With both the scratch & handicap titles still open and all crews ready to attack a steadier breeze 9 boats lined up on yet another great start line. The 'top guns' TBS, Firestorm & Runaway were close together, sailing hard on the Wolstoncroft side of the course and feeling pretty satisfied, until they made their way back towards Sunshine. Matt, Troy & Mackenzie on Raptor were sailing well and holding a slight lead over Roger, Dom & Will on Devocean. And they were about 100m in front of Firestorm. Sweet! As usual Stowe and Black Diamond were again upsetting the hierarchy too. On the first run Tim, Hugh & Lennon on Stowe went hard toward the Sunshine side & once again were mixing it for the lead. TBS did similar and rounded the bottom mark with Firestorm. TBS sailed well but the weather was finally in the Firestorm go zone & Courtney, Dale & John sailed off to get the gun and seal the scratch title. Col, Adam & Janine were missing the power of their now broken mast but again sailed well to finish 2nd, from Chook, Hayden & Adam on Black Diamond in 3rd. Stowe continued to pick the breeze well & finished in a dead heat with Runaway for 4th. TBS & Runaway were now tied on points in the scratch series.
Raptor took an easy corrected time victory from Devocean. After that first lap it was not a surprising result.
The final race of the series started just like all previously - a long, even start line hotly contested. All boats got away well but unfortunately a big blank after this as to who did what in this race because the breeze was so shifty and puffy. You could dip the tuck of a boat and next time you'd cross 200m ahead. It took max concentration all race. Firestorm got the gun to claim the Coal Board shield. TBS seemed to be covering Runaway for most of the race but this is hard to do on a downwind finish and only 10 seconds separated them at the finish but TBS had done their job. Black Diamond was back on form and finished 4th ahead of Stowe in 5th. With a bit of separation in the fleet Firestorm took the corrected time honours for the race too.
In summary John, Dale & Courtney sailed Firestorm well enough in a range of breezes to win the scratch title from TBS & Range. The Handicap title went to Andrew, Mike & Chris on Incognito, from club rivals Purple Haze with Stowe 3rd.
Finally praise must be given to SLMASC for hosting the VS nationals in a style that suited the class well. Relaxed off water, competitive on. The key on water crew of Alf, Steve, Mark, Norm & Bob did an excellent job of setting true courses, fair start lines and coping with breezes from 5 knots to 25 knots. Thanks guys.
Equal praise for the on shore crew of Marlene, Linda, Lynne, Kathy, Tracey & Wendy.
Lunches were terrific every day, as were the afternoon nibbles with drinks on the verandah, only to be surpassed by the presentation night spread. Thanks ladies.
It was the 75th time the VS national series has been contested so we reached a milestone that many other classes can only dream of. I think it was one of the best but I've only sailed in the last 25 or so of those. You'll have to ask Tim about the rest...