End of Regatta Report
Who wanted more breeze? By the end of the final race today I reckon it wasn’t any of the VS crews. A breeze that was pulsing in strength & direction for the first two races finally kicked in during the final race, giving all crews some great rides and stories of survival to share at the presentation dinner. But isn’t that what any nationals series should have? Stories of what happened & what could have happened. And I think all crews had a story or two.
To summarise the regatta I could say nothing less than it was a success. I gauge this by the comments I receive throughout the week. I can’t recall a negative one. Keith, Bob, Ken & Daryl came up from St George to do the on water race organisation and, assisted by Alf, did a great job. All courses had good start lines and windward legs that could never be described as one sided. Thanks gents. Our best wishes also go to Bob for a speedy recovery.
The VSs last held a national title at Toronto 30 years ago so for most of us this was a new venue. The bay had some interesting quirks; the breeze seemed to be the best on the edges and for a big, uncrowded bay there was usually a bit of chop. Made for a good challenge.
The local skate sailors did most of the organising for the series & did a great job. Thanks also to the VS ladies who, as always, banded together to help with off water chores. And of course the efforts of the VS committee & members who chipped in to help pull it all together should not go unrecognised. Whilst I usually avoid singling out individuals, President Col should be applauded for his efforts toward the regatta organisation. At the time when I’m sure he would have preferred to concentrate on his boat, Col was making calls & swapping emails, making sure everything was running smoothly. A regatta without problem is the proof of Col’s efforts.
Finally compliments must go to sailors from both the VS and Skate fleets. Competition was close in both fleets but boats gave each other room and respect. A regatta without incident, contact or protest is enjoyable for all.
As for the sailing, with day 4 wiped out, both the scratch & handicap overall results were far from decided. For the first two races a NE breeze was blowing but it was far from steady, ranging in strength from 5 to 15 knots & fluctuating between north and east as each small cell came through. Tacking & gybing in the right places became paramount. The crews that got it right gained good margins, as a review of the results will show.
The final race of the regatta started similar, however by the last lap the breeze built to 20knots or more. As I stated earlier, there was some wild rides and quite a few swimmers. Obviously no one feared the shark!
Overall results – Going into the last day in 3rd position meant Firestorm had to sail well in all the remaining races to have a chance of winning the series. Fortunately for them the conditions were right in the Firestorm sweet spot, allowing them to win the last 3 races & retain the scratch title. Like the other ‘heavyweight’ crews, John, Dale & Lindsay had struggled earlier in the series with the light breezes but drew on their experience and teamwork to hang in until the luck went their way.
Mick, Robbie & Mark were inspirational to finish the regatta in 2nd on Meeks Real Estate. Rebuilding a boat in the off-season usually bonds and focuses a team, with Meeks a perfect example. They knew the direction they wanted to go in and developed a fast package. They will only get better as they continue to build as a team.
Col, Adam & Janine on Troy Botting Shipwright also put in a great performance to claim 3rd. This team also decided on a new strategy for the season & have continued to develop a new mast sail combination. When they were on song they were superfast, winning several races very comfortably. They sailed off a short handicap but also won the Sid Peare Invitation race.
Range was another to struggle in the lighter breezes but Steve, Mick & Troy hung in until the final day when the breeze lifted their speed & spirit, and they scored a couple of 2nd places. As a crew newly united for this regatta, struggling to understand a new sail at times, they finished a credible 4th overall.
In 5th overall Bob, Hayden & Ben on Black Diamond had a good regatta, winning their 3 way battle with Plan B & SFC. But it could have been even better. Often on the tuck of the lead boat around the windward mark, they suffered from an uncharacteristic lack of speed downwind. The boys showed great boat handling skills to finish the regatta with a 3rd across the line in the blow.
Another team finishing strongly was Jeremy, Hugh & Tom on SFC Computers. The boys finished the series 6th overall but importantly scored a great 2nd across the line in race 8. They had gone into the last day with a chance of winning the overall handicap title; the result of race 8 meant they won it in a count back. Congratulations champions!
Pipped at the post for the handicap title was SFC team ‘sponsor’ Tim, who signed up Lyndon & Mitch to sail on Plan B for the series. And how good were they! The boys had not sailed a VS before yet they were 4th across the line in the first race. They had some other great races, often with the leaders around the top mark. 7th overall and 2nd on handicap was impressive.
The fleet was pleased to welcome back Peter, Steve & Ryan on Stowe for the series. The boys last teamed together on a chartered boat for the series at the Kangaroo Island nationals, where they took the overall handicap title. Unfortunately the light breezes & chop of Toronto didn’t suit them & they could not repeat their KI result, this time finishing 8th overall.
