The 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.
The 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.
Sydney 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.
The 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.
The 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.
Proving 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
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).
Sydney Sailmakers take out 12ft Skiff Sprint series
The 12ft Skiff fleet turned out to compete for the 12ft Jack Dempsey Memorial Sprint Series hosted by Abbotsford 12ft Flying Squadron. Plenty of chat and excitement through-out the park with the much-anticipated debut of the newly refurbish Skiff Shu-Styx Fabrications (Warren Miller & James Beck). A few of the usual teething issues causing a DNF in the first race with the boys recovering for a hard fought 10th in the second race, great to see this new campaign coming together.
The rig choice was easy with a light North Easter filtered down the Parramatta river everyone plugged in No1 rigs. It was a father and son battle up the first work with Geotherm (Brett Hobson/Jeremy Jones) and LCC Asia Pacific (Jonathon Temple/Richard Jones) making the best of a short and sharp first work won the first start. Sydney Sailmakers (Nick Press/Andrew ‘Noddy’ Hay) fended of Maersk (Adam Forbes/ Cameron McDonald) to round in 3rd with the Peloton in hot pursuit. The tight course meant position changes aplenty through the middle of the pack but out front Geotherm extended her lead and was never troubled as everyone else fought for a clear lane. LCC Asia Pacific and Sydney Sailmakers crossed tacks at least 6 times on the last work with Sydney Sailmakers getting the better of the duel to grab 2nd. Fresh from sending it in Auckland Chapman High Performance Sailing (Jack Winning/ Brett Phillips) showed great downwind speed to overhaul Maersk and take 4th position.
Race 2 go underway with the breeze having built slightly to make it a very comfortably big sail. Skiff.org.au (Ben Faulkner/Macca Patton) gave the fleet as sailing lesson with a beautiful port hand start giving them a jump on the rest of the Skiffs. Sydney Sailmakers fought hard with Geotherm up the first work to pull in the leading skiff and lead around the top mark. Once the kites were set Sydney Sailmakers extended their lead as the fleet fought for the podium positions. Skiff.org.au showing good pace to be fighting with Maersk for 3rd position down the run before an unfortunate fishing expedition dropping the kite pushed them back down the order. Sydney Sailmakers sailing through for the win with Geotherm in 2nd, LLC Asia Pacific 3rd, Maersk in 4th and The Bird (Jamie McCrudden/ Glenn Farquahar) 5th.
Handicap honours went to Rip, Rack, Roar and Rumble (Ken Williams/ Bob Paton), The local Skiff Arrogant Frog sailed by the Hill Father and Son combination also had a good day out picking up two 9th places.
The next event on the ‘12s’ calendar is the Port Jackson Championship, to be hosted by Sydney Flying Squadron on Sunday, 25th February. With the Australian Championships in Brisbane Easter weekend, March 30thth
Top Five Scratch Results:
1.Sydney Sailmakers (Nick Press/Andrew Hay)
2.Geotherm (Brett Hobson/Jeremy Jones)
3.Lincoln Crowne (Jonathon Temple/ Richard Jones)
4. Maersk (Adam Forbes / Cameron McDonald)
5. Chapman High Performance Sailing (Jack Winning/Brett Phillips)
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 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.
Hey Charger takes out 12ft Skiff Upper Harbour Championship
The 12ft Skiffs lined up for the first Interclub of the season on Saturday with a healthy fleet of 20 facing the starters. The Hey Charger crew of Ben Austin and Oscar Wilsons won the 12ft Skiff Parramatta River Championship in tricky 10 – 15 knots South Easterly conditions. Lane Cove 12ft Sailing Skiff Club hosted event.
The majority of the fleet chose 3rd sails with a fresh forecast. A select few The Bird (Jamie McCrudden/ Glenn Farquar), Chapman High Performance Sailing (Jack Winning/ Brett Phillips) and Hey Charger (Ben Austin & Oscar Wilson) made a great call for the conditions and plugged in the 2nd rig.
The Arrogant Frog (Peter Hill/ Steven Hill) where quick to get away at the start, a little too quick for the starters earning a recall. The Sydney Sailmakers (Nicholas Press/ Andrew Hay) lead the fleet away to the first mark with new comers to the class Icarus (Andrew Chapman/ Will Chapman) in close company. The 2nd rigs soon stamped their authority on the race with Hey Charger, CHPS and The Bird all mastering the condition to be in the lead bunch coming out of the river.
The racing was fierce throughout the fleet with a couple of altercations as the fleet fought for a lane on the tight South Easterly course. Geotherm and CHPS fought all day with CHPS getting a nice run down the river to cement 4th place ahead of Geotherm. The lead was also hotly contested with Icarus, Sydney Sailmakers and Hey Charger all taking turns at the lead. The 3rd lap into Kerosene bay say Icarus drop off to leave the 2 skiffs to swap tacks all the way to the finish. With Hey Charger taking a well-deserved and hugely popular 1 second victory over Sydney Sailmakers.
Hey Charger took home the double picking up the Handicap Honours as well. With a few more skiffs yet to hit the water it is looking like a bumper season for the 12s with plenty a new faces and fast boats in the fleet. The Interclub series will continue at Abbotsford 12ft Skiff Club with the Parramatta River Championship on 5th November.
Check out a video from the start of the race on the LC12’SSC facebook page
Top Five Scratch Results: 1. Hey Charger (Ben Austin/ Oscar Wilson) 2. Sydney Sailmakers (Nicholas Press/Andrew Hay) 3. Icarus (Andrew Chapman/ Will Chapman) 4. Chapman High Performance Sailing (Jack Winning/ Brett Phillips) 5. Geotherm (Brett Hobson/ Jeremy Jones)
Sydney Sailmaker winning streak continues with 12ft Skiff Port Jackson Championship
Sydney Sailmakers (Nicholas Press and Andrew Hay) took a dominant victory in the 12ft Skiff Port Jackson Championship. The Sydney Flying Squadron hosted the championship in beautiful 3rd rig conditions.
Arrogant Frog (Peter Hill & Steven Hill) from Abbotsford 12ft Skiff sailing club won the start with a beautiful port hander. Geotherm (Brett Hobson & Billy Lusty) was the best of the rest leading the fleet the Bradleys head the first time.
After crossing tacks up the first work Sydney Sailmakers lead narrowly from Geotherm with Terms & Conditions (Brad Phillips & Tim Barraclough) roughing in 3rd. After manoeuvring through a tricky bear away Terms & Conditions hit the tide with the crew knocking the skipper clean off the skiff! Once upright the boys sailed a great race to work their way back into 3rd place.
Sydney Sailmakers extended the lead around Shark Island down to Clarke and on the long work up to the Beashel Bouy. Geotherm kept pushing all day breaking away to the Eastern side of the Harbour in an attempt to close the gap, but wasn’t able to reel the lead Skiff in.
The fight for 4th and 5th raged all day between The Bird (Jamie McCrudden & Glen Farquar) and Lincoln Crowne (Jonathon Temple & Richard Jones). Jamie McCrudden showing great skills as a Rookie skipper to hold and the experienced campaigners aboard Lincoln Crowne for most of the race. The Bird final succumbed to the pressure down the final run but managed to come home equal first of Handicap for the day.
The final event for the year is the Australian Championships hosted by Lane Cove 12ft Sailing Skiff Club. The event will be held over the Easter long weekend 14th April and is Sponsored by The Kitchen Maker with upwards of 30 Skiff expected to participate. To follow the 12s go to www.skiff.org.au or Facebook ‘Australian 12ft Skiffs’
Top five results:
Sydney Sailmaker (Nicholas Press & Andrew Hay)
Geotherm (Brett Hobson & Billy Lusty)
Term & Condition (Brad Phillips & Tim Barraclough)
Sydney Sailmakers ‘Press and Hay’ take out 12ft Spring series
The 12ft Skiff fleet turned out to compete for the 12ft Sprint Series Championship hosted by Abbotsford 12ft Flying Squadron, the first real hit out for most Skiffs since the Interdominion. The +35-degree day resembling the Brisbane rigging park with even a few XXXX’s drunk to really get the QLD vibe happening.
Big rigs were the order of the day as a light North Easter filtered down the Parramatta river, Geotherm (Brett Hobson/Bill Lusty) and Lincoln Crowne (Jonathon Temple/Richard Jones) won the first start. The tight river course means plenty of close calls and tacks to the top mark. Geotherm held a narrow lead over Sydney Sailmakers (Nick Press and Andrew ‘Noddy’ Hay) with Lincoln Crowne in 3rd. Sydney Sailmakers gybed inside Geotherm at the top mark to grab the lead down the run and maintained the lead throughout the race.
Lincoln Crown and Geotherm locked into a battle for 2nd position for the rest of the race with Geotherm only re gaining the 2nd spot on the last tack to the finish. Bigfoot Foot Custom Trapeze Harnesses (Murray Press/Macca Patton) held off a fast finishing Chapman High Performance Sailing (Jack Winning/Brett Phillips) for 4th place.
Race 2 go underway with the breeze having built slightly to make it a very comfortably big sail. Bigfoot and Havoc (Ben Faulkner/Renn Holland) got the best of the start racing toward the river club. Sydney Sailmakers fought hard with Geotherm up the first work to pull in the leading skiffs and lead around the top mark. Once the kites were set Sydney Sailmakers extended the lead as the fleet fought for the podium positions.
Havoc showing good speed with the big sails until a broken backstay ended the day early for them. Bigfoot Foot Custom Trapeze Harnesses, Geotherm and Lincoln Crowne crossed tacks and gybes entire way around the course. This time Lincoln Crowne coming out on top in the battle with Geotherm and showing excellent speed with their new big mainsail. Slippery When Wet (John Williams/ Zac Tatum) coming home in a solid 6th position is also showing good improvement having their first season together.
Marty and Ian showed of their new purchase (Hempel) in the park but couldn’t connect the dots in time to make the race. They should be hitting the water in the next few weeks.
The next event on the ‘12s’ calendar is the Port Jackson Championship, to be hosted by Sydney Flying Squadron on Sunday, 19th March. With the Australian Championships hosted by Lane Cove 12ft Sailing Skiff Club to follow over the Easter weekend, April 14th
Top Five Scratch Results:
1.Sydney Sailmakers (Nick Press/Andrew Hay)
2.=Geotherm (Brett Hobson/Bill Lusty)
2.=Lincoln Crowne (Jonathon Temple/ Richard Jones)
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.
The Sydney Sailmakers crew of Nick Press and Andrew “Noddy” Hay won the 12ft Skiff Parramatta River Championship in fresh 25knots+ Southerly conditions. Abbotsford Sailing Club hosted event late yesterday afternoon.
Terms and Conditions (Brad Phillips/ Tim Barraclough) won the start with an aggressive Port hand manoeuvre but it was Geotherm (Brett Hobson and Billy Lusty) who showed blistering speed up the first work to lead at the windward mark.
Sydney Sailmakers and Lincoln Crowne (Jono Temple/Richard Jones) both proved very slipper on the downward leg to get the better of Geotherm who rounded in 3rd. Geotherm moved back into 2nd up the next work but came to grief on the tricky run past the Marina allowing Sydney Sailmakers to build a good lead. Lincoln Crowne also took a break on the fin allowing Geotherm back in 2nd.
The positions remained unchanged to the finish with Bigfoot Customs trapeze Harness fighting back to 4th after an early swim.
Abbotsford 12ft Squadron hosted the event with the conditions making got some great rides for the crews and excellent viewing for the Spector’s.
The 12ft Skiffs step up a gear next month with the NSW 12ft Skiff Championships kicking of 26th November at the Sydney Flying Squadron at Kirribilli.
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.
Son and father finish top two at Australian 12ft Skiff Championship
With five straight bullets, the Sydney Sailmakers crew of Nick Press and Andrew Hay has decisively collected the 12 Foot Skiff Australian Championship title, sponsored by Captain Morgan and sailed on Sydney Harbour over the Easter weekend in light and variable conditions.
Big Foot Custom Trapeze Harnesses, skippered by Nick Press’s father Murray and crewed by Scott Lanham, finished second overall, but 10 points behind, with a mixture of second, third and fourth places in their tally, Murray Press also winning the Veteran trophy.
Lincoln Crowne, crewed by Jonathon Temple and Richard Jones, filled out the top three, the only one to nearly rob Sydney Sailmakers of a faultless scorecard.
Defending champion skipper, Brett Hobson, was ashore awaiting the birth of his second child, so left Geotherm in the capable hands of James Francis and Hobson’s usual crew, Billy Lusty, who sailed Geotherm to fifth overall. It left the path somewhat clear for Press/Hay, as the two crews are highly competitive and push each other to the limit.
“It wasn’t as easy as it looks on paper,” commented Gladesville skipper, Press, who went on to say that he and Andrew Hay, from Kirribilli, were pushed by their nearest opponents.
Racing was abandoned on the opening day, Good Friday’, which was not so good for sailing – it was extremely light and shifty, so the 24 crews were raging to get on the water on Saturday when the two planned races were sailed in east and north-easterly winds.
“We sailed the easterly course in the first race, and then the north/easterly in the second race. It maxed out at 9 knots, enough to power up with our big gear with two on the strings (trapeze),” Press said after beating Lincoln Crowne to the line by a minute and a half in the first race and his dad, Murray, by over two minutes in the second race.
Sunday’s two races were held in easterly winds of up to 12 knots and things were livelier in terms of closer finishes.
“Racing was tighter,” admitted Press, who only beat Big Foot Custom Trapeze Harnesses by 35 seconds in the first race of the day. “We had a really good tussle with Dad and Scott.”
Terms & Conditions gave Sydney Sailmakers a run for their money in second race, finishing only 16 seconds behind.
“We had really good racing with Brad and Tim,” offered Press of his fellow Lane Cove 12 Foot Sailing Skiff Club members aboard Terms & Conditions.
“They were using my last year’s big rig. They mixed it nicely on the weekend and finished fourth on scratch in their first competition. They’ll only get better, so it’s good for the class.”
Monday came and it was hoped two races could be held to make up for Friday’s abandonment, but the weather dictated otherwise. Crews drifted for 45 minutes waiting for the light and shifty easterly that filtered in turned to the south/east at a maximum of 8 knots.
Light weather specialists Temple/Jones on Lincoln Crowne won the start and led around the course, looking unstoppable. Terms & Conditions, Big Foot Custom Trapeze Harnesses, Geotherm and Press’s crew gave chase, until Sydney Sailmakers spotted a zephyr near the finish and took advantage to win the race by 27 seconds.
“It’s not over until they honk the horn – it’s still on, so you don’t give up,” Press said.
The breeze died after that, so no second race.
“It was a good way to end the season,” Press said. “And it was good sailing with Noddy (Andrew Hay) again. We hadn’t sailed together since the Interdominion in January.
“It was good to have 24 boats on the line, including those that travelled from Queensland. They have a good fleet there, which is going from strength to strength, and we appreciate four of their crews coming to Sydney to race,” he said of those on Donkey on the Edge, Skiffropes.com, Squid and Wingman.
Press, who comes from a long line of 12ft skiff champions, says only one week of sailing, at Lane Cove 12’s, his home club, remains. “We’ll be taking the next generation out on the water next weekend, and that’s it for the season,” said the Sydney sailor, who is proud of his sailing heritage.
“I have pictures of all the Press’s (often referred to as the ‘Press Gang’, going back to my great grandfather, but I think the sailing goes back one generation further – I just don’t have a photo to confirm it,” he said.
Internationally respected offshore navigator, Adrienne Cahalan, won the Handicap event with her crew Cameron McDonald. Cahalan was the only female in the 24-boat fleet and was crewed by Cameron McDonald on Panadol.
Cahalan’s various other sailing commitments keeps her away from being a regular in the class, so her handicap win and 12th in the scratch results was a credit to her and McDonald.
All crews enjoyed sampling the sponsor’s rum after their long afternoons on the Harbour and thanked Captain Morgan for its sponsorship of the 2016 12ft Skiff Australian Championship.
The winners of the Sydney Flying Squadron hosted Australian Championship will now have their names engraved on the Norman Booth Trophy, while the handicap winners’ names will be added to the Colin Clark Memorial Trophy.
Top five scratch results:
1. Sydney Sailmakers, Nick Press/Andrew Hay-LC-1 -1 -1 -1 -1, 5
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.
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.
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.
The Geotherm crew of Brett Hobson and Billy Lusty led the 12ft Skiff Parramatta River Championship almost to the end, only to be pipped to the post by the Sydney Sailmakers crew of Nick Press and Andrew ‘Noddy’ Hay in the Abbotsford Sailing Club hosted event late yesterday afternoon.
Lincoln Crowne (Jonathon Temple/Richard Jones) and Arrogant Frog (Peter and Steve Hill) were fastest off the start, but Geotherm’s crew quickly headed east and hooked into a nice lift up the first beat, leaving the rest in their wake.
Hobson, who lives at Abbotsford, and Lusty, from Berowra, looked to be in unstoppable form until the very end. They made the best of a near-perfect 15-16 knot north-easterly breeze and flat water, which suits the skiffs to a tee.
