VIC State Championship

When Buster arrives...

10 March 2019 Author: John Curnow
Should'a Gone Left skippered by Peter Coleman and his crew Ben Lamb and Ben Morrison-Jack making their way to the weather mark for the first time

 Should'a Gone Left skippered by Peter Coleman and his crew Ben Lamb and Ben Morrison-Jack making their way to the weather mark for the first time
© Alex McKinnon

The second day of racing at the Etchells 2019 Victorian Championship, and the 2019 Victorian ‘9er Championship (comprising the 29er, 49erFX and 49ers), turned out to be much more than was expected. Kevin Wilson, the Principal Race Officer for the Etchells Fleet summed it up best by saying, “Well, we had a bit on today. None of the weather models gave any indication of the impending wind strength that arrived this afternoon. Pre-start, the wind started building up to 12-16 knots, and by the time we were ready for our first start of the day, the wind was ranging from 18 to 26 knots, from an average of 250 degrees.”

The first race got away at 1300hrs, and the Etchells fleet headed towards the weather mark, which was 1.5nm further up the track. Half way up the work, a dust cloud could be seen on the hill. The anemometer on the start boat still had the wind sitting around 19-24 knots, which is still under the cut off limit for racing. Then there were then a few gusts of 26-27knots, but the Sou’wester buster that came through a little later was of up to 35 knots in its gusts.

Most of the fleet had rounded the weather mark when the change reached them, and this caused a number of boats to breach under spinnaker. One boat temporarily had a crewmember in the water. He returned to the boat, and immediately joined his crew in bailing out their boat. Another boat had a crewmember injured. He was taken to hospital, and is now receiving the best of medical care. All our thoughts are with him and his crew.

Kevin Wilson decided to shorten the race as the fleet approached the leeward mark for the first time. AP over H was hoisted, thereby telling all boats to go home after the finish. Racing was then subsequently cancelled for remainder of the day.

There were only 13 out of the 26 boats that started finished the race. Magpie, skippered by Graeme Taylor, with his crew of Richie Allanson and James Mayo, took first place by just one second. Taylor said later, “Beautiful conditions for us today out there, and yes, a bit windy. Everyone will have some amazing stories. Calling off the race at the leeward mark was a good thing. Glad I am not the Race Committee, as it’s hard to keep everyone happy.”

Second today was Tango, which is skippered by Chris Hampton with his crew of Charlie Cumbley, and Sam Haines. In third place was Triad 2, which is skippered by John Bertrand with crew Billy Browne, and Glenn Ashby. At this stage, Magpie is leading the series by just the one point over Tango. A further eight points astern in third place overall is Jean-Claude Strong’s 1435, which has Tom Slingsby, Marcus Burke and Kate Devereux crewing on board. So yes, as always, there is no shortage of names out amongst the Etchells fleet.

After three races the Etchells have a series, but with one more race tomorrow everyone will have a drop, and so the leader board could well see some changes. Three races are scheduled for the Etchells tomorrow (one more than in the Sailing Instructions), which will make a full series, and the start has been moved forward to 1000hrs.

The 9er fleet had slightly different start to their day. Their racing was scheduled to get underway at 1000hrs, but instead they were held back ashore under the Answering Pennant, as everyone waited for the breeze to come in. The 49ers first race got underway at 1200hrs in about 13-15 knots, and this continued to build throughout the first race, reaching 16-20 knots by the end. They ran on an axis of 250 degrees.

The 49ers managed to get two races in today. The length of the second race was extended from 1 NM to 1.1NM as they finished the first race in only 24 to 25 minutes. When they started the second race the wind was about 18 knots. It kept on building and was in the 20’s by the time they reached the top mark for the first time. On the second beat the wind started to reach the mid 20’s with a top gust reading of 34 knots.

Brothers Sam and Will Phillips took out both races. This gives them a three point lead over the local boat, Sic Em Rex, which is skippered by Oliver Manton and crewed by Jack Lloyd.

The top end of the 29er fleet, which started at 1205hrs, was having a ball, whilst the others were finding it more challenging. The 29ers only got the one race in today, before being sent back to shore with the increase in wind pressure. There was only a report of a broken mast. Their race was won by HH, which is skippered by Oscar O’Donoghue, and crewed by Rupert Hamilton. They have come over from Tasmania to compete this weekend. Hamilton said, “We are enjoying our racing here, and looking forward to tomorrow’s action.” Second was Foamfast from the Royal Brighton Yacht Club, and this boat is skippered by Ethan Hosking.

The 9ers have 12 races for a full series, and already have one drop included. Four more are slated for tomorrow, as per their Sailing Instructions.

Some of the fleet after rounding the top mark

 Some of the fleet after rounding the top mark
© Alex McKinnon