Another crew reuniting for this regatta was Michael, Andrew & Chris on Battleship. Another ‘heavyweight’ crew, they also suffered in the light breezes & chop of the first few days. They enjoyed the weight in the breeze in the final race & showed great boat handling skills to finish the race in 6th, one of the few not to have a swim. They were within a couple of points of taking the overall handicap title, finishing the series in 3rd.
Rounding out the fleet was another crew together for the first time. Joe jumped on the helm of White Noise, joining Joel & Scott for their first VS nationals. The boat still required some tuning, so the boys were on the back foot from the start, but improved as the regatta progressed, leaving a few boats in their wake. The boys confidence also grew as they fine tuned their crew work, a highlight being leading the fleet off the line in race 7. 5th overall on handicap is not a bad result either…
1st Firestorm (J Hodda, D Jacobson, L Auston) 10 pts; 2nd Meeks Real Estate (M Turton, R Turton, M Nugent) 14 points; 3rd Troy Botting Shipwright (C Gillespie, A Kelly, J Turton) 16 pts; 4rd Range (S Sims, M Sims, T Botting) 23 pts; 5th Black Diamond (B Baker, H Baker, B Ferguson) 36 pts; 6th SFC Computers (J Dodds, H Dodds, T Wood) 39 pts; 7th Plan B (T Dodds, M Blake, L Jordan) 40 pts; 8th Stowe (P Williams, S Ianna, R Fokes) 54 points; 9th Battleship (M Northam, A Fahey, C Wyatt) 59 pts; 10th White Noise (J Ferguson, J Newman, S Singleton-Turner) 67 pts.
1st SFC Computers 20 pts; 2nd Plan B 20 pts; 3rd Battleship 22 pts; 4th Black Diamond 27 pts; 5th White Noise 28 pts; 6th Range 36 pts; 7th Stowe 38 pts; 8th Meeks Real Estate 40 pts; 9th Firestorm 42 pts; 10th Troy Botting Shipwright 47 pts.
If you thought yesterdays report was brief wait until you read this? Not much recollection required; there was no racing!
While we were rigging there was wind & rain. When we were due to start there was only a draft, slowing clocking left. The starters waited until 4pm to see if we could get a race in but no luck. AP over A VS.
If all goes good we’ll have 3 races tomorrow but will have lost a heat. This means we’ll more than likely crown a new champion tomorrow so why not get down and have a look. Racing to start at 1230pm.
Was today just like all the previous days in this regatta? A light easterly breeze with the heavyweights wallowing? There were a few surprises…
Race 5. Shark!!!
When a fin was noticed near the start line, what do you think the fleet would do. Of course, everyone sailed towards it to have a look. It was only small. White pointer, hammerhead, bull shark, bull mullet, mulloway, goldfish were among the descriptions I heard after the race. And while we were all brave at the time, I did notice that any capsizes were very quickly righted today!
Meeks and Firestorm were close all race, separated by only a boat length or two around each buoy. Each took a different gate mark before the final beat to the finish but it was Meeks that went the right way, taking another nice victory. Chook, Hayden & Ben had been snapping on the heels of the leaders all race but had a few kite troubles, eventually crossing in 5th, behind TBS & Range. However Black Diamond had done enough to win comfortably on handicap.
Race 6. All about TBS
There is not much else to write about in this race. Col, Adam & Janine had the perfect day, jumping to a good lead up the first work, then increasing it on every leg thereafter. Every time I looked they were in good pressure and on a good lift. In the end Troy Botting Shipwright won by over 4 minutes. Well done!
As for handicap, TBS took that victory too, again by a very comfortable margin.
The rest of us can only hope tomorrow is a different day…
I’m sure by now you have read many reports highlighting how close the VS racing is. Day 1 featured a dead heat. The racing on day 2 of the nationals wasn’t quite as close but again seconds separate places, not minutes. Check the results!
Race 3. Go the Lightweights!
Another soft Easterly was the breeze of the day. At least the fleet should have known which way to go. After a good even start, one thing became clear. Both Meeks Real Estate & Troy Botting Shipwright were going to be hard to beat. Whilst they are lightweights in crew weight, don’t think they are any less skilled than any others in the fleet. By the time they rounded the windward mark for the first time they had a lead of 100m over the rest of the fleet. Very impressive. Mick, Rob & Mark were particularly on song, sailing superbly to open up a nice lead over TBS. Meeks looked comfortable until they fell into a hole on the last run to allow Col, Adam & Janine to close up at the leeward gate. But Meeks were confident in their speed & took the gun by 5 seconds from TBS.
