69th Annual VS 15’ Skiff National Championships Gosford 2013/14 End of Regatta Report
What a perfect day! I wish it were my Groundhog Day. Once again the racing on the water was extremely close, with both the scratch & handicap titles decided on today’s results. But it didn’t end there. The girls did a fantastic job and organised a casual BBQ for our presentation. It was great. Everyone could move around and talk, have a drink and just relax under the trees in the park. Thanks very much girls.
Thanks also need to be given to Gosford Sailing Club. Peter, Kevin, Fran & co looked after our every need for the entire regatta. On the water the courses were perfect and the start lines true and unbiased. On land the club offers a big, grassy rigging area and a club and canteen that well suited our needs. I’d recommend the club to any class looking for a regatta venue. The range of breezes over the week was also good. The invitation day had a NE breeze over 20 knots, we had a few moderate days of 15 knot SE’ers & a couple of light
days with easterlies & NE’ers. The racing must have provided good entertainment over the week. Spied at
the club & on Point Frederick throughout the week were VS legends & followers such as Michael, Warren, Steve, Andrew, Greg, Mark, Bozo, Mick & Alf. You blokes should get a boat or two…
Finally as race secretary I want to acknowledge the assistance of many in making this a great championship series. Apart from the GSC crew, the VS executive (and partners) all combine to ensure the series runs smoothly. Thanks all. It is really much appreciated. When I see the National E’s, with nine boats having a protest a day, I think how good it is to be in a class such as ours.
The sailing. Final day.
To recap the positions going into the final day Firestorm and Troy Botting Shipwright were the scratch
contenders. The reigning champs had won the first five races but TBS had gathered momentum by winning the next three. If TBS won both races today they would win on a count back. And with another light breeze blowing they had right to be smiling. Similarly the handicap title was well from finalised. With the fleet ready to go for race 9 there was one thing missing – a settled breeze. One of the problems of early races is that the breeze is often unsettled. And so it was today. After a postponement a light NE’er started to fill & the GSC guys got us away for the first of two upwind finish races. Once again it was an even start with Firestorm eventually clawing to windward of TBS. With close covering the order of the day Firestorm rounded the windward mark first with a slight lead from TBS & SFC. TBS has been lightning quick downwind in these conditions so Firestorm needed a different strategy – attacking downwind. And it seemed to pay dividends. TBS made it to the lead down the run and rounded the leeward marks first but Firestorm was hot on their tail. Pretty soon Firestorm was back in the lead & covering hard. After a great tacking duel that lasted the entire long work, Firestorm had opened up a slender lead around the top mark. Down the final run Firestorm stuck to their mantra for the day & ran hard, holding TBS at bay. With a short work to the finish to their liking, Firestorm held on for the victory in the race, enough to secure the overall title. Once again the racing was just as intense throughout the fleet. Under Pressure 2 had a good race to finish 4th across the line, enough to get them 4th on handicap, just ahead of Wobbygong. Continuing their series of close race finishes Zephyr beat Stowe across the line by just 3 seconds.
Race ten started similarly to the earlier race, but with a slightly fresher breeze Firestorm had opened up a nice lead around the windward mark. TBS & SFC set off in pursuit but Firestorm found good breeze all race & received the final gun of the series. SFC put in a late charge, enough to make TBS cover hard up the final work to the finish but at the finish TBS claimed 2nd by 7 seconds. Again it was even closer elsewhere in the fleet – Ragamuffin beat archrival Zephyr across the line by 2 seconds! On handicap Zephyr got an important win, but check out how close the adjusted times are; six boats within 2 minutes & a dead heat between Firestorm & Wobbygong as well.