“Geotherm did a great job in the conditions. It was quite gusty and shifty, so there were lots of overtaking opportunities – some of your own making – some just luck,” Press, from Gladesville said, after Hobson and Lusty kept all-comers at bay, while there were changes in positions further down the course.
“They rounded the final mark in front of us, but we were on his hammer by that stage. Brett elected to stay on port tack, while we got into a line of pressure and tacked, and we led to the finish,” Press said.
Hobson and Lusty threw everything they could at Press/Hay to prevent them from winning, but could not find the runway, so were forced to play second fiddle to Sydney Sailmakers once again, after being beaten by them in the Upper Harbour Championship last week. Just 31 seconds separated the two boats at the finish line.
“Of course Brett and Billy weren’t happy with the end result, but this is only the third time they’ve sailed together, so I think better things are to come,” said Press, whose own crew, Hay, joined him for a fourth time yesterday. “Yeh, I guess we’re still a bit rusty, but we’re getting better too,” he said.
A further 20 seconds behind, Lincoln Crowne completed the podium, as it also did last week. In fact, last week’s top five were replicated exactly yesterday.
The Parramatta River Championship was a preview of things to come in the 12ft Skiff NSW Championship, which gets underway on the last weekend of November at the Sydney Flying Squadron at Kirribilli. It should suit Kirribilli resident Andrew Hay nicely.
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
RACE REPORT 3 October 2015 – Birdsall Family Trophy
The day started with promising signs of a building seabreeze clear skies and an unusally hot day for the early start to the season. With a light Sou’easter starting to fill in, bets were put on as to whether the breeze was going to shift around to the East/Nor East. Most of the fleet decided to hedge their bets either way and slot in the No.2 Rig except for Gizmo (James Birdsall and Peter Bevis) who went No1 (Big Rig). There were 10 boats on the start line for the longweekend regatta with 7 finishes.
With a handicap start (highest handicap start first) and predictions of a building seabreeze, the guys heading off first were going to be struggling to maintain the gap between them and the lower handicap positioned boats starting later, however, as it turned out the breeze never did quite fill in as predicted and the guys were left with a light Easterly to get them around the course as it slowly died off throughout the day.
Skoll with Peter Polec and fill-in Ollie Hartas, recently returning from his European sailing stint over winter, took out the double win beating Lincoln Crown (Jonathan Temple & Richard Jones) on scratch and handicap with Gizmo coming in with a second on Handicap, not quite able to keep the distance between Skoll coming into the finish. Chapman High Performance Sailing saw veteran skipper Jack Winning team up with his old crew’s son from the 90s James Glassock (Andrew ‘Bushy’ Glassock) finishing a very respectable third on handicap with it being James’ first taste in the bigger boats stepping up from his usual Flying 11 gig.
With rigging space aplenty due to a smaller fleet, Race 3 of the season at Lane Cove 12ft Skiff Club started on a scratch start without a hitch. With a strong Southerly forecasted and plenty of cold gusts hitting during rigging up nearly all of the fleet opted for their 2nd rigs. After a clean start to the South #3 Course, with about 10 kts of wind, the fleet quickly spilt into two groups by the 1st mark at Woodford Bay. It was then a battle to get to the wind first with the boats that went wide along the river getting to it first. The famous “Humbung” was feeling kind so let most through without incident. With an incoming tide against the fleet up to the top mark at Goat Island, Big foot Custom Trapeze Harnesses (Murray Press and Charlie Gundy) were leading the pack. The breeze started to kick in to about 15kts gusting 20kts which lead to some interesting rides downhill, and a few confirmed that the water is still very cool this time of year.
After suffering some minor set backs on board Big foot Custom Trapeze Harnesses which put them back to third position, Sydney Sail Makers (Nick Press and Jeremy Jones) overtook them and then lead for most of the rest of the race before briefly giving up the lead around Humbug to Lincoln Crowne (Jonathon Temple and Richard Jones) before regaining it on the run to the finish.
Lots of father vs son competition in the top 3 boats which shows the 12ft skiff can be sailed by all ages. No Lasers were harmed in the making of this story.
A big rig sail North Easter greeted a healthy fleet to 13 Skiffs to kick off the season at Lane Cove. With lots of new crew combinations and a few new rigs in the park the light tricky conditions on the long North East course would test the fleet.
Slippery When Wet (John Williams & Charlie Gundy) won the start the lead the fleet closely followed by Lincoln Crowne (Jonathon Temple & Richard Joans). With the rest of the fleet fighting hard to get a clear lane out of the river. At the first turn mark Lincoln Crowne had a 50m lead over Sydney Sailmakers (Nicholas Press & Andrew Hay) with Slippery When Wet in 3rd.
Working up the following upwind leg with the breeze settling at a consistent 8-10knots Sydney Sailmakers took to lead. A fierce battle had also erupted behind the 2 leaders for 3rd place. The race between Chapman High Performance (Jack Winning & Brett Phillips), Slippery When Wet, Hey Charger (Nick Bernard & Oscar Wilsons) and The Bird (Dave Lusty & Glenn Farquhar) lasted all day with Chapman High Performance Sailing cementing 3rd spot with the aid of a brand new #1 rig.
The two leading skiffs swapping tacks and gybes around the course each building 200m leads only to see it disappear, with the dying breeze providing plenty of passing lanes. Sydney Sailmakers despite leading into humbug lost the lead to Lincoln Crowne at the last mark who carried better spend through the light conditions. With the breeze dying out the 2 leaders crossed the finished line almost 28mins ahead of 3rd place.
With a couple of boats still to hit the water from their winter maintenance programs and the new builds still a month away, the fleet is building nicely.
Thanks to Stay Connected Electrical (Jakub Ronowicz & Craig Nicholson) and Citadel (Martin Debelle & Ian Terley) from the Sydney Flying Squadron for attending the day.
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.
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
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.
After another long week of crazy forecasts and probably a little too much smack talk amongst the lads, the QLD 12’s were fired up and raring to go when Saturday finally came..!!
The breeze wasn’t quite as strong as the early week forecasts, however a magic sunny 27 degrees with 10-15kts greeted the sailors when they go to the rigging lawn.. A split between big rig and second was on the cards with Squid, Wingman and Ghetto all putting in their biggest gear.. Havoc, Cougar and Marina/Death by Chocolate/Pool Pony/”Laurie’s new ride” all played it safe and put in their 2nd rigs..
The vibe on the lawn was great even though we were missing a couple of boats.. The smack talk continued until we hit the water. Ghetto were their usual slick operation and were first to be heading out the leads.. The rest of us followed shortly after and game faces were donned. The start was somewhat pathetic.. Most boats opted for a second row start except The Wingman and Ghetto Sled.. All boats went left except Havoc and it was Ghetto who hit the corner first.. The Wingman tried to sneakily dump on them but less than perfect execution of the tack found saw spat out the backdoor with Ghetto then turning on the afterburners and leaving The Wingman to suck on their jet stream..
Meanwhile out to the right Joshie on Havoc found some positive tide and a great little lift which he utilised to perfection and when the fleet converged on the top mark it was the 2nd row bandits who rounded first followed by Ghetto, Wingman, Squid and the rest..
Havoc must have really liked that side of the course because they did a quick gybe set and headed straight back out there.. Ghetto had a slow hoist due to a kinked Halyard.. The Wingman caught up the lost ground and it was on like Donkey Kong..!! Ghetto gybed off to clear his air and The Wingman and Squiddy continued out to the corner..
Around the bottom it was tight with Ghetto just hanging on to a narrow lead ahead of The Wingman, Havoc and Squid.. The Wingman tacked off to find some clear air.. Ghetto didn’t cover much to their delight.. All boats wanted to make use of the tide out to the right so when Ghetto finally tacked to give a loose cover on The Wingman, The old girl tacked back out to the right.. The Breeze was strengthening to a solid 12-15kts.. Anyone who’s sailed a 12 with big rig in 15kts knows you’ve got a bit on trying to control the bucking, pigrooting skiff.. Woohoo..!!
Around the top Ghetto had extended their lead on the fleet and shot off towards the wing mark.. The Wingman and Squiddy followed them but there was a slight mishap aboard Havoc which saw the super sub Nathan (who has spent a lot more time on 18’s than 12’s) take one too many steps back after a ball tearing acceleration, needless to say Nath found himself swimming with the fishes..
Ghetto dropped their kite after the gybe as the second reach was too tight for their big rig and they headed for the bottom mark on white sails. On board The Wingman we took a gamble and carried the kite a bit further straight in to an Etchells fleet.. When we popped out the other side we dropped the kite and scooted to the bottom mark on a pretty sketchy two sail big rig reach.. We were hanging off the back and praying that the nose would stay above the green stuff.. We made up the ground we’d lost on the previous work and rounded once again hot on the heels of Ghetto Sled. Squid were right on our transom too.. What great close racing..!!
With our cunno blocked out and the mainsail flagging Ghetto were once again able to stretch out a nice little advantage on the windward work.. The fleet watched anxiously as they did their final tack of the race half expecting them to execute their now “world famous” splash tack.. Not today, these boys were on song and rounded the top with a comfortable lead and they just set and sent it down to the finish line on what was a cracking top end big rig kite ride..!! The Wingman was next with Squid completing the podium..
The second race was abandoned due to a severe thunderstorm warning and some ominous clouds heading towards the fleet..
It was a sensation day out and it’s great to see boats are starting to get their crew work together and are getting fast again..
You will have noticed there was no mention of Tank Girl this week as they were not racing. Instead Ben was off getting married. On behalf of the QLD 12’s Benny, congratulations on your wedding Benny and Christine.. However you did miss a sensational day of racing..!!
It’s taken a few weeks to shake off the rust, however the QLD 12’s are definitely starting to find their feet..!! Nobody knew what was going to happen weather wise this week with some forecasts saying sub 5kts and others saying 20kts..!! When we got to the rigging lawn smiles spread across the faces of all skiffies.. (Except BMad because he was on rescue driver duty) A delightful 15kts from the South East with a few gusts getting up to 20kts.. 3rd rig..!!
The Wingman decided to make a few last minute alterations by adding some more non-skid to those hard to reach places.. You know the ones you only stand on when it’s blowing snot and you’re trying to grip on with your toe nails.. Fruities were also added just in case the wind vs tide scenario threw some famous Moreton Bay ramps our way.. (Here’s hoping..!!)
We were all pretty excited to get out there, so much so that we hit the water early.. (For those who know the QLD 12’s, this never happens.. EVER..!!)
On board the Wingman it was our first real sail of the season and it showed.. We showered the bottom of the boat with rust when we started, but after 20mins of tacking practice and a sensational 20kt send, things started to gel a little.. GAME ON..!!
The gun went and unfortunately only one boat crossed the line on time.. Tankers came in hot and crossed the line first.. Wingman was a boat length back with Havoc and Ghetto fiddle farting around behind.. I believe there was a last minute crash tack on Ghetto which put them behind the 8 ball from the get go..
The first work saw Tank-ass go left and Wingman right (to try and get out of the chop).. Tankers came out on top and rounded in 1st.. followed by The Wingman and Havoc, then Ghetto (closer than the shave Benny so desperately needs).. The run was somewhat shorter than expected with B-Mads GPS prowess, or lack thereof, resulting in a “sprint” course.. It was a case of get the kite up, send it for 10 seconds then gybe and hope you make the gate.. Tankers did a good job and The Wingman followed.. Josh lost control through the gybe and was the first watery casualty for the race. We came charging down to the gate in a mega puff and were lucky the boat was so far out of the water otherwise the c’board would have caught the start boat anchor line..!!
Another gybe and within seconds we found ourselves at the bottom mark..!! The Wingman felt the pressure and put it in the piss on the final gybe drop allowing Ghetto to slip through easier than a greased up Scotsman..
The next work saw the top 3 skiffs headed straight for the corner with no real time gains.. That was until Ghetto did their all too familiar splash tack and allowed The Wingman to catch up a bit.. Tank Girl was now well out in front with a smoking 20kt breeze.. Around the top mark for the second time and they were looking slick..!! That was until they got a little too close and personal with the gate.. For those who haven’t yet seen the footage, Tank girl managed to gybe on the gate mark.. I mean that as literally as it can be.. The buoy got caught between the forestay and the mast..!!VIDEO HERE This allowed Ghetto and Wingman to slide up the inside.. (sorry no fun pun for this one) Ghetto rounded the bottom for the last time with a nice little gap with The Wingman and Tankers battling it out behind.. I’ll blow my own trumpet now, because it was the one and only time all day we did something remarkable.. After rounding the bottom mark together The Wingman opened the after burners and smoked Tankers from underneath.. I’m sure it was as pleasurable for them as it was for us..
Around the top for the final time and Ghetto Sled set and sent it to the finish for their first “Bradbury” win of the season..
The Wingman were second with Tank Girl third.
The second race followed shortly after the first with Tank Girl once again winning the start (although they must have been pretty damn close to the line……..) Ghetto, Tankers and Havoc headed left with The Wingman once again trying the right.. Unfortunately with two of the worst tacks ever seen on a 12ft skiff (without actually capsizing) We were well behind the fleet by the top mark.. Tankers rounded first again with Ghetto hot on their heels.. Havoc were looking good too until they snapped their jib sheet.. The Wingman watched the two leaders absolutely hammering after setting the kites.. The ramps were epic and the air time was huge..!! If there were any cobwebs still lingering at that stage they would have been well and truly blown out..
The ride to the bottom was much better this time as BMad worked out that there is a difference between a 6 and an 8 on the GPS and the course was that little bit longer..
Ghetto and Tankers battled hard with the Wingman falling further behind after an attempted auto pilot error.. (The kite sheet wrapped around the tiller extension and during the gybe when the kite filled, the tiller did too..)
Ghetto managed to pass Tank Girl at the final bottom mark and from where I stood (further back than fullback) they were able to successfully fend the tankers off all the way to the finish..
When returning to the beach it was a case of thank f*ck for trolley wheels because every crew member was completely exhausted.. We used our last remaining strength to lift the rum cans to our mouths and talk about the crazy rides for the rest of the afternoon..
It’s great to be back and racing.. A cracking 3rd rig day was exactly what the doctor ordered..!!
No time to get the feel of the boat again for the Brisbanites on the weekend, who had to stand up to 4th rig, and what a battle it was.
The start of the 2014-15 12ft skiff season started with a bang in 20-25kts and an increasingly alarming Waterloo Bay chop.
5 skiffs pulled their 3rd rigs on, then a few ducked the wind swept seagulls and settled for a last minute 4th main as the breeze kicked a few knots right before launch time.
The gun went off for the first race of the season and Tank Girl, with her fresh splattering of “Moon Jizz” paint, had the early lead with Ghetto Sled chasing to the corner, and newcomer Josh Franklin in Havoc hitting the harbour to avoid the swell. Of course, time off the water prevented the ability to navigate to the top mark, so Havoc took an early lead with Tankers and Ghetto reaching back down to the top mark. Tankers with a slow kite set and Havoc with a very rough bear-away had all three blasting downhill within a couple hundred metres of each other. 3rd rig kites were up on all and it was a massive wake-up call after hibernating all winter. The bears took a while to limber up the muscles and both Tank Girl and Havoc hit the piss around the first gybe area. Ghetto blasting from behind took the lead and was never headed. Ben and Craig had a few swims but came good for 2nd and Josh limped in 3rd, ready to do it again.
Meanwhile, Laurie may or may not have left the beach after trying to rig his 4th and discovering a significant luff curve deficiency. And BMad, the Cougar, started the race, but managed to split his inspection hatch, sinking half the boat and keeping Terry on the RIB busy.
Race 2 was a bit of a shambles, with the kite boarders going first, and Guymer doing a practice start. The skiff start was a procession, with Tank Girl tacking out early and Havoc following shortly afterwards, all chasing flatter water. Havoc splash tacked near the top, Tankers took 27knots down the mine at the bear-away and Ghetto also had a quick swim to even things up. Only Ghetto was above the water on the run and once again was never headed. Josh pulled the pin after a lap and a dozen swims, and Tankers were further back than fullback after running without the kite for a bit. Lots of epic rides, with 3rd kites all round and some deep holes to drop into. Need to charge up the GoPro, to show the world what we do.
Seriously brave efforts by all for an untypical start to the season. The newbies braved it, but need to respect the power of the 12ft skiff before they’ll see the podium in 25kts. With new boats, crews and gear all around the boat park, it’s shaping up to be an unforgettable season.
Photos courtesy of Goura Whitehurst
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.
The Seabreeze weather rollercoaster started early Monday morning and the banter between the lads last week was pretty intense.. The forecast on Saturday was for breeze.. Plenty of it..!! GAME ON..!!
Saturday morning rolled around and after a quick call to the “bayside bogans” we decided to pack our 2nd, 3rd and 4th rigs.. Oh it was going to be a good day.!! Hell, 15-20kts on the bay is always a good day.!!
