NSW 12ft Skiff Fleet contested the Port Jackson Championship yesterday in 14-18
knots Westerly on an unusually empty Sydney harbour. The event marks the last
interclub of the season and a final tune up before next month’s Australian
Championship in Brisbane.
crew from Abbotsford Arrogant Frog
(Peter Hill & Steve Hill) nailed a classic port hand start to lead the
fleet away. Terms and Condition (Brad
Phillips & Tim Barraclough) showed some blistering speed to gain the lead
by the top mark closely follow by Geotherm
(Brett Hobson & Jeremy Jones) in 2nd and LCC Asia Pacific (Jono Temple & Richard Jones) in 3rd.
The first run was epic with the breeze
clocking WSW making it a tight run from Kurraba point all the way down to Roe
Bay. Sydney Sailmakers (Nick Press
& Andrew Hay) had a great run getting carted low just scrapping over
Bradleys head and dropping their kites hot on the heals of the leaders to come
up around shark island. Running over the top of both LCC Asia Pacific and Terms
& Conditions to lead around the bottom mark. Sydney Harbour played its usual hand – A Manly
ferry rounded Bradleys head just as the lead 4 boats were also rounding,
blinded by the headland until the last minute. Geotherm
had to gybe to avoid a ferry half way down the run pushing them back to 4th.
At the bottom mark rounding, Skoll
(Nick Bernard & Robbie Polec) still sitting in 5th had made
significant gains on the lead pack.
Sailmakers turned on the speed on the short work back to Clarke Island, opening
up a significant lead on the rest of the fleet. They were never troubled over
the next lap and half of the race and went on to record a well-deserved victory
in some tricky conditions.
race for 2nd place was a lot closer. LCC Asia and T&C were quite unlucky
heading back to Rose Bay. Both boats were becalmed for several minutes,
allowing Geotherm to move into 3rd and close significantly on LCC in 2nd.
Up the long final work to the
finish at Karraba, Geotherm and LCC were neck and neck, closely followed by
T&C. Geotherm jumped ahead of LCC with only a few hunderd meters before the
finish, T&C 4th, only a few seconds separating the 3 boats.
mid field battle was hard fought with The
Bird (Jamie McCrudden & Glen Farguar), Gizmo (James Birdsall & Ewan Duckworth) and Arrogant Frog crossing
tacks for most of the race.
the handicapper doesn’t always win Term
& Conditions took out the handicap trophy.
Both Southport Sailmakers (Murray Press &
Scott Lanham) and Custom Cover (Joel
Aynscough & Brad Madders) had DNFs after gear failures.
Today’s presentation was attended by Phil Colless (Curlys son) representing
Colless family. Phil handed out the trophies and enjoyed a few stories about a
true legend of our class.
The Port Jackson Championship Graham “Curly” Colless Memorial Trophy is less than 2 weeks away. Lock in the date now and enjoy great harbour sailing and spectating from the Sydney Flying Squadron. Its the Curly Colless Memorial Trophy and members of the Colless family will be in attendance. Download the Notice of Race.
Press and Hay undisputed 12ft Skiff Interdominion champions
The Geotherm crew of Brett Hobson/Jeremy Jones were the undisputed winners of the final race, but NSW sailors Nick Press/Andrew ‘Noddy’ Hay (Sydney Sailmakers) have decisively won the Your Move Conveyancing 12ft Skiff Interdominion, hosted by the Sydney Flying Squadron this past week, their names to be carved on the Silasec Trophy again.
Competing against 34 other crews on Sydney Harbour, this was Press’ eighth Interdominion title, a record number for a skipper and a co-record for a skipper or crew. It was Hay’s second win (his first was with Press in 2017).
“Never, ever, did I think I’d win eight. When I started sailing 12s, Tim Bartlett (currently skipper of Frankenskiff who won six Interdominions in his heyday) was the man. At that stage the dream of winning even one was far away,” Press, the respected Gladesville sailor said.
“During the years a lot of people helped me, my dad (Murray Press), who I crewed for, and previous crews Richard Johns, Brad Yabsley and Andrew Stevenson. They taught me how to race and compete at a high level – and to race against Brett (Hobson) – he makes us better and pushes us – and we push him and Jeremy too.”
He and Hay are in fine company, with some big names on the previous winners list of this prestigious event: John Chapple (NZL), Dave Porter (NSW), Bruce Farr (NZL) – yes, the famous yacht designer, John Winning (NSW) and Iain Murray (NSW) among them.
Alex Vallings, the defending champion from New Zealand, has also won eight titles, two as crew for Tim Bartlett and six as skipper of his own boats. Bartlett himself has won the title six times. He continues to race competitively as the skipper of Frankenskiff (NZL) and finished just outside the top ten this time.
Representing Lane Cove 12ft Skiff Sailing Club, Press/Hay won five from 10 races, only straying outside the top three twice. They won the title from Geotherm by four points, the latter getting off to a flying start, claiming the first two races and winning the last, sailed in a beautiful nor’ easter of 10 to 12 knots. They led from go to whoa by a good margin.
“I’m pretty excited about the result and it was nice to do it with Noddy (Hay),” Press said of his crew for the past four seasons.
“We put a lot into it – it’s not as simple as it might look. I got a new boat nine months ago and we spent a lot of time with the rig and Sydney Sailmakers getting it right. We trained hard too – on our own and with others, including Brett. It’s a sense of relief to win.
“It was pretty nice to have good conditions all week – we all had some amazing rides,” Press said after finishing third today. He had to play catch up and find passing lanes after being buried at the start.
On the comparatively large and competitive 35-boat fleet, Press said: “It’s good to see the 12s in such good shape. There’s a wider range of people sailing and a lot of young guys, new talent coming through.”
Hay agreed. “This is the best fleet we’ve sailed against.” The bloke they call Noddy briefly sailed 18 footers with Press, “but I was one of those guys who hadn’t sailed a 12 before – and when I did – I realised what I was missing.”
On their win, Hay said, “There’s a right way and a wrong way to do things in sport – it’s a team effort – and that’s what we do, we’re a team.” And it is plain to see the pair is very in tune with each other on the water.
Commenting on their win today and their second place overall, Hobson said, “It was a nice way to finish. We were borderline between using the big rig and our No.2 – we went with the No.2 – and it was right. We started well and the boat felt good. We went right to the western shore and avoided the ships (two cargo ships were moored in the course area on the Harbour of which some fell foul).
“We made good decisions and felt we got away on the upwind by banging the left shore. I was a little more relaxed, as the pressure was off, but we were still out there to win,” commented Killara sailor Hobson, adding: “I’m really enjoying sailing with Jeremy. We’re a newish crew, but we really came together this week.
“We got a little bit unlucky in the middle (of the Interdominion) which is a bit disappointing,” he said of traffic on the Harbour that cost him podium places. “We’re pretty happy with second – and that the Aussies won the Teams event.” Australia scored 809 to win the John Brooke trophy, the Kiwis 698 – each team made up of eight boats.
The Kiwis had a good go and Chris Skinner/Chris Holland (Jackson Electrical) took the final podium position after a week of consistent sailing, “except for today,” Holland interjected, when they fell to 12th place and used it as one of their two drops. Although they did not win a race, Skinner and Holland counted five third places in their tally for third overall.
It was an exceptional result given Skinner broke his neck in Spain after a fall in September and is lucky to be alive, let alone back sailing an unruly skiff. He does not have a lot of movement in his neck, so can’t look around to see what is going on with his rivals, but refused to make it an excuse.
“We haven’t raced all season though. This was our first time. We’re happy – we have a one-off boat and it’s quick. We do a lot of development and got new sails and they made a lot of difference.”
Skinner, who represents Royal Akarana Club in Auckland where a lot of champions are bred, including Jim Delegat, winner of the 2016 Rolex Sydney Hobart and Skinner’s Interdominion teammate Alex Vallings, among others, said “We’ve really enjoyed the regatta.
“The quality is the best we’ve seen. It’s good to see so many new people and different winners through the week. We were last here in 2005 and finished 10th – now we’re third in much hotter competition.”
This year, defending champion Vallings arrived with new crew, Sam Tretheway, but the pair had little preparation time, so their performances were up and down. They still finished fourth overall and showed moments of brilliance, including a win in Race 5 and third in Race 7.
The overall handicap winner is Terms and Conditions (Brad Phillips/Harry Bethwaite) representing the Sydney Flying Squadron. The Veterans Advanx Trophy (best skipper over the age of 55), goes to Murray Press, who at 66 is still showing ‘the youngster’s’ how it is done and finished 10th.
Andrew Binstead-Chapman, skipper of Icarus from Lane Cove 12 footers, finished second in the final race for eighth overall to take out the Rookie (highest placed first-time skipper) for the Nimble trophy.
The weeklong event on Sydney Harbour gave competitors everything from perfect summer nor’ easters, to a stiff southerly and moderate winds from the south and south-east – something to please all.
Thanks go to the Sydney Flying Squadron for making all feel welcome and to the volunteers; no event is successful without them.
Thanks also go to naming rights sponsor Your Move Conveyancing, support sponsor Brentnalls NSW and Premium sponsors: Carbon Chandlery, Chapman High Performance Sailing, Phoenix Leisure Group, SkiffRopes.com, Sydney Sailmakers, Maersk Line and Zhik.
The 2020 Interdominion will be held in New Zealand next January.
12ft Skiff Interdominion: Queenslanders notch up first win – Press and Hay on fire
Queensland’s Richard Billet and Ben Cross (Carbon Chandlery) have notched up their first victory on the penultimate day of the Your Move Conveyancing 12Ft Skiff Interdominion, hosted by the Sydney Flying Squadron on Sydney Harbour.
Carbon Chandlery won the first won the first race of the day, Race 8, after nailing the start and not looking back. No easy feat given the stellar fleet boasting sailing champions from the 12 footers and other classes.
The Terms & Conditions crew of Brad Phillips/Harry Bethwaite (NSW) were second, and the Kiwi pairing of Chris Skinner/Chris Holland (Jackson Electrical) third. Six-time Interdominion winner, Tim Bartlett, steered Frankenskiff (NZL) to fourth place, crewed by Matt Hix.
Phillips/Bethwaite paired up especially for the Interdominion and have produced some classy performances, while Jackson Electrical is the best performed of the New Zealanders, who are mainly representing Royal Akarana Yacht Club. It is unbeatable for third place overall. Not even club mate and defending champion, Alex Vallings, with new crew Sam Tretheway, (C-Tech) can get to them from fourth overall.
And despite the fact that Interdominion leaders and runners-up, Sydney Sailmakers and Geotherm respectively finished fifth and seventh in that race, Race 9 confirmed the two cannot be ousted from those places with just one race remaining.
“We got a terrible start, got buried in the first one,” Press confirmed. The Carbon guys got a nice clean start and sailed away from the fleet to win comfortably. We fought our way back to fifth, which was OK, given we were stone motherless last off the start.”
However, Sydney Sailmakers and Geotherm made good in Race 9, placing first and second respectively, with Jackson Electrical third, C-Tech fourth and the improving Carbon Chandlery in fifth.
“We didn’t get the best start in that race either, but were up with top bunch and chipped away,” Press, from Gladesville said.
Brett (Geotherm) was leading, and we ran him down on the second run. We sneaked in front and kept ourselves between him and the top mark the whole time and sneaked home first,” Press explained.
Off the water, Press and Hobson are the best of mates with huge respect for each other. Press said of Hobson: “He’s sailed really well this season. Jeremy (new crew) has added something to the team this season and I think he brings out the best in Brett. They’re giving us a run for our money at this Interdominion; they have really stepped it up.”
The ‘Handful’ crew of John Mulquiney/Duncan Gerdes (NSW) won Race 8 on handicap, while Red Energy’s Peter Nicholson/Mark Muirhead (NSW) took those honours in Race 9.
Conditions were relatively soft compared to the rest of the event, mainly east-nor-east at 10-12 knots: “Most had our second rigs on, and in retrospect, could have used the big rig.”
Organisers sent the 35 boats on the north-east course for Race 8, and a windward/leeward course for Race 9, because the breeze was flicking all over the place and more in the east, not suitable for the north-east course. For some of the time, the breeze went from nothing to big gusts, keeping all on their toes.
The Your Move Conveyancing 12ft Skiff Interdominion, supported by Brentnalls NSW, finishes tomorrow with one final race, starting from 2.30pm.
A spectator ferry will follow the final day of racing tomorrow, leaving the Sydney Flying Squadron at 2pm. Tickets for the ferry can be purchased via the Club’s website: www.sydneyflyingsquadron.com.au Drinks can be purchase on board, but we recommend having lunch at the club (restaurant or cafe) prior to heading out on the ferry.
Press and Hay all the way as they take 12ft Skiff Interdominion lead
While the bulk of the 35 entries competing in the Your Move Conveyancing 12Ft Skiff Interdominion were left dealing with capsizes, two departing passenger ships, two tug boats and ferries, Nick Press and Andrew Hay put yesterday’s misfortune behind them to win both Races 6 and 7 in a blustery southerly on Sydney Harbour.
From the Sydney Flying Squadron, host of the event, you can’t see what is happening on the Harbour weatherwise, so crews were choosing their rigs based on a predicted 15-18 knot southerly, but once out there, it was 22 plus knots with up to big gusts and choppy water.
Boats starting capsizing pre-Race 6, as the southerly whipped up, but Press/Hay (Sydney Sailmakers) and Brett Hobson/Jeremy Jones (Geotherm) were fast off the start.
Most chose to go left, bouncing off Bradley’s Head. It wasn’t long before Sydney Sailmakers took the lead from Geotherm, both NSW boats carrying spinnakers, when Kiwi entry, Jackson Electrical (Chris Skinner/Chris Holland, sailing higher on the course, came flying through under main and jib, nearly catching the lead pair.
A second Kiwi entry and defending champion, Alex Vallings with new crew Sam Tretheway (C-Tech) made up ground under spinnaker to move up to fourth place.
Past Taylors Bay and around Shark Island, Sydney Sailmakers increased her lead, leaving Geotherm, Jacksons Electrical and C-Tech to fight for the minor placings – in that order. Ugly Stick, a Kiwi boat crewed by Simon Ganley/Oliver Scott-Mackie, came flying through with their trademark bright pink kite to finish fifth.
Behind them, the places were an ever changing feast, courtesy of capsizes. Some were hampered by ships and ferries, while the lighter newer boats were screaming down the bumpy runs, fighting to stay upright. It made thrilling viewing.
“It was a lot fresher than we thought it would be,” Press said afterwards. “We were lit up like a Christmas tree. I’m glad we got a good start and got going down the run. From there, we sailed conservatively.” Well, his version of it, anyway.
Race 7 and a massive shift and a big gust hit as the start gun went. Hobson, as he does, steered Geotherm to the best start, while a capsized boat caused problems for Press, who had to duck behind it and up again to start, coming close to a capsize himself.
A head start for the rest we thought, as the majority headed right. Wrong. Sydney Sailmakers got out of difficulty and tacked left. A few blinks later she was up with the leaders. Down the run she took the lead, while boats were falling over behind them. Along Sydney Harbour’s west shore and the southerly had eased a little, having the effect of compacting the fleet in a closer race for all.
Duelling all the way to Nielsen Park, Geotherm tacked left towards the park, while Sydney Sailmakers sailed further towards Shark Island before tacking. Geotherm’s move paid off – momentarily. By the time the boats sailed around the Island, Ugly Stick’s big pink kite was first – with a big lead – leaving Sydney Sailmakers, Geotherm and C-Tech behind them.
It wasn’t over. As they sailed the last leg to the finish, a ferry caused Hobson to make a quick decision to tack Geotherm, killing his and Jones’ chances. Ugly Stick looked a certainty, but no, Sydney Sailmakers lined up the finish and sailed through to win from Ugly Stick, C-Tech and Geotherm, with Jackson Electrical fifth.
“We got buried at the start – lucky we didn’t go in. Then at the end, Ugly Stick sailed too low to the finish line and we got him,” Press said. After yesterday, we had all the luck today – and it was one of Noddy’s (Hay) best performances.”
Defending champion Vallings had a solid day too: “We stayed upright all day, but we still haven’t got the finer details down,” he said.
Behind them, The Bird (Jamie McCrudden/Glenn Farquahar) had to do some fancy footwork to avoid a ferry, and held it together, only to capsize a minute later. Murray Press (Nick’s dad) and Scott Lanham (Southport Sails) found their race brought undone on the run to the Athol Bay finish. The spectator vessel in their path, they avoided capsizing, only to find a fellow competitor in their path on the opposite gybe. Both tipped over.
Sydney Sailmakers leads the Interdominion five points ahead of Geotherm with a drop in place. A further drop will come once nine races are completed. Realistically, the winner is likely to be one of the two. After tomorrow’s layday, three races remain in the Your Move Conveyancing 12ft Skiff Interdominion, supported by Brentnalls NSW – two on Friday, the finale on Saturday.
12ft Skiff Interdominion: Ship on course changes the game
A ship seen by some, but not by others competing in the Your Move Conveyancing 12ft Skiff Interdominion today, played a big part in determining the outcome of Race 5, which in turn affected the overall standings.
The gun Sydney Sailmakers crew of Nick Press/Andrew Hay from Lane Cove 12ft Sailing Skiff Club won the earlier Race 4, but while leading Race 5, were in a blind spot, only spying a ship at the last minute. Unable to sail their course or get around the ship, the pair was pushed right down the pack, but recovered somewhat.
“We won first race, got a good start in the top bunch, rounded the first mark in front, with Brett (Hobson and Jeremy Jones on Geotherm) second, Ginge (Alex Vallings/Sam Tretheway on C-Tech from New Zealand) there too,” Press, from Gladesville said.
“We had a good downwind,” he said after executing a gybe-set inside his opponents and led down the run to the bottom mark.
“Ginge went in the drink, and there went his chances. Brett was right on our heels though, and we had tacking duel up the work, but managed to stay in front and hold on for the win.”
All agreed conditions were the best of the regatta so far, with a beautiful 15-18 knot nor’ easter. “You couldn’t ask for better,” Press said after two days of trying overcast weather.
Geotherm finished second in Race 4, with the quickly improving Terms & Conditions crew of Brad Phillips/Harry Bethwaite third, then fourth in Race 5.
Into Race 5, and Sydney Sailmakers was again leading, but experienced something Press and Hay had no control over: “We sailed into Taylors Bay and couldn’t see this big moving block of flats (the ship),” Press explained.
“Ginge and a few others went around the east (near Shark Island) and could see it. We dropped back to 12th or 13th and ended up seventh,” said an obviously disappointed Press.
That race, in all probability, cost him the Interdominion lead. Geotherm, representing the host club, the Sydney Flying Squadron, is on 12 points holding a one-point advantage over his perennial major rival after scoring fifth in Race 5.
Press’ loss was the Kiwis gain, as they filled the top three places. C-Tech won from Ugly Stick (Simon Ganley/Oliver Scott-Mackie) and Jackson Electrical (Chris Skinner/Chris Holland) – all represent Royal Akarana Yacht Club. In fourth place, Terms & Conditions was the best placed Aussie boat.
“After capsizing in the first race, we came out and won the second,” Vallings, the defending Interdominion champion, said. “Going downwind, a big ship went out that affected some.
“We got a terrible start, but it all changed at Bradleys and opened things up a bit. We got into top five – and were fourth at the top mark – close behind the leaders, then the ship happened. That’s where we got in front – we went down Shark Island side, so we could see it – others couldn’t see it. Ugly Stick was up with us and we battled upwind, but we stayed in front.”
Vallings has been a driving force in the development of the 12 footers, but he and Tretheway have struggled a bit, with fifth, ninth, 10th and seventh places before winning Race 5, moving them up to fourth place overall.
He says, “The season hasn’t been good in New Zealand, so we only went out for one sail before coming to Sydney.” And he has a new crew. “Tomorrow won’t be easy; we’re looking at a challenging 20 knot southerly. It will be testing on the 12s,” ends Vallings.
