Report from the Start Boat at the Nationals 2014
by Bill Tyler
"Over the past 40 years or so I have competed in 30+ Australian Nationals and many Interdominions with my first and most memorable at New Plymouth in New Zealand in 1972. If my memory is correct "Super" Bruce Ashton and I sailed in our first Nationals together at Adelaide in 1973. As I now find it difficult getting back in the boat if I capsize, for safety reasons I've decided not to compete in any more of our events at open water venues. For this year's Nationals/Interdominions I chose to volunteer for the race committee and was given the job of handling the flags on the start boat. This proved to be a very worthwhile exercise giving me the opportunity to experience one of our International events from an entirely different perspective.
John Williams very kindly provided the use of his cruising catamaran as our start boat for the event. Those on board had a wonderful view of the start line and leeward rounding marks for all races. PRO Mark Taylor together with the Black Rock YC race management team ran a fantastic series in the variable conditions experienced throughout the week. Races 1 to 9 were conducted as per schedule with race 10 not sailed due to the strong wind and rough sea conditions that developed early in the afternoon on the final day. Selective usage of the U flag and the black flag as the preparatory signal during starting sequences ensured that races were started as quickly as possible minimising the need for excessive general recalls. Excellent course management for wind changes in strength and direction enabled race target times to be kept and true windward works to be maintained for all races. I certainly enjoyed being part of such an excellent race management team and now have a much greater appreciation of all that is involved in running our races for us.
On shore the club Commodore. Andre Blasse and all of his support crew, bar staff and canteen volunteers all contributed greatly to the success of the event. Thanks to all who assisted in making this such an enjoyable week. Hopefully everyone involved will be available to assist again for the 2014 Worlds."
"What a great event this proved to be! Such consistency from Greg Wilcox and Mark Jackson throughout the week again demonstrating that in our boat, time on the water is everything. Boats and gear have reached a very high standard and we now have a level playing field available to all competitors. As always our Kiwi competitors provided a great contest for the Interdominion Teams event with Luke O'Connell, Ben Morrison and Matt Stechmann all joining Greg in the top six for this contest. Mike Williams found the going tough in the early light weather races but finished the week strongly for his place in the top six. It was great to see our 1999 World Champion, Peter Milne and his crew from the Flying 15, Phil Dubbin back in the OKs once again. They can still do it! We also welcomed to our fleet two very experienced Finn sailors with three times Olympian Anthony Nossiter and Rob McMillan from NB Sailsports sailing their first OK events. Anthony finished the event in fine style with wins in the last three races. His performance in the final race of the series with wind and sea conditions approaching maximum sailing conditions was very impressive. Current World Champion Roger Blasse is expected to defend his title on his home waters later this year and with a strong team from Europe joining our Australasian fleet we can look forward to a great 2014 Worlds at Black Rock YC."