Nick Press and Andrew Hay (Sydney Sailmakers) have made it two in a row, backing up to win the 12ft skiff Parramatta River Championship for the Len Postill Memorial Trophy late this afternoon, after taking out the Upper Harbour Championship last weekend.
Once again, Brett Hobson/Jeremy Jones (Geotherm) played bridesmaids after leading off the start with Jono Temple/Richard Jones (LCC Asia Pacific) and Ben Austin/Robbie Polec (Skoll), with Sydney Sailmakers trailing them.
All had their chances on a south course taking the fleet to Hen and Chicken Bay, although it was not straight forward, as all chose their Number 3 rigs, looking down the barrel of an 18-22 knot southerly under a dismal sky.
“It was really fresh when we were rigging up, so everyone put the third rig up, but when we got out there, it was a lighter 15-18 knots, so we were a bit underdone,” Press commented.
Wishing for their number 2 rigs, but stuck with their choice, crews spent much of the time crouching down on their boats around the course, a pretty uncomfortable way to sail a 12 footer.
“It was like a NASCAR race,” Press said of the course that took in the Parramatta River between the Gladesville Bridge and the Putney Punt, with the finish off the Abbotsford clubhouse in the slowly fading breeze.
“Short sharp legs, six times to the top mark,” said Press. “It took us two laps to run down Hobo (Geotherm). From there, the two of us had a great tacking duel to the finish and we crossed first.”
The top two had cleared out on the rest, as Maersk (Adam Forbes/Ben Gemmell) and Skoll (Ben Austin/RobbiePolec) were in their own battle crossing tacks all the way to the finish, as were Southport Sails (Murray Press and fill-in crew Scott Hobson) and LCC Asia Pacific.
Press said the battle got so tight behind them, “that Skol infringed Dad (Southport Sails) and LCC, and all three ended up in the drink, which put them further back in the fleet as they struggled to recover.”
Maersk got a lucky break, somehow avoiding the chaos around them, and finished third. Southport Sails finished next, followed by LCC Asia Pacific.
Press, from Gladesville, and Hay, from Kirribilli, remain the benchmark in the fleet and their results to-date bode well for upcoming events.
“A big thank you from all of us to Abbotsford Sailing Club – they are a volunteer club and always put on a great day for us. They feed us well and the racing is always good fun. We’re all made to feel welcome and love sailing there,” Press concluded.
Hosted by Abbotsford 12ft Sailing Club, the Parramatta River Championship is the second major event of the season for the 12s. It is a lead-in event to December’s NSW Championship and the Interdominion to be hosted by Sydney Flying Squadron from 4-12 January, 2019. Both events are sponsored by Your Move Conveyancing.
In between, the 12s will sail club pointscore races each weekend.
By Di Pearson, 12ft skiff media