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.