On who might win, Nick Press says: “Brett (Hobson) is the man to beat. Ginge and Brad Phillips (Terms & Conditions) are getting better by the day. Carbon Chandlery (Richard Billet/Ben Cross) are still finding their way, but are not lacking in talent either.”
Terms & Conditions is a new crew who are moving upwards and lead the handicap event. Both have sailed skiffs, but independently.
Phillips says: “We had a slow start, but we only had two training sessions beforehand. We’re getting the crew work in order and improving. We just have to point the boat in the right direction. It’s a quick boat and we’re enjoying sailing together.”
Crew, Harry Bethwaite, is the son of former skiff champion and skiff designer (including the Olympic class 49er), Julian Bethwaite.
The Your Move Conveyancing 12ft Skiff Interdominion, supported by Brentnalls NSW, continues on Wednesday from 2.30pm, with two more races planned.
A spectator ferry will follow the final day of racing – 12th January. Tickets for the ferry can be purchased via the Sydney Flying Squadron website: www.sydneyflyingsquadron.com.au . The ferry will depart the wharf at the club at 2pm. Drinks can be purchase on board. We recommend having lunch at the club (restaurant or cafe) prior to heading out on the ferry.
Brett Hobson/Jeremy Jones (Geotherm) were lucky to take Race 2 from Nick Press/Andrew Hay (Sydney Sailmakers) at the Your Move Conveyancing 12ft Skiff Interdominion hosted by the Sydney Flying Squadron this afternoon, while the latter pair repaid the favour by cleanly taking out Race 3.
A grey overcast Day 2 with breeze a little light on greeted the 35 crews representing NSW, Queensland and New Zealand in the 59thrunning of the event. Initially the breeze was from the south, but by the time Race 3 came around, it had veered to the south-east, averagingaround 12-14knots throughout the afternoon.
“We won the first race, but Nick (Sydney Sailmakers) was unlucky not to win it,” Geotherm’s skipper Brett Hobson admitted.
“We had shocking start – got caught up with a port tacker. They (Press/Hay) took off and had long lead. We got in front of them at the last top mark after pegging them back. On the last run into the finish, Nick got us back – but he got tangled up with another boat I think – so we got him by a couple of seconds (it was just over one second). He was pretty unlucky.”
While Sydney Sailmakers was predominantly in first place all race and Geotherm in second, the Icarus crew of Andrew and Will Chapman had third placed nailed. “They did pretty well, did a good job” Hobson said.
There was no mistaking Sydney Sailmakers’ Race 3 win. They won by more than three minutes, with the Brad Phillips/Harry Bethwaite crewed Terms & Conditions second and Geotherm third.
“We had another bad start – back in the second row,” confessed Hobson, who is typically a crack starter. “The breeze shifted to the left and we got knocked and struggled to get across the start.”
The breeze was patchy and gusty throughout and while Sydney Sailmakers shot through to win, Geotherm was back in fifth and sixth for a fair part of the race.
“There was a lot of chopping and changing among the boats all through the race and we ended up third,” the Killara sailor said.
The Chapmans had been in third place, but were swallowed up and finished sixth, beaten by Chris Skinner/Chris Holland on Jackson Electrical (NZL) and Southport Sails (Murray Press/Scott Lanham) in what was a very close race behind Press/Hay.
“It was a bit of a lottery a lot of the time due to the conditions, especially in first race as breeze was trying to go south-east,” explained Hobson, who after three races leads the series on countback to Press/Hay who are sure to put the pressure on for the rest of the series.
Making a return to the 12s with ‘Dignity’, Cam and Charlie Gundy have come fresh from racing on separate yachts in the Rolex Sydney Hobart and won today’s Race 2 on handicap. The 21 and 20 year-olds respectively don’t usually sail together, so it was a great result.
“We normally race against each other – I was on Patrice in the Hobart and Cam was on Kayamai – it was hard work but a lot of fun,” he said. “Today was our fourth day together in the 12, so it was good to get a win. We used to sail them, but it’s been a long time,” said Charlie, who is crews on the skiff, while Cam helms.
“We had a solid start, kept the boat upright and stayed in pressure. There’s some very good competition here – you can’t make any mistakes – one bad tack and you lose places – it’s very tight racing,” he said.
The 20 year-old is praying for more wind during the week, “Because it’s (Dignity) a heavy old boat – older than me. Sadly, the weather is looking even lighter on Tuesday… We also have to keep the boat in one piece to finish.”
Tomorrow is a lay day, with racing in the Your Move Conveyancing 12ft Skiff Interdominion continuingon Tuesday from 2.30pm, with two races planned.
A spectator ferry will follow the final day of racing –12th January. Tickets for the ferry can be purchased via the Sydney Flying Squadron website:www.sydneyflyingsquadron.com.au The ferry will departthe wharf at the clubat 2pm. Drinks can be purchase on board. We recommend having lunch at the club (restaurant or cafe) prior to heading out on the ferry.
Day 1 of the Your Move Convenyancing 12ft Skiff Interdominion provided both thrills and spills in a stiff southerly that kicked in just before the 3pm start on Sydney Harbour today, with Brett Hobson/Jeremy Jones crewed Geotherm winning a battle of wills with eternal NSW rival, Sydney Sailmakers (Nick Press/Andrew Hay).
The Harbour was bumpy and the southerly at times at 25 knots, but later in the opening race, the bumps changed to waves. It was tricky sailing for all concerned and hard to stay upright.
Geotherm got off the start best – at the pin end. “We weren’t aiming for the pin, but found ourselves there,” Geotherm’s skipper, Brett Hobson from Killara said.
Karoshi (David and Alison Molloy) from NSW was above Geotherm and also got away well off the Athol Bay start.
Geotherm sailed clear of the rest heading to Point Piper the first time, with Gladesville skipper Nick Press giving chase. Then it was down to Chowder Bay, spinnakers flying. Many had thrilling rides down to Chowder, Hey Charger! (Nick Bernard/Oscar Wilson, NSW) and Giddy Up (Paul O’Malley-Jones/Ben Roxburgh, Qld) among them, becoming airborne.
“Chris Skinner (Kiwi entry Jackson Electrical, crewed by Chris Holland) was hanging around a bit to Chowder Bay. He almost crossed us going back to the Rose Bay mark,” Hobson commented on the pair who finished the Interdominion third in New Zealand last year.
“Going through a gybe, Nick (Sydney Sailmakers) rolled over the top of us, but there wasn’t much in it up or downwind.” And while the two sailed cleanly, carnage was the name of the game behind them, with many capsizes and a few breakages.
Then Sydney Sailmakers was in trouble: “Our boom vang broke halfway up the last beat,” Hay confirmed. However, it took until the last downwind for Geotherm to reel his rival in. The two powered from Rose Bay towards the finish, Geotherm holding the advantage.
Coming in to the finish, Hobson had to make a decision – gybe under spinnaker to make the mark, not gybing and possibly miss the finish line, or drop the kite – all risky moves, as Press/Hay were bearing down fast with a big black kite and had laid the finish line nicely.
In a heart stopping moment, Geotherm dropped her kite around 200 metres from the finish, slowing her down, while Sydney Sailmakers was coming at them at full speed, but Geotherm finished first, with seconds to spare.
“I thought it would be touch and go making the finish (under spinnaker) so we made the decision to not gybe the kite – we dropped it and sailed to the finished with a jib. I felt we had time to do that,” Hobson recalled.
“It was good to race so closely with them (Sydney Sailmakers) all race and to get up the win. I don’t know how it would have finished if they hadn’t broken their vang – it was that close.”
Jackson Electrical finished a distant third, nearly capsizing while gybing for the finish line at Athol Bay. A second Kiwi entry, Ugly Stick (Simon Ganley/Oliver Scott-Mackie) finished fourth. The rest of the 35 boats finishing were strung out along the course, or retired.
The Bird (Jamie McCrudden/Glenn Farquhar, NSW) were among those that incorrectly timed their gybes going into the finish, finding themselves in the drink before righting and finishing.
Behind them, a thunderstorm was brewing and many were caught in it. Eventually all made it safely back to the Sydney Flying Squadron. The oldest open boat sailing club in Australia is hosting the 59th Interdominion.
Hey Charger! was among those caught, limping home with a shredded jib, but they were by no means last.
Racing in the Your Move Conveyancing 12ft Skiff Interdominion, supported by Brentnalls NSW, continues tomorrow with two races planned, and concludes on Saturday, 12 January.
A spectator ferry will follow the final day of racing – 12th January. Tickets for the ferry can be purchased via the Sydney Flying Squadron. The ferry will depart the wharf at the club at 2pm. Drinks can be purchase on board. We recommend having lunch at the club (restaurant or cafe) prior to heading out on the ferry.
*Above photo (Vita Williams) – Adam Forbes & Ben Gemmell sailing Maersk get some air in Race 4
Following their victories in the Upper Harbour and Parramatta River Championships, the Sydney Sailmakers crew of Nick Press and Andrew Hay have made it a trifecta by winning the Your Move Conveyancing NSW 12ft Skiff Championship, held over two weekends at different venues, and concluding today.
Press, from Gladesville and Hay, from Northbridge, won the only race last Saturday from Killara’s Brett Hobson and Jeremy Jones (Geotherm) on Sydney Harbour, hosted by Sydney Flying Squadron. Sunday’s racing was postponed when heavy westerlies, with gusts up to 37 knots were recorded on the Harbour.
Forward to this weekend, when two races become four short races, to make up for last weekend’s loss. This time the venue was Lane Cove12ft Sailing Skiff Club, with racing on and around the Lane Cove River.
Sydney Sailmakers and long-time nemesis, Geotherm, won a race each yesterday, leaving the two boats one point apart in Sydney Sailmakers’ favour.
“Yesterday was really fresh; we went out with No.3 rig. That was OK for the first race of the day, but the nor’ easter really kicked in and was up and down in pressure – we should have had the fourth rig on,” Press admitted.
“It was hectic and the manouvres difficult. Every time you got going, you had to gybe or tack – or you’d end up in someone’s front yard,” Press said of the confined environs in which they raced.
“Everyone was a bit battered and bruised when we got in – an unforgettable day. Very different at Lane Cove where you are constantly bouncing off land, to racing on the Harbour, where you have much more room – but you have to contend with ferries and power boats.”
With a win apiece, it was really tight coming into today, but in the end, Sydney Sailmakers won both races from Geotherm to take the title.
“We swapped the lead a bit with Geotherm today – they are fast upwind, we’re faster downwind. Ben (Austin) and Robbie (Polec) on Skoll finished third overall and they got some really good starts. They were fast upwind with Brett (Hobson), but we caught them downwind.”
The fleet sailed in a more manageable 15-18 knot nor’ easter today, more like the 17-20 knot nor’ easter of last Saturday.
“We had our second rig on – it was a really nice sailing day – a lot more racing rather than surviving done today,” Press said.
No hard feelings off the water either between the Sydney Sailmakers and Geotherm crews: “We go hard at it when we’re racing, but we’re the best of mates off the water – we even play squash together. Brett’s got the wood on me there,” Press conceded.
Press paid tribute to the new 12ft skiff Junior NSW champion, Will Beck (Shu Styx Fabrications), who is usually crewed by Connor Hay. “They finished eighth overall. They are pretty new to the class and are doing really well.”
Old hands, Peter and Steven Hill (Arrogant Frog) won overall on handicap. “They had a great regatta – the best they’ve sailed in ages,” Press acknowledged.
Finally, Press’ father Murray, crewed by Scott Lanham on Southport Sailmakers, finished fourth overall to claim the veteran title.
“They had a third in the big wind yesterday. Dad was smarter than us – he put his fourth rig on and sailed well.
“It was really good racing both weekends and we’re all fired up for the Interdominion,” Press said of the main event, taking placefrom 4-12 Januarybetween NSW, Queensland and New Zealand. To be hosted by the Sydney Flying Sqaudron at Kirribilli, the 10-race series will be held on Sydney Harbour – one of the first major sailing Championships for the New Year.
Nick Press and Andrew Hay on Sydney Sailmakers currently lead the NSW State Championships after the first weekend of competition.
Only 1 of the 3 scheduled races was completed, with all racing postponed on Sunday due to strong winds. A call came in from the PRO just before the skiffs left the beach, with the news of 37knot gusts from the west.
In contrast, Saturday’s race 1 was sailed in a lovely 17-20knot North-easterly. Sydney Sailmakers put on a skilfully display with their 2nd rig, handily the over powered conditions masterfully, to win the long course race.
They almost led start to finish, with superior downwind speed, only being troubled in the latter parts of the race by Geotherm, who took the lead at the final windward mark. Sydney Sailmakers executed a near-perfect nose dive on the bear away at the mark rounding, leaving the door open for Geotherm with their 3rd rig to sniff victory. Geotherm’s lead was short lived as Sydney Sailmakers downwind speed came to the fore on the run to the finish.
The battle for 3rd place was hotly contested for most of the race with Southport Sailmakers, Skoll (also 2nd rig) and Red Rocket exchanging blows. Skoll succumbed to the power of the 2nd rig, and Southport had a quick slip up, to let Red Rocket take a much deserved 3rd place.
Many in the fleet had opted for 2nd rigs, which resulted in several retirements.
Arrogant Frog, had a great day out finishing 7th and winning the handicap.
The State Championships continue this weekend at Lane Cove (both Saturday and Sunday).
With the 12 foot skiff Upper Harbour and Parramatta Championships done and dusted, all skiffies focus is on the Your Move Conveyancing NSW Championship to start on Sydney Harbour later this month – and the all-important Interdominion in January.
In the lead up to the NSW Championship, a six-race series to be held over two weekends of December, every sailor worth his salt is fine tuning and sizing up the competition via local club races each weekend.
Organised by the NSW 12ft Sailing Skiff Association in conjunction with the Sydney Flying Squadron (host for the opening weekend) and Lane Cove 12ft Sailing Skiff Club (host of the following weekend), all eyes are expected to be on the running battle between Nick Press/Andrew Hay (Sydney Sailmakers) and Brett Hobson/Jeremy Jones (Geotherm).
So far, Hobson/Jones have come off second best at the majors, but Hobson is determined to overcome the weekly challenges he faces against Press/Hay.
“It is a bit demoralising, but it keeps you trying,” Hobson concedes. “We beat them in all three races last weekend, but to be fair, Nick broke a trapeze wire in one and capsized.”
Geotherm is undoubtedly quick upwind, but Hobson agrees that Press has the upper hand downwind: “I always thought I was pretty good downwind, but he’s a little better.
“With Nick, you can’t make any mistakes – and you have to be on your game all the time. He doesn’t leave anything to chance,” Hobson admits of his Gladesville nemesis.
“You have to continually tune your boat to improve. Nick works very hard and keeps the boat beautifully. His new boat has been going brilliantly since he got it.”
The Killara sailor says other commitments mean he and Jones (the son of Richard Jones who crew’s for Jono Temple on LCC Asia Pacific) are not sailing as much he would like to in the lead up.
“But we’ve got a couple of new sails and we’re trying to get the boat quicker. We’re sailing once a week, but would love it to be twice. We’re club racing out of the Squaddy (Sydney Flying Squadron at Kirribilli). We’ve done a couple of short races which have been enjoyable – and at the same time we’re trying to maximise benefits ahead of the States.
“This is our second year together (with Jeremy) he sailed Cherubs before now – he’s 21 and enthusiastic, a keeper – so that’s half the battle.”
But they are not the only two in the money. Hobson says another member of the ‘Press gang’ as the Press family is known, Nick’s father Murray and crew, Scott Lanham (Southport Sails) keep everyone on their toes.
“I see Ben Austin and Robbie Polec (Skoll) as potential winners. Ben’s a bloody good sailor. He’s sailed 14’s regularly and 12s intermittently – he’s been round the traps for a while. He only started full time this season, standing in for Robbie’s father (Peter Polec), but he’s getting better and better.”
A further wildcard would be Pete Nicholson/Mark Muirhead (Red Rocket) who have developed and are coming good at the right time.
Others gearing up to take part include LCC Asia Pacific, Arrogant Frog (Peter and Steve Hill), Maersk (Adam Forbes/Ben Gemmell), The Bird (Jamie McCrudden/Glenn Farquhar), Chapman High Performance Sailing (Jack Winning/Brett Phillips) and Your Move Conveyancing (Dave Winning/Joe Bourne).
Spectators and welcome on the water or on land, where the best vantage points are Bradley’s Head for the first weekend of racing and Clarke’s Point at Hunters Hill for the second weekend.
Up to 35 boats are expected to take part in the Your Move Conveyancing NSW Championship for the Morna Cup, ahead of the Interdominion when they will face their Queensland and Kiwi counterparts for the major crown in 12 foot skiff sailing.
Nick Press and Andrew Hay (Sydney Sailmakers) have made it two in a row, backing up to win the 12ft skiff Parramatta River Championship for the Len Postill Memorial Trophy late this afternoon, after taking out the Upper Harbour Championship last weekend.
Once again, Brett Hobson/Jeremy Jones (Geotherm) played bridesmaids after leading off the start with Jono Temple/Richard Jones (LCC Asia Pacific) and Ben Austin/Robbie Polec (Skoll), with Sydney Sailmakers trailing them.
All had their chances on a south course taking the fleet to Hen and Chicken Bay, although it was not straight forward, as all chose their Number 3 rigs, looking down the barrel of an 18-22 knot southerly under a dismal sky.
“It was really fresh when we were rigging up, so everyone put the third rig up, but when we got out there, it was a lighter 15-18 knots, so we were a bit underdone,” Press commented.
Wishing for their number 2 rigs, but stuck with their choice, crews spent much of the time crouching down on their boats around the course, a pretty uncomfortable way to sail a 12 footer.
“It was like a NASCAR race,” Press said of the course that took inthe Parramatta River between the Gladesville Bridge and the Putney Punt, with the finish off the Abbotsford clubhouse in the slowly fading breeze.
“Short sharp legs, six times to the top mark,” said Press. “It took us two laps to run down Hobo (Geotherm). From there, the two of us had a great tacking duel to the finish and we crossed first.”
The top two had cleared out on the rest, as Maersk (Adam Forbes/Ben Gemmell) and Skoll (Ben Austin/RobbiePolec) were in their own battle crossing tacks all the way to the finish, as were Southport Sails (Murray Press and fill-in crew Scott Hobson) and LCC Asia Pacific.
Press said the battle got so tight behind them, “that Skol infringed Dad (Southport Sails) and LCC, and all three ended up in the drink, which put them further back in the fleet as they struggled to recover.”
Maersk got a lucky break, somehow avoiding the chaos around them, and finished third. Southport Sails finished next, followed by LCC Asia Pacific.
Press, from Gladesville, and Hay, from Kirribilli, remain the benchmark in the fleet and their results to-date bode well for upcoming events.
“A big thank you from all of us to Abbotsford Sailing Club – they are a volunteer club and always put on a great day for us. They feed us well and the racing is always good fun. We’re all made to feel welcome and love sailing there,” Press concluded.
Hosted by Abbotsford 12ft Sailing Club, the Parramatta River Championship is the second major event of the season for the 12s. It is a lead-in event to December’s NSW Championship and the Interdominion to be hosted by Sydney Flying Squadronfrom 4-12 January, 2019. Both events are sponsored by Your Move Conveyancing.
In between, the 12s will sail club pointscore races each weekend.
Nick Press and Andrew ‘Noddy’ Hay (Sydney Sailmakers) have taken out the first major 12ft skiff regatta for 2018-2019, the Upper Harbour Championship, hosted by Lane Cove 12 Foot Sailing Skiff Club (LC 12ft SSC) this afternoon.
It means the inaugural race for the Upper Harbour Championship Centenary Trophy, donated by the Griffith and Langford families, will boast the name of the pair who represents LC 12ft SSC.