We arrived at the club to a steady 18-20kts.. Easiest rig selection so far this season.. We all threw in 3rd and started to get excited..!! The four 12?s were joined this week by two Cherubs and didn’t they make their presence felt.. It was great to have more 12ft boats on the rigging lawn as we totally out-classed the 18?s both on and off the water..!!
After a quick briefing, explaining a sausage course for the 18 foot skiff sailors, we got changed and hit the water..!! Well everybody except John and I on the Wingman……. With the breeze picking up, we decided to throw on our smaller rudder blade AKA the secret weapon.. Unfortunately since we got the new rudder pin a few weeks ago, we were only able to get the pin down halfway and it got stuck in there pretty tight.. We were stuffed.. The other skiffs had all left the beach and blasting out to the startline and we were stuck with a rudder box that didn’t fit.. We ended up smacking it off with “The persuader” resulting in a pretty messed up rudder box but a perfectly straight pin.. We threw the big fixed blade on and set off to join the others.. We watched them start as we belted out of the leads.. The race was on.. Here’s hoping we could get to the start before the cut off..!!
We crossed the line late but before the 18?s had started so we knew we were ok… Our only option was to go the opposite way to the other boys if we were to have any hope of catching up and actually racing.. We went right which was actually the logical option anyway in a Southerly with an outgoing tide.. We had flatter water and were smokin.!! We made massive gains on the fleet and rounded just behind the cherubs.. Squiddy was in front of them and Squid in front of Ghetto.. Tank Girl had dominated the first beat and held a commanding lead..
The run was fast and furious from the moment we entered the bear away.. The Wingman had a little sniff and both John and I jumped back and held our breath as the bow popped back out and politely asked is to throw up the new purple kite.. We did just that and sent her hard.. The “flatish” water at the top mark helped us reach warp speed in a flash.. We had the cherubs in our sights but to be honest, they were hammering along very quickly..!! We only made small speed gains on them, but were a mile lower so gybed well inside them.. We looked ahead and Terry was having a sensational ride but being towed down towards the airport.. Miles below the bottom mark.. We went for the early drop and two sailed, cutting the corner on Squid and again making a lovely gain on the fleet.. Richard was a fair way up the beat and if Tank girl were tacking for the lay, Benny needs to get glasses..!! We rounded the bottom mark and had our sights locked on the Slippery Squid.. Terry was in a raging high mode so John and I decided we’d keep the pedal down and low groove the hell out of them.. Tankers, Ghetto and Squid all tacked before the lay line.. John and I were confused as the water was flatter and we were just going faster the further right we went.. I later heard it was due to their depth concerns.. Meow..!!
We hit the corner and were on the lay.. We watched Tank girl hoist and send, Ghetto do their trademark splash tack at the top and Squidgee, helpless against the chop, watched as The Wingman did a dump and burn fly by.. The boys on Ghetto decided one capsize wasn’t enough and put it in again just before the top mark.. We rounded Ghetto and the top mark with a gorgeous bear away and once again up went the purple kite.. The boat was going like a cut snake and John and I were holding each other tighter than a teenage couple at a school dance.. We got to the wing mark and it was time to gybe.. A quick look over my shoulder would have been a good idea as halfway through our gybe we noticed a very fast 18ft skiff pole narrowly miss my head.. Sorry boys, thanks again for missing us..!! We regathered our nerves and got the boat back up to full pace.. The waves had started getting pretty gnarly down at the bottom of the course and I dare say this was my favourite ride of the day.. John disagrees because he got air sick..!!
Around the bottom and out to the crap pot lay.. The Tank Girls again tacked early.. They still rounded the top ahead but we were flying around the course like a slot car.. We rounded the top mark and saw Tankers having kite problems.. We immediately thought we had a shot at winning this thing..!! As we bounced our way downhill, we tried to find the finish line lay.. We decided an early gybe was better than a late one with the breeze now gusting an easy 25kts.. We gybed and sent her.. We could see Benny looking back at us as he desperately tried to two sail slowly towards the finish line.. We were foot to the floor and just hoping there was enough water between Tank girl and the finish for us to snatch a cheeky bullet.. Alas we were slightly too high for the finish line so one last gybe was needed to cross.. Benny got the gun and we went through our gybe.. It was ugly.. So ugly we were now going to miss the finish line completely..!! We ditched the kite and crossed the line with white sails only.
Squid finished next with Ghetto in 4th.. The cherubs bailed early as one broke a mast.. Did I mention it was hairy out there..?? It was great to have the cherubs racing with us, and I hope they come along again next week..!!
Benny will do a race two report as John and I went home after the first race due to “injury”..
We’re told it was windier and lumpier.. Can’t wait to see the footage..!!!
Second race report, as Skinny went home like a homo.. [Ben Guymer]
After the first race we were pretty stuffed. Our bodies were saying ‘go home’, a one hour long race in 25 knots is enough. A brief conference concluded ‘we don’t work all week to go home early fuck that’. Quick run around past Terry and Richo and all agreed twice around the top mark was a good compromise. Terry requested a head start and we accidentally let him have it, Ghetto gybed to get back to the start and put it in the piss.. We two sail reached back to the line at about 40 knots and I lifted my butt over Bruce’s outboard as we rounded up to try and catch Squiddy. Terry was having a moment and we blasted out from under him.. but he found a higher groove and stuck with us.. Arno’s weight must have been packing some power. Pretty quickly we got to the port tack layline and had to tack.. Squid had held us out and we ducked them, as we had slowed to approximately 35 knots after the tack. Craig and I figured it was time to sort this shit out and put the hammer down. Turns out Tank girl can be quite the slapper given enough wind. More cunno, more vang (or was that less vang?) we were flat out planing upwind like never before.
Top mark… by now our tacks were reasonable but my bear away technique was getting sluggish. Run square to hoist as the kite halyard is up to tricks again. Bam the kite fills, we’re both out on trap and I look back to check for Squiddy. Pretty sure they’re one wiring… Tank girl lit her afterburners, back to the bottom mark. We capsized at the wing mark after suffering ‘Failure to gybe’ so we just two sailed to the leeward mark, didn’t matter anyway as we were still doing about 40 knots.. The next time round was a similar affair. Boat kept going fast which was lucky, because we were fading! Square run to the finish, no kite, because we could.
After the finish I suffered some overconfidence and asked newbie Justin if he wanted a ride home. 25 knots two sail ride home.. what a way to set foot in a 12. We both got more than we bargained for and after about a dozen unique capsizes (you know how it goes) I worked out a procedure to get home (fast) merely seconds before we died of exhaustion.
Intentionally capsized at ramp. Crawled to the grass, and a complimentary beer from Justin.
Our FTG was good zero to report, but our FNTM (failure not to mine) was 100%. I have not mine so hard in years. A two sail around the top mark in the first race can’t remember which time, but there was 2 foot of mud up the pole! Arno went by me like a flash and around the forestay he went. then I wrapped my left arm in the back foot strap, stood on the back of the centre case and hang on while it drove into the bottom of the bay. In the words of Arno “ How did you like that Ekka ride”. The 18ft follow us got too scared and tried to grannie but they failed that to. He did it again on the two sail reach on the way home (death angle 5 ) through the leads. Bye the end of the day Arno could not pull the skin off a rice pud. But I think he’ll be back.
Penthouse to doghouse in a challenging Northeaster.
Weather forecasts are always wrong. So when the BOM says it will be 15-25 NE in its Friday forecast and then 15-20 NE on Saturday morning, you’d expect at least 15 knots at the start line. Anyway… 2nd rigs went in as the wind was feeling a big light on. Ghetto, Tankers and the Squid were lining up on the lawn for what should have been a sweet overcooked, flat water ride. As Ghetto hit the water, it was feeling a little soft, but heading out the leads a nice 2-string windward with potential to build was OK. Then the breeze arsed out…. 1 string… Tankers and Squid hobbled by the incoming tide… Ghetto gets to the start line with minutes to spare, but Tankers and Squid are nowhere to be seen. Ghetto wins the start..!! Pin end on port. Chugging slowly up the course in the now pretty sick Easterly.
At the top mark, 20 mins later, an extra soft section of the course under Green Island, Ghetto rounds first by half a leg and teabag capsizes in to windward because there is not enough breeze to sit on the gunnel. Righting a skinny boat with no wind is not easiest thing to do. Once that was sorted Ghetto BLASTED down to the bottom and the rest of the race was a bit of a drag. 1hr 20mins… Win by 6mins to Tank Girl then Squid. The wind had started to fill on the run to the finish..!!!!
Race 2: The wind was now a steady 15kts and had swung a little North. Game on. Ghetto once again hit the pin end on port with Squid following close behind. Tankers must have initially missed the north shift, because they started mid line on starboard. Ghetto and Squid blasted out to the right, drag racing a couple of gin palaces to not get run over on their way to Peel Island for… a few gins. Tankers split left and when we all headed back to the middle 3/4 up the course they had a 200 metre lead. WTF..!! Further north shifting paid for the Tank Girls and they were smashing along in the starting-to-get-lumpy seas and solid breeze.
Round the first mark Tankers were up and gone and Ghetto, with a last minute knot in the main sheet couldn’t ease through the bear away and dived through a double up. The chop was still coming from the east , but was being supplemented by the same from the north, creating a bit of an obstacle for the run. Squid, with fill-in crew Rilke De Vos, rounded smartly just as Ghetto got up and going. Tankers was near the bottom mark as it was now a straight run between the marks.
The second lap went by without incident, Ghetto and Squid seemingly gaining on Tank Girl and they must have eased off the throttle. However, the wind was now gusting 20, and the chop had tripled up, making the sailing… fun but challenging. Another splash-tack for Ghetto and Squid was right there. A splash pulling the 100L of water plus the kite up saw them slide past. Killer ride to the finish on the ear, Rilke yahooing and screaming, and that was that. Tankers wins by 6mins, Terry and Rilke safe as houses 2nd and the death or glory crew on Ghetto succumbing to a fast death.
2 sail home was also a bit “challenging” at the angle of death. Tankers mined near the leads and Squid drove through a few beefy ones, Rilke smiling like a madman. Ghetto going Volvo70 style with all the ropes on the floor getting sucked out the back by green water.!!
Good times, need to see a few more boats on-the-water to make a graveyard on days like that.
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.
Brisbane saw a day of extremes on Saturday with the 12?s leading the charge as always.
The forecast was light and variable.. I remember looking at the readings while sipping my latte in a trendy New Farm cafe and thinking it was going to be a day for the punters..!! The wind to the North of the race course was blowing from the North, the wind on the race course was from the South and the wind down at the Gold Coast (South of the race course) was from the North..!! All readings were below 10kts.. The first two heats of the Club Championship were going to be BIG RIG..!!!
We got to the club and the bay was glass.. Clouds covered the sky and it was cold.. Awesome day to be sailing a 12..!! We all started rigging up with our big gear when John calls out to me.. Hey Skinnyman.. Check it out.. A front was coming from the North.. Was it about to be a game changer.?? With the front came some rain.. Then 20-25kts of cold hard breeze..!! I’ve haven’t had so many expletives go through my head since the infamous starter boat incident.. Basically I had left my little rigs at home about half an hour from the club.. John and I had a discussion.. We waited and waited for the front to pass, but looking at the readings further North we decided that even after the squall there was going to be a good 15-18kts.. Excellent 3rd rig weather for us..!! We decided to take a punt, hope the race was postponed and duck off and grab the other rig.. We took every toll road in Brisbane to get there and back, but we made it in record time.. As predicted a lovely 15-18kts greeted us and the other boys were still on the shore..!! Seemed Saturday was coming up Skinnyman..!! Ghetto and Allwood stuck with 2nd rig and hit the water..
Cue Sunshine..!! The boat was rigged and the sunshine spilled across the bay.. The boys on Ghetto and Allwood were already dancing with the waves out there doing some two boat tuning.. Pennyliss was on their way out to the start too.. How good was this..!! John and I hit the water and it happened.. The wind swung West.. I mean West West.. The kind of West that makes you contemplate poking yourself in the eye with a shackle key West.. We slowed from a twin wire 2 sail reach to a no wire, can’t fill the kite driftathon..
The boys had started the race and it was neck and neck between Ghetto and Allwood.. (I know this because I watched from my stationary pontoon otherwise known as The WingMan..!!) As the breeze died Ghetto had the weight advantage over Allwood (about 40kgs) and they slipped well ahead by the top mark.. Pennyliss were up the rear and with the wind maxing out at 5kts their 3rd rig looked pretty lame..
Ghetto turned the corner and threw up their black kite.. It seemed an age before Brendan and Joel got around even though it didn’t look like they were far behind.. It was definitely not the low flying dogfight we had all hoped for.. Brendan and Joel got to the bottom mark before calling it quits.. Richard and Crossy had a massive lead and with the breeze now from the West it was a one tack wonder to the top mark.. John and I finally made it to the race track and tucked in with Pennyliss for a 3rd rig battle of mammoth proportions.. John found sitting on the bow pole was more comfortable than he had first imagined.. Benny saw us pass him to windward and then tack back around to pass him to leeward before we too heard the rums a calling and headed home..
Ghetto won by a record 41mins with Pennyliss taking the second place..
Here’s hoping next week’s breeze is a little more stable and we get some more boats out there.. I have already relocated my gear to John’s house so if we need to duck home to grab third rig, it will be 5mins up the hill.
Miners went to Ghetto as they were the only entrants with two fine examples pre-start..
Another week to wait but I for one can’t wait to get back out there and race the second heat of the Club Champs next weekend..!! I’ve even bought some wet and dry to give the old girl some lovin during the week..
With the Americas Cup being the hot topic at the moment, it was kind of exciting knowing that the numbers would be down on the weekend.. We knew there would only be the two 12?s on the race course and the match race smack talk started early.. The hype around the race was epic with both skippers still blurting verbal diarrhoea at one another as late as on the drive down to the club.. It was a last ditch attempt to get in to each other’s head.. It was a trophy race after all.. The coveted Patrons trophy was on offer, and neither skiff wanted the other crew to hold it high on presso night.. On board The Mighty Wingman (yep, that’s right.. She’s back..) we knew we had an advantage with Ghetto Sled being the scratch boat and the Patrons trophy being awarded to the handicap winner..
The breeze was light to moderate and sat on around 12kts.. Did somebody say delightful 2nd rig..?? Both boats tried to rig on top of each other still trying to gain the psychological advantage.. Nothing could split these two teams..
We both hit the water and sailed out together.. Both skiffs had a bit of time up their sleeves and wanted to refine a few boat handling manoeuvres so did a quick hot lap around the top mark..
We got in to the start sequence with the course set parallel to Green Island.. Then it happened, the wind swung East..!! It became apparent that port tack was the only option.. Both skiffs started at the pin end on port and hit the line with pace.. Unfortunately for The Wingman some “Jack”ass on an 18 with a main sail as big as a 35ft yacht sailed up on us and started soiling our breeze.. With nowhere to go (we were pretty much laying the top mark) we had to suck it and see.. The boys and Ghetto seemed to have the jump on us early, but the Wingman team were not about to throw in the towel that’s for sure.!! We rounded the mark about 20secs behind.. We were still in the hunt..!! Up went the kite and we got ready for the tight reach down to the gate.. Unfortunately Hughie had other ideas and we lost pressure.. We watched Ghetto and the 18?s sail on down to the start boat gate and do two quick gybes and smoke down towards the bottom mark.. We had nothing.. We were pointing 30 degrees higher and going slower.. We gybed down to the gate and and as we got there the pressure came back.. Perfect if you wanted to run low, but now we had to try and climb up to the bottom mark..!! We dropped the kite and two sailed up to the bottom.. Meanwhile Ghetto had a commanding lead and was already heading uphill..!! We kept our heads and just started sailing fun mode.. Our two sail gybe around the bottom mark was spot on and we had a pretty good line back up to the top mark.. Ghetto held their lead and around the top they were still playing with the 18?s..!! The Wingman was half a leg behind and heads were starting to drop.. Not even B-Mad’s handicap could help us from here..!!
We rounded the top mark and squeezed high to lay the gate.. Ghetto had rounded the bottom mark already and probably had a 2-3min lead..!! The Wingman was getting whooped..!! We rounded the bottom mark for the final time and looked up the course at Ghetto.. They were headed for Lota creek.. What the..?? We were laying the top mark and gaining.. What breeze were Ghetto in..?? And WHY..?? Were they heading home..?? John jokingly said to me.. Look at their angle.. Spiesy would say “we’re still in it here..!!” The boys on Ghetto tacked and headed back towards the race track.. John was right.. We were back in the game..!! Who would have thought..!! We rounded under a minute behind them and it was a battle as to who could sail higher and lay the finish line..!! Ghetto had a bit on and got smacked below the lay.. They had to drop the kite and two sail.. Here we go.!! The Wingman was coming home strong..!! Benny on the bow of Ghetto did a great job on the pressure leeward drop and Ghetto were able to sneak home for line honours.. The race against the clock started.. The Wingman squeezed and squeezed and got through the finish line with the kite.. Was it enough to get home for the handicap win..?? We didn’t know at the time, and we still don’t know now.. Well done to the Ghetto boys for the bullet and feel free to sail to Lota anytime you want.
