friendly greeting from the club members, signing in for the regatta and wandering around catching up with people. Jack Carroll was there nice and early and poking around looking at the different boats and their setups. Due to the severe lack of beach the Social Sail had to be cancelled, there was literally nowhere we could even get boats rigged up until nearly eleven o’clock. During all this time the wind was at best light and variable with a strong run out current. When I said to Brian Carroll it must be at least five knots he thought it more likely to be nearer to ten, making headway against that in a two knot breeze really wasn’t an option.

Along with the Sailfish we knew would be there we had one surprise entrant, Duncan Blake turned up with his Australian Sailfish of no name and carrying sail number 3281 on what looked to be a significantly older hull. The other surprise of the weekend was that the sandbars were completely different to last year, coming in much closer to the boat ramp and making for a fairly narrow but deep channel.

Race briefing was about 1.45 with the first division away at 2.30, Sailfish five minutes after that and the third division five minutes after that. The course was set out to the southwest towards the entrance of Anderson Inlet and when we got out there it was windier and rougher than expected, with the last of the run out tide straight into the wind, which I later found out peaked at around 17 knots. A few of us (not just me this year) demonstrated capsize drill in the melee before the start and I was determined to make a better go of the start than last year. And I almost did.

Coming down to the line inside the last minute there was a brief moment where I thought I had cracked it, then the run out tide carried me over the line about 5 seconds early (sob) so around the end and restart for me. Still, it was better than missing it by two minutes like last year, I guess.

Ian Milton won the start taking the lead at the port favoured end of the line while Brian was at the starboard end gambling that the tidal current would be of greater benefit than the windward advantage. As it played out the effect of the current was quite even along the line and the lift along the shore did not make up the deficit. Ken O’Brien was near Ian at the port end followed a couple of boat lengths behind by Emma with Ken Maynard on Gonzo, slightly to leeward of Emma. At Brian’s end of the line I had passed across early as mentioned and returned to cross slightly to windward of Chris Drury at the pin.

Brian had a couple of swims up the first work allowing others some respite from his speed, it took some time to convert his technique from the Contender World titles to that of sailing a Sailfish. Going up the work Ken O’Brien and Emma Milton passed slightly in front of Ian after a tack at the shoreline, with Duncan very close. Fetching across to the port side of the course gave back the advantage to Ian who rounded clear ahead. Emma was next followed closely by Peter Chapman; Emma then misjudged the line into the next mark which should have been close hauled with the result that both Emma and Peter needed to tack onto port to fetch the mark. This allowed the boats behind to make up the ground. Emma then capsized onto the mark, tangled, before getting clear and taking her penalty turn, this would be one of about twelve capsizes Emma undertook during the race. Peter cleared the rounding.

By the 3rd and 4th mark on the first lap, Ian had a commanding lead with the nearest boat still only half way down the run. Then half way up the work of the second lap the tiller failed at the rudder box, resulting in a complete lack of steering control and the need to capsize to carry out repair. The rescue boat stood off to the side to ensure safety. By the time the tiller was lashed to the side of the rudder box as a makeshift repair the boat had been completely upside down twice between retrieval of lashing cord from other parts of the rigging, meanwhile the fast tide was taking the craft toward the next rounding mark. Rejoining the race, Brian had taken the lead and by the third mark on the second lap was ahead of Ken O’Brien followed close behind by Peter Chapman and Duncan eight lengths back. However, drama unfolded at the mark with Peter and Duncan both having swims, Peter turning completely upside down. Ken Maynard was next into the rounding and to keep things fair also capsized. Ken O’Brien meanwhile performed two good roundings giving a gap on the others. On the prior run Ian was just in front of Ken O’Brien but had to give up a number of positions and sail over to the sandbank for repair to the rudder pin which had come out of the bottom gudgeon fitting, lying the remnants of the rudder on its side and compromising the ability to steer at all. The top of the pin is normally held in position by the tiller which had snapped off earlier, this was the second of three stops with the third stop made on the shoreline of the next work to tighten the makeshift tiller lashings.

In the end, Brian finished first, Ian fought back to take second and Ken O’Brien in a well sailed race third.