Press admitted it was a fierce fight to the end with Sydney Sailmakers’ nemesis, Geotherm (Brett Hobson and his new crew Jeremy Jones) from the2.45pmstart all the way to the end.
“Noddy and I won, but only just – there was about 2 metres in it to Brett and Jeremy. Jeremy’s dad Richard sails with Jono Temple on LCC Asia Pacific – and they finished third today,” said Press, who’s had more than a few tussles with his own dad, Murray Press, over the many years the two have sailed in the class.
“It was very ominous looking all day. Everyone had their big rigs on. We started in a 10 knot easterly and Geotherm, LCC and Dignity (Charlie and Cam Gundy) won the start. They were the clear leaders – we had a terrible start,” Press admitted.
Geotherm was well in front before Sydney Sailmakers caught her on the long downwind leg to Drummoyne.
“But Brett caught us back up at the top mark the next time. We were crossing tacks, and we got slightly ahead, but it was so close all the way coming down the Lane Cover River to the finish,” Press said.
By this time, the two boats had put some distance on the third-finishing LCC.
Throughout the race crews had to deal with a fluctuating easterly that try as it might, did not become a true nor-easter on the upper end of the Harbour.
“It clocked east-nor-east at times. It was a gusty and fickle day with huge wind shifts. It’s just lucky we were all in and having a beer when the thunderstorm hit.”
Press, from Gladesville, and Hay from Kirribilli, have sailed the past three seasons together and make a formidable duo.
In the 2016-2017 season, they made history by winning every major 12ft skiff event: the Upper Harbour, Parramatta River, NSW and Port Jackson Championships, along with the Interdominion, which takes place between Australia and New Zealand each January.
The pair finished runners-up in New Zealand last year, beaten by the top Kiwi C-Tech crew of Alex Vallings/Andrew Clarke.
Last month, Lane Cove 12 Foot Sailing Skiff Club was almost razed by fire. Forty-six boats sailed by 60 children and teens were lost in the fire and part of the adjoining slipway wasdamaged.
Press has been a member there since the year dot and like his fellow members, is thrilled by the generosity of the sailing community.
“There was a big crowd at the Club today. We had a fundraising barbecue this afternoon. More and more people are turning up to have a drink in the part of the club that‘s still there. As awful as the experience is, you find out the true nature of the sailing community when something like this happens,” the Sydney Sailmakers skipper said.
A call from the Club, ‘Help save our club after the fire’, was heard loud and clear. At the Australian Sailing Awards last evening, it was announced $30,000 had already been raised, courtesy of a tight-knit sailing community.
That the Club was able to host the 12ft Skiff Upper Harbour Championship at all shows their spirit and determination to get things back to normal.
The next event on the 12ft skiff calendar is the Parramatta River Championship to be heldnext Sunday, 28 October.
Crews are already working towards the next Interdominion, to be held at Sydney Flying Squadron in January and sponsored by the award winning company, ‘Your Move Conveyancing’. Organisers are expecting a bumper fleet of 35 plus boats.
The notice of race has just been published for the upcoming Interdominion championships.
The Inters will be held at the Sydney Flying Squadron from 4th January to 12th January 2019. So if you are a 12ft skiff sailor or follower, book your leave in now and don’t miss out on the biggest regatta in 12ft skiff history.
The 59th 12ft Skiff Interdominion Championship will be held at the Sydney Flying Squadron from the 4th – 12th January 2019.
With fleet numbers growing in NSW and QLD over the last few years, its shaping up to be the biggest interdominions to date. So whether you are a sailor or spectator, plug it in your diary now and dont miss out.
The notice of race will be released shortly and more details will follow over the coming months.
Yesterday was another cracking day on the harbour……for sailing only. Through all the rain and gusts of 25 knots, Sydney Sailmakers gave the fleet another sailing lesson, to win the Graham “Curly” Colless Memorial Port Jackson Championship.
Form Civil lead the fleet at the first mark, but could not hold back Sydney Sailmakers for long. The latter skiff taking a good lead into Chowder Bay.
LCC rounded in 3rd, with Terms and Conditions 4th and Geotherm 5th.
The southerly was top end of the 3rd rigs on the beat into Rose Bay. Terms and Conditions unfortunately had a long swim half way up putting them out of 4th place.
There were plenty of fast rides had by all on the run back to Chowder Bay, and plenty of position changes. LCC got through Form Civil and Geotherm moved into 3rd when Form Civil took a wide mark rounding.
Sydney Sailmakers extended their lead on the final run to the finish in Athol Bay, to win by over 3 minutes, and on the same leg Geotherm nosed just ahead of LCC to claim 2nd; Form Civil 4th.
The fleet was graced by a few Cherubs who appeared to enjoyed themselves on the long harbour course. We hope they can join us more often.
It was a testing day on the water yesterday with a variable breeze, both in terms of strength and direction. Race 5 was delayed for some time to allow the breeze to settle in.
Sydney Sailmakers took out race 5 by just a few seconds from Kiwi boat Monkey Wrench, who are having a fantastic regatta. Fill-in skipper Peter Nicholson aboard The Wolfie Ship/Skoll also had a great day out picking up 3rd place.
In race 6, Sydney Sailmakers had an excellent first work to lead the fleet by a significant margin at the first turn. However the shifting breeze allowed rival boat C-Tech to take the lead up the next work. Their lead was short live when a strong gust cause a capsize near the top mark, allowing Sydney Sailmakers to regain the lead and hang on for their 2nd win of the series.
The racing is being streamed live on Facebook thanks to LiveSailDie. Tune in here when racing resumes tomorrow.
The 58th Interdominions in Auckland are set to go, with racing to commence tomorrow, 6th January.
Saturday 6 January – Racing
Sunday 7 January – Racing
Monday 8 January – Racing
Tuesday 9 January – Racing
Wednesday 10 January – Lay Day
Thursday 11 January – Racing
Friday 12 January – Racing
Saturday 13 January – Racing / Prize Giving
Nick Press and Andrew “Noddy” Hay in Sydney Sailmakers are the NSW State Champions after a commanding performance, winning 4 of the 6 races.
We used the word chaotic a few times in the report for Weekend 1 of the NSW 12foot Skiff State titles, but we really should have reserved the word for Weekend 2. Lave Cove turned on some bizarre, at time treacherous conditions over the 3 races
Race 4 was the long course race on the Saturday. The weather was stormy, with the odd fresh gust followed by periods of not a lot of breeze. Many made their decision off the back of the 20-25 knot Nor-Easter that was showing on the Harbour and put on 3rd rigs, whilst some put on 2nd rigs given the lack of action on the water in front of them. It was the 4th race in a row that the fleet was split on rig choice.
The 5 minute gun signalled the start of the breeze though and it got fresh! The breeze went Nor-West but the Nor-East course saw the fleet reaching to the top mark, and it was the Press boys Nick (Sydney Sailmakers) and Murray (Form Civil) leading the way. Bullets making their way over the hill at Greenwich saw both capsize though, with Geotherm taking the lead until a similar fate hit them on a reach to Specticle Island mark.
LCC Asia Pacific (Jonathon Temple & Richard Jones) had a turn in the lead, with Sydney Sailmakers back up and chasing hard when a rain squall took the breeze close to 40 knots. It is fair to say that at this stage, most of the boats had a little rest on their sides, it is worth remembering that there were a few 2nd rigs on. The squall passed, dropping the breeze back to a manageable 15-20 knots… and then 10 – 15 knots…. and then 5-10… and then 0 – 5 knots.
Sydney Sailmakers took the lead after a battle with LCC Asia Pacific and Geotherm had a battle with Form Civil for 3rd. The lack of breeze managed to squeeze most of the fleet together as the race became a marathon. Sydney Sailmakers took the win in around 2 hours, but many of the fleet, with a bit further to go when the breeze fell out, took 2 hours 45 to finish.
At least rigs looked a bit easier to pick on the Sunday, with almost everyone putting big rigs in, although there was some threat of more breeze coming. A fairly sad looking Westerly greeted the fleet for the first of the short course races. A couple of local, bearded trouble makers made the best of the start, with Peter Polec on Skoll and Jack Winning in Chapman High Performance Sails making the best of the start. Unfortunately a looming Easterly wandering it’s way down the harbour took the Westerly away and many positions were swapped as little bits of breeze came from the West or the South.
The Easterly finally came through, which made the Westerly course a little uninteresting. Sydney Sailmakers had managed to take the lead by the top mark, still working as the back half of the fleet closed in with spinnakers up. Geotherm managed to take the lead and a shortening of the course (the first work had taken a long time) saw them work back to Manns Point to take the win. Sydney Sailmakers were second, guaranteeing that they would win the States.
Race 6, the second short course of the day, was a bit more sensible. The course was moved to an Easterly, and it reached top-end of big rig from time to time. Sydney Sailmakers and Terms & Conditions made the best of the start but the tight reach from Valencia Street passed Clarkes Point were the undoing of both the leaders, who capsized. Terms and Conditions, with Lachie Paramour on the helm, managed a nose dive as a bullet combined with some badly placed moorings to send the nose down.
Geotherm managed to take the lead and hold on for the win. A tremendous performance from The Bird (Jamie McCrudden) saw them place second and ask the obvious question of why they waited until the last race to put in that type of performance. Form Civil held off Sydney Sailmakers to take 3rd.
1st – Sydney Sailmakers
2nd – Geotherm
3rd – LCC Asia Pacific
4th – Form Civil
5th – Terms & Conditions
The first 3 heats of the NSW State titles were held over the weekend of 25 November. As per usual, Sydney turned on 2 picture postcard days, warm and sunny weather, even if the breeze wasn’t quite as we expected. We could go on about the odd breezes this year and it might just be my memory playing tricks on me, but what we should have had were two 3rd rig Nor-Easters, with Saturday 15-20 knots and Sunday should have been black. That is what we would have got, if we started racing at 4 – 4.30. Instead, the breeze we got caused chaos in the rigging park.
One of the best things about a 12 is having 4 rigs so that most days are good days. It comes with a cost though and that cost is the fact that you can lose a race in the boat park by putting in the wrong rig, and this happened to around half the fleet on both days. At about 12.30 on both days we were getting readings of about 12-17 knots, which is 2nd rig for most us. The question was what the breeze was going to be at 3… it should have been 17 knots plus, but that isn’t the way it panned out.
A little over half the fleet put 3rd rigs in on Saturday, and Murray Press should take a lot of the blame for that. Form Civil made the 3rd rig decision early and for the few of us that were undecided, it was enough to put the 2nd rigs away and go with 3rd as well. The top boats and the heavy boys went 2nd rig, and it was the right call. Even us light guys should have had 2nd rigs in.
It was the long course race on the Saturday and the fleet split into 2 distinct groups. Those with 2nd rig on battled it out up front. Form Civil with 3rd on started well and hung around with the top boats but was always going to lose out downhill on the long runs. Geotherm was looking great until their jib sheet fell apart, and they fell back to 3rd. Sydney Sailmakers controlled the second half of the race and won, from LCC who held on to 2nd place. Lincoln Crowne won the handicap with Chapman High Performance Sails.
Those with 3rd rig on had some close battles too and a few of us managed to have a good chat between boats as we made our way up an incredibly long 2nd work from Clarke Island to Beashal. It had gone big rig by that stage. As if to taunt us, the wind kicked on the 3rd leg and was almost getting to 3rd rig for our last run down from Neilsen to the finish.
It was short courses on Sunday and it was entirely predictable that the group of us who had 3rd rigs in on Saturday (and spent the day under-rigged) would make the opposite mistake on Sunday (and go out over-rigged). We all knew it was going to happen, yet we did it anyway.
I think it’s fair to say that the first race on Sunday hit the sweet spot where it was either 2nd or 3rd. The top boats went 3rd rig thinking that the breeze would build, and those that were underrigged the day before went 2nd rig.
Up the front of the race, more misfortune hit Geotherm, with Brett Hobson getting the course confused and heading around Shark Island down the first run instead of straight down to Clarke. A submarine also made it’s presence felt, splitting the fleet off the first work. Sydney Sailmakers managed to make it 2 wins from 2 and Lincoln Crowne got second again. Terms & Conditions snatched 3rd.
It had been lumpy, with strong run out tides all weekend, and it became obvious on the exceptionally nice run to the finish that the breeze was building, and 2nd rig might not be the right rig for the next race.
Race 3 will live long in the memories, especially for those with 2nd rig on. It should be known as the pole breaker, as some spectacular nose dives snapped poles in half and damaged skippers. The breeze hit 20 to 22 knots, the lumps got lumpier. The 3rd rigs went inside-out upwind and the 2nd rigs went nowhere, except down the mine.
The most spectacular mine should go to Gizmo. Loaded up downhill they found a mine and drove straight into it, sending the crew flying around the forestay. The boat hung in the perfect vertical pose, until the pole snapped, releasing the pressure and catapulting the hull into the floating skipper, gunwale straight into his head. Five stiches later, James Birdsall has made a full recovery. Despite the trail of blood, Adam Forbes on Maersk, whose pole was also in pieces due to a similar mine, claims that his mine was better. Breakages also played a prominent role.
Nick and Noddy in Sydney Sailmakers revel in these conditions and took their 3rd win from 3 starts. Geotherm placed second and a charging Peter Polec in Skoll charged into 3rd. There were 8 DNFs proving that angry Nor-Easters still turn up, just sometimes a little late.
The NSW 12ft Skiff State Championships are less than 2 weeks away. The notice of race has just been release.
The 6 race series will kick off at the Sydney Flying Squadron on Saturday 25th November. A spectator ferry will follow the 12 action on Saturday, along with the clubs usual racing. Book early (via the Squaddy website) to avoid disappointment.
Races 2 and 3 will also be at the Squaddy on Sunday 26th, before moving to Lane Cove on Saturday 2nd December with race 4, followed by race 5 & 6 on Sunday 3rd. The presentation will be held at the Lane Cove 12ft Sailing Skiff club on Sunday evening.
The Parramatta River Championship was held at Abbotsford Sailing Club on 5 November. Brett Hobson and Jeremy Jones in Geotherm won a tight race, with Nick Press and Noddy Hay in Sydney Sailmakers second, and Jakub Ronowicz and Craig Nicholson in Stay Connected Electrical third. Stay Connected won the handicap race, with Arrogant Frog second. 14 boats were not deterred by the forecast of not a lot wind and a bit of rain, with a couple of notable absences caused by an eventful race at Lane Cove the day before (it was interesting that Nick Bernard and Peter Polec both watched the race from different sides of the river!)
There are some tell-tale signs in a race at Abbotsford that you are having a good day or a bad day. My crew asking “how long have we been racing for?” at the end of the first run was a sign that the breeze we had hoped for was yet to materialise. There were promising signs when we thought 10 knots of Easterly might settle in, but it never really did and the moments of two-stringing were interrupted by technical discussions about whether it’s best for the skipper or crew to be on the wire when you are down to one wire and how far forward in the boat is too far forward.
The breeze tried to make things interesting but not good interesting by being awesome all the time – it made it interesting by being random. But this is Abbotsford after all and at least the water was flat, the hospitality was brilliant and the only other boat on the water to cause trouble was the amusing sight of one luxury cruiser having to tow another luxury cruiser slowly down the middle of the course. Even the River Cats seemed to be becoming more polite.
The breeze can be frustrating though. At the time, the fact that you didn’t get the gust that sent the boat in front skimming inches past a couple of moored yachts with the kite rolling, as you sit on the floor of your boat being dragged up, somewhat ironically, towards the old asylum in Gladesville, is maddening. Later though, upstairs in the sailing club, alternating between a can of VB, a bowl of nachos and a chocolate cake, it becomes a reason for some banter and some laughs.
Even each of the 4 or 5 boats that had reasonable leads throughout the race managed a laugh, especially Brett Hobson and Jeremy Jones on Geotherm who managed to establish a lead on the last work home after, at various stages, looking like they were almost out of touch with the leading boats.
A short start line made the start interesting, with Stay Connected making the best of it to establish a lead down the first work. A pack made up of the usual suspects, including Sydney Sailmakers, Form Civil, Geotherm and Terms & Conditions tried to chase them down. As expected, the runs were a lottery, with the odd gust sending some boats into the moorings off Abbotsford Point and more than a couple of capsizes among even the top boats. Form Civil, with Scott Hobson up front was one of the boats to get a bullet at the wrong time and end up in the tide.
Jakub and Craig in Stay Connected have both done a lot of sailing at Abbotsford and did an amazing job keeping the chasing pack at bay for much of the first 2 legs. Sydney Sailmakers and Terms & Conditions both had turns at the front as the race closed up on the way down to the bottom mark at Glades, through the notorious toilet bowl section of the course. As the wind is prone to do though, the blue and white kite of Geotherm made its move on the last run and took the lead in the short work up to the finish. At the end of a race that went almost 2 hours, Geotherm won by 10 seconds from Sydney Sailmakers, with Stay Connected Electrical another 30 seconds back.
Special thanks to the Abbotsford club, especially for the generous prizes donated by the Posthill family and the volunteers at the club, with famous 12s and Abbotsford names such as Dempsey and Dewane very much part of the team.
With the first Club Championships race coming up at the SFS this weekend, Skiff Ed ran his eye over a few of the favourites to gauge some of the form early doors.
Perennial favourite Sydney Sailmakers looks strong again this year and Nick Press and Andrew “Noddy” Hay looked unbeatable …. until they were beaten last weekend in the Upper Harbour Championships at Lane Cove. As expected, the boat looks well prepared and the sails are setting the benchmark for sexiness, so it looks a good bet.
Brett Hobson on Geotherm has been talking up his more relaxed program this year but he should continue to push Sydney Sailmakers all the way. Son of a gun Jeremy Jones has jumped on the bow and you would expect that that alone is enough to keep Geotherm ahead of LCC.
Big things are expected of Terms & Conditions, which threw in some outstanding results last year and looks quick. Skipper Brad Phillips has been handicapped blessed by the birth of a new born, so he should have plenty of time to work on the boat and keep it quick.
We don’t have a Veterans Trophy for SFS Club Championships but if we did, Jono Temple and Richard Jones on LCC Asia Pacific would probably win it. Actually, if we had a veterans trophy it would probably mean Murray Press would turn up to every Club Champs race to try and win it from them. LCC Asia Pacific are always quick and will certainly be in the mix.
Adam Forbes is a roughy but I say that more because of how he speaks than anything else. Maersk is the newest boat in the fleet and we certainly expect it to be quick. Exciting to see another young bloke in Charlie Gundy jump on the bow. Good luck Charlie!
There should also be plenty of competition in the rest of the fleet. Pete Nicholson’s boat is now bright red and he has Billy Lusty up front so big performances are just around the corner. Jakub Ronowicz and Craig Nicholson on Stay Connected Electrical are looking to really shake things up by turning up regularly and early signs have been promising. Marty and Ian on Citadel Magnus have had a bit more time on the new ship (old one currently for sale.. $4k ono hint hint ) and Ben Faulkner has got himself a fatter boat and a Maclean Paton. They ticked their first box on the weekend, the new skiff.org.au now floats.
The Club Championships is a 5 race series, on the traditional long Sydney Harbour courses. Check out the dates here.
Nick Press and Andrew ‘Noddy’ Hay (Sydney Sailmakers) have capped off an extraordinary season after successfully defending the 12ft skiff Australian Championship title they won last year when The Kitchen Maker 12ft Sailing Skiff Australian Championship was sailed over Easter.
Press and Hay who have sailed only the past two seasons together, have won every major 12ft skiff event this season, including the Upper Harbour, Parramatta River, NSW and Port Jackson Championships, along with the Interdominion, sailed between Australia and New Zealand each year.
Press, from Gladesville, and Hay, from Kirribilli won four of the six races sailed on Sydney Harbour between Goat and Cockatoo Islands to have their names carved on the Norman Booth Trophy again. Long-time rivals and Race 5 winners, Brett Hobson and Bill Lusty from the Sydney Flying Squadron at Kirribilli, finished runners-up, six points in arrears.