Race two was going to be fun, with such a close finish to race one, it was still anyone’s game..!!
The course wasn’t changed which surprised a few of us so again it was a port hand start to see who could lay the top mark best.. With the 18?s again causing a few issues (This time it was some crazy skinny dude with what looks like dacron sails..!!) The Wingman had to low groove it and they had Ghetto flying high to avoid the nasty air.. Who had the best VMG..?? Ghetto, and they rounded the top mark ahead.. It was close but not close enough.. Ghetto two sailed up a bit higher so they could lay the gate.. We cut the corner to try and make a gain but alas we just went a bit higher and slower and by the gate the gap hadn’t really changed.. Around the bottom mark and Ghetto were leading, The Wingman came in on starboard and with some pretty half-hearted Hollywood inspired screams, we made them avoid us and followed them around the mark without really putting any pressure on them.. Ghetto were killing the high groove and going fast.. It was great to see the boys finding their straight line form from last year.. Changing gears seamlessly they extended on the one tack beat.. With no passing lanes or Ghetto showing any weakness The Wingman were left to watch and wait for Ghetto’s signature choke on the final top mark tack.. Luckily for Ghetto they made it through the boat and even though it wasn’t pretty, it was pretty effective and the rounded the top in first place.. We followed them around but knew unless they broke something we had nothing to throw at them..
All in all it was a cracking day out there, with magic sailing conditions with the QLD sun shining and 31 degree temps.. You wouldn’t give it up for anything..!!
Already I’ve started going over the boat for some midweek twerking.. Bring it on next week boys..!! The Wingman is back and ready to give this season a little rub n tickle.!!
Arrived at the club for what would be a great day for skiffing. I worked my way through around over the other boats in the yard to my place in the back corner and waited for the gun Young Bronson to arrive.
We put 4th in straight up. After some direction from Ben which sail was what as I’ve never put 4th in the Squid as yet.
The sounds of Christine “2 o’clock start don’t be late” we made the move to the ramp. Found our way to the start and bang we were off. Hang on where are the skinny boats. Anyway 2 o’clock is 2 o’clock. A quick chat on what was going to happen at the top mark ” lets not put the kite up it looks a bit tight” around we went. Just like a seasonal skiffie Bronson went the kite. Get out and get back was the cry. Before too long it was let’s drop it we aren’t going to make it. Around the wing mark and 2 sail to the bottom or so we thought. Rescue boat come pass “the race has started” Wayne yeld. “Yes we know we are on our way the bottom mark we have started”. We rounded and worked the right side of the course ( lest amount of corners the better right).
Told Bronson to look to the top mark where Richard and Ben got a great ride. He just smiled. Around the top a quick jibe up the kite and hang on. One of the quickest 1 string rides to date, a top gun flyby maverick and goose would be proud of pass the start boat. No sound from the young fella this time. Half way down and I still have not pulled on the main. Squid was skipping and leaping her way to the bottom mark. Around it and back to the top with no no no skinny boat in sight. a few more rides and the race was done. Bronson first time in a 12ft skiff, his first win in a 12ft skiff, my first 4th rig in Squid a first for all.
Later I heard the others had troubled on the ramp but there were more that one set of ramps out there.
Beautiful one day, perfect the next.. That’s the slogan, and boy has QLD lived up to it, with near perfect sailing conditions for the 3rd and 4th races of the season.. The breeze was from the North and a constant 12-15kts when we arrived at the boat park.. With a forecast to build..!! We all threw in our trusty 2nd rigs and hit the water on time for the 2pm start.. All except Brendan and Joel that is.. They put their big rig in again.. Power moves..!!
The start was somewhat controversial with what looked like all boats across the line early and the recall flag flying high.. Fortunately for us on PB we were forced out even though I’m sure we had rights.. We tacked off and crossed the line well behind the fleet and after the starting gun.. Tank girl came back for the recall and we all continued sailing with a few grumbles from the back of the pack..
All was forgotten by the top mark with all 5 skiffs arriving within a few boat lengths.. There were boats being rolled and boats rolling over with the breeze building on cue for the kite ride..!!
Ghetto Sled were around first followed closely by Squid, Tank girl and Allwood sails.. PB brought it up the rear but a sloppy set saw Allwood tip it in to windward and Tank Girl narrowly miss an ugly mast tangle.. This all happened right in front of us on PB, and we had to go low and slow to get past them while the other boys were smoking down to the bottom mark..
It was a quick ride, but we covered a fair distance.. Ghetto managed to stretch out a bit on the fleet with all the dramas happening behind them.. Squid rounded in second but were closely followed by Tank Girl.. PB made up some lost ground but we were not yet within striking distance.. The next beat saw a split fleet with Ghetto heading right to enjoy the tide and Squid and Tank Girl picking the shifts up the left.. PB also went right but by the top mark there was very little positional change.. Ghetto were leading with Tank Girl squeezing through Squiddy and PB following not too far behind.. Allwood were there too, but not really in the hunt. Halfway down the run Squid and Tank Girl were having an epic battle with both boats sending it hard and trying to get ahead.. Terry was able to go a bit higher and was halfway through rolling the Tank Girl when their bob stay let go… Everyone on the bay could feel the disappointment.. PB scooted past as Squid hauled in their big white kite.. The gybe came as a surprise for some and Ghetto overlayed it by a couple of hundred meters..!! Tank girl also overlayed and this gave the hero’s a sniff..!! Ghetto still rounded in first place with Tank Girl and PB rounding together not too far behind.. The next work was a bit of a drag race with all three of us heading right.. Ghetto got to the top first and had maybe even extended their lead.. PB managed to hold in with Tank girl and even put a few meters on her.. When we got to the lay Tank Girl still hadn’t tacked so we cut the corner and passed them. The Tankers had a few issues on their next tack and it was pretty slow which gave PB a clear lead.. Down to the finish it was Ghetto, PB, Tank Girl, Squid and then Allwood Sails.
Great close racing and a hell of a breeze..!! It had built to about 17 or 18kts now and the tide was offering quite a few ramps.. It was a back of the bus ride for all of us..
The second race start was again a bit of a confusing affair with nobody really knowing when to go, but somehow we all hit the line at about the same time and it was game on..!! The first work saw PB out in front followed by Tank Girl and Ghetto Sled.. Squiddy were close behind with a bit of pole poking over the transom of Tank Girl.. It was fairly close and personal even for Terry..!!
Around the top mark and I think we got the top wind speed of the day for the rounding.. We all got around cleanly but it wasn’t pretty.. PB had the kite up first and pulled away.. Ghetto were next with Squid and Tank Girl once again locked at the horns.. Benny clearly has issues with his old boat beating him so will go to great lengths to stop them.. Fortunately for him Terry had a broken bob stay and was being very careful….
We got to the gybe and PB nailed it.. We thought we were killing it.. The boat was going fast and our crew work was improving.. Game on Bitches..!! Shame the skipper didn’t really take the tide in to account and ended up too high on the lay letting Ghetto through the gate..!! Tank girl had a little swim so there was a bit of a gap to 3rd, 4th and 5th.. Allwood were having all sorts of drama’s tacking with big rig in that breeze so retired early..
The beat saw a nice little tussle between PB and Ghetto with Ghetto holding them firm but splash tacking just before the top mark.. Unrucky..!! PB flew past and up went the kite.. Woohoo..!! The rides were amazing.. Have I mentioned that..?? Well they were..!! PB got to the bottom mark clear ahead but not all that far ahead of Ghetto.. As we soldiered out to the right hand side of the course Ghetto were rocking their super high mode and had definitely made big gains on PB.. We knew we had to nail our last tack and we almost did.. We got through safely but we were looking marginal to make the top mark.. Oh no..!! Ghetto tacked a bit beyond our line and we knew they would lay… Did we have enough time for two tacks or had my lay lines cost us the lead twice..?? We got close to the top mark and went through for the tack.. It wasn’t a bad one so I was a little optimistic.. Unfortunately Ghetto had made their move and were going to be ahead.. We tacked and they passed us.. It would be a sprint for the line..!! Both crews were tired but did the quickest sets of the day.. The two skinny hulls skipped and bumped their way down hill.. PB tried to get up on Ghetto but they were clear enough to have their nose breathing freely.. The pressure gybe came with PB trying to gybe inside but it was too little too late and Ghetto got a well-deserved second win for the day..
Awesome conditions and awesome racing, the season has really started and boy has it exceeded expectations..!! The ride back to the beach was awesome too.. Why would you sail anything else..?!?! There is nothing like a 12ft skiff kite ride..
We’re all looking forward to next week’s show down with another good breeze forecast (yes I’ve already looked it up..) and plenty of crazy skiff action..!!
Spring has sprung, and the QLD 12’s made the most of it..!! Open day for the Brisbane fleet was spectacular..!! Hot temps, hot breeze and hot racing..!!! With months of playful winter banter behind us, it was time to see who the main contenders were for this season.. With new boats, new crews, old boat birthdays and the return of Brendo and Joel, the 2013/14 season was always shaping up to be an epic battle, but nobody would have predicted such a tight battle on day one..!!!
We rocked up to the club with nothing less than pure excitement.. The forecast was for 10-15kts then 15-20kts in the afternoon.. Oh did I mention it was 30 degrees..?? Who said sailing in August would be too cold..!! We all went 2nd rig except Brendan and Joel who put in big.. Having said that, they were on the back foot from the start by losing their c’board in the off season.. They needed to try something to catch back up..!!
We headed out to the start with a gorgeous 12kts from the North.. It was obviously the start of the season for other clubs because the bay was packed..!! It was like being on Sydney Harbour on Australia Day..!! Well not quite, but it was busy and we had to dodge a yacht here and there…
With four 12’s and three 18’s on the start line the lads were pumped..!! It should have been five 12’s but Brendan had to go to work to find his c’board..
The flags went up and it was game on.. We were all there but you could tell our distance time skills were somewhat rusty, with Terry being the only one to nail the start.. PB were on the chase with Ghetto and Tank girl close behind.. Tank girl and PB tacked first with Ghetto and Squiddy heading a bit further left.. It paid, and when we got to the top mark Ghetto and Squid both did the sneaky tack on the top mark to take the two top placings.. It was all very close though and you could throw a blanket over all four of us..!! Ghetto did a cracker of a set and took off.. Squid and PB were locked at the horns in a do or die battle for second.. PB had the inside lane and took them on the corner.. Tank girl also managed to push their way past and at the drop it was Ghetto Sled, PB, Tank Girl and Squid.. With an unfortunate bullet mid drop PB stuck it up in to the breeze before they had rounded the mark .. This let Tank Girl and the slippery Squid through.. It wasn’t long before Squiddy and Tank Girl tacked off to attack Richo and the Ghetto boys covered.. This left the right hand side open for PB.. We hit the corner and the breeze had built.. We were inside out and loving every second of it..!! By the top it was still Ghetto then Tank girl with PB hot on their heels.. Squid were lacking height in the new pressure (which we later worked out was probably due to their rig tension being about half of what they wanted it to be..) and PB were able to capitalise.. The next run was pretty standard with no position changes.. Up the final work Tank girl once again attacked Ghetto and this time they forced the error.. Ghetto sled hit the piss on their tack and this allowed Tank girl to slide past to reach the top mark in 1st place.. PB weren’t quite able to pass them, but it was all very close..!! We rounded to top mark and sent it to the finish line.. It felt awesome to be blasting down the bay again.. There really is nothing quite like it..!! Tank Girl took the win (even if it was in Bradbury style) to clinch the inaugural Talk it up Cup..!! As we flopped around after the finish there were ear to ear grins all round..!! There were also some pretty bloody tired bodies very much looking forward to the second race..!! Brendo and Joel were on the water by now and with it blowing a solid 15kts, their big rig was looking pretty big..!!
We got underway for the second race with PB and Allwood sails hitting the line first.. Tank Girl had some pretty good height and at the first corner she was able to tack inside and on top of PB.. They were first around the top with PB squeezing out Ghetto for second.. PB did a good set and had gapped Ghetto by the “wingman” mark.. Squid put up the kite and blew out a terminal on their fancy carbon bobstay.. It was a disappointing exit for the boys but that’s 12 foot skiff racing for you.!! At the bottom it was Tank girl 1st, PB 2nd and Ghetto 3rd.. It became very obvious that match fitness was starting to play a big part in the race as no crew really attacked and it was a bit of a soldiers course.. We did an entire lap in that same order and it wasn’t until the last tack of the last windward that anything exciting happened.. PB tacked in some breeze and went in.. Richo and Benny cheered and called out GAME OVER as they passed us.. Karma’s a bitch and they didn’t lay the top mark.. They had to tack and during this pressure tack they boys put it in too.. We scooted past them again to take the second place..
It was all very exciting..!! Full congratulations go to Benny and Craig on Tank Girl.. They out sailed everyone and were the deserved winners..!! I’m sure there were some sore bodies on Sunday.. I know I was a bit stiff but it was totally worth it.. Every time I stood up I was reminded of the amazing day we’d just had.. On a person note, I was very happy with our performance on PB.. It was the first time John and I had sailed together on the boat and we were right up there throwing it at the boys. We have a lot to improve on, but hey.. We have the whole season ahead of us..!! I’m sure all the boats shook of a fair bit of rust and there will be less and less mistakes in the coming weeks.. GAME ON..!!
Post racing, the ramp was alive with chatter..!! It’s awesome to be back at the boat park and I can’t wait for next week..!! I’ve already checked out the long range forecast and I’m not going to lie.. It looks AMAZING.!!
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.
Lincoln Crowne sailed by Jonathon Temple and Richard Jones won yesterday’s Port Jackson Championship, putting on a great display of sailing in the shifting East South East breeze to win from start to finish.
Gemmell Sails (Murray Press and Mitch Deane) picked up 2nd with Variety (Adam Forbes and Richard Johns) 3rd.
Lincoln got the best of the start, aside from Variety who were a little too eager and where recalled, to lead the fleet up the first work into Rose Bay ahead of Garde (Brett Hobson & Macca Paton).
Gemmell rounded the top mark in 3rd place, and showed good pace down hill rolling past Garde.
Garde pulled back into second at the bottom mark, two seconds ahead of Gemmell and 1 minute behind Lincoln.
The Next pack to round were Variety making gains through the fleet after their recall rounding in between Hood (Dave Lusty and Glenn Farquhar), At Call (John Williams & Billy Lusty) with Vantage Real Estate (Andrew Obrien & Brett Phillips) snapping on their heels. Variety and Vantage made the most of a puffy breeze to pull away from Hood and At call at the bottom mark.
On the work back to Shark Island, Gemmell sailed past Garde again, while Lincoln extended their lead. Vantage and Variety crossed bows a number of times before variety pulled away just before the Shark Island rounding.
While the front 3 remained the same for the next run into Taylor Bay, Variety had a glamour downwind leg aided by a big puff making huge gains on the front 3 and putting daylight between them and Vantage.
Gemmell Sails and Garde headed to the south of Shark Island on the work back to Rose Bay, while Lincoln went to the north.
Gemmell made substantial gains, and were a mere 50m in arrears at the rounding mark.
Lincoln covered Gemmell on the next run to Chowder Bay enough to hold them out.
A spanner was thrown into the works on the final run, and the following beat, when a fuel ship tried to dock along side the container ship moored in the middle of the harbour.
Gemmell, Garde and Variety all had to sail behind the ship, while Lincoln just crossed in front, but were then forced to give way to a ferry. Lincoln managed to remain composed during this episode and held their lead on Gemmell.
At the final windward mark, the top two positions were sewn up, however Variety were hot on the heels of Garde, only 5 seconds separating the two.
An early jibe on Variety put them in prime position for the next gust, and on the short run to the finish they picked up 3rd place, 20 seconds ahead of Garde in 4th.
Hood Sails won the handicap.
The Australian Championships are the next event on the 12ft Skiff Calendar, which will be hosted by Abbotsford over the Easter long weekend.
The 12ft Skiffs made their annual trip to Saratoga for the Brisbane Water Championship on Sunday.
The forecast southerly breeze kicked in at just the right time to make an easy rig choice.
3rd rigs all round and the flat water had the boats blasting down wind in 20 knots of breeze.
Lincoln Crowne won the championship, virtually lead from start to finished. After getting a good start, they held a slender lead up the first work from Gemmell Sails (Andrew Stevenson and Scott Lanham), and Garde in 3rd, most skiffs hitting the right hand side of the course.
Garde snuck in for 2nd place at the top mark rounding, and closed the gap to 1st place at the wind mark. Gemmell sails had a swim at this point during the jibe to put them back and allow Hood into 3rd place, who had a stellar first work.
Garde nearly gained an overlap on Lincoln at the bottom mark approach, but were held out by a boat length.