Gooney Bird in all her restored glory, rebuilt cradle and a fantastic matt varnish finish to really show off the timber. [By Vicky Booth, Inverloch, 26 January 2018]

That night, as is now our new tradition, an excellent meal at the local Indian Restaurant was held for the Sailfish mob, where much catching up was done.


Saturday morning and off down to the club, and as expected no wind, no beach but the heat was already building; we ended up with a 33 degree day which made standing around in sailing gear a bit of a challenge. The lack of wind and beach meant that the Beach Display of all the different boats could not go ahead. It also meant that Moth class were unable to hold their morning display race which was postponed until two o’clock when we had a range of Moths from a Mark II through a mouldie, a couple of double chines and a few foiling scows doing a few short laps out in front of the club.

The afternoon breeze was somewhat more user friendly than on Friday, settling in at about 8 to 10 knots and the course was set back in from the Inlet entrance and across towards Point Smythe, which gave those of us feeling the effects of the previous day easier conditions to cope with.

A 2.35 race start for the Sailfish once again, and this time Brian on 3461 Jack’s Toy led the fleet away with Peter Chapman on 2188 Gooney Bird just ahead of Ian Milton on 2028 Bruce!. The rest of us followed along obediently as was the pattern for the weekend. Ian did manage to get past Peter at one stage but couldn’t hold it with Peter sneaking back past and building a gap for the rest of the race. Ken O’Brien and Duncan got into some trouble at the top mark while Ken Maynard, Emma and myself had a nice little tussle back and forth on the downwind leg back past the club, swapping places a couple of times before Ken M broke away on the beat towards Point Smythe. From there he pretty well sailed on his own for a well earned fourth place on Gonzo while Emma and I stayed fairly close. Emma eventually finished fifth about five boat lengths ahead of me, with Ken O and Duncan being the last two finishers, as both Chris Drury and Jeff Cole had to retire.

The Regatta dinner was held that evening at the RACV Inverloch Resort, where Ian Ward gave a great talk on the history of the Moth class. When the awards were handed out Brian was awarded the Sailfish perpetual trophy for winning the race, and Gooney Bird won the award for best presented Sailfish. Given the work that Ian Milton had put into getting Gooney ready, and how stunning she looked in matt varnish, this was very well deserved.

Sailfish - Ian and Peter at ICWDR 2018

The man who did all the work and the lucky guy that got to sail her. Ian Milton and Peter Chapman with the award for Best Sailfish, Gooney Bird, 2188. [By Mark Teasedale, Inverloch, 27 January 2018]


Again the tide was high and the heat was building, it eventually topped out at 38 degrees, which is nobody’s idea of fun sailing conditions.

There were a few hardy souls who were sticking around for the afternoon race but for most of us Sunday morning was about packing up for the drive home. Thanks to all the many willing hands that helped with loading boats onto car rooftops and onto trailers.

There were also some awards given out, and on that note congratulations go to Emma Milton for winning the award for Best Junior sailor in the Regatta. Emma sailed well all weekend, particularly sticking it out to finish on the Friday in the rougher conditions.

DSC_1460 copy

Emma Milton on 2192 Apsu. [By Hayden Ramsdale, Inverloch, 26 January 2018]

Again, a huge thank you to not just the Organising Committee at the South Gippsland Yacht Club, but to all the club members who worked so hard over the weekend to welcome us, look after us and run the event for us, your efforts are greatly appreciated.

And so in preparation for the 2019 ICWDR we start on repairs, looking for a decent boom vang, (Crossie threatened to take Stanley off me he was so disgusted with my boom vang) and trying to get in some sailing practice. And Chris Cleary is banned from any contact with garage doors from October 2018!

As I said at the end of last year’s report – I, for one, will be back!

On Display:

2, Debonair – Jack Carroll’s original Sailfish

1375, Mrs Vicious – winner of the Inaugural Australian Sailfish National Titles

Entered in the Regatta:

1808, Cobra, Ken O’Brien

1870, ‘Off, Jeff Cole

2028, Bruce!, Ian Milton

2188, Gooney Bird, Peter Chapman

2192, Apsu, Emma Milton

3281, no name, Duncan Blake

3330, Stanley Crocodile (3250 rig), Greg Barwick

3334, Gonzo the Great, Ken Maynard

3456, Blowed if I Know, Chris Drury

3461, Jack’s Toy, Brian Carroll