NSW State Championships 2014 - Results
by Peter Robinson
With a full sailing calendar of events in the early season we decided to hold the NSW Championships in the latter part of the season. We liked the look of the Batemans Bay Sailing Club's annual ANZAC Regatta and through some emails received their commitment to hold our championships within their regatta and also to extend to a third day scheduled on the ANZAC day holiday. This also marked the return to Batemans Bay with championships run there in 1981 and 1999. At both the first and this regatta were Bill Tyler and Max Fry.
We had sixteen entries with OKs from Victoria and South Australia joining the NSW OKs. Thanks to Rik Thompson, Max Fry and David Ketteridge for making the trip to come sail with us! Most were in Batemans Bay by Thursday or earlier and the accomodation of choice - the Big 4 Batemans Bay - was comfortable and offered on-the-beach rigging for most of the fleet.
We had the course to ourselves on Friday being the only class to have the extra day - thanks go to the many BBSC volunteers who gave up their one day of holidays to run our races for us! Weather is the one significant variable at this time of year and Huey played games with us - the wind looking enticing but only in patches across the bay at any one time.
The race committee first set a 2:00pm cutoff for launch, then 2:30 and finally 3:00pm. Some had abandoned hope of racing for the day when at a quarter to three, the AP came down and we sailed to the start boat in 5-6kn of breeze.
Once again the OKs felt the need to show just how keen we were to race and this (surprisingly) resulted in a General Recall. The second start got away cleanly under Black Flag, although there was a cry of anguish about a minute after the start from someone "observing" that they hadn't yet cross the line.
With the wind varying in both force and direction, there were gains and losses to be made in the most unsurprising places. First off the line and picking the best wind up the first beat were Peter Horne and Peter Robinson, rounding the triangle in that order. The second beat saw the lead change and the run saw the fleet compress as some did, and some didn't, sail through the finish line.
David Ketteridge and Peter Lynch must have found a Genie on the right up the final, short beat to the finish and sailed past most of the pack. David in his best and fastest light-weather-form streaked up the leg to take third place from a bunch - seven boats finishing in a minute.
Dinner was the local Country Club with almost all of the entries and families availing themselves of the courtesy bus to avoid the booze bus encountered the previous evening. Inevitably the Rum Bucket (new - courtesy of Mark Skelton's big boat win) was tested and proved up to the task.
Day 2, Saturday, saw a more optimistic weather forecast and the addition of around 90 more boats across six other divisions. Before the start several boats did the usual test-beat and tuned for the delightful 8-10 knots north-westerly. By the time we got away for our race, the first couple of fleets were littered across the race course after the first squally westerly gusts had capsized many and had already dismasted a few.
The first beat had turned into a work and Brent Williams had picked the lay line from the start, leading Peter Horne and Tim Davies. On the next leg, now a tight reach, Eddie powered through several boats to be second, just behind Brent going into the next reach, now a run. Winds were gusting 30 knots but with a few bizzare calm spots around.
As we hiked up the next work we passed the committee boat now showing the "A" flag and upping anchor to go rescue the pin bouy as it blew away and then to joining the other rescue boats and three Maritime boats picking up the pieces of a good cross section of dinghy and trailer yachts. Soon, with A-over-H we beat back to the beach. With it now apparent that the race organisers would be busy until past the viable time for a restart we retired to the lawn and a couple of restorative Green Ginger Wines from Natalie and Leslie, and beers from Cracker and Katitia.
Everyone congregated at one cabin and pooled resources for a pleasant Autumn evening BBQ and a few friendly drinks.
So, after two days only 1 race completed out of four. With three races required to make the championship, Sunday's two races had to happen. A weak front had passed over leaving a light, cool southerly and residual swell. Racing got underway on time at 11:00am with a General Recall for the 1st division and therefore relegated to the back of the queue.
Mark Skelton leaped to the front and lead for all of the third race but nearly came undone with lulls in the last beat allowing several to catch and nearly pass. Tim and Cracker followed over the line and a fast-finishing Luke Ferguson rocketed to sixth.
We then had to wait around for nearly a couple of hours for all divisions to finish before the final race of the series could get underway. Brent had to bug out to catch a plane leaving the rest of us bobbing around on the swell and watching the wind come and go.
The last race was almost a replay of the first race of the day and those getting a jump at the start lead for the remainder of the race. Some fast finishers challenged the leaders but couldn't head off Peter Horne for first, Peter Robinson second and Eddie O'Donnell third.
Final results were calculated and shouted amongst the fleet returning to the shore and congratulations to this season's NSW State Champion - Peter Horne.
We greatly enjoyed the regatta and sailing on the waters of Batemans Bay. The BBSC ran a very good regatta but the challenges of running a championship regatta within a larger regatta became apparent during the weekend.
It is really good to have the local fleet incremented with interstate entries and we'd hope that more inclusive events may be run every season.
1st Peter Horne
2nd Peter Robinson
3rd Tim Davies