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.