Variety had a little more success with this manoeuvre to put them into 3rd ahead of Hood.
Skoll dropped a rig early on in the downwind leg after being well placed at the top mark. Reports are that a lower broke and the mast shifted off the step.
Lincoln continued to hold a slender leader up the 2nd work, and Variety moved into a clear 3rd.
On the 2nd downwind leg, Garde jibed off early and rolled past Lincoln.Lincoln continued to the west side of the course and when Garde came back early, found them selves in less pressure and back in 2nd place once more.
Lincoln was never again headed over the next two laps of the course, and went on to a comfortable win. Variety picked up 3rd and vantage came home 4th ahead of Hood.
Garde (Brett Hobson & Brad Phillips) took out the State championships on Sunday, winning heat 5 and not needing to sail heat 6.
Heat 5 was delayed on shore for 40 minutes to let the 30-40knot southerly settle in.
Garde lead up the first work and mark rounding, closely followed by Lincoln Crowne (Jono Temple & Richard Jones) and Gemmell Sails (Murray Press and Scott Lanham).
Both the latter skiffs came to grief on the downwind leg, allowing Garde to get away, and Geotherm to come through to second place.
Arrogant Frog sailed a great race to finish 3rd, pressuring for 2nd place midway around the track.
Lincoln Crowne chased hard on the last leg and gained on Arrogant Frog, but remained in 4th place.
Gemmell Sails retired after breaking both tiller extensions and both crew members.
Only 5 boats made it to the start of heat 6, with the breeze kicking in again. Lincoln Crowne led the charge up the first work, from Gemmell Sail with stand in Skipper and Crew (Nick Press and Dan Phillips). Most skiffs capsized once or twice on the work in the strong gusts.
Variety (Adam Forbes and Richie Johns) were running in third place before coming unstuck on a jibe leading out of the bay.
Geotherm and Hey Charger were both forced to down spinnakers to get around Cabaritta Marine and lost time on the leaders.
The course was shortened at the next mark, with instructions to proceed to the finish.
Gemmell Sails snuck thru Lincoln Crowne on the leg to the finish to steel the victory.
Geotherm picked up a third to cap off a great series (and won the handicap), Hey Charger 4th and Variety 5th.
With a forecast building nor’easter, all bar a few skiffs elected for the 3rd rigs.
It would turn out the right call as the breeze got in and was gusty, reminiscent of a few heats of the interdominions 2 years ago at Lane Cove.
Right from the start two skiff in Gemmell Sails (Murray Press with stand in crew, and son, Nick) and Geotherm (Scott Hobson and Mitch Deane) got a small jump on the fleet.
Lincoln Crowne (Jono Temple and Richard Jones) and Variety (Adam Forbes and Richard Johns) not far behind them, the former skiff lagging slightly after an altercation with Garde (Brett Hobson and Brad Phillips) soon after the start.
The rest of the pack were all mixed together heading down the river, consisting of Vantage Real Estate (Brett Phillips and Jack Winning), Hey Charger (Nick Bernard and Robbie Polec) and Vintage (Cam Gundy and Cam McDonald).
Once out of the river, Gemmell and Geotherm extended their lead on the fleet.
Vantage Real Estate had an early capsize on a strong gust, Vintage and Garde gained on Variety after they were forced to drop their kite to round Clarkes point.
At the bottom mark, the top three remained unchanged, Gemmell, Geotherm and LCC, and Garde getting past Variety.
By the top mark at Manns Point, Gemmell still held the lead, but LCC had now overtaken Geotherm, Garde holding 4th.
Down to the bottom mark again, and Garde overtakes Geotherm. The breeze starting to get very wind at times and many skiffs retiring due to damage. Vantage with a broken rudder fitting and Hey Charge breaking a mast in 4 places and current 5th place Variety also retiring.
The next leg of the race was a hairy two sail across Cockatoo Island from Valentia Street Wharf to Cove Street. Garde had just got by LCC, both skiffs electing to use their spinnakers early on to gain some time on Gemmell. Both were forced to pull the spinnakers back down again to pass the island.
The top 4 positions remained the same for the next lap.
Arrogant Frog (Peter and Steve Hill) and Madonna (Dave Winning and Pete Bevis) where making there way through the fleet, and damage boats, after both having bad starts. Now holding positions 5th and 6th respectively.
Garde gained more time on Gemmell on the next downwind, bring more breeze with them that Gemmell missed.
Up the next work, Garde overtook Gemmell and held a lead at the final top mark.
The breeze continued to freshen and clock to the North.
This forced Garde to down spinnaker around Cockatoo island, Gemmell were able to hold, pass Garde and again lead the fleet.
LCC were a comfortable 3rd, 3min back, and Geotherm a few minutes further back in 4th.
Gemmell led Garde back into the river for the finish, only 10 seconds separating the two. A thrilling finish was on the cards until a rushed tack on board Gemmell caused a capsize, handing the victory to Garde.
Garde (Brett Hobson and Brad Phillips) currently lead the 2012 Lincoln Crowne State Championships after winning all 3 heats at the weekend.
Heat 1 was sailed in a light Northly breeze. All skiffs electing the big rigs for the later afternoons long race. Geotherm (Scott Hobson and Mitch Deane), Skiff.org.au (Ben Faulkner and Renn Holland) and Variety (Adam Forbes and Richard Johns) all got great starts and looked to lead the fleet early on. Garde and LCC (Jonathon Temple and Richard Jones) hit the right side of the course and found some Northly pressure to get right in the mix, and round the top mark in that order. Variety and Geotherm dropped off the pace nearer the top mark, allowing Gemmell Sails (Murray Press and Scott Lanham) to round ahead.
Rounding Shark Island was a little tighter than expected, with a slight shift to the east, and caused the top 3 boats to bunch right up.
Up the next work, LCC picked a better shift to get ahead of Garde, however both skiffs rounded the top mark simultaneously. Gemmell Sails held 3rd place though had lost some time to the leaders.
An outgoing ship split the two leaders, with Garde going west and LCC going east favouring Garde, to reach the bottom mark (and shortened course finish) first.
Geotherm recovered well to pick up 4th place, with Variety 5th and skiff.org.au 6th.
A mid to top end 2nd rig southerly blessed the race course for heats 2 and 3.
Geotherm blitzed the start and the first work to lead the fleet early on, from Garde, Gemmell and LCC.
Garde hit the lead down the run, LCC rounded the bottom mark just inside Geotherm, before breaking their tiller and capsizing.
Geotherm caught Garde and threatened the lead before a Port Starboard altercation between the two saw them slip back to the clutches of Gemmell Sails.
On the final work into Rose Bay, Geotherm went to the south of Shark Island to put time on Gemmell who went to the north.
Garde maintained their lead to cross the line first, Geotherm second, Gemmell Sails third.
Just behind the leading pack a battle emerged with Vantage Real Estate (Jack Winning and Brett Phillips) leading a group of boats including Hey Charger (Nick Bernard and Robbie Polec), Madonna (Dave Winning and Peter Bevis), Skiff.Org and Hood Sails (Dave Lusty and Glenn Farquar). Shark Island split this group up the last work too but Vantage Real Estate had the speed to take a deserved 4th place.
Garde got a jump on the fleet off the start line in heat 3 despite Hood Sails crossing the fleet with a brave port tack start. Garde stretched their advantage down the first run to establish a commanding lead. It was a group of Lane Cove boats that lead the chase for Garde with Gemmell Sails leading from David Winning in Madonna and Jack Winning in Vantage Real Estate. The breeze had eased a little but harbour traffic played a part as the skiffs criss-crossed the harbour. A few skiffs chose to risk the shallows around Shark Island on the run down to Taylor’s Bay but no one would get close to Brett Hobson and Brad Phillips in Garde. Gemmell Sails would take second again in front of David Winning in Madonna.
Hood Sails blitzed the handicap series over the weekend with good sailing especially in the fresher breeze on day 2
Lincoln Crowne sailed by Jonathon Temple and Richard Jones convincingly won the Parramatta Championship at the weekend.
The pair virtually led from start to finish and managed the win despite some late drama caused by gear failure. The win maintains what has been a great start to the season for the veteran crew.
A building North East breeze was forecast and had filter up the river to Abbotsford early, with all boats going for the 2nd rig option.
Garde (Brett Hobson and Damien Vlotman) managed a blinder of a start to lead the fleet early on in the first work. A few tacks later, Lincoln Crowne hit the lead, with Gemmell Sails (Murray Press and Scott Lanham) pulling into 2nd ahead of Garde. Skoll (Peter Polec and Alan Jackson) and Skiff.org.au (Ben Faulkner & Renn Holland).
On the tricky river course, Lincoln Crowne had extended their lead by the top mark with Garde just ahead of Gemmell Sails.
Gemmell Sails and Garde traded places on the downwind run, while Lincoln Crowne were able to extend their lead.
The breeze shifted as it built and this allowed Variety (Adam Forbes & Andrew Stevenson) to briefly catch Garde and Gemmell Sails midway down the run. It look like they were going to take second place before the next crucial gust of wind eluded them.
A scrap was emerging behind the leaders with Vantage Real Estate, Skoll, Variety, skiff.org.au and Arrogant Frog trading gybes down wind.
Garde extended the gap to Gemmell Sails at the bottom mark but some clever tactical decisions up the next work saw Gemmell Sails move to second. Garde made emends on the downwind to jump away from Gemmell Sails again.
Mid race, Lincoln broke their side stay. The rig stayed up thanks to the top stays and lowers, and the crew having to hit the trap at just at the right time. This did allow Garde to close the gap to 1st place , but Lincoln had enough of a lead to stay at the head of the fleet at the finish.
Skiff.org.au had a great day out, maintaining 4th place for most of the race, but unfortunately losing 3 places on the last couple of legs as the breeze continued to build. They picked up the Lenore Dempsey Memorial trophy for 1st on handicap.
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First inter-club race of the 2012-13 season, light easterly breeze forecast to strengthen & turn to the North-East, saw the fleet pondering the big-rigs, but leaning to the conservative option of the second rig: a choice virtually the whole fleet followed.
The Upper Harbour Championship also marked the launch day for the newly sponsored Variety sponsored skiff, and the first coming together of the whole fleet of 12‘s, so a race to look forward to. As well, famous offshore navigator Adrienne Cahalan making her return to the class that initiated her sailing career, stepping in as guest skipper on Hood.
Light wind at the start, with a run-out tide, start-line tight to cross on starboard. No-one was brave enough to chance a port tack. This saw Gemmell Sails, Garde (with guest crew Nick Press, making a skipper/crew combination of multiple interdominion winners) and Lincoln Crowne & Co. off the line well & just ahead of the main fleet. A tight work out of the river, looking for puffs of wind, the new Variety skiff working into the lead bunch.
At the notorious Humbug, beginning the tricky spinnaker ride into the Parramatta River, it was Garde with a small gap to Gemmell Sails then Lincoln Crowne & Co. and Variety, who discovered problems with their new carbon rigging & subsequently having to withdraw.
This was the order on the work to Manns Point, & the start of the long & difficult run to Drummoyne, through the reach along Cockatoo Island and the spectator mayhem of the Red Bull circus on the island. On this run Garde made its first break on the fleet, getting through the traffic better than the following skiffs. Gemmell Sails also slightly gapped Lincoln Crowne on the run, with LCC closing the gap again at the bottom mark. The older skiff, Rip Rack Roar and Rumble, who was the only boat to choose big-rig, were making a fantastic showing at the upper end of the fleet at this stage of the race.
Working back up to Manns point, chasing the now extending Garde, Gemmell Sails second, Lincoln Crowne & Co. 3rd with a slight gap to Geotherm in 4th.
The breeze was freshening & getting gusty, making the second rig choice clearly the correct option. A tight spinnaker reach from Manns Point to the Valentia Street gybe mark in the increasing breeze saw the skiffs unable to reach the mark under spinnaker, having to drop and 2-sail to the mark: Gemmell Sails capsizing in this manouver, allowing Lincoln Crowne & Co. through to second, following Garde around the gybe mark, dodging the Red Bull traffic and re-setting the spinnaker for the remainder of the run to Spectacle Island.
Long work back to Manns Point, Garde well ahead, Lincoln Crowne just holding out Gemmell Sails and Geotherm, around Manns Point then a tight, very windy spinnaker ride to the last mark at Birchgrove, with a 2 -sail into the Lane Cove River to head for the finish.
At Valentia Street the spinnaker on Lincoln Crowne washed out of the kite bin & into the water, dragging the skiff to a halt, allowing Gemmell Sails to pull ahead by 40m. This was the finishing order, Garde a commanding win, Gemmell Sails & then Lincoln Crowne a further minute back, with a long gap to the 4th placed Arrogant Frog (Peter and Steve Hill).
Handicap results was Arrogant Frog 1st, Garde 2nd and Gemmels
A great day, thanks to Vantage Real Estate for sponsoring the event, Variety and Lincoln Crowne & Company for their ongoing support of the 12 Foot Skiff class and to Rotary for hosting the BBQ for the day
Forecast was for SW big sail breeze, at rig choice time it was still exceeding big-rig range, but the fleet decided that it would fail in-line with the forecast.
At the later stage, the Queenslanders with the skinny boats opted to make a rapid rig-change. The locals with the wider boats felt they were still in the right position, and kept the big-rigs in the boats. The PRO called a high-wind forecast, and like a mouse in the elephant enclosure, this caused a stampeded the rest.
Murray first to go, called a change to second. All the others rushed to follow, then when they were fully committed Murray confessed to the “dummy”, and he had stayed with big-sail. Out on the course, his grit was rewarded, a sick breeze seemingly guaranteeing him the day, and with it second overall.
Fleet got away in 10knot S-West with strong run-out tide, working shifts up to the top mark at Clarke Is. Just short of the island the breeze built rapidly to 15 knots, sending the front-runners, Gemmell Sails (“twinkle-toes” & Ben Gemmell) Garde (already having the series won convincingly, (Brett Hobson & Alex Johnson) Lincoln Crowne & Company (Jonathan Temple & Richard Jones) and PB Towing (James “skinny” Flemming & Tristram Hamilton) down the harbour toward the bottom mark near Eastern Pile Light in Watsons Bay, all frenetically gybing to stay in the narrow columns of breeze.
This 4 bunched Final Raceat the bottom mark, and spread the rest of the fleet out between Clark Island and Eastern Channel.
The breeze went really fickle on the work back, with Gemmell Sails pulling out, and Hey Charger (Nicholas Barnard & Robbie “Bruno” Polec) moving up on a westerly slant to take the lead, as Gemmell Sails worked further west to consolidate in the breeze.
Garde in the east fell into a personal hole and parked, only metres from boats with pressure. Gemmell Sails & Hey-Charger got stranded in the channel off Bradleys as the breeze deserted them, allowing LCC and PB Towing to pass them in westerly pressure. Gemmell Sails re-took the lead at the top mark, and drove deep to the East in the pressure, followed by LCC and Garde, and this group followed the breeze down the east shore.
The breeze then shifted back to the west, causing the eastern 3 boats to underlay the mark, and bringing Hey-Charger charging down over them in the west; Gemmell Sails & LCC held them off and were overlapped rounding the bottom mark.
The breeze fell out again and allowed Gemmell Sails with the big-rig to extend again. Garde found another hole on this work and got dropped again. Breeze held steady for the rest of the race, allowing Gemmell Sails a comfortable victory, from Lincoln Crowne, then Hey Charger ahead of Garde.
Regatta already won by Garde, todays result gave Gemmell Sails second overall, tied with LCC but got there on a count bck.
Thanks to all Woollahra Sailing Club for hosting the event, especially to all the volunteers that gave up their long weekend.
Heats 4 & 5: Australian 12ft Skiff Titles second days racing saw the ever consistent Garde (Brett Hobson and Alex Johnson) seal the overall regatta victory with a first and second, giving them the Championship with a race to spare.
It also saw the first heat winner other than Garde, with Gemmell Sails, sailed by Murray ‘twinkle-toes Press and Ben Gemmell taking victory in a closely contested race five.
The forecast 10-15 knot saw the usual rigging park anxiety, with the customary sledging in the anxious time when the rig choice is decided. All the fleet finally chose big-sail. Format was a laid-mark 2 lap windward-return, followed by a shortened North-East course, to Beashel Buoy twice.
Start of race four saw a swing left in the last 30 seconds before the gun, leaving the fleet just crossing the line on Starboard and bunched on the pin. The front runners headed to the western shore, with the bulk of the fleet going east into Nielsen Park, keeping the whole fleet tight when they re-bunched half way up the work.
Into the top mark it was Garde, followed by Gemmell Sails, then Lincoln Crowne and Company (Jonathan Temple and Richard Jones) then PB Towing (the first of the Queenslanders, sailed by James ‘skinny’ Flemming and Tristram Hamilton). Down the square run, the whole fleet gybing back and forth across the harbour seeking pressure.
At the bottom mark it was Garde ahead of Gemmell Sails ahead of LCC then PB Towing. Up the last work these places maintained, with Garde extending slightly. On the final run PB Towing pulled deeper and passed LCC into third, with Skol in fifth, this being the order of the finish.
