For the 72nd time, the Australian Vee Ess National Championships are underway. We last contested the nationals here in 2006/2007 so the decade anniversary seems just right. Hawkesbury is a long time home of VS sailors, & the home club of legends Graeme Brown & Brian Gleeson. It’s good to be back….
With 4 races completed there is no clear indication on who the winners & also rans may be. And with some fickle weather predicted for the remainder of the series I’m sure all races will be interesting. And I’m pleased to report “so far so good” for all boats. Here is a bit of boat by boat summary to date:
2230 Raptor may be the oldest registered boat in the regatta but that is more than offset by the crew age - Joey, Mitch & Kye are all in their teens! First timers to Hawkesbury the boys seem to be enjoying the experience, camping on the beach & meeting some of the wildlife (just ask them). On the water they are rapidly learning about sailing in a tide (and how the boat feels different to still water). Mid fleet on scratch, they haven’t had an outstanding race yet, but I reckon it is not far off. Certainly eager on the start line!
2231 Measurement Solutions. First big regatta for newcomers Jock, Peter & Nicola, but they have had some outstanding races. Still learning, they have had a couple of DNFs in races 1 & 2, but bounced back in race 3 to finish right on the tail of the fleet & take an easy handicap victory. To prove it was no fluke in race 4 they did similar, actually beating Purple Haze (who was carrying a breakage) and claiming 2nd on handicap. If we get softer breezes they will be well in the mix.
2232 Purple Haze. The performance of this boat was described to me as like a roller coaster. Alex, Andrew & Rob do have some highs & lows. After smashing us in the Invitation race, they backed it up in race 1 and finished 5th across the line, and once again easily won on handicap. Then the dip. Broken trapeze lines, shackles holding trapeze lines & getting caught in a hole cost them in the next 3 races. Unlike Measurement Sols, they want it to blow.
2234 Meeks Real Estate hasn’t really hit top gear yet but is certainly still well in with a winning chance. Mick, Robbie & Mark pulled a new square top mainsail up the mast for the first time at the regatta & are still learning the nuances behind these beasts. They have lead every race but the results just haven’t gone their way. The new sail is not slow so I wouldn’t be surprised when they take a gun or two (or more).
2235 Black Diamond are always quite achievers who just keep tinkering with the boat & getting better. If you do want to see a well fitted & rigged boat, check it out! The crew, in comparison, look nowhere near as good, but Bob, Hayden & Riley / Adam are sailing very well and have been pushing the ‘big 3’ in every race, and have already claimed one scalp in race three. So keen are these guys to race every day this crew starts most races twice!
2236 Troy Botting Shipwright. Col, Adam & Janine may have started the regatta with a low point (hole in the sail) but have been on an upward trajectory since. Took advantage of a Firestorm mistake to win race 2, then just outsailed everyone to comfortably win race 3. With good results in the other races they sit top of the ladder & will be hard to stop, especially if the conditions become less than consistent.
2241 Incognito. Don’t recognise this boat? Then it is aptly named. Andy, Greg & Chris only got the boat just before this series so it has been a mad rush to get it set up. (for those that don’t know it was D Witt’s boat that broke just about everything, so it had a lot of pieces that needed co-ordinating. The boys are starting to get it together & are moving up through the fleet. Best race was their last where they easily won on handicap.
2242 Firestorm. Signs of aging are starting to show on this crew. Still better looking than the Black Diamond crew John, Dale & Lindsay have been making a few mistakes. Have chalked up two wins but were in position to score more. But that’s a good thing because it demonstrates the quality of the fleet is high. If you make a mistake you shouldn’t win.
And as outlined above TBS, Firestorm & Meeks have a few boats ready to smash the ‘big 3’ in this regatta. May only have a small entry for this regatta but they are good. Just like the past 71…