Yet again another great VS 15’skiff state championship series!!! The final two races of the series were sailed on the weekend & I think I can accurately report that all had a good time. I might get boring with this line but if you don’t go to the Sydney weekend, you really miss some great sailing. Both the Vaucluse & Yarra Bay clubs go out of their way to make us welcome & this year we had some decent sailing breezes. For example, if anyone didn’t enjoy the NE’er at Yarra Bay on Sunday they might be in the wrong class. I think two-on-the-wire planing conditions with clean, flat water and no obstructions is ideal for a VS race any day. So plan now
for next year…
Another reason to attend? The state series this year was again decided at the Sydney weekend. The major placegetters all gained points here. The state series is a good contrast to the National titles. The states are
sailed over the entire season, have 1 long race per day and are sailed at venues that offer different conditions, whether it be tide, chop, traffic or breeze (or lack of). It also keeps our presence at various clubs throughout the year.
So to a quick summary of Sydney…
Vaucluse. Celebrating 80 years, VYC again turned it on for us. Doug, Ian & co allow us to postpone starts, select courses & use the club as if it were ours. And with great sponsorship from Winning Appliances & SLAM and a boat full of beverages what could be better?
On the water we had a light to moderate S to SE’er. Ol’ Yella & SFC Computers picked it best at the start but the difference was that Jason & Hugh told Tim to go left (or so they claimed). Measurement Solutions also
went towards the shore and joined SFC at the front of the fleet around the first mark. The rest of the fleet followed, trying to dodge the yachts & laser ‘wall’. Peter, Peter & Joey suffered downwind on Measurement
Sol’s allowing Ol’Yella, Firestorm & Range to take up the fight. Firestorm found a wind shift up the 3rd work to jump to the lead they would not lose but no one else would challenge the SFC boys. Well sailed.
But this was not good enough for handicap victory. Marengo won on the day!! Alex, Peter & Myf showed great spirit & deserved their victory. They borrowed a forestay and sailed a harbour cruise before (& after) the start but kept close to the fleet & easily won on handicap. Measurement Solutions hung on for 5th over the line and 2nd on handicap whilst Wobbygong completed the Hawkesbury trifector to claim 3rd.
Yarra Bay. Phil, John & co at Yarra Bay are similar to the Vaucluse crew. They really make us feel welcome. And this year they delivered a NE’er. Not a black one, but a nice way to finish the series. With open waters, the ‘big boys’ opened up with Firestorm, Range & Ol’Yella jumping clear (& finished that way). SFC closed in at the finish to get 4th, whilst Gordon, Simon & Ryan on Stowe overcame the breakage (& an extra lap at Vaucluse) to finish a close 5th. Marengo trailed Wobbygong around and finished a little further back but again claimed the handicap victory. Their perseverance early in the season was paying dividends. If only for a few extra races…
Overall Results. As noted earlier, both the scratch & handicap series were decided on the final weekend.
Scratch Championship. On scratch Firestorm & Range went into the weekend level on points but in the end good speed, crew-work & some great tactical calls (thanks Dale & Lindsay) saw Firestorm take two wins & the
series on 10 points. The heartache of Hawkesbury is now forgotten. Range finished the series in 2nd on 13 points. Steve, Mick & Mark found something extra this season & really pressured Firestorm, beating them at Hawkesbury & Sunshine when the conditions got finicky. Their teamwork is now flawless (no swims this season?) & they know how to win so they are ready for the next step.
Ol’Yella were consistently snapping at the heels of the big boys and comfortably claimed 3rd overall. Col, Adam & Troy are again moving up the fleet, rising to the occasion at Sunshine when they comfortably beat the
fleet home. The newly crowned national handicap champions SFC Computers had a great season. Following on from the nationals, the SFC boys confirmed their overall aspirations with the 2nd at Vaucluse (see above) to
claim 4th overall. Raptor had major places at Taree & Hawkesbury, but missed the Sydney weekend and dropped out of contention to end 5th on scratch.
Handicap Championship. As with the scratch title, the handicap championship was up for grabs, dependant on the result of the final two races.
There were only a few points between all of the following boats, but the turning point for each could be noted.
Raptor had to miss final weekend and dropped from a winning position to 8th. The usually reliable Stowe had a couple of DNF’s earlier in the series & finished 7th. Wobbygong missed the Taree weekend but sailed well thereafter to get 6th. Range DNF’ed at Manning Point and finished 5th. Marengo chalked up two wins in Sydney but missed a race at Sunshine and finished 4th overall. Firestorm was one of two boats to finish all races (so therefore had no ‘bad results’) and claimed 3rd place.