Race 6 was the longer course to Beashel Buoy, a little fresher than the first race. From the start, most went left to the western-shore, where a Manly ferry pushed Garde back to the right, with Gemmell Sails crossing the ferry to take the western shore. ½ way up the work it had settled in to a tussle between Garde, Gemmell Sails and Lincoln Crowne, with Giddy-up (Queensland, Paul O’Malley Jones and John Cole) right on their heels, with less than 50m between these 4 at the top mark.
Down the square run, Garde and Gemmell Sails went to the West, LCC stayed in the east and found some pressure keeping them in the running.
This group was closely followed by PB Towing, all the fleet getting good depth with the big spinnakers in the building breeze. ‘Twinkle-toes’ Press made his move on this run, eating into the small lead that Garde held, gaining a small lead at the bottom mark.
Up the final work, with the breeze kicking in to 14 knots getting the big-rigs right to the top end of their wind-range. Garde struggled in the increased pressure more than Gemmell Sails, letting ‘Twinkle-toes’ stretch their lead to a comfortable margin, with 50 m between second and fourth.
The finish saw Gemmell take the win, from Garde, then LCC then PB Towing then Giddy-up then Skol. Final race tomorrow with the regatta decided, with Gemmell Sails looking comfortable for second overall. by Jonathon Temple
Heats 2 and 3: The forecast 20-30 knot with the suggestion that it would ease through the afternoon to 20 knots saw the fleet nervously deciding rig-combinations on the beach, and watching the wind-strength readings up to 30 knots at the airport. This saw the choice being predominantly 4th rigs, with smaller mains and jibs setup and a smaller spinnaker rigged.
Out to the start of race 2, lots of upturned skiffs between the club and the start-line as people became used to the conditions.
The 2 races were both taken out convincingly by Garde, sailed by Brett Hobson & Alex Johnson, stamping their imprimatur on the series with 3 wins from 3 starts. Race 2, 3 laps windward-leeward Rose Bay to Taylor Bay got away cleanly, with Garde leading around the top mark, followed closely by Skol, (Peter Polec and Jamie McCrudden) then Giddy up (Paul O’Malley Jones and John Cole), then Lincoln Crowne & Company (Jonathan Temple & Richard Jones).
Very fast and wild ride across the bumpy harbour reach to Taylor Bay, places unchanged for the start of the second work. The conditions were beginning to take their toll on the fleet, spread out across the harbour, with a number of upturned hulls indicating stories to be told, and both Geotherm (Scott Hobson and Damian Vlotman) and D-Unit (Adam Forbes and Richard Johns) destroying their rudder outriggers taking them out of the race.
The final run to Taylor saw Garde with a commanding lead over LCC with Gemmell Sails (Murray Press and Ben Gemmell), and Skol hot on the heels. Gemmell Sails and twinkle-toes Press outsmarted LCC on the finish, to take 2nd by 3 seconds from LCC, with Skol 4th.
Race 3 followed directly after race 2, a shorter 2 lap windward Leeward with a shortened work. Away clean in pressure, with the usual crowd leading up the work, with only Brett on Garde having the nous to have noted the severely shortened leg and the relocated top mark, giving them a clean rounding and the bulk of the fleet having to reach down to the mark, and commence the long chase to catch the now-distant Garde.
Some bedlam down the run saw a number of the frontrunners down the mine, leaving Skol and LCC to round together, having telescoped the massive lead that Garde had begun the run with.
The second work followed the form of the first, Skol dropping off the pace a little, allowing LCC through to 2nd, and this was the order of the finish. The starters boat had a spread of wind readings from 16 to 35 knots over the afternoon, and noted that Garde completed the one mile plus run in under 4 minutes.
Race 4 & 5 tomorrow forecast massively different, big-rig looking like the call for the day.
Heat 1: Forecast 12-14 knot, fleet on the beach, marginal big and second rig. The scene on the water persuaded all to go with big rig; 35 minutes from the start a gust came through and a welter of big-rigs were pulled out for a mad rig-change. Only Commodore Ben and Nick Barnyard had had the foresight for 2nd sail from the beginning.
Start saw the fleet line up with marginal 2nd rig pressure, away up the starboard beat to the west shore saw the few big-rig boats looking good, led by Fungus and Clewie on Kiroshi. The fleet was lead by the usual suspects, Gemmell Sails & Garde path-finding, with Lincoln Crowne & Company yapping at their heels.
In the final approach to the Beashel bouy the top order was interrupted with Arrogant Frog, having a blinder of a work with the big-rig, Geotherm finding breeze in the East and pushing into the order along with Nick Barnyard on Hey Charger. The crowd at the mark-rounding, Gemmell Sails first by a whisker, with Geotherm , Lincoln Crowne, Garde, PB Towing and Kiroshi all overlapped.
Murray & Ben bolted down the run, clearing out to a tidy lead, leaving the pack to get all over each other. Through to the Shark Is gybe-mark, all overheated and pressed, closing on Gemmell, who bolted again after the gybe. Bottom mark, Gemmell Sails again a good gap, followed by Garde then LCC.
After the rounding, Gemmell broke their trapeze strop, dumping them in the water, and causing twinkle-toes Press to break the tiller-extension in the process. This handed the lead to Garde, Kiroshi coming into 2nd as LCC snarled their halyard in the drop.
Up the work, in this order, patchy breeze coming in and out of 2nd rig pressure. Hey-Charger and Kiroshi fell off the twig, with the fleet starting to spread out.
On the square-run, Garde had a 200m gap, using this margin to gybe several times to cover PB Towing & LCC.
At the bottom mark for the last time, Garde leads by 30 seconds, LCC 5 seconds ahead of PB Towing, with Geotherm a further margin back, just ahead of D-Unit then the limping Gemmell Sails.
This was the order of the finish for the first heat, with 2 heats tomorrow and a forecast breeze of over 20 knots
Gemmell Sails are the 2012 Variety Port Jackson Sprint Champions after an exhilarating day of actioned packed racing on Sydney Harbour.
Gemmell Sails (Murray Press & Ben Gemmell) started the day with high hopes for their new big rig, an investment that did not disappoint winning 3 of the 4 short races. Their speed and experience in the shifty big sail East North East breeze was enough to beat consistent performer Garde (Brett Hobson & Alex Johnson) who had 1 win and 3 podiums.
Race one was not a clean start with Variety (Adam Forbes & Richie Johns) a tad too keen jumping the gun by 1 second, having to return and restart. All other skiff got away cleanly, with Gemmell Sails looking the goods straight off the start line, building a solid lead up the first work. Their top mark rounding was one of only a few blemishes on an otherwise faultless day as they let Garde sneak ahead. Garde extended her lead down the kite run, and left Gemmell to fend off Lincoln Crowne and Geotherm.
Gemmell Sails displayed true speed up the next work, reeling Garde in before blasting past them on the final run This was a great come from behind win separating the two by a few seconds. Lincoln Crowne picking up 3rd and Geotherm 4th.
This set the scene for the next race. In race two Gemmell Sails had another flawless start and first work, leading at the first mark, this time with no mistake in their rounding. They were untouchable in this race and went on to record another win. The minor placing’s were again close, with LCC coming home 2nd, Garde 3rd and Variety in 4th.
There were some changes in the order of things for race three, just to keep it interesting. Garde snuck around the first mark just ahead of the chasing pack They defended their position gallantly just managing to hang on to first place from a final downwind run challenge from Vantage Real Estate (Jack Winning and Brett Phillips). Vantage had a stellar race to score a 2nd place. Gemmell finished 3rd keeping them at the top of the leader board and needing a solid result in the final race to stay there, Lincoln Crowne finished 4th.
Going into the fourth and final race, Gemmell Sails only needed to beat Garde to take out the Inaugural Variety Port Jackson Championship. Right from the start they were focused and looking strong. They continued to do all the right things, once again leading at the first mark with Garde buried back in the pack. Lincoln Crowne were looking comfortable in second place with Pennyliss (Will Oxby & Ian Goodman) in third.
Garde made a charge on the last lap, but were too late to catch Gemmell Sails, they instead picked up another 2nd place, Lincoln Crowne hanging onto 3rd, and Pennyliss having a great race coming home 4th.
Final podium results for the day were first Gemmell Sails, Second Grade and third Lincoln Crowne. Handicap podium results were first Vantage Real Estate, Second Penny Liss and third Variety. A sensational day was had by all fifteen skiffs and crew, enjoying the seemingly rare sunshine that beamed down on Sydney harbour. The actioned packed short race format of the Variety Port Jackson Championship was unanimously deemed a stunning success by all competitors, who were excited by the tight racing on the harbour and delighted to be doing it whilst raising the awareness of Alopecia Areata.
Garde secured a comfortable win after several battles throughout the early part of the race.
There was some confusion as to the location of the top mark up the first work as the breeze continued to oscillate from East to North East.
Eventually all crews found it soon after the start, in a light big rig breeze.
All skiffs remained closely bunched in the early parts of the first work. Geotherm and Skoll looked to be creeping ahead till Geotherm nearly capsized backwards. They managed to stay upright, but in doing so took out Skoll. This let Garde sneak through to lead at the top mark, ahead of Skoll (who recovered from their tangle), D-unit and Panadol.
A slow and tangled spinnaker set on board Garde nearly caused a capsize and let Skoll and Panadol roll past, while Geotherm elected to sail high before setting the spinnaker. The move would pay off, allowing them to pass all but Skoll to be 2nd at the wing mark.
At the bottom mark, Skoll still led, but all were closely bunched. D-unit and Geotherm rounding 2nd and 3rd, and Garde just sneaking inside Panadol.
Geotherm had another near capsize backwards up the next work, allowing Garde to pass.
At the top mark, Skoll, D-unit and Garde opened up a nice lead on the pack, but the three skiffs remained close over the next lap of the race.
Garde passed D-unit early on in the 3rd work, and then Skoll in the latter parts to hold a slender leader around the top mark.
Skoll closed the gap right up at the wing mark, before Garde got away again, and then closed it again at the bottom mark.
D-unit had spinnaker issues on the way to the wing mark which allowed Geotherm to pass.
Garde covered Skoll the entire next work, and remained in front to the finish.
D-unit had a stellar last work to close the gap to Geotherm to within seconds at the final top mark, however Geotherm managed to hold them out to claim 3rd place by 3 seconds.
Panadol picked up 5th and with that won the handicap.
Nick Press and Andrew Stevenson sailed Gemmell Sailmakers to victory in the 12ft Skiff Interdominion championships over the new year period.
The win brings up a hat-trick of victories for Nick, who won the last two events aboard his normal boat Dimension Polyant.
To make the win even more impressive, it is the first time that Nick and Andrew have teamed up, the first time Andrew has crewed at a regatta, and all in a borrowed boat.
A smaller than usual contingent of 12’s contended the event, but there was no shortage of top boats with 6 time champion Tim Bartlett in the mix, along with recent Auckland champion’s C-tech (Chris Reid and Ben De Fluiter), Australian crews of Garde (Brett Hobson and Alex Johnson) and the renamed skiff of JJ Robertson (Adam Forbes and Richard Johns).
The regatta started off well for Gemmell Sailmakers, taking out the invitation race and heat 1, all sailed in a 25-30knot north east breeze with large waves caused by wind against tide. The breeze took its toll on most crews for heat 3, and when Gemmell had a capsize they finish 5th. Garde finished 1st with C-Tech 2nd.
The breeze swung to the south west for heats 3 and 4, but remained fresh. The first race of the day was postponed on shore for 2 hours as the wind was gusting above 35knots. When the breeze dropped and the racing got underway, it was the C-Tech crew who got the jump on the fleet and went on to record their only win of the series. Gemmell were not far off the pace to pick up a 3rd place. In heat 4 it was another kiwi crew that blasted up the first work, that of Tim Bartlett in Frankinskiff, to put a good lead on the fleet at the first mark, and go on to take a comfortable win. Gemmell Sails had a swim at the bottom mark rounding during the race to put them back in 5th place.
For heats 5 & 6 the breeze went back into the North East, and was a bit lighter than the previous days, with most crews opting for 2nd rig. Gemmell Sails got a bullet in heat 5 from Frankinskiff in 2nd. Tragedy struck the kiwi crew of Absolute CNC (the eyelet pulled out of the head of their spinnaker) in heat 6 whilst they were clear leaders and heading to the finish. This left Garde in the lead down the final run, with Gemmell picking up a 2nd place.
Heats 7 & 8 were sailed in a similar breeze, however the morning started off lighter and meant most skiffs went with their big rig. Tim Bartlett showed exceptional speed to lead both races before having a capsize and losing their spinnaker meaning they were soon back in the pack. In heat 7, Gemmell would pick up another win, followed by C-Tech, and JJ Robertson having a stellar race finished in 3rd. All skiffs sailing exceptionally well to get their big rigs around the course.
In heat 8 it was the Ugly Stick crew of Simon Ganly and Rod Shave’s time to shine, and pick up their first heat win in an interdominion. After having gear failure in heat 7 and forced retirement, they came out for heat 8 with their 2nd rig and showed true speed. C-Tech finished 2nd, just holding out Gemmell in 3rd and Garde in 4th who had also changed down to 2nd rig.
Heat 9 was sailed in a very light and shifty Northerly breeze, and meant the fleet was working into a heavy tide. C-Tech lead for most of the day before falling in a hole on the way to the wing mark for the final time. This allowed Gemmell to overtake and grab another bullet.
In the final race, Gemmell Sails just needed to stay within two places of C-Tech to finish off the regatta, and they looked to be doing all the right things off the start, to hold a lead at the top mark.
They were never headed from there and went on to record their 5th win of the regatta, enough to claim victory overall from C-Tech by 5 points with Garde a further 4 points back.
New Zealand won back the team’s trophy, but not after a strong fight back from the Aussie team after a slow start.
JJ Robertson won the Jack Winnng Trophy for handicap champion.
Heat 6: Dimension were back in the game after some repairs and held a lead up the first work of heat 6. Garde were forced to do a penalty turn after a run in with Dimension which saw them lose time on the leader. Dimension rounded the top mark first, followed by Skoll, LCC, Garde and Gemmell all close, with Geotherm in 6th.
Down the run, Dimension opened a nice lead while LCC capsized at the bottom mark. Garde briefly crossed Skoll before over shooting the bottom mark allowing Skoll back in, and then capsizing whilst trying to round it.
Gemmell and Geotherm rounded next.
Dimenion and Skoll were comfortably 1st and 2nd respectively up the next work, LCC made a charge to pull back in front of Garde and hold 3rd place. The two skiffs were neck and neck down the second spinnaker run to Chowder. LCC were forced to jibe early to give Garde room for water as the shore line was fast approaching, they capsized during their rushed jibe. This allowed Garde some breathing space to hold 3rd place to the finish, with Skoll remaining 2nd and Dimension 1st.
The final results saw Dimension win their 3rd consecutive State Championship, with Garde 2nd , and Skoll 3rd.
Geotherm picked up the Handciap from Skoll, both for their consistent improvements through the first half of the season.
The full list of the final standings can be downloaded here.
Many thanks to Lincoln Crowne for their support of the event, and all the volunteers at Lane Cove, Abbotsford and Woollahra Sailing Clubs for their help and all they had to endure through 4 days of intense racing.
Heat 5: A fresh southerly wind blasted across the harbour, and all skiffs went with their smallest rigs.
Garde, Gemmell and Skoll tussled it out at the front of the fleet up the first work, while championship leader Dimension were seen on their side back off the start line affecting some repairs. It was later revealed that the jib down haul had broken.
Garde got the jump at the top mark rounding, and took off down the long spinnaker run to chowder bay. Second around the top mark was Skoll, then Gemmell and closely followed by Geotherm.
Geotherm had a great run to the bottom mark to round in second place just ahead of Skoll. Skoll would get back to 2nd after a quick swim by Geotherm up the next work.
Garde held a comfortable lead for the next lap and a half of the race and went on for the win with Skoll picking up 2nd and Gemmell sneaking in front of Geotherm for 3rd.
Heat 4: There was some debate on the rig choice with the breeze seeming to bend around to the NE, with an easterly forecast of 15 knots. Most skiffs opted for 2nd rig with some going with big. Dimension Polyant were one such skiff and sailed an exceptional race with the big gear up to take victory by 4 seconds from Garde.
Gemmell Sails finished 3rd with Skoll picking up 4th.
Off the start line all skiffs remained close and headed to the left side of the course, Dimension holding a slender lead from PB Towage (on tour with some other crews from QLD) and Skoll and LCC.
Dimension rounded the top mark first by a few seconds to PB, LCC and Garde, the latter sneaking inside LCC for the kite set, and soon passed PB who had some spinnaker issues.
Dimension pulled away around Shark Island under their big spinnaker, while Garde, LCC and Skoll rounded simultaneously. Garde held the inside line to hold second place, with all 3 skiffs making up time on Dimension who, being first, had the joy of finding the bottom mark in the setting sun.