Third placegetters and top Veteran crew were Race 1 winners, Jono Temple and Richard Jones (LCC Asia Pacific) who have sailed together for 24 years.
Press, who lost his voice due to the flu, left Hay to do the talking. “I’ve sailed with Nick for two seasons and we’ve just won back-to-back Australians,” he said, describing conditions as “mostly benign.
“We all sailed with our big rigs throughout, as conditions were mainly light, around 8 knots, although we had a brief southerly change on Sunday, but it didn’t last. The wind got up in the high teens and we had a swim (capsized), because we were overpowered,” Hay said.
The pair unusually won the Championship with ease, as Geotherm’s Hobson and Lusty were not in their usual red-hot form.
“We did have one really close race with them when they beat us in Race 5, otherwise we were quite comfortable. Otherwise, we’ve had such a good battle with them all year, they normally push us hard,” commented Hay who is looking forward to sailing with Press, the dominant force in the class since 2004.
Press comes from a long line of skiff sailors. His father Murray, crewed by Charlie Gundy (Bigfoot Custom Trapeze Harnesses) finished the Australian Championship in fourth place and second in the Veterans division.
Hay made a switch from the 18 foot skiff class where he sailed with John Winning for many seasons. “For me to come into the class as a ‘newbie’ it’s very pleasing to have had such a successful season,” he said.
“I’m really enjoying the class and our results – and the camaraderie in the class. It’s an incredible boat to sail. I’d love to see more young guys in it. It was good to see Jimmy Walsh and Michael Kennedy (Karoshi) make a comeback and to see the guys from Queensland come down,” Hay finished.
Gael and James Glassock (Cunning Ham) won the Junior Crown, while John Mulquiney and Robbie Polec (Handful) took out the Handicap title for the Colin Clark Memorial Trophy.
The 12ft skiff has traditionally been a stepping stone into the 16ft and 18ft classes. Some of Australia’s most famous sailing names have raced and won in the ‘12’s’ including Iain Murray, John ‘Woody’ Winning, Michael Coxon and Dave Porter. From across the paddock, Bruce Farr, John Chapple, Russell Bowler and Don Lidgard represent the best.
Twenty five skiffs representing NSW and Queensland took part in The Kitchen Maker 12ft Skiff Sailing Australian Championship, which completes the season for the class.
The crew of Jonathon Temple and Richard Jones on LCC Asia Pacific made a perfect start to the 12ft Skiff Australian Titles today, winning race 1 in the light and shifty East South East Breeze. Full results are available from the Lane Cove website.
Racing continues tomorrow with races 2 and 3.
There is a spectator ferry following the final race on Monday. More information can be found at the Lane Cove website.
The ‘Sydney Sailmakers’ NSW 12 skiff championships was the most hotly contested 12ft Skiff championship in recent history. The regatta saw 4 different winners from the 6 races and the regatta only decided on a dramatic final run to the finish, with Sydney Sailmakers (Nicholas Press & Andrew Hay) taking the race win and the championship by the narrowest of margins. 20 Skiffs participate in the regatta with the Sydney Flying Squadron hosting races 1,2 & 3 and Lane Cove 12ft Sailing Skiff Club races 4, 5 & 6.
Saturdays race #4 saw the fleet plug in the #1 rigs to contest Lane Cove’s tricky Easter course in around 10-12knots of breeze. The racing was tight throughout the fleet with Sydney Sailmakers and Geotherm (Brett Hobson & Billy Lusty) locked in a tight battle for most of the race with Sydney Sailmakers only extending the lead in the closing stages. LCC (Jonathon Temple & Richard Jones) showed good speed with their new #1 rig to grab 2nd spot from Geotherm on the perilous leg through humbug to the finish! Term and Conditions (Brad Phillips & Tim Barraclough) has another strong showing in 4th to follow up their race #2 victory, definitely a skiff to watch at the upcoming Interdominion Contest.
Sundays race #5 had a gusty 2nd Sail Nor’easter for the skiffs to deal with. The pressure was on with only 3 points separating the top 3 Skiffs. Race 5 saw Sydney Sailmakers lead to the top mark once again locked in a tight dual with Geotherm closely followed by Terms & Conditions, LLC, Maersk and Gizmo (James Birdsall & Ewan Duckworth). After rounding the wing mark Sydney Sailmakers hit the drink whilst trying to flog the kite around Clarkes point handing Geotherm a comfortable lead. Both LCC and Terms & Conditions failed to learn from Sydney Sailing makers mistake and followed suit in testing the water temperature. Sydney Sailmakers recovered to finish a distance 2nd with Bigfoot in 3rd and a fast finishing Maersk (Adam Forbes and Alex Johnson) in 4th with Hey Charger (Nick Bernard & Oscar Wilson) in an impressive 5th place.
Race #6 and the breeze had built in a solid 2nd sail Bigfoot and Sydney Sailmakers won the start to lead around the top mark with Geotherm right on their hammer. The 3 skiffs crossing tacks and gybes the whole way around the course with lead changes a plenty. Geotherm snuck into the lead at the last bottom mark followed by Sydney Sailmakers then Bigfoot. Geotherm and Sydney Sailmakers embarked on a match race up the final windward leg and allowed Bigfoot to sail around them both and into a narrow lead at the top mark, with only 1 boat length separating the 3 skiffs. Geotherm held the high lane with Sydney Sailmakers tucked in just below them when a motor boat split the duelling skiffs, which saw Geotherm in the tide after getting an inopportune gust trying to rage over the top the expensive looking power boat. This left Bigfoot (Murray Press & Scott Lanham) and Sydney Sailmakers (Nicholas Press & Andrew Hay) in a gybing dual to the finish with Sydney Sailmakers picking the angle through the line to claim the race win and the Championship.
The recently revamped Hey Charger ‘Nick Bernard & Oscar Wilson’ sailed brilliantly to claim the well-deserved Handicap Trophy after a huge winter maintenance and sail-wardrobe upgrade 10 years in the making. The ever-green Murray Press on Bigfoot taking home the veterans trophy and ensuring the battle for the Championship was more than a 2-boat shot out.
The State titles also serves are the Australian team trials for the upcoming 12ft Skiff Interdominon’s in Brisbane (7th – 14th January). With the edition of new skiffs, plenty of new gear, some new faces and tight racing the class is looking strong and healthy. To get involved go to www.skiff.org.au or follow us on Facebook ‘Australian 12ft Skiffs’
The regatta was proudly supported by Sydney Sailmakers and Skiffropes.com.au
Top 5 Scratch Results
Sydney Sailmaker – Nicholas Press & Andrew Hay (9)
Twenty 12’ skiffs arrived at the Sydney Flying Squadron, Sydney to kick off the ‘Sydney Sailmakers’ NSW 12’Skiff Championship. Over the weekend 3 races where held with 3 different winners & very close racing. Saturday saw one race in a 20 knot NE’er with Brett Hobson & Billy Lusty bringing home Geotherm in 1st place, Sydney Sailmakers, Nicholas Press & Andrew Hay in 2nd and Terms & Conditions, Brad Phillips & Tim Barraclough in 3rd. Great sailing on Sydney Harbour in testing conditions. Sydney Sailmakers set the pace for 90% of the race only to come to grieve close to the finish.
Sunday saw 2 races in a fading SE to E breeze. All boats choice 2nd rigs with the breeze shifting between 10 & 17 knots. The first race of the day saw Terms & Conditions get home 1st with Big Foot Trapeze Harnesses, Murray Press & Andrew Stevenson a close 2nd. Geotherm finished 3rd after a costly capsize on the last spinnaker run of the day. The 2nd race saw Big Foot Trapeze Harnesses win a close race from Geotherm in 2nd & Sydney Sailmakers in 3rd.
Theres are real buzz around the fleet with racing the tightest in years with up to 7 boats fighting for podium positions. The class is in great shape with 2 new boats on the water (Maersk and Terms & Conditions) plus 4 boats recently returning from the UK.
The final weekend of racing will be at Lane Cove 12’ Skiff Club over the 3rd & 4th December.
Nick Press and Andrew Hay convincingly won the Upper Harbour championship at the weekend.
The 12’s were faced with a very tough day, with the southerly gusting to 30 knots. The alternate course was used due to a shipping movement, which took the skiffs down to Tarban Creek, adding to the already tough conditions.
Press and Hay were never challenged and won start to finish.
Brett Hobson and Billy Lusty aboard Geotherm finished 2nd, and were forced to work their way through the fleet after a pre start capsize.
Fast finishing Skoll (Peter Polec and Mark Muirhead) were 3rd, who also worked their way through the fleet.
Murray Press and Scott Lanham rounded out the top 4, after being in the hunt for 2nd for much of the day.
We would like to welcome Captain Morgan Rum as the naming rights sponsor for the upcoming Captain Morgans 12ft Skiff Australian Championships.
Captain Morgan is a very complementary fit for the class and we are very excited to have them on board for the event.
The 6 race event will be held over the Easter long weekend at the Sydney Flying Squadron in Kirribilli. The event will utilise a combination of harbour and laid courses.
A reminder to participants that entries are closing very soon (18th March). Entries are filling up quick, so avoid the late fee and enter now. Early entries will also receive 2 free raffle tickets to go in the draw to win several bottles of Captain Morgans Rum.
Entries received so far include all the top NSW boats, and a very strong contingent from Queensland – the largest fleet to hit NSW for many years.
Good Friday will see the inaugural Ladies Day picnic and Friday evening Captain Morgans Rum Party. Both events are open to all friends and family of the class. We encourage all to come down, watch some sailing and have a rum, or two. More details will be posted on Facebook and the website in the lead up to the event.
There will be a lot of focus on the handicap honours at this years Championships. Thanks to Captain Morgans, the leading handicap boats will walk away with a generous supply of the Captains finest.
For more information and to keep up with all the action from the weekend, stay tuned to www.skiff.org.au and our Facebook page.
The Geotherm crew of Brett Hobson and Billy Lusty continued their winning streak in the 12 foot skiffs, winning the Port Jackson Championship hosted by the Sydney Flying Squadron on Sydney Harbour late yesterday.
“We almost won start to finish, except for a scare from Murray Press and Scott Lanham (Bigfoot Custom Trapeze Harnesses), who got ahead of use about 300 metres from the finish line, only to capsize during a gybe,” Hobson said of his rivals who righted themselves in time to take second place.
“They were very fast downwind all day and sailed right past us on the final downwind,” Hobson said.
Having played bridesmaid to the Nick Press skippered Sydney Sailmakers on many occasions in the past, the crew of Geotherm won The NSW 12ft Skiff Championship in December and finished second at the 2016 Interdominion in January, the best placed Australian crew.
Hobson, from Abbotsford, said 18 year-old Lusty from Berowra, who only joined him this season, has made a difference to the pair’s fortunes.
In yesterday’s Championship, which started near Clark Island at 2.30pm, Geotherm got off the start line well in the pressured up north-easterly on a wavy Sydney Harbour.
With a small lead at the first mark at Nielsen Park, Hobson lost a little time by the second mark at Shark Island, but recovered to extend up the second work to the Beashel Buoy, south-west of Sow and Pigs at Watsons Bay.
On the run back to Clark Island, Bigfoot Custom Trapeze Harnesses gained a lot on Geotherm and was chomping at their transom just a few seconds behind. But Hobson and Lusty held their nerves, knowing they were strong upwind.
“We again got away on the final work, but Murray (the father of Nick Press) again caught us on the run to the finish, and was set to cross us the line in front of us to win, but then had the swim,” Hobson recounted.
Nick Press (Sydney Sailmakers) sailed consistently in third place all day to finish that way. The six-time Interdominion sailor was minus his latest crew, Andrew Hay, who was replaced by Damien Vlotman, a past 12 foot crew for Michael Spies.
“It was a nice day. We all had our third rigs on – probably a little underpowered in the 15-18 knot breeze, but it was still fun. We did a long Harbour course. It included a change to the normal course, which was being tried out for the upcoming Australian Championship over Easter,” Hobson ended.
It was a day that could have resulted in anything. The 12ft Skiff Interdominion Race Management team issued an amendment to the schedule bringing racing forward by one hour today (1pm start) and with a chance of three back to back races. The totally unpredictable weather conditions that tease Auckland was the cause of the change.
So the sailors rocked up after mentally preparing to get smashed by three races.
This left them, once again, with a decision to ponder. Which rig am I gonna sail with today?!
It was a nice and steady 23 knot northerly. The aged 12? skiffies threw back a few Voltarin’s and were ready for the day.
The 12ft Skiff Interdominions continued today with two races scheduled and two raced completed.
Proud Kiwis, Alex Vallings and Fraser Brown (C-Tech), came out punching in the first race and secured their fourth bullet of the series. This is their fourth interdoms together and they won in the event in Wellington two years ago.
Alex Vallings must be pretty happy with himself. He imported a crew from England, and now the two of them have three bullets under their belt at the 2016 12? Skiff Interdominions hosted by Auckland Skiff League.
Fraser Brown, a Pommy import for the regatta, arrived on Valling’s doorstep ready to race. Without any practice, they hit the water and have not only won the invitation race, but the first three races of the series. So technically it’s four from four, but the invitation race doesn’t count for the overall result.
The 12ft Skiff fleet, racing in the 2016 Interdominions, spent some solid hours on the water today completing both the Invitation Race and the first race of the series.
25 boats from Aussie and New Zealand are at the event which is hosted by the Auckland Skiff League.
C-Tech (NZL), skippered by Alex Vallings with Fraser Brown at the pointing end, had a glamour day winning both races over the line. At this point Vallings and Brown are probably hoping that the curse of the Invitation Race is just a myth from the past.
The 12ft Skiff Interdominions kicks off tomorrow with the invitation race and official race 1 of the series.
Hosted by the Auckland Skiff League, the Interdoms is a battle for country pride with the best of Australia racing against the best of the Kiwis on Auckland Harbour.
In the closest of shaves, the Geotherm crew of Brett Hobson and Billy Lusty have been crowned new NSW 12ft skiff champions following six races held over two full weekends on either side of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Geotherm’s crew had to be at their best to defeat defending five-time NSW champion and six-time Interdominion champion, Nick Press and his new crew Andrew Hay on Sydney Sailmakers. Under pressure, Geotherm’s crew was brilliant, finishing off the Championship with two bullets to claim the title by one point.
Hobson, from Abbotsford, also broke in a new crew this season in 18 year-old Lusty from Berowra. With different crew members, Hobson has won the NSW title three times previously. He was coming to grips with their latest win, ahead of the major Interdominion Championship to be held in Auckland in January – the one everyone wants to claim.
“We are a little surprised,” Hobson said this morning, after going into the weekend’s three races trailing Sydney Sailmakers by three points. However, Hobson and Lusty kept their cool, aware that Gladesville sailor Press is at his best and dangerous under pressure.
Races 4, 5 and 6 were hosted by Lane Cove 12ft Sailing Skiff Club and held on the Lane Cove and Parramatta Rivers between Goat Island and Gladesville Bridge on the weekend.
Hobson said Saturday’s race was difficult. “There were big holes in the course. It was patchy with gusts up to 18 knots at times. We struggled – like everyone did,” he said after finishing that race second to Press.
Two races were sailed yesterday afternoon, and Geotherm won both. It was not straightforward though, when boats crossed the start line early and the general recall signal brought them back.
“We waited for ages for the start and I had to keep my nerves under control,” Hobson admitted, knowing Press and Hay would be on their hammer.
“I decided to just concentrate on what we did and it paid off,” said the new champion, adding the east/nor’ easterly winds of 12-15 knots provided better sailing than the previous day.
The Championship was touch and go between Geotherm and Sydney Sailmakers, while third and fourth places see-sawed between Lincoln Crowne (Jonathon Temple/Richard Jones) and Big Foot Custom Trapeze Harnesses (Murray Press/Scott Lanham), which finished in that order.
The first three races of the Championship were sailed out of the Sydney Flying Squadron at
Kirribilli last weekend, in the area bounded from Garden Island to the Sow and Pigs reef off Watsons Bay. Sixteen crews took part.
Sydney Sailmakers narrowly won the opening race from Geotherm by 28 seconds, with Lincoln Crowne in third place. In Race 2, the consistent Sydney Sailmakers finished on top of the podium again, with Lincoln Crowne second by nearly one minute. Big Foot Custom Trapeze Harnesses (Murray Press/Scott Lanham) was third, Geotherm finished fourth.
Hobson and Lusty got their mojo back in the third race, sailed last Sunday, and in a thriller to the end, beat Press and Hay to the finish line by a mere nine seconds to claim that race. Big Foot was third and Lincoln Crowne fourth.
The top four crews have had a stranglehold on the class for some time and props to Murray Press, father of Nick, now 63 years of age and still teaching the youngsters how it’s done.
Hobson and Lusty, as new NSW champions, will have their names engraved on the Morna Cup, while the handicap winners, Jack Winning, now in his mid-sixties, and crew Brett Phillips (Chapman High Performance Sailing) will see their names on the Captain Dodwell Trophy. Jonathon Temple won the NSW Veteran Champion, and his name will be engraved on the Services Memorial Cup.
Next on the agenda is the 56th Interdominion 12ft Skiff Championship, to be hosted by Auckland Sailing Club from 6-9 January. It is the ‘world championship’ of 12ft skiff sailing, hosted each year by Australian and New Zealand in turn. It is rare to see the visitors win away from home, but all will be doing their level best to overcome the strong Kiwi field.
Top of the Australian contenders are the new NSW champions, Hobson (who won the Interdominion in 2009) and Lusty, along with the Press/Hay combination. Press senior and Lanham will also be there.
Joining them are Cunning Stunts (Lachie Paramor/DuncanCampbell), Skoll (Peter Polec/Rob Joyce), Slippery When Wet (John Williams/Macca Paton), The Bird (Dave Lusty/Glenn Farquhar), Ghetto Sled (Richard Billett/Paul O’Malley Jones), Squid (Terry Ellis/Brad Madders), The Wingman (James Fleming/Jono Andersen), Tank Girl (Ben Guymer/Shaun Thompson) and Hempel Yacht Paints to be skippered by Michael Spies fresh from his Rolex Sydney Hobart campaign and crewed by Robbie Polec.
Races 1, 2 and 3 of the State Championships were held over the weekend at the Sydney Flying Squadron.
The fleet of 15 skiffs were blessed with a 3rd rig North Easterly breeze on both Saturday and Sunday, with a heavy run-out tide to add to the excitement.
Sydney Sailmakers (Nick Press and Andrew Hay) lead the championship after winning the first 2 races, and picked up a second place in race 3.
In race 1 Sydney Sailmakers fought of an early challenge from Geotherm, who had initially lead the race, to claim victory. The shark Island wing mark playing havoc with the fleet. It saw the top 4 boats all pull level for the lead after being spread out at the previous top mark. Lincole Crowne finishing 3rd from Big Foot in 4th. Slippery When Wet won the handicap honours.
Sydney Sailmakers made it a perfect start to the championship by winning race 2. They again had to fight off a challenge from Geotherm, who had again lead the race before capsizing on the first run. Lincolne Crowne finished 2nd and Big Foot found there way onto the podium for 3rd. Citadel Magnus won the handicap after a great performance from the crew.
Geotherm held on for a nail-biting win in race 3 from Sydney Sailmakers. Geotherm held the lead at the first mark, however Sydney Sailmakers hit the lead after the downwind leg. The next lap of the race saw the lead change between these skiffs 3 more times before Geotherm pipped Sydney Sailmakers right on the line. The lads on Cunnings Stunts got themselves on the scoreboard in race 3 after some teething problems in races 1 and 2, and were rewarded with a handicap win.
The final 3 races of the Championship will be held next weekend at Lane Cove, with the presentation Sunday evening at the club.
