Friday, April 29, 2011

Nationals Race Report

What started with a slow drift around Green Island (not the one off Cairns) ended with a crankin 3rd rig in the steep waves of Waterloo Bay. The 76th 12ft Skiff Australian Championship was won by Nick Press and Brad Yabsley on Dimension Polyant Australia with only a small margin to last year’s champs Brett Hobson and Alex Johnson on Garde. The 1 point win capped a great season for Press and Yabsley after winning the Interdominions early in the new year.

Race 1 was a round-the-island race and despite the soft big rig wind, the racing was tight with only0 5 minutes separating all 20 boats. Clear air was key and the Garde, after taking the lead from Dimension and locals Ghetto Sled about half way around, made the most of the small gap. Friday night festivities included an informal bbq at the wonderful Yachting Queensland facility and some shenanigans from the young lads with the Hobie 16 fleet under attack.

Race 2 and 3 were postponed to wait for breeze and eventually got under way in a soft 2nd rig wind with the forecast 15-20 only turning up on the last lap. With an extra wide wing mark, crew work was put to the test with extra kite hoists between bursts of 2 sail reaching. Lachie Paramor had a blinder in the first race of the day, pulling 3rd place and showing great speed. Equally impressive was the 4th to PB Towage from Queensland in the second. Dimension took the first, Garde the second, but a 5th in the second by Dimension had Garde leading the regatta after 3 races.

The forecast for Sunday was a healthy 15-20knots from the South East. 2nd rig was the call, however the breeze failed to fill and the fleet were subjected to a soft ride barely pulling 2 strings all day. Racing was tight with mistake-free sailing important to stay in touch. Dimension Polyant pulled 2 bullets in the trying conditions, followed by Gardein the first and Brendan Matthews in Allwood sails in the second. New queenslander, Michael Spies in Andrew Short Marine took a 3rd and Vantage real estate in their new boat a well earned 4th. Gemmell Sails, having a very consistent regatta with the recent teaming of Murray Press and Damian Vlotman took a 4th. Ghetto sled came into form posting a 5th.

It took until race 6 for the bay to finally prove its world class skiff venue credentials by putting on solid 20kts South East breeze. The seas were whipped up and the racing hit another level of excitement. 3rd rigs were donned and there were battles throughout the fleet. Wave ramps were set as the 12s took to the sky! Starting very sharply were the queensland boats with a 1st, 4th and 5th around the first mark. PB Towage led the charge to the wing mark, then dived underneath it after a bit of a right of way disagreement. Dimension and Garde surged on with Allwood Sails and Ghetto Sled and in pursuit. These 4 would hold their positions to the end, but further back in the fleet, battles raged. The Squid, sailed by Ben Guymer and Craig Dancer showed good pace to lead the chase pack for a while. Lincoln Crowne found a watery place to rest during a kite hoist and Cunning Stunts, Vantage Real Estate, Gemmell Sails and Foxy Lady 3 all fought for supremacy. Meanwhile, PB Towage, having swum around at the first wing mark for a long while, got back on their feet and were blasting around the course. Meanwhile, Geotherm and G Unit had a brief touch resulting in G Unit’s rudder pod being ripped in half and ending their day. Lincoln Crowne overcame their swim to fly back into 5th, with Gemmell, Squid and PB Towage following close behind.
Consistency from the top 2 boats gave them a healthy points gap to 3rd. Garde didn’t finish worse than 3rd all weekend and Dimension Polyant dropped a 5th.
After a poor start to the regatta, Allwood Sails took the most handicapped award and Gemmell Sails and Cunning Stunts took the Veterans and Juniors respectively.

A great finish to a fun regatta on the bay. Thanks to all the organisers and supporters.
Richard Billet (Ghetto Sled)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

76th Australian Championships

Photo by Suellen Hurling

1st: Dimension Polyant
2nd: Garde
3rd: Gemmell Sails
4th: Lincoln Crowne
5th: Andrew Short Marine
6th: Allwood Sails
7th: PB Towage
8th: Ghetto Sled
9th: Vantage Real Estate
10th: Geotherm
11th: Cunning Stunts
12th: Squid
13th: Foxy Lady III
14th: D Unit
15th: CST Composites
16th: Maersk
17th: Hey Charger
18th: Gizmo
19th: Camel Toe
20th: Snot Bloo

1st: Allwood Sails
2nd: Ghetto Sled
3rd: Vantage Real Estate

1st: Gemmell Sails

1st: Cunning Stunts

Report to follow soon

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Read all about it!!