The breeze kicked a little and allowed Garde to gain on Dimension, they would get their noses in front for a brief moment, with both skiffs ducking transoms for several tacks.
Gemmell Sails made a charge up the fleet to move into third place, but it was Dimension who round the top mark first again. And again they pulled away down the square run, while Gemmell fought with Garde, crossing them momentarily for 2nd place.
Up the final work, Garde went right while Dimension went left initially, and gained some time to first place, and down the final run Garde closed the gap right up to only finish 4 seconds in arrears.
Geotherm won the handicap for their stellar effort of 6th place and only 1 min behind.
Heat 3: D-Unit (Adam Forbes and Richard Johns) got the best of the Start tacking onto port early and working the Northern shore whilst the majority of the fleet headed to far south into limited pressure and pushing against a strong run out tide.
Dimension Polyant (Nick Press and Brad Yabsley) and Gemmell Sails (Murray Press and Ben Faulkner) were the best of the rest despite Gemmell sails attempting to board the Start boat.
At the top mark D-Unit held a small lead after showing some great boat speed in the softening breeze. Dimension Polyant was around next with the pack including Gemmell Sails, Garde (Brett Hobson & Alex Johnson), Vantage Real Estate (Jack Winning and Brett Phillips) and Lincoln Crowne (Jonathon Temple and Richard Jones) in hot pursuit. With building pressure Dimension managed to sneak past D-Unit by the bottom mark and hold a 20m lead heading on the long work to Putney. In the fading breeze D-Unit closed in on and overtook Dimension to take 50m lead at the top mark only to see Dimension Polyant slide back through under spinnaker. By this stage the two leading boats had opened up a huge margin over Gemmell Sails who was comfortably positioned in 3rd ahead of the chasing bunch.
On the short work and run to the finish the margin and positions remained the same with Dimension Polyant picking up the victory, D-Unit taking home a well deserved 2nd and Gemmell Sails home in 3rd
Heat 2: Dimension Polyant jumped to the top of the leader board on Sunday, with two wins from two starts.
It was another testing day for all crews with the breeze oscillating from North West to South West, and strength ranging from 5-18knots.
Dimension got out to an early lead in heat 2 closly followed by Garde. Lincoln Crown made a charge through the fleet, passing both Garde and Dimension to hit the lead up the second work.
LCC extended their lead down the next kite run and looked set to record a great come from behind victory, until gear failure saw them capsize near the final bottom mark. The breakage was related to their spinnaker system and meant they couldnt reset.
They were forced to limp home down the last kite run, leave Dimension to take line honurs.
However LCC managed to hold onto second place by a few seconds from Garde who ran out of time to run down LCC.
Heat 1: Skoll (Peter Polec & Jamie McCruden) sailed a steady and consistent race to take heat 1 of the Lincoln Crown State Championships at Lane Cove.
It was a tough day for all as the breeze continued to build soon after the start. Gemmell Sails held a good lead for the majority of the race, only surrendering it breifly to Garde who would capsize soon after getting their nose in front. Gemmell appear to be untouchable from there, however their lead was perminently taken away when their mast broke with only half a lap of the race to go.
Lincoln Crowne found themselves at the head of the fleet and would go on to cross the finish line first, but would later be ruled OCS.
Garde were running behind Lincoln for most of the race, though Skoll got in front of them breifly in the middle of the race, before being over taken again. Dimension Polyant were charging through the fleet after restarting, but had a few swims and some rigging issues which kept them behind Skoll.
Down the final run into the river, it was looking like Garde would get there over Skoll, however Garde got a little too close to the moored yachts, got blown in on a heavy gust and capsize amoungst them. This allowed Skoll to sneak past again to take the win.
It is a great win for Peter as it was in this same event and location almost a year ago to the day that his old boat was tragically run over by a tall ship. Peter and Jamie worked hard to ge their new boat on the water, and they received their reward today.
Gemmell Sails, skippered by Murray Press and guest crewed by Cameron McDonald, won the Upper Harbour Championship at the weekend, held at Lane Cove 12ft Skiff Club.
Gemmell Sails took to the lead soon after the start and kept their nose in front all the way to the finish, despite close challenges from multiple skiffs, in a light and shifty south easterly breeze.
All skiffs went with the big rig option with not a lot of breeze forecast.
While Gemmell Sails jumped to the lead, there was a tussle for the minor places throughout the race, initially lead by Maersk Line and Garde, followed up by Linclon Crowne and Dimension Polyant. Garde had a capsize at the bottom mark to loose touch with the leaders.
Gemmell Sails continued to lead whilst Lincoln, Maersk and Dimension traded places right up to the entrance to the river for the finish.
With anything possible between there and the finish, Gemmell Sails held their nerve to take the win, while Garde caught the gust of the day to be back neck and neck with the others in 2nd place. Their luck continued and carried them through the narrows of the river to steel 2nd place.
Dimension picked up 3rd, with Maersk 4th.
Gemmell Sails also picked up the handicap for their stellar effort, with Maersk Line getting 2nd and Vantage Real Estate 3rd.
Day 1 (Heat 1 & 2) Report
Kiwis sail C-Tech to lead SLAM 12ft Skiff Interdominion
Chris Reid and Ben de Fluiter sailed C-Tech Ltd to a solid second and a win to take the lead of the Slam 2011 12ft Skiff Interdominion on upper Sydney Harbour this afternoon, but the New Zealanders know they have a big job ahead of them if they are to maintain and take out the annual Australia versus New Zealand Championship. But it was the defending champions, Nick Press/Brad Yabsley on Dimension Polyant (AUS), who won the opening race convincingly after jumping out right on the gun at the pin end of the line. The race committee set up two short races starting from 2.30pm on the north-easterly course, which the leaders completed in just over 45 minutes. Press and Yabsley showed great speed in the puffy medium breezes, especially on the downwind legs. They were fairly untroubled until the final work, when C-Tech caught them up on a shift and chased them round the mark and home downwind towards the finish. While Dimension Polyant was well set up to cross the line, C-Tech’s crew felt they wouldn’t make it, and stalled while gybing the kite, hardly holding their boat upright, allowing Press/Yablsley the win. “It was all on,” said C-Tech’s skipper Chris Reid. “I was surprised the fleet let us go,” said Yabsley, who was further surprised when he and Press port-tacked the fleet after sailing left off the line. “We had plenty between us and the next boats,” he said. According to the Lane Cove sailor, it wasn’t as simple as it looked. “Every time we got to the top mark, we’d almost be becalmed, but we’d take off again downwind. Alex Vaillings on Nuplex (NZL) gave us a bit of a hard time too. Press said the two were “pretty happy,” with their performance, but had to concentrate on getting the small things right. Behind the top two, positions changed up until the second half of the race, when the top 10 got away from the rest of the 34-boat fleet and then the rest split into a further two distinct groups. In Race 2, the lead changed a few times between three boats, but C-Tech stayed solid to score the bullet from a second New Zealand entry, Alex Vaillings/Cameron McDonald (Nuplex), with Dimension Polyant third, giving C-Tech (Reid/de Fluiter the overall lead, while Dimension Polyant is second overall. “It was a difficult race, we had Nick Press off our hip and Murray Press (Gemmell Sails) too,” Reid said. “We just kept chipping away until we got the lead. There was lots of puff at the top mark and our main was inside out a couple of times, it was pressure sailing. “There were times I thought we’d be better off with our second rig, but then we would’ve been murdered in the lulls. It was great to start the regatta with two good results,” said Reid, who confided he was staying with Nick Press: “I’d better be careful, there could be a bit of a chat on tonight,” he laughed. The nor’east gusts wreaked havoc on the fleet; Tim Bartlett’s Frankenskiff had a rig altercation with another boat and damaged her carbon rigging, forcing Bartlett to miss Race 2. The record six-time Interdominion veteran champion from New Zealand will have to pull a rabbit out of a hat to overcome this setback. In a second Kiwi incident, W2’s crew, Sam Trethewey, limped ashore with a suspected sprained ankle, but vowed: “It will get better tonight and I’ll be back on the boat tomorrow.” Elsewhere on the course, several were caught out in gusts and were seen “lying down” on the job down the runs, the most spectacular capsize came from Nick Bernard/Robbie Polec (AUS) who buried Hey Charger off Cockatoo Island, making them the first crew in contention for the Miner’s trophy. There were a few retirements too. The SLAM 12ft skiff Interdominion opening day was enjoyed up close and personal by spectators too. Clarke’s Point at Hunters Hill was the perfect vantage point for the large crowd that gathered. They weren’t disappointed by the action either. Hosted by Lane Cove 12ft Skiff Sailing Club, with the cooperation of Hunters Hill Sailing Club, Race 3 of the 10 race 51st Interdominion will be held tomorrow, starting from 2.30pm, weather dependent. Further information and results will be posted at: www.skiff.org.au/ Di Pearson, SLAM 12ft skiff media
Day 2 (Heat 3) Report
Aussies win but Kiwis strong at SLAM 12ft Skiff Interdominion
Nick Press and Brad Yabsley have sailed Dimension Polyant to its second win to reclaim the lead in the SLAM 12ft Skiff Interdominion on upper Sydney Harbour today. Locals from the Lane Cove 12s, host of the 51st Interdominion, Press/Yabsley won the first race yesterday on a short course, and backed up again today on a long east-nor-easterly course, claiming the win from NZ entry Nuplex, skippered by five-time Interdominion champion Alex Vallings and crewed by Australian Cameron McDonald, with Garde from Woollahra SC third. “We led from the start and made no mistakes today,” said Brad Yabsley “We got off the start midline and had C-Tech and Nuplex (both from New Zealander) hanging on to us till the top mark, but we rounded and did not look back,” he said. “C-Tech’s ninth place today gives us a bit of a buffer. Bring on more of the top end big rig stuff,” Yabsley said. Nuplex’s crew were happy with their day’s work. “This is our first race together, I’ve just come back from competing at the I14 nationals,” said crew Cameron McDonald, who finished third at that event. ”We never got close to Yabba (Press/Yabsley), but we had a good tussle early on with four boats including Garde (Brett Hobson/Alex Johnson),” admitted McDonald who was struggling with the fact that his skipper was playing the main and not him. “I find it hard to get used to,” he said. Although content with second place today, Vallings commented: “It’s hard to beat Yabba Dabba (Brad Yabsley) in this breeze, which was pretty fresh at times.” After a troublesome first day, one of the SLAM Interdominion favourites, Garde finally came good today with third place. “Everything went wrong yesterday,” Hobson said. “We got caught up in a capsized boat on the start line and it just went downhill from there,” he said. “The boat was quick, but I don’t know where our heads were; things just went from bad to worse. Today we had our heads screwed on right. We got a good start close to the pin, the ducked one or two boats on our first tack and then we went head-to-head with Ginger,” Hobson said, referring to Vallings on Nuplex. “We kept exchanging second and third places, then we had a bad last work, but that’s OK, we’re just taking one race at a time and to finish the regatta top five would be good.” It was a bit of a Kiwi slaying today – Aussie boats were first and third, but everyone else up to and including seventh place were New Zealand boats. Perhaps it is because of a Twitter message sent over the airwaves to the Kiwis. It appears the SLAM 12ft Skiff Interdominion is being followed even by those at sea. Alex Vallings former 12 crew, Andy Meiklejohn, who is crewing on Hugo Boss in the double-handed around the world Barcelona Race, took time out to send a Twitter message overnight: “A little more breeze would be nice but we are still hoping for gains. Go the Kiwi skiff team at the 12ft Interdominions in Sydney!” New Zealander, Meiklejohn, is awaiting the return of his skipper, Alex Thomson, who is recovering from an emergency appendix operation. He and last-minute replacement skipper, Wouter Verbraak, are currently at the back end of the field. We wish them all the best. The fleet got away in an east-north-easterly, but not before a general recall and then some OCS’s at the 2.40pm start. Disappointment for a few on what was otherwise a beautiful day out with 12-15 east-nor-easterly wind under sunny blue skies. First out after crossing the start too early were Alison Chapman/Tim Barraclough (CST Composites) and Martin Debelle/Ian Turley (Barking Mad) both from Woollahra Sailing Club. A third Woollahra boat, D-Unit (Adam Forbes/Richard Johns) thought they were over too, so returned and re-started, losing them valuable time. Conditions took their toll on others; Arrogant Frog, sailed by father and son Peter and Steve Hill, was first out after the jib cleat let go on their brand new carbon/foam boat. Easily fixed, but not in time for the Abbotsford sailors to get back in the race. Next ashore were cousins Heidi and David Winning, who ripped their brand new black kite, then it was the turn of another father and son combination, New Zealanders Billy and Will Wright sailing W2, whose prod broke off the front of the boat when a power boat sped in front of the 12. This on top of Will doing a ligament injury to his ankle yesterday, which will keep him ashore for a couple of days. Late in the race, Martin Hughes design’s mast snapped, leaving Sam Marshal/Sam Trethewey from Auckland floundering. Hosted by Lane Cove 12ft Skiff Sailing Club, with the cooperation of Hunters Hill Sailing Club, Race 4 of the 10 race 51st Interdominion will be held tomorrow, starting from 2.30pm, weather dependent.
Day 3 (Heat 4) Report
Dimension Polyant wins thriller at SLAM 12ft Skiff Interdominion
Today’s Race 4 of the SLAM 12ft Skiff Interdominion on Sydney’s upper Harbour was a thriller to the end, Lane Cove’s Dimension Polyant taking the lead from New Zealand’s Frankenskiff down the last run of the easterly course and fighting off challenges from the Kiwis for the rest of the race to consolidate their series lead. Nick Press and Brad Yabsley representing Lane Cove 12s, came ashore exhausted but happy with their third win from four races. They are on six points, 13 clear of nearest rival C-Tech (Chris Reid/Ben de Fluiter, NZL), after beating 59 year-old Tim Bartlett, the record-holding winner of six Interdominions and his crew Adam Miller (Frankenskiff) over the line by seven seconds. Press said this afternoon “It was good tight racing. We didn’t get a good start and rounded the top mark in sixth place. We started to pick them off one by one. We got Frankenskiff on the last run when they screwed up a gybe and we sailed straight through them in good pressure. Yabsley takes up the story: “After that, they got a good lift off Greenwich and we got the headsail twisted around the forestay and they caught us up,” he said. Press continued: “From there, it was tack for tack. It was very stressful. They were smoking downhill – they’re very quick. At the top mark for the last time, there was only a millimetre between us, and we gybed just in time to beat them over the line.” Frankenskiff’s Adam Miller responded: “It’s hard for us old boys to keep up with the younger guys. It’s really hard work sailing against Dimension Polyant, they’re really good sailors and we don’t get out every week and sail like a lot of these guys do.” Third place today went to Michael Spies/Damian Vlotman on Andrew Short Marine from Lane Cove, but not before a challenge from Woollahra Sailing Club’s Brett Hobson/Alex Johnson on Garde. “It’s the first time we had the second rig in – so it was great to lead the fleet early on, we’re not as fast as some of the others,” Spies, from Lane Cove, said ashore this afternoon. “I think that’s my best result as a skipper in the Interdominion,” said Spies. “I think Garde let us off the hook a bit,” he said, referring to the last run when Hobson/Johnson overtook them momentarily but allowed back in. Gemmell Sails (Murray Press/Ben Gemmell) from Lane Cove are third overall on 21 points after their sixth place today, with Andrew Short Marine just one point adrift of them, with Garde holding down fifth spot, a further point away. The oldest team in the fleet, Jack Winning (62) and Brett Phillips (53) also had a great day, their seventh place overall handing them the handicap win. There was less carnage today as the gusts were fewer and far between in a predominantly easterly breeze that veered east-north-east at times, on a hot and humid day. Early disappointment for five-time Interdominion champion Alex Vallings (NZL), who broke a side stay on Nuplex before the race started, and that was the end of the boat race for he and Cameron McDonald. After returning to the start line yesterday, convinced they were over early, Adam Forbes/Richard Johns on D Unit should have considered that move for today, as they were pinged for being over the start early and having no idea, the Woollahra Sailing Club pair continued to race. At Call Powered by Bainbridge International Ed Blackman/Brad Greenrod (Lane Cove) and ASCC crewed by Nick Catley/Joshua McCormack (NZL) also retired. Hosted by Lane Cove 12ft Skiff Sailing Club, with the cooperation of Hunters Hill Sailing Club, tomorrow is a layday. Races 5 and 6 of the 10 race 51st Interdominion will be held on Tuesday, starting from 2.30pm, weather dependent. Once six races are completed, a race drop will come into play and is certain to change the results up, with some of the top contenders already scoring DNF’s over the last three days.
