2013/14 VS Australian Championships Invitation & Heats 1 & 2 Race Report
Well it’s on!!! After a relatively slow start to the VS season the 69th Vee Ess national championships are up and running. And from early impressions I think it’s going to be a great week. Gosford sailing Club (GSC) is a great sailing club that looks after sailors. Nice rigging area, a flat & clear waterway, top BBQ, great bar – what else could we want? Peter Walsh is the sailing manager at GSC (and our PRO) and, with his team, has looked after our every need. And there has been some good action on the water too. As I regularly say ”why aren’t you here?”
Sid Peare Invitation Race
After the success of last year’s handicap invitation race, a similar format was again adopted this year. It gives all boats equal time on the water, makes it easy for the starters, and gives all of us a chance to test the waters & shake out a few cobwebs. But, much like the previous knock out series races, it is sailed very competitively and is a sought after title. With a good NE’er blowing stronger as the arvo went on, Stowe Australia was first out of the blocks, sailed soundly, and were never passed all day. However Gordon, Simon & Ryan thought they might have misinterpreted the starting procedure and gone a bit too soon and decided to DNF to avoid any
controversy. Bad luck boys.
So the next boat across the line, and official winner, was the defending champions Bob, Hayden & Tarrick on Zephyr. Well done boys!! The breeze was fresh, so probably not in their preferred range, but they sailed mistake free and seemed to have their new Doyle sails working well. Congratulations. For those that don’t know, Chook is sailing this season out of GSC, and has bought & sold a few boats so as to encourage new blood into the class. With new members such as Dave Witt joining the class I can say Chook has done a stellar job. Dave has also now, bought & sold a boat or two so hopefully GSC could become a real power in the VS fleet in the near future. In 2nd was Col, Adam & Troy on Troy Botting Shipwright. In a fresh breeze these guys sailed fast & mistake free. Reunited again after Sam’s recovery it was as though they never missed a race. A little further back it wasn’t so mistake free. Firestorm finished 3rd but had a swim along the way.
SFC Computers eventually ended 4th but for most of the race were looking likely winners. Tim, Kane & Hugh sailed superbly for 3 laps – unfortunately on the last lap they had 4 or 5 swims.
The rest of the fleet DNF’ed. Wobbygong had a few swims, a broken trapeze shock cord & had just had
enough. Under Pressure 2 noticed they had lost a back stay & pulled out before damage. But worst of the day was to strike new chums Dave, Liam & Jonty on Ragamuffin. Within days of purchasing the old Wildtrack Dave has thrown a new set of sails on her & started re-tuning. And they were looking good, running at the front until on the final kite run the mast exploded!! I haven’t seen a VS carbon mast break in years but this one broke in 5 places. Bugger…!!!!!!!!!
After the big NE’er the day before, I think everyone was pleased to see moderate S to SE’er blowing. With the GSC Youth boys busy, eight boats lined up for a start for a downhill finish. Showing great spirit, Ragamuffin had grabbed the old Purple Headed Warrior mast, made it fit, and made it to the start. And it was a very even & well-contested start. Too bad we didn’t have a cameraman. At the top mark, Firestorm had the lead from TBS & Ragamuffin. With flat water & only a few national E’s to miss there were some great downhill rides. Firestorm
held on to the lead to the finish for 1st from TBS 2nd. SFC Computers chalked up a nice 3rd from Ragamuffin in 4th. Unfortunately they headed straight for shore after the first race with yet another broken mast! This time it cracked at the gooseneck. Lucky Dave knows a bit about boat management…
With Michael Northam filling in for Brian, Under Pressure 2 had a great race & finished 5th, but close enough to the front to get 1st on handicap. Brian has a bit to live up to… Firestorm got 2nd on hcp& Peter, Peter & Alex had a sound race in Wobbygong to get 3rd.
This heat was close. With everyone primed up after the first heat the start was again very even. Firestorm & TBS lead most of the fleet to the east, whilst SFC went south. The breeze looked better there but could they get back in a swinging breeze? The answer was yes! Whatever Tim, Kane & Hugh had done between heats worked – SFC was a rocket ship in this heat. Neck & neck with Firestorm around the top mark, down the first run & pretty well everywhere else for the entire race. A sticky kite set on SFC on the 2nd lap gave Firestorm a small gap but the race was far from over. SFC were soon back crossing tacks for the lead. TBS had been a bit slow off the start also showed good speed throughout the race to join the race at the front on the last lap. They rounded the final windward mark just boat lengths off the leaders for the final run to the line. Firestorm held on to win by 17 seconds but it was even closer behind. SFC ran hard at the line and pipped TBS by 3 seconds.
Mick, Tim & Daniel on UP2 again had a good race to get 4th. Just 30 seconds behind was Stowe, who
managed to beat Zephyr home by 1 second, with Wobbygong not much further back. Gordon, Simon & Ryan had done enough to get Stowe home for an easy handicap victory from Wobbygong with star of the day SFC