Moreton Bay will be cranking over Easter as the 12 ft skiffs line up to contest for the Norman Booth Trophy at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron. It is a tightly contested National Championship that has been running since 1925. The skiffs are sailed in Brisbane and Sydney and about 25 skiffs are expected to be vying for the championship. A predicted southerly change arriving on Saturday will guarantee spectacular spinnaker rides and spills for the contestants & spectators alike on the choppy ramps of Waterloo Bay.

The twelves are a development class with a bare minimum of rules and the most advanced technologically of the skiff classes. No restrictions on rig number, size or sail area make the skiffs fast across a wide variety of conditions and ensure they are one of the most challenging classes to sail as the skiffs regularly become airborne sailing under their huge spinnakers.

Recently crowned Queensland Champions PB Towage (James Fleming, Tristan Hamilton) will lead a local Queensland charge against a strong fleet from NSW including current and three times Interdominion Champions Dimension Polyant (Nick Press, Brad Yabsley) and current National Champions Garde (Brett Hobson, Alex Johnson).

The six race series will take place from Friday 22 April to Monday 25 April commencing with a race around Green Island. The best place to see the racing is on the water. A spectator boat with limited capacity will leave from RQYS on Saturday. If you aren’t able to be on the water feel free to come along and check out the action from RQYS viewing platform or Darling Point.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

SkiffCamp B - State titles

Race Report - QLD State Titles Heat 3 & 4

The rigging lawn was like a garage sale.. 18's sprawled everywhere...
PB was the first to arrive and got the best parking spot under the tree and next to the picnic table.. Mmm picnic.. The rest of the 12's arrived and the general comments were "where the f@ck is the wind..??" The forecast was for 15-20kts but there was nothing out there but a light westerly... Damn..!!
The 18's threw in their usual little rigs and three of the five 12's put in 2nd rig.. PB and ASM grew some balls and took a chance putting in big rig... PB forgot their kite (we brought down two 2nd rig kites) but were able to use the big black Grove kite.. Ooooo

It was a slow mission out to the startline... The race was postponed and well.. There was no fricken wind... Big rig was looking like a good call..!!

The start was slow.. Squid tried a port hand bandit on us.. Rookies.. Ghetto went right with Allwood Sails.. ASM and PB trucked left... Squid were somewhere in between... I believe ASM were actually going for the wrong mark.. Because there was a lot of screaming around a random red mark... I never heard the story there..
With all boats struggling for pressure, combined with the marathon course set for the 18's, it seemed to take an eternity to get to the top mark... ASM got there first I think.. Followed by Ghetto and Allwood.. PB were next with Squid bringing it up the rear... Good effort for those with 2nd rig in..!! Tristan and I couldn't even pull two strings with big..!!
The race to the bottom was on... The boats with big rig were feeling pretty confident we could take these 2nd rig hacks.. Alas poor Yorrick Ghetto still showed superb speed with that new kite and held in.. The bottom mark rounding was ASM,Ghetto, then PB, Allwood and Squid.. The wind started to fill in a bit at the bottom mark.. Woohoo..!! 2 strings..!!! It kept filling... It was probably a comfy 2nd rig now.. We knew this because our big rig main was flagging quite a lot.. We went right trying to chase down the Ghetto Shed.. (They went left) Game on..!! Then I heard Tristan yell "Away Skinny..!!" I had no idea what he was on but then I heard a Dugong take a breath and then hit our c'board... Oops..!! We sailed on.. Thinking that was close.. The breeze had set in and it was top end big rig... We decided to pull up some board in the next tack.. We threw in the tack and Tristan couldn't budge it.. The Dugong impact had put the board through the back of the case.. Bugger..!! We stuffed around with it for a bit before giving in and going back to racing.. We lost places to Allwood and Squid so were back in 5th.. Ghetto had stretched their legs a bit and were looking solid. The top mark was Ghetto, ASM, Allwood, PB and then Squid.. Not much in it really.. We stayed in that order to the bottom mark.. Squid had a nice little swim at the bottom mark I believe.. The next windward saw Allwood Sails have a crew malfunction.. Joel blew up..!! So they had to retire.. It was a marathon course... The top mark rounding was Ghetto, ASM, PB and Squid...
We had plenty on with big rig now and the gate course was proving to be interesting.. It was tight getting from the gate to the bottom..... We had to drop a bit early.. Ghetto was around the bottom first, ASM had kite issues after their gybe drop.. Uh oh.. PB caught them and almost slipped past.. ASM just managed to squeeze up and kept their nose in front... It was a quick up and back from there so much fighting to be had... Ghetto had a handy lead now and just had to sail safe and loosely cover the fleet for victory.. The battle for second and third however was epic..!! It all came down to the last tack going in to the top mark.. ASM got there first but had a sloppy tack.. PB slid in and got around in front... We could sniff a state title victory..!! Soo close..!!! The halyard went up.. Well sort of... It was tied to my trap line..!!! I struggled with it for a while with Tristan steering.. I finally got it undone but ASM were again right on our heels... It would be a fight to the finish.. PB had enough boat speed to hang on.. Final standings were Ghetto Sled, PB, ASM, Squid and Allwood DNF...