Cloud and dust were the order of the morning as the 12foot skiffs rolled in to do battle against the Cherubs at the Sydney Flying Squadron in Kirribilli on Sunday. It was a great turnout from the Cherubs who, besides from significantly increasing the good looks average in the Rigging Park, also brought with them a hunger to beat the 12’s, and get some good rides along the way. Some nursing questionable hangovers, the fleet of 14 boats made its way onto the water just after 2pm for the reach out to the start line for the first of 2 sprint races. Adam Forbes with his brand new 12 Maersk Line was unfortunately not able to make it, despite grinders, drills and some made splicing all morning, the stars didn’t align enough to get the boat on the water for its inaugural sail. We are looking forward to seeing what is a great new boat hit the water very soon.
The breeze was behaving in the 14-19 knot range from the South and allowed most twelves to carry their second rigs, with 2 boats opting for third. The starters as usual did a great job in setting up a 2 lap windward leeward course between Athol Bay and Darling Point. The breeze built with five minutes to go and the Cherubs and 12’s circled backwards and forwards sizing each other off with a hunger for a full pace start before racking up for what was a clean start. The Order of the first work was big holes and big shifts- everywhere. Throw a few dopey power boat drivers in the mix and it was a recipe for some great passing lanes, which the Cherubs took great advantage of staying hot on the heels of the front pack of 12’s. A couple of great lines of breeze kept the front pack of 12’s and Cherubs in the clear as they sped down to the bottom mark, with right hand side of the course playing havoc for anyone who got stuck over there. The second beat again created many changes with Geotherm’s comfortable lead being eaten up by both LCC and Big Foot. All 3 skiffs were neck and neck at the last bottom mark and it was only mistakes form LCC and Big Foot at the mark rounding that let Geotherm get away with a win. Harden Up was the first of the cherubs, closely followed by Action.
For the second race the starters kept the same two-lap format but brought the top mark a little closer to avoid the holes that played havoc in the first race. Some Cherub and 12 crews also swapped around to give a different perspective on the other boats and style of sailing. Again a close start ensured which had the majority of the pack closely following each other to the left of the course before tacking at Bradleys Head. More consistent breeze for this leg kept the mark rounding tight with LCC around first with Geotherm hot on their heels. The downwind leg was a screamer with most boats carrying great breeze to the bottom, some conveniently holding out their gybe to they were right next to the concentration of eye candy that is ‘The Island’ floating bar on the harbour. Needless to say there were a few shaky gybes as the crews got caught glancing backwards at the fabulous people in few clothes. I digress, where were we? Oh yes, the bottom mark. The front pack of Cherubs were right in the mix at the bottom mark which meant the game was on for the last lap, with a split of boats opting for different sides of the course. First around the top mark was LCC followed by the cherub Action showing good speed. Action unfortunately had a swim down the last run, letting Big Foot and Geotherm pick up 2nd and 3rd. In the cherubs New Order won from Harden Up, with Action back in 3rd.
The day was topped off by some beers and Tacos on the deck at the club, with LCC collecting the prize for first place 12 and Harden UP collecting the prize for the first placed Cherub. All in all it was a great day and we look forwards to having our mates from the Cherub class back again for more racing in the near future.
A reduced field of 6 skiffs set sail to contend the “Dodge” trophy. Three of the skiffs were of the clubs faster boats of modern design whilst the remainder were the handicap backmarkers of the fleet. Adding to the difficulties of the slower boats was the fact that two were carrying crew who had not previously sailed on a 12’ skiff, noted as being one of the most difficult of dinghies to sail.
The day saw varying wind strength and direction, so the selection of sail size (12’s can have big, medium or small sail sets) was varied with one boat choosing big, two boats medium, and the three slower boats choosing small.
A handicap start, where the slower skiffs are let go first saw “At Call” John Malquiney and Angus Musgrove made a great break over the other two, and established a handsome lead until trapped with no wind and unfavourable tide in the Lane Cove River’s infamous entrance well known to sailors as “Humbug”. “Space Junk “whose rookie crew, Andrew Basil joined skipper Ailsa Jeans to try out sailing, was first to capsize in the variable conditions and after a few more swims, despite both being competitive swimmers Ailsa thought it wiser to retire. “Rip, Rack, Roar and Rumble” skippered by Ken Williams and crewed by rookie Charles Lilley, made a wobbly start but improved as the pair got the feel of working together. “RRRR” managed to pass “At Call” in “Humbug” with no understanding on the part of the skipper as to how this happened.
Meanwhile back at the club the faster skiffs were making to the water to start. “Chapman High Performance Sailing” Jack Winning and Brett Phillips (Combined crew age around 120 years) were really after the prize and decided to put on the big sails, however during rigging some very basic mistakes that Brett attributes to a “senior’s moment“ meant that the skiff had to be returned to the slips for correction. Time lost was not able to be recovered for a handicap placing but the pair achieved 3rd fastest time.
“The Bird” Dave Lusty and Glenn Farquhar did most things right and sailed away to pass the slower skiffs by the time two thirds of the race had passed. This skiff, which is an ex interdominion champion, must have a sense of its own, because even though Dave and Glenn both fell of the boat at the same time near the Drummoyne mark, the skiff managed to stay upright and then take them on to victory.
Last skiff away was “Skoll” sailed by Peter Polec and Rob Joyce. They sailed consistently to gradually close in on the slower boats. The pair on “Rip Rack Roar and Rumble” were improving their boat speed and also had managed to get through the bulk of the race without capsize so towards the end of the race the pressure was on for them to hold their lead. This they did finishing second with “Skoll” finishing a very close third.
“At Call” was the last skiff home with Skipper John Malquiney pleased to get home with time to reflect on the race over a beer in the clubhouse.
Fastest time for the day was taken by “The Bird” with “Skoll” second and “Chapman High Performance Sailing” third.
Lincoln Crowne (Jonathon Temple/Richard Jones) may have got the early jump at the start, but the Sydney Sailmakers crew of Nick Press and Andrew ‘Noddy’ Hay dominated from there to win in the 12ft Skiff Upper Harbour Championship, hosted by the Lane Cove 12ft Sailing Skiff Club today.
Press and his new crew Hay, who is more at home on an 18 foot skiff, posted a resounding two minute 22 second win over nearest rival Geotherm (Brett Hobson/Bill Lusty), which in turn pipped Lincoln Crowne by one second in a thriller to the finish.
Press and Hay also won on handicap from Bigfoot Foot Custom Trapeze Harnesses, which is normally skippered by his father Murray, but in his absence today, was steered by Nick Press’ former crew, Andrew Stevenson.
The easterly course took the fleet from the start off the host club, taking in Valentia Street, Manns Point West, Drummoyne Wharf, Spectacle Island, Birchgrove and the finish off the Club.
“Lincoln Crowne rolled us and Geotherm at the start, but we got in front after that and pretty much led around the course. Bigfoot Foot Custom Trapeze Harnesses (Stevenson and Scott Lanham) was second out of the (Lane Cove) River,” Press, the winner of six Interdominion titles, said.
”It was tight coming back through the Humbug – and Lincoln Crowne nearly got Geotherm right on the finish line,” he said of the race, which was predominantly sailed in a 10 knot easterly breeze.
The light breeze made it hard work for the crews, particularly the new combinations, to stay afloat, so there were the customary capsizes.
“We nearly had a couple of swims too,” Press admitted. “It’s harder holding the 12 upright in lighter breeze, but we had a nice pleasant sail in conditions that were good for big rigs and for everyone,” he ended.
Thirteen boats started the race, but 12 finished when Skoll (Pete Polac/Rob Joyce) was involved in an altercation with a Laser, forcing their retirement.
The Upper Harbour Championship is one of the major lead-ups to the prestigious 12ft skiff Interdominion to be hosted by Auckland Sailing Club in New Zealand from 2-9 January, 2016.
The next event on the ‘12s’ calendar is the Parramatta River Championship, to be hosted by Abbotsford 12ft Flying Squadron on Sunday, 25 October.
Sydney Flying Squadron, Season 2015-16 Opening day, Club Championship
Back at the Squadron, sailing Saturday for the opening day.
Lane Cove Skiff club made today a non-pointscore race to allow the river 12s to come and show 12-footer solidarity at the SFS for the opener.
Beautiful morning, soft breeze, but with the weather like this the feeling was it would build to the forecast 15 knot North easter, most skiffs opting for 2nd rig. As it eventuated, all these skiff made the wrong choice.
North Easterly, start off Clark Island, 2 times to Beashel Buoy then the Gas buoy off Nielsen Park.
11 Starters today, with Bigfoot Custom Trapeze Harnesses making the best of a heavily biased line and off in the lead from the pin, Sydney Sailmakers/Dimension Polyant having to duck and tack through the line on Port, with Geotherm in their first race for the season crowding Bigfoot for the lead, Lincoln Crowne and Company possibly in second behind Bigfoot, Skol (one of the 3 big-rigs) just behind. Working the soft breeze toward Bradleys Head, all tacked away to the east, seeing more pressure in Steele Point, LCC, Sydney Sailmakers and Bigfoot in a tight group, with a 100m margin on the 4th placed Skol. Working all along Nielsen Park, tacking east into small pressure lines out of Watsons bay, LCC furthest east in best pressure but sailing further, saw Sydney Sailmakers first to Beashel Buoy, LCC close behind, then Bigfoot, with a slight gap to Skol then the other 2nd rigs. By now Chapman High Performance Sailing and Madonna (the other 2 big-rigs) were using their horsepower to start to come into the fleet from a slightly late start.
Down the run around the island, the 3 lead boats in a tight group, reaching the Clark Island bottom mark in the same order and still overlapped. At Bradleys Head, Bigfoot dropped off, LCC fell off the breeze, giving Sydney Sailmakers an 80m lead, this time tight tacking up the West shore into Chowder Bay. Here LCC split and went East, with breeze showing in Watsons Bay. Sydney Sailmakers went back into the west, and hung onto the last of the west pressure, while Bigfoot, Geotherm and the others in the west saw the breeze ease up, leaving this group slow. This The east pressure saw LCC halve Sydney Sailmakers lead at Beashel Buoy, with Skol also in the east coming into 3rd. Down the square run, this order maintained, with Sydney Sailmakers holding a 50m margin over LCC at the bottom mark for the last time. This order maintained on the final work to Nielsen Park; then, on the run to the finish Sydney Sailmakers capsized, (crew rotation) allowing LCC to take the place, just ahead of Sydney Sailmakers. Bigfoot brought the pressure, allowing them to overtake Skol for 3rd, Skol 4th
Forecast light wind, big-rig south-easterly swinging east. Rigging park sees more breeze than forecast, leaving all boats unsure of the rig. Eventually all go for the second-rig, betting the weather was not going to fade, except Maersk Lines who went big-rig, with the nerve to back their belief.
South east course, start off the zoo for a work to Point Piper, all away pretty well, Geotherm, Lincoln Crowne and Company and Skol going east, Bigfoot Custom Trapeze Harnesses and Maersk Lines going South, all coming together close at the Point Piper Mark, Geotherm first, just ahead of Bigfoot Custom Trapeze Harnesses, Lincoln Crowne and Skol, with The Bird on the tail. A manly ferry carved the fleet, requiring Geotherm to have to drop their spinnaker and work up over the ferry, Bigfoot Custom Trapeze Harnesses flogging their spinnaker half-way to Manly, while Lincoln Crowne, Skol and The Bird slipped underneath.
This bunched everyone again at the Chowder Bay mark, Geotherm ahead slightly due to the height gained getting over the ferry.
Working out of Chowder to the Rose Bay mark, Geotherm went south, and the skipper fell out of the boat in a tack, having to swim after it, giving the fleet a breather, and putting Bigfoot Custom Trapeze Harnesses comfortably in the lead. Maersk Lines with their big-rig in the fresh conditions finally declared the day and went home.
Then it was Bigfoots turn, capsizing in the approach to the top-mark, allowing Skol to round first, then Bigfoot and Geotherm neck and neck, then The Bird.
This order down the run to Chowder Bay, Lincoln Crowne off the pace with a borrowed mainsail holding 5th place.
Skol lost the course on the next work, going too far to the Rose Bay mark, allowing Geotherm and Bigfoot to round the Shark Island mark ahead, on the run to Taylor Bay.
Geotherm worked well clear of the fleet on the final work to Shark Island, then The Bird, with Skol again getting in front of Bigfoot, for the run to Kurraba Point and the finish.
One final act to play, the James Craig making the spinnaker drop on the tight run over Cremorne difficult to judge. Skol took the 2 sail reach too high after the drop, allowing Bigfoot through to 3rd place, behind The Bird and Goetherm in first. 4th to Skol, then Lincoln Crowne.
Contrary to the unappealing forecast, the Port Jackson Championship was sailed in a “fun” mid to top end 2nd rig Southerly. The forecast scared a few starters off, plus some injured crews from the Saturday race at Lane Cove, left a fleet of 9 starters for the race.
The Queensland 12ft Skiff Association and the Brisbane 18 Footers Sailing Club are proud to be conducting the 2015 12ft Skiff Australian Championship from 3rd to 6th April 2014. The championship will be decided over 6 races, with a fun invitation sprint race. Races will be held on Waterloo Bay, from the Darling Point Sailing Squadron at Manly, Brisbane.
The Notice of Race, entry form and more information can be found on the Brisbane website.
The skiffs arrive to a glassy river: looks to be no racing today. Forecast light Big rig not looking to eventuate, with even Adrienne Cahalan and her forecasting expertise was not optimistic for the day.
But the breeze filled slowly from the east, precipitating the skiffs into rigging for the scheduled 2 short races, east north-east breeze with a strong run-out tide.
Heat 1, short start-line, hotly contested, saw a few of the eager, including Bigfoot Custom Trapeze Harnesses shut out at the boat-end.
Garde away the best, closely followed by Sydney Sailmakers/Dimension Polyant and Lincoln Crowne and Company, working out of Dobroyd Bay into the tide run of the river, tacking down-river seeking pressure-lines in the breeze. The strong tide caused all the skiffs to overlay the top mark in Bedlam Bay, with Garde rounding first, the breeze swinging into the south requiring a gybe-set around the mark. They were followed closely by Lincoln Crowne and Company, who unfortunately caught the line from the mark around their centre-board in the rounding, towing the mark away from the 3rd placed Sydney Sailmakers/Dimension Polyant, with LCC cheekily taking their penalty turn at the end of the run. Bigfoot Custom Trapeze Harnesses were 4th around, closely followed by Stay Connected Electrical, then Chapman High Performance Sailing.
Down the run all the skiffs looking for advantaged breeze to get deep to the bottom mark in France Bay. In the tight-running to the mark, a small pressure increase saw Bigfoot Custom Trapeze Harnesses put the nose down slightly, followed by a lightning fast capsize in the nosedive that ensued.
LCC dropped to 6th at the bottom mark while taking their penalty turn, with Garde leading up the work, just in front of Sydney Sailmakers/Dimension Polyant, with Bigfoot Custom Trapeze Harnesses rumbling to recover lost ground.
This was the order for the next rounding, with Lincoln Crowne and Company back up to 4th. This mark-rounding was again a gybe-set to position the boats for the run into France Bay. This order held for the remainder of the race, with Garde 1st in a ‘photo finish ahead of Sydney Sailmakers/Dimension Polyant, and Bigfoot Custom Trapeze Harnesses getting a final north shift 50m from the finish to shake off Lincoln Crowne and Company to take 3rd, with Stay Connected 5th and Chapman High Performance Sailing 6th.
Heat 2, all skiffs bunched at the boat end again, this time Sydney Sailmakers/Dimension Polyant got the best of the start, just ahead of Garde, with Lincoln Crowne and Company and Bigfoot Custom Trapeze Harnesses right there.
Again the fleet making short tacks in the tide, looking for now stronger shifts out of the north, Sydney Sailmakers/Dimension Polyant cleared out, with Garde, Lincoln Crowne and Company and Bigfoot Custom Trapeze Harnesses all crossing tacks for next placing. All 3 overlapped at the Bedlam Bay top-mark, Garde was second around, then Lincoln Crowne and Company and then Bigfoot Custom Trapeze Harnesses. Again a gybe-set for all, lining up for the breeze into the ferry stop at Abbotsford Point. Pressure lines down the run saw the front 2 and Bigfoot Custom Trapeze Harnesses extend slightly from the fleet, with Garde working back into the race from the first-work hold-up. At the bottom mark, back on the breeze, the fleet very tightly bunched, with Sydney Sailmakers/Dimension Polyant just ahead of the next 4.
This remained the pattern until the final top-mark rounding, where Bigfoot Custom Trapeze Harnesses rounded in 3rd and set the spinnaker in the gust-of-the-day, that rocketed them past Garde into second place.
Around the bottom mark for the last time, Bigfoot Custom Trapeze Harnesses tacked east into Abbottsford Point, getting better breeze than Sydney Sailmakers/Dimension Polyant moving into first. Desperate short-tacking in the final 100m saw Bigfoot Custom Trapeze Harnesses hang on for the win and Garde pass Sydney Sailmakers/Dimension Polyant to take second, with Lincoln Crowne and Company 4th.
The Sydney Sailmakers crew of Nick Press and Andrew Stevenson are the 12ft Skiff Interdominion title holders for 2015 after leading the annual stoush between Australia and New Zealand from the get go to the end on the Sydney Harbour courses.
In today’s final Race 10, sailed in patchy and light north-east and east-nor’ easterly winds, the Sydney Sailmakers crew was able to race without constraint and won the final race by nearly four minutes.
Press said this afternoon: “It’s a great feeling. There was no pressure on us today, so we were relaxed. Little Bus (NZL) and Geotherm were covering each other and C-Tech (NZL) got involved, so we were left to sail the race.”
Sail it they did, escaping the clutches of a big hole in the course near Shark Island that both Little Bus (also known as C-Tech Grey) and C-Tech fell into. Geotherm, skippered by Brett Hobson, who had chosen his No. 2 rig in preparation for the forecast but no-eventuating 20 knot wind (the others had opted for the bigger and more suitable No. 1 rig) saw what was happening and avoided the trap.
This is Press’ sixth Interdominion title and crew Andrew Stevenson’s third. With Brad Yabsley, Press, from Lane Cove 12ft Sailing Skiff Club won the title in 2005, 2010 and 2011. In 2012, 2013 and this time around, it was with Stevenson as for’ard hand. The two’s name will be added to the Silasec Trophy once again for the event alternately in Australia and New Zealand,
Putting more distance between them and the rest of the fleet, Sydney Sailmakers left the two Kiwi boats and Geortherm to slog it out.
“Reido (Little Bus) gybed and got caught in a hole. We didn’t, and that’s where we made our escape,” said Press, who sailed a near-faultless Interdominion.
“We only made a couple of mistakes and it’s all about how you recover and then get on with it. Stevo is a good skipper in his own right, so understands both roles. I attribute our win partially to that,” said Press, who will next sail the Nationals with Stevenson.
Second and third places were not as straightforward. The 2009 Interdominion champion Brett Hobson and crew Brad Phillips (Geotherm) and the Kiwi crew on Little Bus (Chris Reid/Andrew Clarke) sea-sawed back and forwards throughout the 10-race series. Coming into today’s long race, Little Bus/C-Tech Grey held a one point advantage over the Australians.
The defending champions, Alex Vailings/Fraser Brown (C-Tech White) were an outside chance to make it onto the podium, so it goes without saying that the three were always going to go to battle. In the end, the bigger rigged Kiwis beat Geotherm to the punch, sealing second place overall for Little Bus, third for Geotherm and fourth to C-Tech White.
“Geotherm got caught in a C-Tech sandwich,” said Chris Reid afterwards, bemoaning the fact he had finished second overall for a fourth time. “Next time, although I say that every time,” he said laughing.
Brett Hobson was happy he and Phillips were able to keep up with the Kiwis nearly the entire race, despite wearing a smaller rig. “We hoped it would freshen as it was supposed to. It did for a minute and then it died off again.
“We’re OK with our third, the Kiwis kept dumping on us and despite that, we kept pace with them till the last run – even with our smaller rig – I can hardly believe that,” he said.