A couple of utes further back, but having their own battle was Range & Firestorm. After a tacking duel to the finish John, Dale & Lindsay took 3rd by 5 seconds over their heavyweight rivals. The next few places were again a race long battle, with positions swapped regularly through the race. In the end Jeremy, Hugh & Tom on SFC claimed 5th, from Black Diamond & Plan B not far behind.
Then it got close again. Peter, Steve & Ryan on Stowe are another crew looking for more breeze but had a good race with Battleship. The gap across the line – 2 seconds!
With Michael on the helm, Battleship have been tuning throughout the regatta & improved enough today to take an easy handicap victory.
Race 4. Return of the Heavyweights?
Once again all boats looked set to get away to an even start however the breeze clocked left just as the gun fired. Steve, Mick & Troy seized the moment, tacked & headed right into good pressure. By the time the rest of the fleet tacked to port the lift was gone. As too was Range. With a little more pressure they were flying, rounding the top mark with a good lead over the fleet.
TBS and Meeks set about hauling Range in but suffered a few problems. TBS had a kite pulley jamb, which cost them a few swims. Meeks also had a quick swim when they got in an awkward position at the gate. This left the door open for Firestorm, who picked a good lift up the last work to ease in front of Range and take the win. Meeks were again flying & also edged past Range. Mick, Rob & Mark taking 2nd from Steve, Mick & Troy.
The battle between Black Diamond, SFC & Plan B was again close. There are plenty of tales after the race of passing & being passed if a lift or a gust is missed. Chook, Hayden & Ben got the got the bragging rights in this race, a ‘comfortable’ 17 seconds ahead of Tim, Lyndon & Mitch, with SFC just a little further back.
The slight increase in breeze also helped another ‘heavyweight’. Peter, Steve & Ryan were not far behind SFC across the line, close enough to give Stowe an easy handicap victory from Meeks & Plan B.
Early stages yet but Black Diamond, SFC & Plan B are all neck & neck in the overall handicap places. Their 3 way battle continues…
With a lay day after the Sid Peare Invitation race, all crews rolled up to the Toronto ASC rigging area fresh & ready for some good racing. And that is what occurred. Good, close sailing from all crews. Check out the results to see how close; seconds or less between places in some cases. It might not have been windy, but most crews were mentally drained at the end of the day. A good start to the series…
Heat 1. No local knowledge
After a clear start half of the fleet went left and half went right up the first work. Boats on each side looked famous at times, depending on gusts & lifts, but in the end left won the race to the top mark, with Mick, Rob & Mark on Meeks Real Estate leading a close bunch behind. Again though, which way to go on the run? MRE went right. Col, Adam & Janine went left. It might have been close at the bottom but for a problem on MRE that slowed them on a gybe and cost them a few places. TBS loves downwind in these breezes & picked the gusts well, opening up a lead they comfortably held to the finish. Firestorm were lumping around in 2nd, too much weight in the boat & not enough in the breeze their ailment. But they hung on to finish 2nd, from the quickly recovering MRE in 3rd.
Tim, Mitch & Lyndon on Plan B also liked the light breeze. For a new crew, they sailed extremely well, as high as 2nd at one stage and held on to come home 4th, good enough to easily claim the handicap victory for the day. But as I said the results were close. Steve, Mick & Troy on Range were also looking for more breeze most of the day, but sailed back through the fleet to dead heat with Plan B for 4th across the line.
Heat 2. Still no idea
With the same breeze for the second race most crews still seemed to have no firm idea of which side of the course was favoured. Again the bunch was close around the top mark for the first time, again TBS gybe set & went left, Meeks right. These lighter crews revelled in the soft breeze & opened up a nice lead over the rest of the fleet. Firestorm was again lumbering downwind, trying to hold off lightweights such as Plan B, SFC Computers & Black Diamond. Other heavyweights in the fleet, such as Stowe & Battleship were left in the lighter crews wakes.
Up front Meeks & TBS both had speed to burn so set about their own personal battle. The Meeks boys kept left on the work, whilst TBS were more right. In the end left paid and Mick, Rob & Mark took the gun with TBS comfortably second. Firestorm hung on for 3rd, somewhat lucky as Black Diamond were only a boat length behind at the final mark but decided to go prawning on the kite set. The party boat must have been planning for a fun night.
This allowed Range to slip through to get 4th across the line then it got close again. Black Diamond getting home 1 second ahead of Plan B, who were 2 seconds ahead of SFC. These seconds might be crucial in the overall results. Black Diamond claimed the handicap victory by this 1 second from Plan B and SFC 2 seconds behind in 3rd. A good battle is brewing between these boats…