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This Site Last Updated :

05 April, 2015




Augusta Yacht Club Annual Blackwood Challenge '10

A rather forlorn looking Jim Major after damaging Whizz Bang in high winds

Cocktail Cherry skipper Louis Proksch with his crew Stephen Dickinson receive the 2010 Blackwood trophy from AYC Commodore Brenton Air

La Rousse at full gallop desperately trying to catch Cocktail Cherry

The Blackwood Wins As The Trophy Changes Hands

This year’s Blackwood Challenge in Augusta was a blustery affair and at the end of the day, the weather was declared the ultimate winner. Three boats made the trip down from Perth for the occasion, with the new highway making the trip less onerous. They were the defending champions Bruce Quail and Steve Heywood in La Rousse, the original trophy holder Louis Proksch and Stephen Dickinson in Cocktail Cherry and a new boat to Augusta but old hands on the water, Ian Greenham and Scott Gardner in Swift. They were joined by two more from Dunsborough Bay Yacht Club, Joan & Mark Embry in Tamzine plus Jim Major and Rob Archer in Whizz Bang.

 The first race of three short triangles on Saturday morning resulted in every boat either capsizing at least once or damaging gear. La Rousse struck up an early lead from the start, pulling well into the lead by being the only one to fly her spinnaker in the very tight reach from the wing to the bottom mark, with winds gusting well beyond 20 knots. Cocktail Cherry was in a chasing mood in second place but one of the many sudden gusts saw her capsize on the downwind leg. WhizzBang took up the challenge and was holding off the others in second place when the hound assembly tore loose from the mast, resulting in the mast snapping and the fibreglass decking ripped apart. Fortunately she made it back to shore safely without capsizing but that was the end of her racing for this competition. Tamzine retired gracefully upon seeing the savagery of the wind and Swift was then left to show off her capsize drill, frequently! Cocktail Cherry recovered ground to recapture second place and despite La Rousse also succumbing to a gust driven capsize on the last leg, could not catch her thus leaving the first race to the defending champion, La Rousse.

 After an early lunch to determine whether to continue racing or if sanity should prevail, a decision was made to give it one more try with a shortened two lap triangle race. Cocktail Cherry got a good start and led around the first mark whilst La Rousse in second place had a momentary lapse in concentration, or was too highly focused on Cocktail Cherry’s transom, and capsized at the mark. Despite a valiant attempt to catch Cocktail Cherry by once again showing spectacular spinnaker runs, she was unable to make up sufficient ground leaving Cocktail Cherry to take line honours.

With a unique scoring system awarding double points for the second race (and triple points for a third had there been one), Cocktail Cherry skippered by Louis Proksch and crewed by Stephen Dickinson took out the distinctive Blackwood Challenge Trophy. Sponsorship of the event by local real estate company Stocker Preston saw all competitors walk away with very welcome wine prizes, determined to be back next year and take on the Blackwood River once more.

The 2009 diary entry can be found here

The 2008 diary entry can be found here