No other crew could keep the relentless pace and faultless series of Sydney Sailmakers. Not even the defending champions on C-Tech, who were in a class of their own in a big nor’ easter on the penultimate day. Vailings, who has made huge inroads into developing the 12ft skiff over the last few years, sails both 18’s and 12’s. It left no time for practice before heading to Sydney.
Sydney Harbour in the full flourish of summer dished up the best in north-east and east/north-easterly winds, competitors enjoyed first class conditions for all 10 races, from the odd light race in the 8-10 knot region, right up to 25 knots. It does not get any better.
The Teams event for the John Brooke Team’s trophy went to Australia by 119 points, while The Rookie Nimble Trophy for the highest place first time skipper went to Ben De Flutier, the New Zealand skipper of One and In.
The Veterans Advanx Trophy (best skipper over the age of 45) was won by Murray Press, who at 62, is still at the top of his game and finished fifth overall. “The secret is having a good and young crew,” said Press, Nick’s father. “You don’t give up, you keep sailing. It keeps you young and fit and I like the speed and the fun.”
Glenn Farquhar, ‘The Bird’s’ 58 year-old for’ard concurs. “I keep going because it keeps me fit, young and slim. I still love it,” said the skiffie, who has not stopped for 42 seasons.
The 12ft skiff Association thanks Maersk Line, J&J Robertson & Sons, appliancesonline.com.au, Brentnalls Chartered Accountants & Advisors, IC Frith and Associates, Phoenix Leisure Group and The Kitchen Maker for their support.
Thanks also go to the 18 Footers League at Double Bay for hosting the 12ft Skiff Interdominion and Double Bay Sailing Club for kindly loaning their facilities.
Final top five results after 10 races and two drops:
1. Sydney Sailmakers 1-(3)-1-1-(2)-2-2-1-2-1, 11 points
2. Little Bus 2-(5)-4-2-1-3-1-3-(11)-2, 18
3. Geotherm (4)-1-2-3-3-(5)-3-2-3-4, 21
4. C-Tech 3-2-8-4-4-1-(11)-(DNF)-1-3, 26
5. Big Foot Custom Trapeze Harnesses 6-7-6-(9)-5-4-5-(9)-5-5, 43
With one race remaining, a bullet and a second place this afternoon have given the Sydney Sailmakers crew of Nick Press/Andrew Stevenson an almost unassailable lead in the 12ft Skiff Interdominion being held on Sydney Harbour.
Race 8 was sailed in a 15-17 knot north-easterly. Going into the day, the top trio of Sydney Sailmakers, Little Bus (Chris Reid/Andrew Clarke, NZL) and Geotherm (Brett Hobson/Brad Phillips) hung together near the pin pre-start, with Chapman High Performance Sailing (Adrienne Cahalan/Brett Phillips) and Hempel Yacht Paints (Michael Spies/Robbie Polec).
Despite most skiffs carrying their No. 2 rigs, within a few minutes, three had capsized, including Cunning Stunts (Lachie Paramor/Scott Hobson), which had a broken rudder box. Soon after, defending champion Alex Vailings/Fraser Brown, (C-Tech, NZL) also succumbed. Suffering rig damage, they were forced to return to shore, killing their chances of winning the title back.
Many of the 28 skiffs fell like flies as the breeze pressured up and the Harbour became a little lumpy. At Nielson Park for the first time, Sydney Sailmakers was around first, their white kite set for the run to Shark and Clark Islands. Little Bus and Geotherm were hot on the trail as the trio put distance between them and the rest of the fleet.
By the second run, Geotherm had overtaken Sydney Sailmakers and Little Bus was trailing. However, when Geotherm threw in a couple of gybes, they failed to keep the quick Sydney Sailmakers at bay, the latter taking the win 200 metres from the finish.
“We botched it down the last run. We gybed twice, and didn’t do a good job of it, and they (Sydney Sailmakers) kept straight lining it,” Hobson conceded after the finish.
By Race 9, the breeze had swung further left and freshened to 20 plus knots on a bumpy sea, especially down the Vaucluse end. C-Tech returned to the course with a No. 3 rig, perfect for the conditions. Most, who had chosen their No. 2 rig, were finding their skiffs hard to harness in the stiffer breeze.
The top three started in close proximity again, and the race nearly became the classic ‘Last Man Standing’, as most capsized at least once. Even the faultless Sydney Sailmakers was not immune, following Little Bus into the water under kite soon after rounding Nielsen Park.
C-Tech alone was revelling in the conditions, leaving the carnage behind. Airborne with every bump, Vailings/Brown stayed cool until around 600 metres from the finish, when they too capsized. With Sydney Sailmakers making up ground, all looked lost for the Kiwis, but Vailings and Brown re-floated quickly and crossed the finish just before the Australians.
“Finally,” said C-Tech’s Fraser Brown. “We finally got the strong conditions we love,” he said with a big smile.
Hobson/Phillips (Geotherm) took third place, Ugly Stick (Simon Ganley/Oliver Scott-Mackie, NZL) was fourth, Big Foot Custom Trapeze Harnesses (Murray Press/Scott Lanham) fifth and Hempel Yacht Paints sixth.
Little Bus finished 10th after a couple of swims, allowing Geotherm back into the picture. One point separates the two, which are second and third placed going into tomorrow’s last race, which will decide their fate.
“It was a little bit hectic,” Nick Press said ashore. “Twenty knots on a bumpy sea; we had heaps on in the bear-aways, but it was great once we got going downhill.”
Dropping second and third races from their scorecard, Press said: “I think we have it stitched up – barring any incidents. The other guys have had challenges which we fortunately didn’t. I thought we might win the last race, but Ging (Vailings) got up. He had his No. 3 rig; the No. 2 was a bit of a handful.”
Brett Hobson agreed that Race 9 was hectic. “But we like it like that,” he said. On the rest of the race and all it entailed: “Everything happened at once. The kite sheet wrapped around the rudder pin, we had land on one side and cruisers on the other – nowhere to go – and then we capsized. We’re a bit disappointed in our day. The goal always is to win.”
Hosted by the 18 Footers League at Double Bay, with assistance from Double Bay Sailing Club, the 12ft skiff Interdominion finishes with one long race tomorrow starting from 2.30pm.
Top four results after nine races and two drops:
Sydney Sailmakers 1-(3)-1-1-(2)-2-2-1-2, 10 points
The Sydney Sailmakers crew of Nick Press/Andrew Stevenson was pushed hard today by New Zealand’s Chris Reid/Andrew Clarke aboard Little Bus, who are hoping to nudge the Aussies from atop the podium in the 12ft Skiff Interdominion being held on Sydney Harbour this week.
Reid, who looked to have Race 6 stitched up in the 17-19 knot nor’ easterly, came unstuck when team members and defending champions Alex Vailings/Fraser Brown (C-Tech) and Sydney Sailmakers overtook them on the run home from Nielsen Park.
C-Tech crossed the finish nearly a minute ahead of Sydney Sailmakers, with Little Bus 14 seconds astern, but the latter’s best was yet to come.
Little Bus’ skipper explains his drop from the lead to third: “It was a Mexican stand-off. We chose our No. 3 rig today; we couldn’t make our minds up. C-Tech carried their No. 2 rig, so were better placed, as it were. It was a really weird race – there were holes in the breeze, you had to stay on your toes- and we couldn’t get out of our own way.”
C-Tech’s Fraser Brown only yesterday conceded the first five races were practice and today they would start racing. The pair had little time to celebrate, as a bow-on-bow collision with Hempel Yacht Paints early on the first work of Race 7 cost them dearly. They finished 11th, their worst place so far. It has all but ending their chances of victory; they are 13 points off the lead.
However, in Race 7, Little Bus got off the start well near the pin with Big Foot Trapeze Harnesses (Murray Press/Scott Lanham), Sydney Sailmakers, Cougar (Cam Russell/Brad Madders), Geotherm (Brett Hobson/Brad Phillips) and Ghetto Sled (Richard Billett/Ben Cross).
Reid/Clarke did not put a foot wrong, leading the race from start to finish. The duo had many challengers and the fleet banged the corners in the nor’ easter which had risen to 20-21 knots, and it was no surprise to find Sydney Sailmakers among them. Geotherm, which had held down second place under today, were sluggish.
“We had a brand new mainsheet and it jammed and was shredding, so you couldn’t pull it on,” skipper Brett Hobson explained how they were depowered. “Somehow, and I don’t know how, Brad (his crew) was able to free it enough so we could use it. We didn’t come into our own until the run for home,” he said, pleased they were able to get enough speed for a third place finish.
Geotherm literally moved up from around eighth place into third, Hobson able to put the pedal to the metal.
“We know we’re on the back foot now (they have dropped from second to third place three points behind Little Bus), so we’ll just go out and sail our own races,” Hobson said of the remaining three. Two will be sailed on Friday and a longer race on Saturday will complete the 12ft Skiff Interdominion.
But all eyes were on powered up Little Bus as Sydney Sailmakers tried to catch them to no avail.
“With the tide on the turn, there was more pressure on the left side of the course and nice flat water came with it, so you could get going,” Reid said.
C-Tech skipper, Vailings said: “They seemed to have five degrees more height; they buried us and we couldn’t sail a clean race.”
In the end, Little Bus pipped Sydney Sailmakers by 32 seconds, with Geotherm over a minute adrift in third place. However, Reid and Clarke cannot rest on their laurels as Press and Stevenson are yet to put a foot wrong, and they are quick.
Hosted by the 18 Footers League at Double Bay, with assistance from Double Bay Sailing Club, the 12ft skiff Interdominion continues with two further races planned for Friday, starting from 2.30pm. Tomorrow is a lay day.
The winners of the 12ft Skiff Interdominion will have their name engraved on the Silasec Trophy, donated in 1956 by Keith Golding of Sealwall Trading Company who had an association with the Abbotsford Club and whose family continued to supply the winners’ replicas for many years.
With seven races away and three to go, the top five results are:
The Sydney Sailmakers crew of Nick Press/Andrew Stevenson continues to make light work of the 12ft Skiff Interdominion with a win and a second place on Sydney Harbour today, but the top Kiwi crews of Little Bus (Chris Reid/Andrew Clarke and C-Tech White, Alex Vailings/Fraser Brown proved a force to be reckoned with.
Race 4 was held on a perfect Sydney summer day in a light east-nor ‘easterly breeze. Queensland’s Hempel Yacht Paints (Michael Spies/Robbie Polec) got away cleanly off the pin right on the gun, leading the fleet up the first beat of the easterly course with Cunning Stunts (Lachie Paramor/Scott Hobson) and Stay Connected Electrical (Jacob Ronowicz/Craig Nicholson) giving chase.
But halfway up the kite run from Rose Bay to Clark Island, Sydney Sailmakers had assumed the lead with Hempel astern while Little Bus had moved into third place. Defending champs, Alex Vailings/Fraser Brown on C-Tech moved quickly up to fourth, chased by Big Foot Custom Trapeze Harnesses (BFTH) sailed by Murray Press/Scott Lanham.
By the time they reached the Robertson Point mark near Kirribilli, Sydney Sailmakers had romped away from the rest, leaving C-Tech, Hempel Yacht Paints, Geotherm (Brett Hobson/Brad Phillips), Press/Lanham, Ghetto Sled (Richard Billett/Ben Cross) and Little Bus to fight it out behind them.
Around the Rose Bay mark for the last time, Sydney Sailmakers left daylight between themselves and Little Bus, which had moved into second place, while Geotherm stayed consistent to finish third and C-Tech was fourth.
Race 5 and the wind hand swung further to the left and increased slightly in strength from 10 to 12-13 knots, perfect No. 1 rig weather.
Spies/Polec hit the pin running again, with Press/Lanham on BFTH, Cunning Stunts and Chapman High Performance Sailing (Adrienne Cahalan/Brett Phillips) going with them.
Further up the line, Little Bus made a perfect start and kept going. Like a runaway train, Reid kept the momentum up, and as his crew, Andrew Clarke, later said, “We had a little bit of wiggle room, clear air and we stayed out of trouble.”
The Little Bus crew kept making gains, having nobody but themselves to think about, their big red kite popping at each windward mark well in front of the rest.
Geotherm’s crew did all they could to peg back the Kiwis, but were in the unenviable position of also having to cover Press/Stevenson aboard Sydney Sailmakers. Press had worked his way up to third place. His father Murray Press was nipping away at his stern, but could not find the overtaking lane downwind to Clark Island.
In the end, it was Little Bus first, while Geotherm could not withstand the boat speed of Sydney Sailmakers and finished behind them for third.
“We had a terrible start in the earlier race, but we made up for it in the second,” Little Bus skipper Chris Reid said this afternoon, following their win.
His crew, Andrew Clarke added: “We’ve got the right boat and we’re just trying to minimise our mistakes.”
“The rig’s pretty special in light air – great for 10 knots. It’s a weapon – a development with Ging (Vailings, C-Tech),” Reid said of their No. 1 rig. “And watch out, you can’t take anything away from Ging, he’s just getting started.”
Vailings, whose name is synonymous with the development of the 12 foot class, has been a little slow to get into gear at this regatta.
“We need more time on the boat,” Vailings’ crew, Fraser Brown said. “Ging is in a funny situation where he campaigns 18’s and 12’s, so it’s hard to get time to practice on the 12 before the Interdominion. We need to get more tuned and practice more. We were a bit sticky in Race 4, but we clawed our way back up the fleet to fourth.
“We’ve had our practice now (referring to the five races) and now we’re ready to race,” Brown said smiling.
Hosted by the 18 Footers League at Double Bay, with assistance from Double Bay Sailing Club, the 12ft skiff Interdominion continues with two further races planned for tomorrow, starting from 2.30pm.
With five races away and five to go, the top four results are:
The 12ft Skiff Interdominion is shaping up to be a humdinger between two Australian and two New Zealand entries, with the Aussies getting the upper hand today, including the Brett Hobson skippered Geotherm staging a comeback to move up to second place, but it’s Sydney Sailmakers, steered by Nick Press which has a target on its stern.
Brett Hobson/Brad Phillips aboard Geotherm stayed cool under pressure in the 15-17 knot nor’ easterly of Race 2 today, to hold off challenges from the defending champions on C-Tech White, Alex Vailings/Fraser Brown (NZL), Sydney Sailmakers, As Good As It Gets, Glenn Armstrong/Roger Barnes (NZL) and Little Bus (Chris Reid/Andrew Clarke (NZL).
In the end, it could not have been closer, as Geotherm pipped C-Tech White by 29 seconds, with Sydney Sailmakers (Nick Press/Andrew Stevenson) grabbing third place on the shortened course which took the 28-boat fleet from the Double Bay start, to Nielsen Park, Shark Island, Clark Island, Nielsen Park to the Double Bay finish.
Hobson admitted this afternoon, “The wheels fell off a bit yesterday, but we had a much better day.”
He and Phillips did not have it easy; they fought for every second to the finish. “It’s a little bit pressured with all the others so close around us, but we (he and Phillips) spoke about it between races and we think it’s good to be pushed.”
Capsizes were frequent and those aboard the spectator ferry were treated to some spectacular ones, some just before the finish line.
Race 3 and it was much of the same, except the north-easterly built to 20-22 knots, stretching the friendship with the number 2 rigs favoured by most. Only one or two used the No. 3 and were more comfortable in the bigger breeze.
It was on again between the favoured Aussies and the best two Kiwi crews as the skiffs headed to Nielsen Park for the first time. Sydney Sailmakers, C-Tech White and Geotherm got the early jump and stayed close on the course while around them spectators were treated to more thrills and spills as many failed to stay upright.
Sailing upwind to Nielsen Park the second time, C-Tech White vanished from view, leaving Sydney Sailmakers and Geotherm to tough it out, leaving the rest of the fleet almost out of sight.
Press had the advantage on the run back to Double Bay. Hobson gybed two or three times and Press went with him to cover, and although he closed the gap, it was a little late as the two drag-raced to the finish, just five seconds between them on the line.
Over a minute later, Maersk (Adam Forbes/Alex Johnson) finished third, with Little Bus (Chris Reid/Andrew Clarke) fourth 12 seconds later. C-Tech had capsized and lost ground to finish eighth.
But spare a thought for Michael Spies/Robbie Polec on Hempel Yacht Paints, who 50 metres from the finish capsized. Spies valiantly held the boat upright as long as he could, but succumbed. Lucky the tide was incoming and the pair floated across with the boat on its side.
“We broke a wire and the spinnaker pole broke in half,” said Spies admitting he was relieved tomorrow is a lay day, giving him time to repair.
With three races put to bed, Sydney Sailmakers leads Geotherm by two points, Little Bus by six points and the defending champs on C-Tech White by eight points.
“In Race 2, we didn’t have the boat speed we had yesterday; we had to work hard for our third place. It’s unreasonable to expect to win every race, but it’s nice to have three races without a big one to drop,” Sydney Sailmakers crew Andrew Stevenson said, referring to a race drop.
Of the competition, Stevenson said, “There’s been no real surprises; we expected Geotherm and the two Kiwi boats to be consistently good.”
Geotherm’s Brett Hobson said they were happier with today’s results. “We’re a lot happier, we’re sailing more consistently. Nick’s (Press) the man to beat and todays results keep us in touch with him. He’s got a quick boat and he rarely makes a mistake.”
On their fight to the finish in Race 3, Hobson said, “When C-Tech capsized, it left us free to do what we wanted. We figured the only way to beat Nick was to throw a few gybes at him on the last run. We shortened the distance between us, but the gybes weren’t clean ones, we could have closed the gap more.”
The 12ft skiffs will enjoy a lay day tomorrow, some plan on taking in the sights of Sydney, while others will work on their boats at Double Bay next to the 18 Footers Footers League at Double Bay and Double Bay Sailing Club, which are playing host to the 12 Foot Skiff Interdominion.
Following on from winning the NSW 12ft Skiff Championship in November, the in-form Nick Press/Andrew Stevenson pushed Sydney Sailmakers to a stunning start on Sydney Harbour in Race 1 of the 12ft Skiff Interdominion and galloped away to win by a huge margin.
Sailing from the start near Shark Island to the first mark, the Beashel Buoy in a building nor’easter on a wavy Harbour, Sydney Sailmakers initially led Brett Hobson/Brad Phillips sailing Geotherm (second at the NSW Championship) and the Kiwi entry, Little Bus (Chris Reid/Andrew Clarke).
The trio seemed to be extending away from the rest of the Aussie and Kiwi fleet competing in the 55th running of the annual stoush between Australia and New Zealand and held alternately in each country. Eventually Alex Vailings/Fraser Brown on C-Tech White (NZL) found the overtaking lane and left their countrymen behind on the run back to Shark Island, while Sydney Sailmakers distanced itself from the rest, her crew not putting a foot wrong.
By the second run to Shark Island, the seaway and increasing breeze had taken its toll, causing frequent capsizes and some breakages. Unlucky was one of the crew aboard Cougar, who after a capsize was struggling to move with a reoccurring pinched nerve and back problem.
As a number rushed to assist, Geotherm capsized and C-Tech White hit a mark, leaving the gate open for Little Bus to steam through, but there was no catching Sydney Sailmakers who stormed home to win by over two minutes to Little Bus. C-Tech White was third and an unhappy Brett Hobson skippered Geotherm to fourth.
Cautious as ever, Press said of their win, “In the end we had a good win. The first two works were tight with Geotherm and the Kiwis. We kept it simple and didn’t make any major mistakes and had some fun rides along the way.
“It’s definitely good to win – you can’t ask for a better start to a regatta,” Press said.
“A perfect first day,” said Little Bus skipper, Chris Reid. “We’re happy to kick of the Interdominion with a second.”
In response to Sydney Sailmakers’ big win, Reid said: “Every squirrel gets its nut and tomorrow is another day. Those guys know the Harbour really well, but I’ve sailed on it a few times too – and it’s anyone’s on the right day.”
