Max Shean Trophy 6th April 2019

Max Shean Trophy Race | Race Report by Frances Hammond

The Max Shean Trophy for best performed boat on the day went, to the delight of the crowd, to Bluebell, Max Shean’s Boat skippered by Steve Laws and crewed by Jane Laws, Max’s daughter Ruth Shean and Stewart Henry

Twenty-one competitors set sail last Saturday for the Fremantle Sailing Club Inshore Section’s annual Max Shean Trophy race.  Conditions were almost perfect with a brisk south-south-westerly sea breeze that clocked in at 18 knots at the start.  It was just marginal enough for some boats to opt for one reef, but not too strong for the spinnaker divisions to fly their kites.  A mystery helicopter took at a good look at the fleet before the start.

This year was the tenth race in honour of the late Max Shean.  This year Max’s boat, Bluebell, was skippered on behalf of the family by Steve Laws and crewed by Jane Laws, Max’s daughter Ruth Shean and Stewart Henry.  Bluebell was named after the Corvette on which Max served with distinction during the Second World War.  For more on Max’s distinguished service see his biography on the Australian Navy website.  In 1979 Max, sailing Bluebell, won the Parmelia Yacht Race from Plymouth to Fremantle, the race commemorated the sesquicentenary of the foundation of the colony of Western Australia.  Max Shean was an FSC member and actively contributed to Fremantle Sailing Club’s development. Our Junior Club has its support boat named after him to honour his achievements.

Six boats raced in Division One with Eric Gath’s Stimulus Package sailing a great race to take first on both TCF and IRC handicaps.  Gathy collected his pennants with a spectacular bandage and beanie hat worn to protect the stitches in his ear that he’d received after last week’s in-pen mishap.  Graeme Martin’s Sand Crab’s Disco took second on both handicaps with Roger Passmore’s Aquila taking third and fastest after last week’s absence while Roger celebrated a significant birthday.  John Palmer and Jaye Martin’s Witchy Woman were unlucky enough to dramatically break a spinnaker pole during the final leg, however they recovered and finished under headsail.

The start line had a strong bias towards the pin end, resulting in a little mayhem in the Division Two start when Freddie Fudpucker and Eufarria elected to start on port tack.  Freddie was well clear of the pack but ended up disqualified as they were over early and did not return.  Eufarria tacked onto port at last minute and was lucky only to have a minor collision with Impluse who were forced to bear away heavily to avoid a more serious incident, Pipedream III also had to bear away to avoid Impulse. Impluse was forced below the pin and Pipedream was lucky to make it for a clear start.  Valkyr was also forced about to avoid Eufarria causing a chain reaction of tacks on the line.  Eufarria absolved themselves with the requisite 720-degree penalty turns after the start.  Once the fleet had settled down the racing was very close with only half a minute separating 2nd and 6th places on TCF after the handicaps were applied.  Bob Von Felten’s Ristretto took first and fastest on TCF ahead of Ernie Delfos’s Windswept with Peter Williams’ Pipedream III in third place. On IRC handicap Windswept was first from George Carter’s Eufarria with Steve Delfos’s Minke third.  Impulse retired just before S mark (which we understand was not related to the earlier collision).

Six boats raced in JAM Division with the S&S 34s taking the first two places on TCF handicap.  Bluebell was first ahead of Steve Kerr’s Polaris in second place with Ole Otness’s The Longboat third and fastest.

Presentations were held in the Sailor’s Bar with Inshore Captain Brian Cooper announcing the results and with pennants presented by Ruth Shean and Commodore Graeme Allen.  The Max Shean Trophy for best performed boat on the day went, to the delight of the crowd, to Bluebell.  In Ruth’s own words:

“Sincere thanks to Bluebell skipper Steve Laws and highly capable crew Jane Laws and Stuart Henry. Both Steve and Jane knew Dad and Jane recalled “Max never let diplomacy get in the way of a set of instructions”. It was a very fast sail: we were doing 7.7 knots at one point and the wind at nearby weather stations was gusting to 26 knots. What a great honour it is to have Bluebell win this trophy. Thanks to Fremantle Sailing Club for running the Max Shean Trophy Race — now having had its tenth year. And thanks to Commodore Graeme Allen (from my class at primary school) and Flag Officers for their recognition of Dad.”

Thanks as always to our Race Control Crew on Success.  Full results can be found on www.sportspage.com.au.  A full set of photos taken by Chris Bender from Success can be found on OneDrive.  Racing resumes next Saturday with Consistency Race 17.