The race took 1hr 35mins and all crew were pretty exhausted..

The second race was a sprint race with only 3 skiffs taking to the line..
Ghetto got off well as did Squid.. PB were way off.. Fools..!! We did manage to roll 2x 18's though :o)
The two boats with second rig flew to the top mark with Squidgee just edging out Ghetto for top mark honours.. They held on and just managed to get to the bottom mark in first... Ghetto tacked off early and Squid didn't cover... Ghetto got a nice little puff and took the gun.. Squid got second and PB 3rd..
A second and 3rd were enough to take the Championship.. Woohoo..!!

All in all it was a fantastic series with fantastic QLD Easter breeze.. All of the QLD boats are showing nice pace and we should all feel pretty confident going in to the Nationals..
Bring on Friday I say..!!!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

SkiffCamp - State titles

Well well well..
What a weekend of racing..!!!

The much anticipated QLD Championships saw 5 boats hit the water (even though the 5th only found their c'board halfway through the second race....) and the skiffing atmosphere was electric..!!
We all rigged at DPSS with the 18 footers.. Boy they take up some room don't they..!! There was a sensational 15kts from the SE blowing and all the 12's went 2nd rig... Well that was until Spiesoid did a quick change to 3rd... MEOW..
It was interesting to see that the 18's little masts were not much if any bigger than ours... Yet they have 3 blokes and enormous wings holding them down.. Boy they made our little 12's look small :o) UNTIL WE HIT THE WATER..!!!!

PB were first to launch..
We trucked out to the start.. It was a fantastic mid range 2nd rig out there and the water was quite flat.. You couldn't have picked a better day for it..!!! With the clouds came a bit more puff for some exhilarating kite rides.. It was going to be a great day..!! We sailed up to where the race committee were laying the top mark and threw up the kite to give an indication what our angles are... It was a cracker of a ride and after the gybe we got towed well below the bottom mark.. It was a cracker.

So the other 12's came out to join the party.. All but Brendan who had to drive out to his work to collect his c'board.. Rookie error..
The start was ok.. Ghetto and Squid all hit the line with pace.. PB was a little slower but not much.. We hit the boat end 2 seconds late.. ASM I think tried a cheeky port end bandit, but ducked the fleet.. PB had height and pushed Ghetto and Squid left.. Spiesoid went right.. The top make rounding was a classic.. ASM came in on Starboard.. Ghetto did a sneaky tack inside them on the mark.. It looked marginal from behind, but I've been assured it was well legal.. ASM were able to climb over and past them anyway... Then Squid come in barging on Grove..!! Tristan and I watched but rolled both of them whilst setting kites.. ASM did a gybe at the wing mark but were way too high to make the bottom mark... PB went a little further but with the wind easing we too were high... Ghetto saw all of this and went further still and nailed it.. Straight to the bottom mark and rounded in 1st place.. PB were second and ASM 3rd.. Squid were not far behind either.. The next windward beat was a good one too... Ghetto went right and PB tacked off and hit left chasing pressure... It came and so did a lovely lift... We tacked and rounded the top in 1st.. Grove were not far behind nor ASM and Squid... The breeze had kicked in and we all set out kites before realising we weren't going to make the wing mark.. We sent it for a while before ditching the kite and then putting it up again for the gybe.. Ghetto put it in during the drop and that was the last we saw of them.. The third and final lap was just a matter of covering the fleet and getting around clean for PB.. The real battle was ASM and Squid.. I believe there was even some bumping of boats at some stage.. Coming in to the line was so close nobody knew who had it until the starters came in at the end of the day.. Turns out it was ASM by 2 seconds.. Good close racing that's for sure..!!!