Most chose to use their number three rigs, but the only female in the fleet, Adrienne Cahalan and her crew Brett Phillips (Chapman High Performance Sailing), went with the smaller number 4 rig and finished 20th.
“We had a good day, but we had a swim at Bradley’s Head – it was costly and shouldn’t have happened,” said Cahalan, a world-class navigator.
In all, six boats did not finish, putting them on the back foot for tomorrow’s Races 2 and 3, starting from 2.30pm.
The 10-race 12ft Skiff Interdominion is hosted by the Australian18 Footers League at Double Bay, assisted by the Double Bay Sailing Club and will conclude on 10 January, 2015.
In the closest of shaves, Nick Press/Andrew Stevenson (Sydney Sailmakers) won the NSW 12ft Skiff Championship defeating Brett Hobson/Brad Phillips (Garde) by one point to take the title ahead of the 12ft skiff Interdominion to be sailed on Sydney Harbour in the early New Year.
Press and Stevenson were always going to be hard to stop and won three out of five races and were second in the remaining two, while the Garde duo won two races and took second place in the other three. Their results shut out their opponents in the series sailed over two weekends at different venues on Sydney Harbour.
There was an eight-point gap to third placed Jonathon Temple/Richard Jones (Lincoln Crowne), who fought to the end to claim the final podium place by just one point over Murray Press (father of Nick Press) and his crew Scott Lanham (Big Foot Custom Trapeze Harnesses).
There may have been some sighs of relief when final day’s Race 6 was abandoned due to the storms and a shifting breeze. Rigs make for good lightning conductors, so it was smart call it a day, but one more race could have turned the top four places around.
Decorated yachtswoman and occasional skiff sailor, Adrienne Cahalan, also threw her hat in the ring, skippering Chapman High Performance Sailing, with Brett Phillips crewing. The only female skipper, she and Phillips finished 11th in the 15-boat fleet.
Press and Stevenson closed out the competition on handicap as well, with the Garde crew repeating their second place. Dave Lusty/Glenn Farquhar (The Bird) filled out the top three.
The first round of the NSW Championship was held at the Sydney Flying Squadron at Kirribilli. Day 1 of the Series was sailed in pleasant moderate 8-11 knot north-easterlies which increased to around 15 by afternoon. Day 2 was taken up a notch when big north-east and northerly winds gusted to 25 knots and more.
It made no difference to the top two. Press/Stevenson fired off two bullets and then finished second in Race 3. Hobson/Phillips chased Press around the course to finish with a pair of seconds and trumped them in the final race for a win. Temple/Jones were in good shape with a pair of thirds, but were dismasted in Race 3, ending their chances in circumstances that caused a few breakages.
Lane Cove 12’ Skiff Club hosted the second round on the weekend and the skiffies were at the mercy of a light variable easterly breeze. Given the forecast, the big rigs were brought out.
Amid frenzied tacking duels straight off the Clarkes Point start of Race 4, Press/Stevenson and Hobson/Phillips had already stamped their authority by the first mark in the shifty light airs and were not headed from there. Temple and Jones were third, but the racing was extremely close.
Race 5 was held in extremely shifty winds, oscillating between south-east and east, while the flags on the Harbour Bridge were showing north-east.
The start off Clarkes Point was delayed 40 minutes while officials waited for rain-squalls and 90 degree shifts to settle. Finally off, Murray Press/Scott Lanham were away best, but by the end had dropped to third behind Hobson/Phillips and Press/Stevenson. Race 6 was abandoned, handing the title to the pair on Sydney Sailmakers.
These results could be telling going into the Interdominion. Despite sailing on home turf and getting a good workout in the States, the Aussies will need to stay on their toes to beat their Kiwi counterparts, some of whom will arrive at the end of December to reacquaint themselves with Sydney Harbour.
For the first time in 10 years, the 12’s will return to Sydney Harbour proper when the acclaimed Australian versus New Zealand 12ft skiff Interdominion Championship, conducted by the 12ft Skiff Association and hosted by the Australian18 Footers League at Double Bay, is held from 3-10 January, 2015.
Nick Press and Andrew Stevenson on Sydney Sailmakers are the new State Champions. The pair finished 2nd in yesterdays heat 5, and when heat 6 was abandoned it meant they had done enough to take out the title.
Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th December 2014
Forecast borderline 2nd and big rig, breeze variable so doubts in the fleet, eventually all rigging for a big-rig Easterly, run-out tide.
Start off Clarkes Point, everyone bunched for boat-end start, the requisite few cowboys barging in from wide: Maersk Line and Madonna causing some mayhem as they extended their rights. Sydney Sailmakers buried, tacked onto port from row 2, into the ebb-tide, along with The Bird and Hey Charger, while Lincoln Crowne and Company, Garde, Skoll and others went into the North.
Working the shifty breeze up to the Manns Point Mark, with lots of crossing-tacks as the bunched fleet sorted their positions. Sydney Sailmakers and Garde already establishing a tidy lead at the first mark rounding, followed by The Bird, Lincoln Crowne, with Bigfoot trapeze Harnesses, Hey Charger on their transoms.
Long run down to Drummoyne, looking for slants of pressure, gybing to stay in the lanes, the order unchanging with the 2 leaders extending further.
Working back up from Drummoyne, tense tussell between Lincoln Crowne and Company, Bigfoot Trapeze Harnesses, Skoll and The Bird for 3rd place, this order around Manns Point for the short-leg to the Valentia Street gybe mark, where the skiffs had to drop the spinnakers for the short reach over Clarkes Point then re-hoist for the run to Snappper Island.
Last work back to Manns Point, The 2 leaders well clear of the fleet, with a good gap between Sydney Sailmakers first and Garde in second, rounding Manns Point and a 2-sail reach to the gybe mark at Birchgrove, where they set spinnakers for the run into the Lane Cove River to the finish at the club.
Lincoln Crowne lead the followers, then Bigfoot Trapeze Harnesses, The Bird and then Skoll, with Skoll passing The Bird in Humbug.
In the river, 300m form the finish Lincoln Crowne had a comfortable lead over Bigfoot Trapeze Harnesses: the latter picked up a pressure shift and moved into 3rd, leaving LCC in their wake, and initiating a gybing duel between the two all down the river to the finish, with LCC getting in front right on the line to take 3rd by 1 second.
Skoll in 4th, then The Bird, then Hey Charger.
Sunday, heats 5 and 6, very shifty East big-rig forecast, shifting around between South-east and East, showing North-east on the flags on the Harbour Bridge, tide running out all day.
Start off Clarkes Point, start delayed 40 minutes with rain-squalls and 90 degree windshifts.
Eventually away, again bunching at the start boat, Bigfoot Trapeze Harnesses getting the best of the start, tacking onto port and leading up the middle, followed by Garde to the north, with Sydney Sailmakers again happy to tack onto port from the boat. The rest of the fleet in a mess on the biased line, all wanting to get into the stream, but buried under starboard tackers.
At Manns Point it was Sydney Sailmakers around first, followed by Bigfoot Trapeze Harnesses then Garde then Lincoln Crowne and Company then The Bird.
Sort leg down to the Valentia Street gybe mark, Bigfoot Trapeze Harnesses getting low-pressure on the run, allowing Lincoln Crowne and Company to gybe inside at the mark into 3rd, extending slightly on the run to Drummoyne, followed by Skoll and www.skiff.org.au
Patchy and fluky on the work back to Manns Point, saw Garde pull in Sydney Sailmakers near the mark, with Bigfoot Trapeze Harnesses getting ahead of Lincoln Crowne and Company.
From Manns Point the run to the finish off Clarkes Point saw Garde find a pressure line to get through Sydney Sailmakers to take first, with Lincoln Crowne and Company getting no pressure, loosing both 3rd place to Bigfoot Trapeze Harnesses and then being passed for 4th on the finish by www.skiff.org.au, with Skoll 6th.
With Garde winning this heat, there was now the potential for a series tied on points if they could win the last heat: this result would give Garde the regatta for winning the last heat, so it was all to play for in the final race.
The last heat was eventually cancelled and the boats sent home as the weather was deteriorating and thunder storm cells were again threatening, giving the regatta to Sydney Sailmakers.
Forecast light Big rig, day showed stifling hot and completely airless – looked like a bad day.
Then the wind readings at the airport showed a 20 knot aberration. The wind blew into Abbotsford, still under 10 knots on the harbour, leaving the fleet with a conundrum: all chose to go 2nd rig as a compromise.
The fleet launched into the building breeze, about to be given a masterclass in skiff-racing by the 2 front-runners.
Start in puffy South-easter in Bedlam Bay for a short work up under the Abbotsford scarp, with Sydney Sailmakers (Nick Press & Andrew Stevenson), Garde (Brett Hobson & Brad Phillips) and Gemmell Sails (Murray Press & Scott Lanham) just ahead of Lincoln Crowne and Company (Jonathon Temple & Richard Jones) and then Skol (Peter Polec & Jamie McCrudden). Tight-bunched for the run through the twist in the river, back past the club to the bottom mark at Putney Punt. Breeze clearly much fresher than anticipated, all the skiffs well over-powered with their 2nd rigs on.
Garde lead around the bottom mark, then Sydney Sailmakers, with LCC 50m further back, Gemmell Sails having capsized toward the bottom of the run.
Garde and Sydney Sailmakers tussling all the way up the puffy, shifty work, extending on the following boats.
Top mark the second time, for a by-now very fresh 2nd sail run to the bottom mark, still Garde in the lead, Sydney Sailmakers ahead of Lincoln Crowne and Company, then Skol.
At the bottom mark, the lead two really cleared out on the fleet now, LCC capsized in the approach to the mark, allowing Skol through: Skol then capsized allowing LCC opportunity to catch, but Skol got going quicker.
Last run down, to the last bottom mark in Glades Bay, still tight between Garde ahead and Sydney Sailmakers with daylight to the fleet, to finish in this order.
Skol capsized in the approach to the bottom mark, followed into the tide by LCC: following their recovery, this was the order for 3rd and 4th places respectively.
The 2 front-runners, capsize free and racing every millimetre of the track, gave a great display of over-powered sailing in a tight waterway
For the first time in 10 years, the action-packed12 foot skiffs will return to Sydney Harbour proper when the acclaimed Australian versus New Zealand 12ft skiff Interdominion Championship, conducted by the 12ft Skiff Association and hosted by the Australian18 Footers League at Double Bay, is held from 3-10 January, 2015.
The highly coveted Australia versus New Zealand event the Interdominion is hosted by each country in turn. It boasts some big names who found their roots in the class; Aussies Dave Porter, John Winning, Iain Murray, Michael Coxon and Bruce Hewish and Kiwis John Chapple (three times), Bruce Farr, Russell Bowler, Don Lidgard.
Most notable is Kiwi Championship record holder, Tim Bartlett, whose six wins spanned an incredible 18 years, his last in 2001-2002. But as the old saying goes, you can’t keep a good man down, and Bartlett, who will turn 63 on January 18, continues to impress on the race course and is without doubt the veteran to beat with his Frankenskiff.
Entries are open and the Notice of Race has been released online for the 55th 12 Foot Skiff Interdominion Championship which as a development class, continues to blaze a trail and hold the attention of sailors and sailing enthusiasts.
Australians expected to compete include Sydney Sailmakers (Nick Press/Andrew Stevenson), recent Upper Harbour Championship winner, Lincoln Crowne (Jonathon Temple/Richard Jones), Big Foot Custom Trapeze Harnesses (Murray Press/Scott Lanham) and Garde (Brett Hobson/Brad Phillips).
The ‘Press gang’ is synonymous with the class, Nick having won the Championship five times as skipper (three with Brad Yabsley and the latter two with Andrew Stevenson), including four in succession from 2009-2010 to 2012-2013. Dad, Murray, is more often than not at the top end of the leaderboard too.
From across the ditch, defending champions Alex Vallings/Fraser Brown (C-Tech White Performance) who won the event in Wellington, New Zealand, are likely to head up the Kiwi delegation. Vallings has won four times as a skipper and twice as crew for Tim Bartlett, with second placed Glen Armstrong/Roger Barnes also sure to sign on with As Good As It Gets.
The Kiwis proved too strong on home turf in 2014, winning overall and carting off the Teams trophy as well. Best placed Australian crew was Nick Press/Tim Barraclough aboard Gemmell Sails. Murray Press was also part of the Aussie team that is looking to return the favour in its own territory this year.
For the first time in 10 years, the Interdominion will be sailed on the main part of the Harbour. An Invitation race is scheduled for 2 January 2015, with the first race to be sailed on Saturday 3 January. From there, a race per day is scheduled, with lay days set down for Monday 5 and Thursday 8 January. Entries close on 15 December 2014.
Arguably the toughest skiffs to sail, the ‘12’s’ hit speeds of up to 25 knots with two on the wire and the boats becoming airborne. In January, Sydney Harbour is at its best when the big nor’easters blow in, offering up a thrill and fear factor to participants and spectators alike.
The 12 foot skiffs began racing in Australia around 1914 at Cremorne Club, before moving to Lane Cove Club in 1916. The Silasec Trophy, presented to the scratch winner each year, was donated by Keith Golding of Sealwall Trading Company. He had an association with the Abbotsford Club, and his family continued to provide the winner’s replicas for many years.
Lane Cove, Forecast Big to 2nd rig, blowing 2nd rig on Sydney Harbour, all boats trepidatious about breeze building more through the afternoon on water: the fleet ended up opting for 2nd rig (everyone wanted to be in an even race with the others, no one backing a hunch)
Scratch start, big shifts in the breeze, pin set way down-river from usual location and run-in tide caught everyone out, all late to the start, Lincoln Crowne and Company (Jonathan Temple & Richard Jones) tragically so, the smarter money like Gemmell Sails (Murray Press & Scott Lanham) and Dimension Polyant Sailcloth (Nick Press & Andrew Stevenson) cutting their losses at the wharf end of the line.
Fortunately for some (particularly LCC), and why no one knows, the race officer called AP just after the start, and brought everyone back to restart.
2nd start, everyone jostling at the pin, tight start between LCC, Gemmell Sails and Dimension Polyant Sailcloth.
All tacking down-river against the tide, looking for patches of pressure in the broken breeze of the river. LCC got the better of this game, extending a 20 m gap to Gemmell Sails in the lead up to the dreaded Humbug: here LCC sneaked into the limbo of Humbug, got a slant of breeze for the beginning of the first spinnaker run to Spectacle Island, and got a 250m gap on the fleet: it was day over after this, the gap too big to surrender.
LCC carried breeze all the way to Spectacle Island, preserving their break for the beginning of the first of 4 works to Manns Point.
In the next positions the Press family battling it out, Gemmell Sails with a small margin on Dimension Polyant Sailcloth, who had a small margin on Vantage Real Estate (Adrienne Cahalan & Brett Phillips), ahead of Skol (Peter Polec & Jamie McCrudden) ahead of The Bird (David Lusty & Glenn Farquhar) , Slippery When Wet (John Williams & Ben Gemmell) and Hey Charger (Nick Bernard & Robbie Polec).
This was the order for the rest of the day, no park-ups or passing lanes until coming back into Humbug.
Here LCC saw their lead cut down by Gemmell Sails bringing new breeze into the river, but LCC were able to hang on with a diminished finishing margin of 1 1/2 minutes ahead of Gemmell Sails, with Dimension Polyant Sailcloth a further 2 minutes behind. This margin gave LCC the handicap double for the day as well.
Port Jackson Championship, Sunday 2nd March , Woollahra.
A rainy, grey and windless day greeted the fleet as they prepared for the regatta onshore.
The race committee called for a postponement onshore as there was no breeze on the course.
The rain came in from the South-east, and with it the forecast 10 knot southeaster. The committee called for a start, and all left the beach out to the start-boat.
The wind had shifted South-east from earlier, presenting a slightly starboard-tack bias out of the start.
Gemmell Sails (Murray Press & Scott Lanham) Lincoln Crowne & Company (Jonathan Temple & Richard Jones) and Garde (Brett Hobson & Brad Philips) all at the boat end away at the front of the fleet, in that order, with Variety (Adam Forbes & Tim Baroughclough), Arrogant Frog (Peter & Steve Hill) & Vantage Real Estate (Jack Winning & Brett Philips) up in the front. Gemmell Sails lead LCC then Variety, Arrogant Frog & Garde around the Rose Bay mark for the run to Chowder Bay. Garde gybed toward Shark Isand earlier, looking for left hand pressure, with a good gap to 4th place, with these 3 taking the easing pressure toward the west shore.
The rest of the fleet went all the way to Steel Point in new pressure from the east, and looked to have the front-runners on the ropes, until 3/4 of the way to the west the east went soft, & Garde got the new south pressure 1st, going right around LCC.
Gemmell Sails had a tidy gap at Chowder Bay, then Garde then LCC, with The Bird (David Lusty & Glen Farquhar) & Vantage Real Estate & Variety coming in with the breeze.
The work to Shark Island rounding mark saw all the boats head for Steel Point, then around Shark Island for the run to Taylor Bay, with Garde rolling over Gemmell Sails to hit the, and LCC still 3rd.
Another South shift on this run kept the front 3 with a gap to the rest of the fleet, to round Taylor Bay in the same order. On this work to Rose Bay, Gemmell Sails split South, Garde & LCC going east. The wind came in very fresh on this work, well out of the range of the big-rig. Gemmell Sails changed gears the best, with fantastic speed through the fresh, gapping both Garde & LCC.
The breeze softened at the top of the work, and fickle shifts up here saw Garde close with Gemmell Sails, to round for the run to Chowder neck & neck.
At Chowder Bay again, for the last work to Rose Bay, the breeze had gone very light and patchy, requiring tacking across the harbour seeking pressure lines.
Garde & Gemmell Sails, still neck & neck, with Gemmell Sails just to the front: Gemmell put multiple tacks onto Garde, to keep them tucked away & defuse the risk of Garde stretching their legs in the lighter breeze.
This saw Gemmell Sails round the last mark ahead by 50m, to lead Garde on the run to the finish. Lincoln Crowne came in for 3rd, with a group fighting for 4th to 6th. The Bird taking 4th, with Vantage Real Estate taking the pressure off them by picking such a low lay-line to the finish they capsized avoiding a boat. Variety, similarly low, were carted below the finish with their spinnaker and also capsized, allowing www.skiff.org.au (Ben Faulkner & Renn Holland) to pick up Variety’s & Vantage’s places to finish 5th. Handicap went to www.skiff.org.au
Brett Hobson and Brad Phillips from Woollahra Sailing Club wrapped up the Lincoln Crowne NSW 12 Foot Skiff State Championships with a string a consistent results, at Lane Cove 12 foot sailing skiff club at the weekend.
Tight racing and consistent breezes for the final rounds on the Lane Cove courses made for exciting racing, with 3 separate winners to the heats, including a great win for Lane Cove’s Vantage Real Estate, steered by Ben Austin.
Saturday’s race was sailed in a solid Sou-East breeze and was a close fought affair. Brett Hobson’s Garde skiff made the most of a good start and although challenged by Murray Press in Gemmell Sails, took the win.
Sunday held two races in a lighter Easterly breeze. The starts were of an upmost importance as skiffs crowded the start line off Clarke’s Point. The spoils were shared on the day with Jonathan Temple in Lincoln Crowne and Company managing to take the lead at the right time in the race and snare a close win from Garde.
The second race belonged to the local boat, with Vantage Real Estate taking the lead early and managing to hold off the rest of the pack in the tricky conditions.
The final results saw Garde, crewed by Hobson and Brad Phillips, defend the title that they won last year. Second was taken by Gemmell Sailmakers Murray Press and Scott Lanham from Lane Cove and third Lincoln Crowne Jonathon Temple and Richard Jones.
Special thanks to Lincoln Crowne and Co. for their support of the event, along with both Woollahra Sailing Club and Lane Cove Sailing Club and their volunteers.