So, quite rightly, the title got down to the two most consistent & improved boats of the season, SFC computers & Ol’Yella. In the final wrap up there was only one point in it. SFC won both heats on handicap at Sunshine; Ol’Yella scored a handicap win at Manning Point. Ol’Yella was the other boat to finish all state heats; SFC had two DNF’s.
In the end speed/breakages/luck/perseverance made the difference. Col, Adam & Troy on Ol’ Yella are the State handicap winners. Congratulations!!
The Travellers Trophy is an equally close championship – results will change if boats do not start or finish the final race of the series at Port Hunter on 31 March. The committee is considering dates and venues for the AGM & state/TT presentation. It is a good chance to come along, recap this season & plan an assault on the coming one. And to have a good time with like-minded friends.
Hope to see you then.
With the nationals now but a faint memory, the serious part of the 2011/12 State & Travellers titles is well and truly here. And with generally lighter breezes post Christmas; the racing becomes even closer than usual.
And Sunshine was no exception. But I’ll get to that later…
Firstly to bring you up to date, after the Nationals most crews had a laid back January, except for the hotly contested Manning River Marathon. With a good southerly blowing and a run out tide, 7 VS’s lined up to have
a crack at Chooks record. But this wasn’t another easy run down the river; there was plenty of setting &
retrieving spinnakers, tacking, dodging boats & bullets. All in all a tough day. Good crew work was required& in the end Ol’Yella closely beat SFC Computers with Raptor 3rd. All three held the lead at some stage and had a great race. Firestorm, Range, Stowe& Under Pressure all followed some time later but Col, Adam & Troy sailed flawlessly & deserved their victory.
So why mention this? Confidence & trusting your instincts is a big thing in sailing. With some momentum on their side Raptor, Ol’Yella & SFC were eager to show Firestorm & Range the way home again. So on to Sunshine…
With a light breeze switching from E to S and a potential storm building, who knew where to go? Looking
at ½ way up the first work, Firestorm had a big lead & Ol’Yella was last. Around the first mark Range had the lead from Stowe with Marengo up in the mix. From here the wind kept oscillating, and those that were game and backed themselves did well. Ol’Yella, confident from the marathon, picked a good line upwind & downwind mid race to surge to an unbeatable lead. Steve and the Range boys always sail well in ‘awkward’ conditions and drew clear of the fleet for a comfortable 2nd. Bob, Adam & Hayden were in the major places all race until the storm hit on the final lap. Caught on the wrong side of the final work with about 100kg light on the wire, the Raptor boys faded from 3rdbut still managed a good result. In contrast Tim, Jason & Hugh backed themselves up the final work, went right, and nearly ended up 3rd on SFC Computers, if not for the heavyweights Firestorm spoiling their day. Unfortunately the southerly hurt some; Stowe faded mid race after running 3rd for a lap or two. Wildtrack had probably the lightest crew on board & were blown away, eventually retiring. Wobbygong & Marengo both finished solidly, good enough for 2nd & 3rdon handicap, but not enough to deny one of the stars of the day – SFC Computers. On a high since the nationals& the marathon, Tim & the boys know they can beat anyone and are sailing like it. Well done!!!
With another light breeze, this time from the NE, this looked like being another long day. Fortunately the
course was set out of the bay so there was some‘stringing’ to be had at times. Firestorm got a good start
& jumped to an early lead that they would hold to the finish. As Ol’Yella showed the previous day, if a boat can jump into different breeze it is hard to catch. Range put up a good fight & got within striking distance but could do no more than 2nd. Ol’Yella similarly sailed well but was generally a comfortable 3rd all race.
SFC Computers & Raptor had a good battle until splitting sides up the last work – Tim picked it correctly & ended 4th; Raptor in 5th. Gordon, Brian & crews had steady days but it was pretty well much ‘follow the leader’. Stowe finished 6th& Wobbygong 7th. On handicap SFC Computers again prevailed, this time from Firestorm & Stowe. Overall both scratch & handicap State& Travellers titles are still undecided, with points
tied. Check the results tab for the summary of the points to date.
Needless to say the Vaucluse & Yarra Bay races will have a big influence on the results. They are on this coming weekend, and with forecasts for moderate breezes, it sounds like another great Sydney weekend. VYC & Yarra Bay are fantastic hosts, so why not make the effort and come down for a sail. I am often asked, “How can I make my boat faster”. The simple answer is “sail it more”. For example, every year the boats that sail in the nationals step up in the fleet. So here is your chance to finish the season on the up, with Saturday night at VYC guaranteed to be big. I hope to see you there.