The second race was a bit of a mix up... Some people didn't hear the starters siren.. Even though it's straight off a police car.. The wind had shifted and there was a massive port end favour.. Ghetto nailed it with pace, but PB were still first across the line.. It was a drag race to the top mark with Ghetto getting there first with PB close on their heels.. ASM and Squidgee were floundering around, as fat boats do, somewhere out the back..
Ghetto shot off towards a wingmark... They saw the old course board up before the start and assumed it was the same course.. Alas poor Yorrick it was the gate course (Hence the wingmark being moved to leeward of the start boat creating a gate..) So now PB had the box seat and it was again a matter of covering the fleet.. ASM had a crack and showed good speed with their little rig.. If PB had made a mistake I'm sure ASM would have taken no prisoners.. Ghetto Shed continued around the course by rounding a random 29er training buoy as the wing mark.. I guess it was good training for you lads anyway.. I probably should have given you guys a better brief as you missed the briefing..

All in all a fantastic day to be a 12 sailor.. Boy did we show those 18's a thing or two about sailing skiffs... I'm not sure if any of them got around the course without a swim or 3... It was an 18ft skiff minefield out there..!! During the second race ASM were well and truly mixing it up with the 18's... They had one gybe right in front of them... A massive dump everything and hope of the best was in order... How they missed them I have no idea... Well done guys..!! The course was quite technical with the requirement of 3 gybes every leg... Great practice and all crew came in quite exhausted... The races were a little short, but not ridiculous.. About 35mins..
Personally I enjoyed the different courses... Certainly added another dimension.. Shame about the mix up because Ghetto were looking quick out there.. It's great to have so many evenly paced boats.. It's anyone's race out there and whoever brings their "A" game on the day brings home the bacon..!!

Well done to all and I hope next week is as much fun..!!

Race 1: 1st PB Towage, 2nd Andrew Short Marine, 3rd Squid, 4th Ghetto Sled
Race 2: 1st PB Towage, 2nd Andrew Short Marine, 3rd Squid, DNF Ghetto Sled

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Driftin - Race Report 2/4/2011

1st race..
Light to ridiculously light..

PB was the only 12 on the startline..
Tristan didn't get on wire once for the whole race.. ASM caught up to us on the first windward but we were still first around the top mark... They passed us downhill.. The Squid were out the back somewhere inking themselves for being late to the start.. The second lap was similar with ASM covering Tristan and I up the beat and smoking us downhill.. The finish was ASM, PB then Squidgee..

The second race was slightly better... The breeze kicked right in and Tristan and I swapped positions.. Tristan got to trapeze in the second race.. I did not. RUBBISH..!!!
The racing was a bit closer with PB around the top first followed by ASM and Squiddy.. Squiddy gybed off quite early.. PB gybed shortly after to cover.. ASM went to the lay and came out in front... Up the next windward we all sort of covered each other... PB on Squiddy.. ASM on PB... The final downwind was where it was going to happen... Squidgee gybed early again... Trisso and I backed ourselves and stayed right.. We gybed after ASM and come in to the finish hot..!! (not quite hot enough for two strings though..) We finished in that same order ASM, PB then Squiddy..

Everyone was waiting for the 20kts to come in.. Alas poor Yorrick it didn't.

Well done to Squiddy for the Summer Series win..!! WooWoo..!!