History of the Fremantle-Albany ocean race.
(An extract from Stan Austin’s book: “Princess Royal Sailing Club Albany – 75 Years of Sailing”)
During the 1967 season Peter Packer in Corsair and the Swarbrick brothers in the yawl Reliance cruised to Albany to survey conditions for a Fremantle to Albany race. Their report was favourable and in March 1968 after a great deal of discussion between P.R.S.C. and Royal Perth Yacht Club a date was set. In March 1968 a fleet of Perth yachts set off in what turned out to be a following Nor-West wind of gale force. These conditions enabled the 42ft (12.8m) hard chine Theanna under experienced skipper John Fitzhardinge to set an exceptionally fast time of 40 hours 22 minutes 18 seconds and to take corrected time honours from Peter Packer's Corsair and Neil McAllister's Starfire of Perth.
After a gruelling race in which most yachts finished in darkness crews were treated to hot meals at the Little Grove Clubhouse by members of the Ladies committee.
Considerable organising had gone into ensuring the safety of yachts participating in the long ocean race. Mobile radio vans followed the fleet around the coast reporting to clubs at each end at regular intervals. Yachts were inspected for safety equipment before leaving port and Cheynes Beach Whaling Company was on standby with radio and the guarantee of use of plane in the event of competitors in distress. Also planes were sponsored by various sources to provide race progress for interested listeners on radio.
Today each participating yacht has a YB tracker installed on board before the start. The tracker collects and transmits several items of data including gps position, speed, direction and distance to finish. This data is transmitted at pre determined intervals through the Iridium satellite network to YB Tracking HQ servers where it is visualised onto our race tracker. This provides friends, family and international supporters with a way to follow an individual boat or the whole fleet at just a click of a mouse.
This years race has been given official ANZAC Commemorative Event status because of the “Adopt-a-yacht / troop ship Commemorative Activity” being organised with the Albany Combined Schools ANZAC Centenary Committee. This entails each school adopting a yacht and those yachts being assigned a troop ship identity. This will create an opportunity in the classroom to explore the history of the first fleet of ANZACs as the adopted yachts/troop ships are followed via their satellite trackers.
For more information please visit the race website.