The forecast was for 10 - 12 knots of NE winds accompanied by rain showers for races 7 & 8 of the 2020 Flying Fifteen Australian Championships sailed in Waterloo Bay.
With the first warning signal scheduled for 13:30 hrs and a high tide at 14:42 hrs the tide would be flooding during first race and then starting to run out in second race. Surely this would give the teams a lot to think about with the NE course run in the lee of Green Island.
As the crews rigged the boats and launched them to set-out to the race area, there were passing showers, some quite heavy. A particularly heavy shower killed the breeze so with paddles at the ready, some boats made it to the mouth of the harbour before the NE breeze started to filter in.
Racing was underway with a slight delay so that the course was laid to match the new breeze. It was pleasing to see that there was a number of spectator boats out on the course supporting the teams.
The first race of the day got underway in 10 - 12 kts breezes as predicted and conditions were perfect. The course set was for a windward/return, followed by a triangle. When crews made the windward mark, they found that the offset mark was quite a distance away and further to windward. The windward mark had to be reset during the running leg and signalled appropriately. The reaches were fun with the second reaching leg being quite tight and challenging for the teams to keep the boats under them.
The top three finishers for race 7 where (Ark) sailed by David Tabb and Dave Bennett taking the gun, followed by (Sake) Ashley Smith and Adam Kingston RQYS with (Surprise by Giver AUS) skippered by Stephen Fries and crewed by Richard Machin from Sandringham YC.
The breeze kicked up a little for Race 8. The battle between (Sake) and (Surprise By Giver AUS) was at melting point with just 4 points separating them, (Sake) with the upper hand. The race got underway and an individual recall flag was shown. No boats returned, meaning someone was going to get some bad news when making shore.
As in the first race of the day, there were shifts and lulls and managing those was key to success. (Sake), after a rough start moved through the fleet to take second place behind Flying Fifteen stalwarts John Wilson and Matt Summers from South of Perth YC. Only 8 seconds behind the leaders, 3rd place went to (Ark), sailed by David Tabb and Dave Bennett, having a great day after winning the first race of the day. Close finishes echoed throughout the fleet with many places being separated by seconds.
The final day’s racing is set to begin at 13:00 hrs, with just one race scheduled to complete the series. Whilst (Sake’s) crew have their hands almost on the trophy, (Surprise by Giver AUS) is not out of the picture just yet. 3rd place overall is also not confirmed with the (Flying Flamingo), (Fflashpoint), (Ffast Lane 4) and (Ark) all very close. The final day’s racing will be exciting with many boats tied on points or separated by very slim margins.
The trophy presentation and dinner function will be held after racing on Saturday evening.
Full results can be found on the regatta website:
by Chris Howell