Overall results –
Whilst the scores may indicate otherwise, this series was one of the closest in years. But it showed that the two Ullman Sails equipped boats of Firestorm & TBS had the edge on the fleet. Their superior speed upwind
meant that they shared race wins between themselves. It also resulted in very close racing between them throughout the series. As reported previously though, the experienced crew of John, Dale & Lindsay on
the Firestorm sponsored boat again did enough to retain their scratch title. Working hard on upwind
speed they generally managed to get in a position to open a lead up the first windward leg & control the race from there. The oldest crew in the fleet have sailed continuously together for over a decade and know their roles well, Dale looks after tactics; Lindsay is the navigator & sail trimmer whilst John just makes it go fast. Seems to work so far…
Col, Adam & Troy on Troy Botting Shipwright were inspirational in 2nd. Considering that just weeks ago Adam was caring for Sam & had no thoughts of sailing, they regrouped & sailed as though they had not missed a race together. I did not see a flaw in their crew work all regatta. They showed confidence in themselves & that will only lead to more wins. I can tell you they are fast…
Tim, Kane & Hugh also had a great regatta to finish 3rd overall on SFC Computers. Whilst their scorecard
shows a heap of 3rd places, they did challenge the top two in every race & knocked off TBS in the second race. Not bad considering Kane sailed on the boat for the first time at Gosford. On their recently purchased boat Bob, Hayden & Tarik on Zephyr had a bit to do but ended the regatta in a credible 4th overall. Trying to tune a new set of a set of sails from the start of the regatta is tough but they stuck with it and had many close
finishes. If there were a prize for tenacity Ragamuffin would win. Dave, Liam & Jonty broke three masts and a boom vang in the first four days on the old Wildtrack. Being a new crew to VS’s, and with a new set of sails to tune, they also had a bit to do. But they did it well and only lost out to Chook by a point. Just a point further back Under Pressure 2 finished in 6th. Brian, Tim & Daniel are sporadic; they can challenge for a top place
one race & end up last the next. My pick for handicap victory but a broken mast & two lost scores put
paid to that. Just a couple of points adrift was Gordon, Simon & Ryan in Stowe Australia. Much like the previous few boats, they were involved in close finishes most days and had a couple of 4ths overall as
highlights. Next up was Wobbygong. Peter, Peter & Alex were sailing together for the first time this regatta. They developed teamwork & speed throughout the regatta; so much so that they beat a few of the faster boats in several races. This was also enough to earn the overall handicap victory. Congratulations boys.
1st Firestorm (J Hodda, D Jacobson, L Auston) 9 pts;
2nd Troy Botting Shipwright (C Gillespie, A Kelly, T Botting) 13 pts;
3rd SFC Computers (T Dodds, K Botting, H Dodds) 23 pts;
4th Zephyr (B Baker, H Baker, T Jeffcoat) 41 pts;
5th Ragamuffin (D Witt, L Woulfe, J Witt) 42 pts;
6th Under Pressure 2 (B Gleeson, T Gleeson, D Gleeson) 43 pts.
1st Wobbygong (P Townend, P Davies, A Stewart) 24 pts;
2nd Stowe Australia (G Fokes, S Fokes, R Fokes) 27 pts;
3rd Troy Botting Shipwright (C Gillespie, A Kelly, T Botting) 27 pts;
4th SFC Computers (T Dodds, K Botting, H Dodds) 28pts;
5th Zephyr ( B Baker,
H Baker, T Jeffcoat) 29 pts; 6th Under Pressure 2 (B Gleeson, T
Gleeson, D Gleeson) 30 pts.
VS Australian Championships Heats 7 & 8 Race Report
I’m guessing as a sailing enthusiast you might have seen the recent America’s Cup. We’ll the 69th Vee Ess Australian Championships could well finish the same way. Firestorm looked unbeatable at the ½ waypoint, now Troy Botting Shipwright is making a US style comeback. It will be close. And the handicap title will again go down to the wire – I’m not game to put money on anyone. So what happened today…
To be truthful today was all a bit of a blur to me. When it is light there is little time to look around the fleet because I’m trying hard not to let them past or sail off into the distance! I can tell you Firestorm, SFC, Wobbygong, Ragamuffin, Under Pressure 2, Stowe, Zephyr & TBS all had the lead at some time today. There was some good starts, good lifts, big shifts & good gusts. Something for everyone…
But the boat that had the lead most and when it mattered was TBS. Col, Adam & Troy again showed this breeze strength was to their liking by simply sailing through the fleet from last at one stage to have easy
victories in both heats. They are picking shifts well & running better than all, including noted downwind
flyers SFC & Zephyr. TBS picked up two scratch wins today to keep the championship alive. Firestorm managed two 2nds & SFC a couple of 3rds.It was close up front at times, even more so in the middle of the fleet. In race 7 Stowe bumped Zephyr by 2 seconds. In race 8 Zephyr beat Ragamuffin by 15 seconds, who in turn beat Stowe by 3 seconds. On handicap there was similarly close results. For example in race 7 Wobbygong beat TBS by 2 seconds for 4th. In race 8 Zephyr beat Firestorm by 5 seconds for 5th. All these places are sure to be important in the overall scoring. I could recount all of the current rankings now but it is easier for you to check the results page. Otherwise why does Tim go to the effort to post them for you?