Day 4 (Heat 5 & 6) Report
12ft Skiff Interdominion - Father and son battle
There is a number of father and son combinations sailing at the SLAM 12ft Skiff Interdominion being sailed on upper Sydney Harbour this week, but today a father and son thrashed it out from opposing boats and both came up with the goods. At the helm of Dimension Polyant (Aus) is Nick Press and at the helm of Gemmell Sails is his father, Murray Press; both sail for Lane Cove 12ft Skiff Sailing Club, host of the Interdominion. Racking up a third and a win in Races 5 and 6 today, Nick and his crew Brad ‘Yabba’ Yabsley have a commanding 13 point lead in the series. And following the two races, sailed in a tricky breeze that clocked between east-nor-east and nor-east, with the pressure anywhere between 10 and 20 knots, Gemmell Sails, has moved up to third place overall after scoring third and second places in some of the most exciting racing of the Championship so far. Murray Press and his crew Ben Gemmell missed out on winning Race 6 by just one second to consistently well-sailed Garde, crewed by Brett Hobson and Alex Johnson from Woollahra Sailing Club, who move into second place overall now that the first drop of the series has come into play. Murray Press was more than happy with second place – he beat his son home by one place and nearly two minutes. ‘It happens rarely, so it’s good to beat him,’ Murray said with a big smile. ‘I’m looking forward to giving him a bit of curry around the dinner table tonight. ‘Our good results have kept us in the mix. It was a funny sort of day; too much breeze some of the time and not enough some of the time, but the No.2 rig was the right way to go. There was a lot of debate amongst the guys as to whether to go out with the No. 1 or 2. It was a bit hard to pick,’ he said. Nick Press and Yabsley were happy with their day’s work. ‘We can keep this up if we continue doing the little things right. We just have to keep it ticking along and stay out of trouble,’ Yabsley said. He described the day as: ‘Full pressure one minute, under pressure the next. Racing was a lot closer in Race 6, the front pack got away from the rest.’ Others were not so lucky today, none more so than veterans Jack Winning and Brett Phillips on Vantage Real Estate (Lane Cove). They broke their rudder pin towards the end of Race 5, but found a replacement in time to hit the course for Race 6, but it was not to be. ‘We got hit by a rain squall just before the start (Race 6) and went for a swim. We decided to stay in the water until we were ready to start, but BT Towage came along and wiped out our backstay. Just not our day,’ Winning commented. Many others found themselves back on the beach at Hunters Hill SC too. Among them, Maersk Line (Jakub Ronowizc/Craig Nicholson) from Lane Cove had Barking Mad (Martin Debelle/Ian Terley) from Woollahra SC round up into them. Both came ashore minus a fair bit of their rigs. ‘It was pretty ugly and it happened so quickly,’ Ronowizc said. One sailor who came ashore smiling was Alison Chapman, who is new to the class. Sailing with various partners this week, she has finished four of the six races sailed, exceptional for a first-timer, and even more so because she only weighs 48 kilos, a big ask in these hard to handle boats. A champion sailor in the Cherub, Flying 11 and 29er classes, the WSC skipper is taking it in her stride. ‘I’ve never steered from the wire (trapeze) before, but we’re getting better every day. We had a few kite problems today. We were a bit unlucky, but at least we finished,’ Chapman said. ‘It’s a fun boat, but it’s a bit heart-stopping going downhill in a bit of breeze,’ she said, adding she would continue in the class. Hosted by Lane Cove 12ft Skiff Sailing Club, with the cooperation of Hunters Hill Sailing Club, the 51st SLAM 12ft Skiff Interdominion continues with two further races tomorrow and finishes on Friday, 14 January. by Di Pearson
Day 5 (Heat 7 & 8) Report
SLAM 12ft Skiff Interdominion cockatoo carnage captured by cats
SLAM 12ft Skiff Interdominion was a day of carnage as a big gusty east-nor-easter picked off one boat after another in Race 7 at Hunters Hill today – and not even the top starters were immune – startled river cat passengers saw all off Cockatoo Island as the out-of-control skiffs barrelled downwind under kite. Some survived, some did not. It was a day of ‘no guts, no glory – and when the going got tough – the tough kept going. It was day that belonged to 2009 Interdominion champion and reigning national champion, Garde, crewed by Brett Hobson and Alex Johnson from Woollahra Sailing Club who came home with two wins and big grins. ‘It was pretty gusty – pretty gnarly,’ Johnson said of the winds that peaked at 30 knots. ‘You had to pay attention the whole time or you’d find yourself in the drink. You had to keep an eye on the traffic, the gusts and the shifts, but we had a big win in Race 7,’ he said. Skipper Brett Hobson commented on their day. ‘We’ve got a day to go and we have to remember that, but it feels great to come ashore with two wins. We tried to keep our noses clean and tried to sail a bit safely; we took it one mark at a time,’ he said. ‘That was one of the hardest days I’ve sailed. The sea was short and sharp,’ Hobson admitted. Chris Reid, the skipper of Kiwi entry C-Tech agreed: ‘I have to admit I’ve struggled with the venue a bit; the traffic and the shiftiness, but everyone’s had to deal with the same stuff. There were a few ferries on the course today and a few of the skiffs got taken out in the lull behind a ferry. It was tough but fun at the same time,’ he said. His crew, Ben de Fluiter commented: ‘I don’t think I’ve ever sailed in a place that’s as hard as this one.’ Maybe that’s why the next two best boats did so well. Series leader, Dimension Polyant (Aus), sailed by Nick Press and Brad Yabsley and Gemmell Sails crewed by Nick’s dad Murray Press and Ben Gemmell both sail for the SLAM Interdominion organisers, Lane Cove 12ft Skiff Sailing Club. Press/Yabsley scored third and second places today, while Press/Gemmell came home with a pair of fourths. ‘We had a great day really – no swims – so that was a bonus. We tried to say conservatively, but that was impossible in those conditions. I reckon we were doing 20 knots in 30 knots of breeze at times,’ Murray Press said. ‘The Garde and Dimension Polyant guys know how to drive a boat hard in that sort of weather and it makes for great viewing. You can do that when you’re young!’ In what is now a close series, the reigning Interdominion champions Dimension Polyant (AUS) leads Garde by three points, with Gemmell Sails third on 20 points with two race drops in place. So the SLAM Interdominion and the Silasec trophy will go to one of the top two. While the day belonged to the top boats, spare a thought for others. The crew of Arrogant Frog, Steve Hill, did a swan dive through the headsail, which tore right down the seam, ending their day. Maersk Line broke the top section of their mast, her skipper Jakub Ronowicz is still wondering how it happened. The Lane Cove skipper told, ‘We’d just rounded the top mark and put our spinnaker up, but it didn’t feel right. I didn’t hear anything, but I looked up and the top section was missing.’ CST Composites from Woollahra pulled out of the race, but her crew made quick repairs in time to make Race 8, Panadol Rapid (Lane Cove) came ashore with a big headache, Vantage Real Estate (Lane Cove) was unlucky for a second day running and the lone Queensland entry, Squid, also pulled out. More followed. Opposite the Hunters Hill Sailing Club, Rip, Rack, Roar & Rumble (Lane Cove) nearly ended up on the bricks, Ken Williams and Bob Paton’s boat had to be towed ashore, missing Race 8. Back out on the water, there were more lying down than there were standing. Second overall going into today’s two races, Garde’s crew, Brett Hobson and Alex Johnson (Woollahra SC) sailed down the first run conservatively, not even attempting to hoist a kite. It was to their advantage in the long run. Behind them, the SLAM 12ft Interdominion leaders, Dimension Polyant, went the kite, but quickly hit the drink in the shifty and puffy airs. Many followed behind them, including C-Tech, Gemmell Sails, Frankenskiff, unable to hold up, yet still some behind them chose to hoist – to their disadvantage. A few left their rig choice till the very last and by the time the start gun went just after 2.35pm and it was apparent by then that the small rig was the only way to go. Those with medium really struggled and came ashore before Race 8 to change down. The carnage continued into Race 8 and even the top guys had their moments. Dimension Polyant (AUS) nearly put it in on the second upwind leg and struggled to get back in the race. Behind them, Kiwi boat Frankenskiff, skippered by six-time Interdominion champion, Tim Bartlett, was not so lucky, capsizing just off Hunters Hill SC as the wind continued to fluctuate and shift. Cousins Heidi and David Winning were first out of the race, followed shortly after by Dipolar Software from Lane Cove and Martin Hughes from Auckland. Then Craig Ganley and Craig Anderson brought Dimension Polyant (NZ) ashore with a broken mast. Hosted by Lane Cove 12ft Skiff Sailing Club, with the cooperation of Hunters Hill Sailing Club, the 51st SLAM 12ft Skiff Interdominion has layday tomorrow and concludes with two races tomorrow and finishes on Friday, 14 January.
Nick Press and Brad Yabsley from Lane Cove 12ft Skiff Sailing Club have successfully defended their 2010 Interdominion title, sailing Dimension Polyant to a convincing win in the final race win at the 2011 SLAM 12ft Skiff Interdominion hosted by Lane Cove 12ft Skiff Sailing Club this afternoon. It was all over at the end of Race 9, when Dimension Polyant came home second behind New Zealand entry Frankenskiff (Tim Bartlett/Adam) Miller in Race 9 this afternoon, with their nemesis, Brett Hobson and Alex Johnson on Garde, third. Press and ‘Yabba’, who have led the series since day one, knew their finish in front of Garde guaranteed them their second title in succession. They were then able to leave the pressure of winning behind them to enjoy the final Race 10, which they won by a massive 2 minutes 20 seconds from Frankenskiff, which had a cracker of a day. Five-time Interdominion champion Alex Vallings (NZL) with Fraser Brown and Cameron McDonald filling in variously as crew, finished the series third overall. “It’s a really good feeling,” a smiling Nick Press commented this afternoon. In the second race (Race 10) we really let go, because it was already all over,” he said. Press could not differentiate as to which was more difficult to win, the 2010 title, or this year. “Both were as hard as each other. We worked really hard. Dimension Polyant gave us new spinnakers and were really supportive,” said Press, who is thrilled to see his and Yabsley’s name engraved on the Silasec trophy for a second time. Of second placed Garde, the current national champion, Press said: Brett (Hobson) is always hard to beat – and Dad too (Murray, skipper of Gemmell Sails which finished fourth on countback to Kiwi entry Nuplex). Murray, in turn, is very proud of his son’s win. “They deserved it, they sailed well all week,” he said of Nick and Yabba. Yabsley was especially pleased with their big win in Race 10. “It’s amazing what you can do when you’re not feeling the pressure anymore,” he said, adding: “Hanging onto the title is a feeling more than anyone would ever believe – I can’t explain it.” Like one or two others in the fleet, Press will now move to 18ft skiff sailing this Sunday. “I usually race 12s on Saturday and the 18 on Sunday.”The 12 is like a sports car and the 18 is more like driving a bus,” he reckoned. Of their second place overall, skipper Brett Hobson was pragmatic. “Obviously we would have preferred to win, but we had a great regatta. We always new it would be hard to come back from our first day results (10th and sixth places),” he said. “We preferred the big breeze of Wednesday though,” said Hobson, who took out both races that day in a big eas-nor-easter. Today’s conditions did not live up to the forecast of up to 30 knots from the north-east, instead the fleet raced in an up to 20 knot nor’ easter, which most others preferred to the carnage-causing Wednesday conditions. “We’ve got a new boat and we spent months and months building it, so it’s good to know it all works,” said Hobson who explained: “We were well-placed in the last race, but we got the gust from hell on the last run; it drove us right off the course and we couldn’t get back,” he said. However, the Silasec trophy hasn’t completely left Hobson’s hands – it will stay in the family, as his younger brother Scott is to marry Nick Press’ sister, Emma, this year. Best placed of the Kiwi entries, Alex Vallings’ fourth and third places today was enough to knock Gemmell Sails out of third place on countback, the two finishing on 29 points each. Vallings cited “lack of preparation and maybe I’m too experimental,” as to why he did not finish in the top spot. I haven’t used my number 2 rig and I’ve only sailed with my big rig twice – but I haven’t used it for racing yet. I might have been better using my old rig.” But the fact he did not come with a regular crew and sailed with two different crew members he would never usually sail with, says a lot for Vallings’ sailing ability. “I need to do more sailing and with a regular crew,” he said. On the venue, Sydney’s Parramatta River on the upper Harbour, Vallings mused: “Conditions were super tough.” To win, he said, “You have to have a good crew Like most the other Aussie entries, Hobson and Johnson will next contest the Garde Sprint Series in February and the Port Jackson Championship in March. Competitors were told to expect a big nor-easter, but in its place was a lovely nor-east of up to 20 knots, described by competitors as “the best day of the regatta.” Today’s racing was close in Race 9. The top 10 changed places, particularly on the works where most hit the corners, zig-zagging their way up past the start area in the narrow body of water near the Hunters Hill Sailing Club. In Race 10, down the run the first time, Dimension Poylant led by a country mile from Nuplex, Frankenskiff, Gemmell Sails, As Good As It Gets, Garde, C-Tech and Andrew Short Marine, which constantly swapped places throughout the race. On the second downwind, which took the fleet the other side of Cockatoo Island, Dimension Polyant’s lead was around one minute 40 seconds from Nuplex with a second Kiwi entry, Frankenskiff, hot on her tail. Andrew Short Marine (Michael Spies/Damian Vlotman) from Lane Cove 12s won the handicap event from Gemmell Sails (Murray Press/Ben Gemmell) also from Lane Cove 12s, with the Lachie Paramor/Morgan White sailed Cunning Stunts (Woollahra Sailing Club) third. Australia won the Teams Event for the John Brooke Trophy. Other winners will be announced at the prize giving at Hunters Hill Sailing Club this evening. Thirty-four skiffs from Australia and New Zealand contested the SLAM 12ft Skiff Interdominion, hosted by Lane Cove 12ft Skiff Sailing Club, with the cooperation of Hunters Hill Sailing Club. The 51st edition of the annual Australia versus New Zealand competition, finished this afternoon.
17th January 2010 - Heat 10
Dimension Polyant (Aust) won the 50th Interdominions today. They placed 3rd in heat 10, three places ahead of rival Frankinskiff, which was just enough to capture the title. The New Zealand Team convincingly won the John Brooke Teams trophy.
The Little Bus won the days heat, again taking advantage of the light conditions. Nuplex placed 2nd, with Dimension Polyant 3rd and Garde 4th.
The racing was delayed for several hours to allow the breeze to settle into the North East. The first lap was very light before the breeze built a little from the North. Dimension took advantage of the building breeze to make there way thru the fleet after an ordinary first down wind leg. Frankinskiff struggled in the lighter air and were unable to fully recover from mid fleet.
The win breaks a 20 year aussie drought on New Zealand waters.
16th January 2010 - Heat 8 & 9
14th January 2010 - Heat 7
Tim Bartlett sailing Frankinskiff hit the top of the leader board today, after they won heat 7 from Nuplex, with Garde 3rd.
Nuplex got out to an early lead from Frankinskiff, the two boats continued to tussle for the lead and jumped away from the rest of the fleet. Up the final work the breeze dropped out and looked to shift from the North to the West. This closed the fleet up before the Northerly filtered back in. Frankinskiff proved to fast and held out Nuplex to record another victory.
13th January 2010 - Heat 5 & 6
New Zealand skiff Frankinskiff became the first boat to win multiple heats of the series, taking out both heats today.
Heat 5 this morning was sailed in a 20knot South Westerly. Frankinskiff hit the lead from Dimension Polyant (Aust) up the 2nd work and defended her position till the finish.
The Southerly increased to 25knots for the afternoon race, which saw Davie Norris Boats lead for the majority of the race, before Frankinskiff robbed them close to the finish.
The points table is still very close between the top few boats. Dimension Polyant holds a slender lead from Frankinskiff and Gemmell Sails.
12th January 2010 - Heat 4
Gemmell Sails won a tight fought race from Nuplex and Davie Norris Boats in a fresh Big Rig breeze.
Dimension Polyant (Aust) picked up a 4th place to hold a slender overall lead from Gemmell Sails.
10th January 2010 - Heat 2 and 3
New Zealand boat Nuplex won a light and shifty heat 2, from Garde and Gemmell Sails
Heat 3 was taken out by The Little Bus, with Design Source 2nd and Gemmell Sails third, in a Big Rig Northerly.
9th January 2010 - Heat 1
Dimension Polyant (Nick Press) took out heat 1, leading almost from start to finish, in a 18knots SouthWesterly.
Nice Action Too (Hamish Hey) got out to an early lead at the first mark rounding, before capsizing down the spinnaker run. Dimension Polyant took over the lead and held off another late charge from Nice Action Too, who finished 2nd, Frankinskiff (Tim Bartlett) finished 3rd.
The New Zealand team won the day, 110pts to 180pts.
1st – Dimension Polyant (Aust)
2nd – Nice Action Too
3rd – Frankinskiff
4th – As Good As It Gets
5th – Demension Polyant (NZ)
6th – Garde
7th – Design Source
8th – Nuplex
9th – Gemmell Sails
10th – Little Bus
11th – Exonet
12th – Thistle Hill
13th – Andrew Short Marine
The 2010 interdominion marks the 50th Anniversary of the event.