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.