“Let’s sail the final regatta of the season”. That must have been what most VS crews were thinking. With 12 starters, the Saturday race at Sunshine was the best attended of the season. And it could have been more, if Alex & Andrew were not organising younglings in the MJ squad or Jeremy wasn’t regressing back to his MG days…
But, even if it were the last regatta of the season, it was great to see some boats appearing for their first ‘away’ this race season. Dom & Shaun enticed former champ Sam to make the journey from Jindabyne for the weekend to debut Battleship. The boys had a good race on Saturday, in the mix for most of the race & finishing 10th.
It was also pleasing to see the return of Incognito. For those not aware, Chris has led a major rebuild campaign of the boat, ably supported by Greg, Troy and a host of others. Took a while to get here, but the end result looks great. Chris is now on the tiller and Will up front so while there is a bit of teamwork to build the boys sailed well on Saturday and finished without any breakages. Always a good sign after a major rebuild…
Bozo, Kev & Max were also a welcome addition to the fleet. Take it from me, Max is sailing well after the Neranie nationals experience. Kev is always on his game, as should be Bozo, except he asked an ex-skipper how to rig a spinnaker. Really? Give you a tip. Don’t ask a skipper (or half of the sheethands). Anyway when the kite came up first time it was backwards and upside down. It took all of Kev’s skills to re-rig it whilst sailing but he did & they finished with kite flying. Well done.
Saturdays race was sailed in a light E-SE’er. An unusual breeze for Sunshine that lead to an unusual course. Unfortunately a few of the fleet misunderstood the briefing and aimed for the wrong windward mark for the first time, cruelling the advantage of that big left hand lift that Meeks, Stowe, Planet Beer & others were enjoying. This gave Troy Botting Shipwright, Firestorm & Runaway a break over the fleet and the space to battle for the rest of the race.
In the light & variable conditions positions changed often and were hard to defend; however Col, Adam & Janine seem to sail best when it is tricky like this and sailed to a nice win that would also guarantee them the state title with a race to spare. Can’t get any better than that. For a while now they have had the speed but just didn’t get a lucky break at the right time. This season they didn’t need luck. Well done Champs!!!
John & Dale welcomed Ryan back aboard but it wasn’t a day to stretch Firestorm’s legs. They made TBS work for the win but could only manage 2nd. Recently crowned a national champion fore’hand, Steve realised it is much easier at the blunt end of a boat and grabbed the tiller again on Runaway, and with Mick & B14 Geoff sailed well to keep the pressure on at the front & finish 3rd across the line.
A layman might have thought Meeks were trying their best to be at the back of the fleet, having two bites at starting then sailing quickly towards the wrong mark up the first work, however Mick, Robbie & Mark fought back through the fleet to be 4th across the line.
Once again Black Diamond and Raptor had a close race. As their Neranie Sands results showed, Chook, Hayden & Adam like a little more breeze than today but they managed to hold off Joe, Mitch & Kye by a few seconds for 5th place. The positions could have well been reversed had Raptor not had a swim after becoming entangled with a Skate.
Tim, Scott & Kirra on Stowe were back in the fleet a bit after the first mark issue but got around without problems to be the next of the TD fleet, coming home 7th and most importantly getting beers from Michael, Brad & Lyndon. The Planet Beer boys had a bit of ‘horsepower’ ready to use but the light breeze didn’t suit this today and they finished 8th, about ½ a minute ahead of Brian, Steffan & Kallan on Narwahl.
The Hawkesbury boys had done enough to get 2nd on corrected time, however today was TBS’s, and they took the handicap victory too.
The racing on Sunday couldn’t have been a greater contrast to Saturday. After a start postponed while waiting for a predicted southerly we got it. +25 knots at times I’d say. PBB had gone home on Saturday. TBS, Runaway, Narwahl, Battleship & Incognito decided to keep their feet (and masts?) dry and stayed ashore. The rest went out to give the starter something to do (the Skates decided to start after we had done a lap for some reason).
Stowe & Black Diamond had a ride or two and completed a lap or so but it wasn’t a day for light crews so they pulled out before breaking something, unlike Planet Beer, who lost the bar across the transom, and hence their rudder, whilst at full speed under kite downwind. After a capsize described later by the starter as “the most spectacular I have seen”, the boys also retired behind the tow boat
That left three. With Ryan back aboard, Firestorm were enjoying the conditions and some good kite rides, to comfortably get the gun. Meeks kept them honest but had a little less horsepower to use, still finishing a good 2nd.
After looking impressive when running down to the start under spinnaker, the Raptor boys had a few issues around the course in the race but persevered and finished. And this was significant. Last place on both scratch & handicap was equivalent to 3rd place, giving the Joe, Mitch & Kye a score good enough to win the overall handicap title. Congratulations fellas, you deserve it.
The boys have the crew work sorted and sail well, but are still trying to get their rig sorted.
But once done I’m sure they will also get results like the SFC boys & be at the front of the fleet. And that is great to see!!!
The Sunshine weekend was also the last two races in the TT series. Because of additional and different races in the series there are different handicap results compared to the State series. But in the end the Overall winner is usually the most consistent and improving boat and crew of the series.
Only two boats started every race in the TT series. And these two boats were consistently good in results. Therefore it was no surprise they ended the series with a ½ point difference for the crown. But the winning crew stepped up through the fleet all year, winning the Manning Marathon & scoring several 2nd places in the nationals series. Congratulations to Bob, Hayden & Adam. The Black Diamond crew are the Travellers Trophy winners for the season. Another young crew (Chook excluded) so once again the class is looking good for the future.
Keep an eye out for information about next season’s national’s venue & the AGM and state title presentation.
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