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Western Australia State Championships 2024
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Western Australia State Championships 2024

Easter at Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club

The relationship between the Flying Fifteen class and the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club was further enhanced over the Easter weekend with the running of the 63rd Western Australian Championships. Unlike the World Championships of March last year, this regatta was sailed on the broad section of the Swan River known as Melville Water.

A total of 33 boats assembled and were greeted with a light westerly on Friday that mostly favoured the left hand side and had Andy and Anne Knowles (A2) and Nick Jerwood and Brad Sheridan (Best Foot Forward) fighting for the lead in race 1 with A2 getting a bit more pressure on the last downwind leg to take the win. Similar conditions for race 2 and Best Foot Forward holding the lead for the whole race from a pack that included David Swan and Matt Elliott (Phar Lap) and Philippa Packer and Dean McAullay (Firefly) who filled the minor places.

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A Squared winning Heat 1

Saturday afternoon for the next 3 races, with the light conditions continuing, saw a very crowded top mark for the first race and Clive Beeton and Justin Tremain (Orca) emerge from the log jam to enjoy some time at the front before being overhauled by Best Foot Forward, Glamour Buoys (Leavo and Baddy) and Phar Lap.

Second race of the day, Best Foot Forward got to the front early and were never headed and were followed by brothers Mike and Paul Dunbar (Ineffable) with Phar lap in third.

More breeze for the last race of the day and an overly enthusiastic fleet prompted Race Officer Hubbard to unfurl the U flag for the first time and immediately claimed a couple of victims. Best Foot Forward had always been the unbackable favourite for the championship and all but sealed the deal with a win in heat 5. David Yu and Chris Nelson (Tuffan Up) finished strongly to be second over the line followed by Ineffable.

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A clear Start

The arrival of Sunday morning and, among several unprintables, the phrase “doing my head in” was overused by competitors and race officials after experiencing the meteorological struggle between land and sea breezes. Plenty of time spent under the AP waiting for the breeze to settle and then it was a case of find some pressure and stay in it. Tuffan Up was over the line early but returned when shown the X flag to finish third. John Hassen and Tony Finch (Final Fifteen) enjoyed the variable conditions until, having rounded the last mark with a substantial lead, had the breeze fill in from the other side to finish 7th. John Wilson and Matt Summers (Fast Lane 4) were the main beneficiaries of the shift and were only too pleased to take the win. Second was Best Foot Forward which assured them the championship. Tuffan Up was third which kept them in the hunt for the minor placings with Firefly, Ineffable, Phar Lap and Glamour Buoys.

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John and Tony on board Final Fifteen Says She

Last race, weird breeze and the fleet was shuffled around several times. In similar fashion to the previous race, Xavier Bates and George Elms (Reliance 4K) rounded the last mark with a race winning lead only to have their breeze disappear while Firefly capitalised on the new breeze to win from Grant Alderson and Luke Paterson (El Toro).

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Nick and Brad - Winners 2024

For the 6th time in the last 7 years, Nick and Brad have their names on the Hawker Siddeley Trophy with a dominant performance. Firefly was second overall and Tuffan Up third. Consistency results were a mixed bag until the last day when Jen Sims and Warrren Hastings (Yes, No, Maybe) found some form to win that side of the regatta.

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Jen and Warren - consistency winners 2024

Thanks to Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club for a regatta that was just as good off the water as it was on the water. The social events were fabulously supported by sponsors The Gate Bar and Bistro and Futari Wagyu Beef with delicious samplings of some fine products.

The next State Championships are to be held at Geraldton next Easter. See you there.

Full results can be found at: https://rfbyc.asn.au/flying-15-state-championship

Text courtesy of Russell Dawes.

Photos courtesy of Rick Steuart - Perth Sailing Photography and Sharon Skinner.

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