Race day, 2 hours before the start-time, awful weather, pouring rain & no breeze.
Rain stopped & with it any vestige of breeze: postponement flag went up and all looked resigned to no-start.
All the skiffs chose the big-rig and sat on the shore awaiting developments.
Signal from the race officer on the course: enough breeze for a start, all scrambling to leave the shore.
Out on the course, surprised to find a nice big-sail North-easter.
Away from a tightly contested start, all the skiffs on the verge of OCS, with Garde (Brett Hobson & Brad Phillips) returning to re-start (unnecessarily as it transpired). Variety (Adam Forbes & Macca Paton) away the best, nervously reviewing start information to see if they were the boat that scored the recall signal. Next was Lincoln Crowne & Company (Jonathan Temple & Richard Jones) mid-line & clear air.
The whole 12 fleet out of the start immediately became embroiled in an Etchell fleet-race, with multiple crossings, dips & circles required for the 2 very different types to extricate themselves from each other’s course, holding up some of the front-runners.
LCC broke from this bunch & obtained a handy lead, which they lost by going East looking for breeze. Also out to the east & in good early placing was Hey Charger (Nick Bernard & Robbie Polec) & Arrogant Frog (Peter & Steve Hill)
The rest of the front-pack went into Chowder Bay & gained a great left-hand shift. This brought Skol (Peter Polec & Jamie McCrudden) first to Beashel Buoy, followed closely by Gemmell Sails (Murray Press & Scott Lanham), then Garde, then Variety followed by LCC, dropped to 5th.
Gybing down to the Shark Is. rounding mark looking for pressure, Garde & Gemmell Sails putting slight gap on the others, maintaining this order to the Clark Is. bottom mark.
On the second work all the leaders other than Variety followed the western shore, Variety going east & this time it paid off, gaining them an impressive early lead on this leg.
Garde however were working their magic, coming back from the restart & ominously heading to put a clincher on the front spot. LCC passed Skol near the Beashel Bouy to round 4th, behind Variety, Gemmell Sails & Garde.
Down the square run in this order, no much change to the margins.
At the bottom mark rounding for the last time it was Garde, Gemmell Sails, Skol with Variety having a poor drop that allowed LCC to go through to leeward into 4th.
The last work saw Garde & Gemmell Sails close & exchanging tacks, with LCC & Variety 80m behind, Skol dropped back 200m into 5th
The breeze freshened for this work, to the top end of big-rig, allowing that boat-handling errors could come into play.
Shorter work to the Gas Buoy off Nielsen Park, Garde hoisted for the run to the finish, followed by Gemmell Sails, then LCC, almost planting it in the bear-away due to operator- error, followed by Variety then Skol, finishing in that order.
Heats 2 & 3, Sunday, 24th Nov.
Forecast south-easterly, 10 knots increasing 15-20 through the day, leaving the rig-choice open between 2nd & third rig. Breeze in early had a few jumpy about the 3rd rig, but sensible heads prevailed & the fleet went 2nd rig.
Start off Shark island for the work up into Rose bay, All the usual suspects away well,
Skol first around, just ahead of Garde then Arrogant Frog well placed, on the long run to Chowder Bay. A Manly ferry split the lead boats mid run, and brought all the skiffs back together, bunched up at the Chowder Bay mark.
Very twitchy & puffy South-Easter, making finding & holding pressure difficult.
Out of Chowder, all the fleet went South to Bradleys Head, Garde 150m ahead of Gemmell Sails, holding like this to the rounding at Shark Island for the run to Taylor Bay.
Garde found better pressure on this run and pulled away from Gemmell sails & Vantage Real Estate (Ben Austin & Brett Phillps).
The front of the fleet all opted to sail South of Shark Island for the work back to the Rose Bay mark, Garde getting through the tricky shifts better than the others & extending the lead, with Vantage Real Estate getting the better of Gemmell Sails to slip into 2nd place.
Run to the finish saw Garde a comfortable win, ahead of Vantage Real Estate second, Gemmell Sails 3rd & Skol 4th.
2nd race, same course, 16 knt breeze.
Off into the race, saw some skiffs opt for the south, with Garde & Vantage Real Estate holding the middle lane, seeing them make a big move away from the pack. Top mark had Garde lead Vantage Real Estate, then www.skiff.org.au (Ben Faulkner & Renn Holland) in a welcome return to form in 3rd, then Skol followed by Lincoln Crowne & Company.
Very shifty on the run, Vantage Real Estate & Garde bolted, with Vantage then suffering a breakage & falling back through the fleet. Lincoln Crowne & Co made big gains on an east pressure line to come through to tie for 2nd with Gemmell Sails. Then, while having to crash gybe to avoid Gemmell Sails, LCC swam, dropping them out of it.
Gemmell Sails trailed Garde by a much reduced margin around the Chowder Bay mark, followed by www.skiff.org then Madonna (David Winning & Peter Bevis) for the work up to Shark Island mark.
Gemmell Sails hung on, & at the mark rounding Garde made a very uncharacteristic mistake, dropping the mainsheet in the bear-away around the mark & swimming backwards. This let the ever zealous Gemmell Sails through to the lead, which they hung onto doggedly for the rest of the race, to win comfortably from Garde, followed by www.skiff.org.au then Madonna.
Final 3 heats of the Lincoln Crowne & Company 12’ Skiff NSW Championship next weekend at Lane Cove 12’ Skiff Club on the Parramatta River.
Forecast fresh southerly has everyone very jittery while making the rig choice; however, commonsense prevailed & everyone rigged for the conditions present, not the forecast, so we all put on the second rigs.
Handicap start, Murray Press as guest skipper in Vantage Real Estate gifted with 1/2 of Vantage’s handicap, off with a 5 minute lead on scratch boat, so they were well into the race prospects.
All away in the very shifty east/south-east breeze, light in the river, fresher puffs in the Parramatta River. Lincoln Crowne & Company the only boat on scratch faced with a long chase to catch the rest of the fleet.
Course with 4 times to Goat Island & 3 times spinnaker run into Kerosene Bay. Lots of velocity shifts in the breeze, making some of these legs drifters, while some of the skiffs carted away on wild rides at a tangent to the mark.
LCC eventually joined this procession a whole 2 legs behind Vantage, having been caught getting out of the river. Vantage sailing well and chewing through the front markers. LCC slowly reeling the others in, but making no impression on Vantage. Last time from Goat Island, Vantage through to the lead, followed by Hey Charger, then Madonna, then Lincoln Crowne, and this was the order of the finish back in the river. A very testing day.
The previous days Southerly had decayed into a 17-20 knot South Easterly/South Westerly, with a host of starters, hoping for practice on the harbour in a 3rd rig breeze. This did not seem to be eventuating, with the fleet all opting to fit the 2nd rig.
The weather killed off the rumoured guest start of Vantage Real Estate, supposedly coming to defend the previous weeks win.
Drama on the way to the start, with Garde being rammed & holed by a club-boat from another class: this was their day over, and they limped back home, damaged a week before the Lincoln Crowne & Company State Titles – disappointing for them & fellow competitors.
The breeze firmed in just before the start, catching all away from the line somewhat. Gemmell Sails & Lincoln Crowne & Company recovered best, short-tacking back to the start line, with LCC 50m ahead at the crossing of the line, for the first long work through the twitchy breeze to the Rose bay top mark.
LCC around well ahead, for the run to Chowder Bay, with Gemmell Sails 200m back: however, 1/2 way down the run they decided they were doing the wrong course & dropped their spinnaker. By the time they determined to do the set course they were several minutes behind.
So the racing was very spread out, made eventful by the weather. A severe rain-squall with wind enveloped the race course on the next lap, with visibility reduced to under 50m in teeming rain, making it impossible to read the now quite fresh breeze. This passed, leaving the breeze to be up and down for the rest of the race. Gemmell Sails decided it was all too much on the next work and retired, leaving LCC ahead of www.skiff.org.au & Citadel as the only 3 boats to finish, with Variety having retired earlier due to rigging trouble.
Forecast very fresh southerly has everyone very jittery, talking up the rig choice.
Majority of the fleet opt for 3rd rig, Vantage Real Estate (Guest skipper “Big” Ben Austin & Brett Phillips) & Lincoln Crowne & Company (Jonathan Temple & Richard Jones) the only boats opting for the second rig.
Handicap start, last boat of LCC at 1 minute, chasing the fleet in a very shifty South-East/North Easterly out to the Parramatta River.
More breeze in the main river, with big velocity & directional shifts on the first of 4 works to the Goat Island top mark.
Good early form from At Call (John Williams & Will Lusty) and The Bird (guest skipper international yachtswoman Adrienne Cahalan & Glen Farquhar) leading the tail end bunch by a good lap.
Slowly through the afternoon the rapid & unpredictable shifts take their toll, with various mishaps in the fleet allowing the last starters to work through the fleet, and providing all the boats the opportunity for some wild & out of control rides.
At the last mark Birchgrove into the river to the finish Madonna (David Winning & Peter Bevis) holding onto their first place by several minutes from LCC, and they took this to the finish, ahead of LCC (fastest time) then The Bird followed by Skol (Andrew O’Brien & Jamie McCrudden)
Sunday, 10.11.13, Woollahra.
The previous days Southerly had decayed into a 17-20 knot South Easterly, with a host of guest starters, looking for practice on the harbour in a 3rd rig breeze.
At the start, for the work to the top mark in Rose bay, Vantage Real Estate (guest skipper Big Ben Austin, standing in for the injured Jack Winning & Brett Phillips) jammed out the barging Lincoln Crowne & Company (Jonathan Temple & Richard Jones) forcing them to tack out of the line & start in b-row.
Rest of the fleet off clean, with an early capsize from Citadel (Martin Debelle & Ian Terley) dropping them off the front row.
Gemmell Sails (Murray Press & Scott Lanham) second behind Vantage Real Estate, passed at the top mark by LCC coming back into it.
Down the fast run to Chowder Bay, LCC closing on Vantage when they lost a lacing on the backstay: this slowed them on the next work while it was tied up.
Vantage Real Estate leading back up round Shark Island, LCC then Gemmell Sails, for the run down to Taylor Bay.
LCC capsized in the drop at the bottom mark, again letting Vantage Real Estate off the hook.
Last set at top mark, run to Chowder bay, another great ride, then to the finish. Vantage Real Estate through the finish line 50m ahead of LCC.
Jonathon Temple and Richard Jones sailing Lincoln Crowne convincingly won the Parramatta River championship at the weekend.
The breeze forecast very sickly, pleasant surprise of big-rig Easterly when the punters arrived to rig-up.
No question on the rig choice, except for Garde who chose to sail with a light-weight substitute crew in order to free-up regular crew to skipper for driver-less Vantage Real Estate.
All the skiffs away clean from the start off the Cabarita Marina, a line of skiffs heading into the Parramatta River Club, lead by The Bird (David Lusty & Glen Farquhar), closely followed by Garde (Brett Hobson & Philip Hibler ) Lincoln Crowne & Company (Jonathan Temple & Richard Jones) then Skol (Peter Polec & Jamie McCrudden)
At the first tack The Bird came at Lincoln Crowne, who with right of way tacked them back: this caused The Bird to tangle with Garde, stopping the pair & allowing LCC & Skol to get away.
This was the order up through the “esses” at Searles Monument, on the way to the top mark at the Gladesville Bridge.
Puffs & shifts of pressure all the way up this work kept things challenging for the lead skiffs, with 100 metres separating the first 4. LCC around the top mark first for the spinnaker set up-river, followed by Garde, Skol & the Bird. Just behind was www.skiff.org.au (Ben Faulkner & Renn Holland) who were going well.
The lead bunch closed together in the variable breeze in the esses off the club, with LCC out of the doldrums just ahead of Skol.
At the approach to the bottom mark LCC were not able to find the mark, dropping the spinnaker way early to look for it: this allowed Skol through to round the bottom mark first. Garde got a strong gust in the approach to the mark, carrying them deep and forcing a difficult spinnaker drop: this went awry when the spinnaker went around the back of the mainsail, requiring them to eventually capsize to clear it.
LCC passed Skol in the first part of the work, with The Bird also coming back at Skol, passing them on the second half of the work, then loosing 2nd again to Skol at the top mark for the second time.
LCC cleared away on the second run, leaving Skol & the Bird to tussle on the run. The Bird called right of way in a close incident, forcing Skol to attempt a crash gybe, in which they nosedived, catapulting the crew up the rig & punching him through the mainsail some 2.5mts above the boom. This gave The Bird an easier task to concentrate on closing the gap on LCC, which was partially disabled by a broken jib block, preventing LCC sheeting the jib on one tack.
However the margin LCC had was sufficient to hold on for the win, by a minute, from The Bird.
Garde had made gains on Vantage (Brett and Brad Phillips) and both skiffs now neck and neck with a righted Skoll, with half a lap to go, all fighting for 3rd place. Vantage had a capsize 50m from the final mark, and Garde pulled into 3rd at the mark rounding. Skoll and vantage opted to sail high on the reach to the finish, Skoll rolling over the top of Garde, and Vantage making big gains.
Skoll capitialised to take a clear 3rd, Garde just holding out the father/son pairing of Brad & Brett Phillips on Vantage to take 4th by a mere few seconds.
Handicap went to The Bird, with At Call second (John Williams & Will Lusty) then Vantage Real Estate 3rd.
First inter-club race of the season, 15 knot Easterly at Lane Cove.
All skiffs opted for the 2nd rig, to cover for the building North East breeze.
Garde was the only boat of those rigging in Woodford Bay who got onto the water on time to get to the club for the start: leaving the club-boats & Garde on the start alone to get away on the gun.
This gave Garde a great lead out of the river & on the first work to Manns Point, chased by Vantage Real Estate (with Guest Skipper John Witty), The Bird & Hey Charger.
Lincoln Crowne & Company had broken a shroud while rigging, they were fighting to come back from the time lost replacing this.
Patchy difficult Easterly saw breeze, lines & shifts coming & going on the water, making the long run to Drummoyne challenging, even for Garde with their handy lead. The breeze never really settled into the north east as expected.
Gemmell Sails carried good pressure down to Drummoyne to make good gains on Garde.
Garde extended again at the Mann Pt round mark. This was the makeup of the day: Garde holding the lead, Gemmell Sails coming back through the fleet into 2nd after their late start, Lincoln Crowne similarly working through to 3rd, to finish in this order. Hey Charger having a good day to take 4th behind LCC just in front of Variety & The Bird.
There hasnt been much in the way of formal racing at Woollahra as yet.
The club’s annual marathon race (Cock of the Harbour) which was scheduled for the 22nd September was postponed, with the new date yet to be confirmed. With the America’s Cup in full swing at the time, LCC and Garde decided on some matching racing tune ups instead. It was a really nice big rig day, bang on mid range. Typical early season Nor-Easter; not a cloud in the sky.
On the 29th September, the 12 association held a tuning and training day. There were several boats in attendances (some from the river clubs), the breeze again light out of the Nor-Easter, so it was big rigs all round. Brett and Murray were on the rescue/start/coach boat, and got 5 very short windward leeward two lap races away. It was a great opportunity to have a look at some of the boat setups and offer some crew work advise. Nick was also on hand, and spend some time on board the www.skiff.org.au, while Brett jumped on the Citadel for a few races.
Special thanks to Ben Gemmell who gave up several hours of his time in the morning going over the boats with some tune up tips and advice.
This weekend all racing has been cancelled due to the Navy Fleet Review.
The following weekend we are up at Lane Cove on Saturday (12th Oct) for the Upper Harbour Championship, and then into normal club racing on Sunday.
The NSW Association is hosting a training and tuning day for all 12ft skiffs, on the 29th September.
The day will include an “off water” tuning and rig tips session, plus an on water training
session. Click here for more information.
Jonathon Temple and Richard Jones on Lincoln Crowne wrapped up the championship yesterday with another win and a 3rd place.
The win capped off another great performance from the pair, who have dominated the regatta.
The first start was delayed an hour due to lack of breeze. The fleet finally got away in a mid range big rig South Westerly. CST and Maesrk line both had good first works to be at the pointy end of the fleet at the windward mark. Unfortunately Maersk suffered some mast damage ruling them out.
CST continued to lead, with Gemmell Sails coming after them quickly. Lincoln were starting to work their way through the fleet after a bad start, and had moved into 3rd.
Gemmell hit the lead up the 3rd work, passing CST, and went on to record a comfortable win.
During the final lap, Garde made gains on both Lincoln and CST and eventually passed both to come home 2nd.
The breeze swung more to the south for the second race, and the course was moved accordingly. CST again dominated the start and first work, but it was Variety who lead at the top mark showing brilliant boat speed, with Garde rounding 2nd.
The lead pair jumped to a healthy lead from CST, with Lincoln in 4th place.
Variety extended their lead over Garde up the next work, while Lincoln moved into 3rd place, with Gemmell and Havoc now fighting for 4th.
Garde gained back on Variety down the next run, both skiffs were neck and neck rounding the bottom mark. A bad next work by Variety and Garde allowed Lincoln to now threaten for the lead, and the rest of the fleet to move closer. This made for a thrilling final downwind leg, with a group of skiffs including Havoc, CST, Gemmell, Variety, Lincoln and Garde all manoeuvring around Cabaritta at the same time. Garde faired best and Variety faired worst, but it was Lincoln again who would lead at the bottom mark with only half a leg to go.
They hung on to record a 7 second win from Garde, Variety grabbing 3rd place right on the finish line after being 6th at the bottom mark.
Lincoln Crowne continue to dominate the 2013 championships, winning both heats yesterdays (3 & 4).
They recorded reasonably comfortable victories in both, but did not have it all their own way. Garde pushed them right to the last work in heat 3, and both Garde and Gemmell continued to exchange leads with Lincoln in heat 4 before they final broke free down the last spinnaker run.
Lincoln now hold a commanding lead on 4 points, with Garde on 10 and Gemmell on 12.
Vantage Real Estate continued their great regatta, picking up two 4th places, to sit comfortably in 4th overall. Havoc remains consistent, finishing 5th in heat 3. They have showed good speed at time throughout the regatta, and will continue to improve and begin pushing for a podium place very soon.
Lincoln Crowne have won both todays heats, sailed in a shifty 2nd rig Southerly.
Garde picked up a 2nd and 3rd, while Gemmell Sails had a 4th and a 2nd.
Vantage Real Estate had a 3rd and a 4th to cap off a great day out for the crew.
In heat 1, Gemmell Sails and Lincoln Crowne fought for the lead up the first work, with Gemmell just getting the jump at the windward mark ahead of Garde, Lincoln and Havoc.
A good battle developed early between the first 3 skiffs, before Lincoln found their way into the lead by the bottom mark, and then extended that lead by some 4 minutes over the course of the next lap.
Garde and Gemmell continued to fight for 2nd place, when Gemmell got the raw end of the deal going through the narrows off Cabaritta, allowing Garde to move ahead, and Variety to catch up and threaten for 3rd.
Vantage Real Estate had a stellar final lap to move ahead of Variety, and closer to Gemmell Sails, and when Gemmell Sails had a quick capsize on the final beat to the finish, the door was open for Vantage to take 3rd place.
Heat 2 saw the breeze lighten off slightly. Havoc made a blinder of a start to lead the fleet up the first work, with Vantage, Lincoln and Gemmell all in close proximity.
Half a lap later, both Lincoln and Gemmell had fought their way to the head of the fleet, and were tussling for the lead.
The minor placings changed several times over the next lap, with Garde, Havoc and Vantage all having a go at 3rd place, and Variety snapping at their heals.
The lead also changed several times, before Lincoln got a small jump on Gemmell and went on to record another win.
Garde had worked themselves into a clear 3rd place, before Variety and Vantage both made a threat for the podium on the final downwind. Garde just managed to hold both out right on the line, Variety were not so lucky, loosing 3 spots in quick succession to end up 6th, Vantage grabbing 4th and Havoc 5th.