The racing is sure to be exciting tomorrow & with another light to moderate breeze forecast it will be close & we well might be seeing new champions crowned. Why not come down to Gosford& have a look. Don’t forget racing starts at 1320hrs
2013/14 VS Australian Championships Heats 5 & 6 Race Report
Guess what. Groundhog day is over. Ragamuffin finished the day without breaking a mast! Actually the wind
was pretty mild so the fleet sailed both races without any dramas, or swims. But as always the racing was close…
So far the series has had a variety of breezes & today was no different. A light easterly was blowing, but
always enough to get at least one on the wire; two in the puffs. Brian & David had replaced their masts so eight boats all got away to an even start. There was plenty of position changes up the first work until Firestorm popped out to round first with TBS & SFC close behind. These three continued a close battle for the next lap until Tim, Kane & Hugh ‘parked’ under Point Frederick on the second run to lose touch with the leaders.
Firestorm covered TBS for the next lap until on the run to the finish Firestorm went north & TBS went south. But the breeze favoured neither & Firestorm held on for the win. TBS were a close 2nd with SFC 3rd.
Just a little further back another close battle that had been fought all race was coming to a conclusion. Locals
Ragamuffin & Zephyr were in a close fight with Under Pressure 2. Down the final run Chook, Hayden &
Tarrick found good pressure to get across the line for a nice 4th, 20 seconds ahead of UP2 in 5th. Ragamuffin faded with a broken boom vang to get 6th. Stowe were off their pace of recent days but still got 7th, with Wobbygong just a little further back. On handicap Brian, Tim & Daniel were well rewarded for the effort of rigging another mast with an easy victory, from Wobbygong & Zephyr 3rd.
As I said in the introduction, today was not Groundhog Day. Things were about the change!!
Once again all boats were lined up for an even start when SFC tried a late tack onto port. Unfortunately
this didn’t work as the rest of the fleet was on starboard. SFC & Firestorm became locked together as pleasantries were exchanged. Once untangled both set off after the leaders but Col, Adam & Troy were gone. In ‘their’ breeze & with no distractions up front TBS sailed a superb race, picking the right shifts upwind& good gusts downhill. They were unchallenged all race & had an easy victory from archrival Firestorm. Well done
boys! Just a little further back a great battle was unravelling. SFC, Ragamuffin & Zephyr were together around the bottom marks with only the short work to the finish remaining. Ragamuffin went north; SFC & Zephyr south. In the end SFC got 3rd by three seconds from Ragamuffin, who in turn beat Zephyr by 9 seconds. Having a great day Peter, Peter & Alex sailed Wobbygong home to a respectable 6th, easily beating rivals Stowe & UP2. But this was only good enough to get Wobbygong 2nd on handicap. Finishing with a mast intact was enough to get David, Liam & Jonty the victory on Ragamuffin. TBS took out the minor placing.
2013/14 VS Australian Championships Heats 3 & 4 Race Report
Ever seen the movie “Groundhog Day”?
For some, today was just that. But there were some changes for others. Interested….
Once again eight boats lined up for the start. The GSC Youth boys are due to join us but alas not today. Dave, Liam & Jonty has reconstructed yet another mast for Ragamuffin & were at the pin end of the line with speed.
Unfortunately within 100m their race would end – yep, with another broken mast. I can’t work it out. They are planning to return with a telegraph pole on Thursday so hopefully that will give them a chance of keeping
the rig up. The rest of the fleet sped up the first work, enjoying the flat water & nice breeze. Firestorm was first
around the top mark, closely followed by TBS & SFC Computers. These three continued a close battle for the rest of the race but eventually crossed the line in the same order. Just a little further back Zephyr, Under Pressure 2 & Stowe Australia were having a similarly close battle with barely boat lengths between them at the
gybe to the downwind finish. Brian, Tim & Daniel on UP2 had the inside line & were looking good until the spinnaker fell down, closely followed by the tip of the mast. Yep. Another broken stick.
What is happening? (in this case a broken back stay).
That left Zephyr & Stowe both striving to make the line with Gordon, Simon & Ryan taking 4th by 1 second from Chook, Hayden & Tarrick. Great racing boys. Stowe was also quick enough to claim an easy handicap victory, with SFC getting 2nd but just two seconds from Zephyr.
With Ragamuffin & Under Pressure 2 heading to shore to rebuild masts (again) six boats lined up for a start in another nice breeze. And again it was a fairly even start with Firestorm & SFC leading the fleet to the left. Col, Adam & Troy were about the only boat in with bad air & tacked right. What a master stroke! With great pressure on that side of the course TBS flew up the work to hold a nice lead for the first lap from Firestorm & SFC. Firestorm hit the lead up the long work but TBS did not give up. Rounding the gate buoys for the last time for the work to the finish TBS chose the western side mark whilst Firestorm went east. Initially TBS was looking the goods but the breeze clocked back to the east & Firestorm got the win from TBS. SFC was just a little further back in 3rd. Once again Stowe was enjoying the conditions & finished 4th across the line, yet again enough for victory on handicap, this time with Zephyr 2nd& SFC 3rd.
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