2009 Flying Eleven Australian Championships Race 7 Report


1366 Protagonist Declan Reilly and James Lawira Fernandez M16'SSC
1366 Protagonist Declan Reilly and James Lawira Fernandez M16'SSC
David Price, Twofold Bay, Eden, Saturday, 17 January 2009

Race 7 was a real problem for the PRO and the race committee....

Saturday 17th January 2009

 Race 7 was a real problem for the PRO and the race committee, trying to get a start after 6 attempts with a black flag in conditions most frustrating as the breeze oscillated wildly and the pressure ranged from 3-15kts for the final race of the 1824(TM) Flying Eleven 2009 Australian Championships at Twofold Bay, Eden.

The PRO Peter Moor had one start with the P flag then went to the I flag for the next four starts, before resorting to the really big stick - the black flag to get them away cleanly.


The breeze had played havoc all morning, clocking from 160deg right through to 240deg at one time, yet Peter was adamant that race 7 would become a reality. After all, it was a national championship and the minor places of 2nd through 4th were still to be sorted out with 3 points between them. 1353 Flying Hellfish Josh McKnight and Ira Dubery M16'SSC had cemented the 2009 nationals the day before in race 6 when 1363 Crunchie Olivia Price and Maddie Clancy M16'SSC had been bowled over by a black one whilst out in front on the last work to the finish, leaving them a somewhat relieved run to the line.


The sixth start of race 7 started 1.5 hours after the first attempt in 4-5kts of breeze, with Swiss cheese being the order of the day. It was like a Boxing Day sale with boats clawing at anything within their grasp. The roosters became the feather dusters over and over again and it really became a lucky dip with an array of new blood reaching the top mark, some only to be totally wiped out by the tide when attempting to lay the top mark, some having to circle back and re-approach it once again. Many found themselves rolling over the mark with most drifting off to do their turns, others unaware they had slept on top of the buoy during the passing, whilst the middle of the pack had their hands full with nasty bullets firing in from all directions.


First around the top mark was 1331 Bring It On Again Paddy Bannon and Josh Tasker CSC on the outside of 1370 Checkmate Anna Kendall and Monica Hyde ASC, 1305 Lethal Blonde Kris Fay and Emma Knight B16'SSC and 1348 SS Squill Wil Coxon and Oliver Bell ASC following them with 1366 Protagonist Declan Reilly and James Lawira Fernandez M16'SSC doing the cowboy 'round the outside of them.


The reach to the wing was a bit of a mess with 1331 Bring It On Again finding a chance to get ahead of 1366 Protagonist and separate from the pack. By the gybe, it was 1366 Protagonist now leading by 100m from 1331 Bring It On Again, closely followed by 1348 SS Squill, the remainder of the pack stuck in a drift.


1366 protagonist rounded the leeward mark over a minute ahead of their nearest competitor 1331 Bring It On Again and these two lead the race back up to the top of the course in the liquorice allsorts conditions. The position of any boat was cruelly shuffled from go to woo and their confidence was being thrown out the window.


By the second rounding at the top, 1366 Protagonist had a 45sec lead over 1331 Bring It On Again, with new comers to the fleet 1360 The Kracken Angus and Finn Buick M16'SSC 30 secs astern followed in by 1334 Ace Penny Kendall and Lucy Murray ASC and 1305 Lethal Blonde. The regatta leaders were buried deep within the pack still and no doubt were struggling to remain focused on the job at hand to sort out 2nd to fourth placing's by the line.


The square leg re-condensed the fleet by the bottom mark, all except the five leaders so it was back on again. Whilst working up the last triangle to windward, the idea of the race running overtime was seriously becoming a problem, but the decision to not shorten the course prevailed, giving the fleet heavies a final opportunity to catch up somehow.


Positions had shuffled again by the last rounding of the top mark, excepting the long time leader 1366 Protagonist craftily defending the front, with 1334 Ace second around ahead of 1360 The Kracken, 1305 Lethal Blonde and 1358 Decoy Declan Rohr and Alex Paton HHSC.


Plenty of bullets started to fly across the course as the expected afternoon southerly showed some signs it was looking at an arrival at some stage of the day. No consistency however and again the last work produced some gold cards for the lucky, reorganising the boats once again.


By the finish of race 7, 1366 Protagonist had managed to maintain their lead and win the race 2.5 minutes ahead of 1334 Ace in second place with 1360 The Kracken third.


There was still the battle for the runner of for the regatta between 1363 Crunchie, 1362 Guccii and 1368 Cotton On to be settled, All three were gaining on the fleet as the breeze began to show up, and the spectator chatter began to build amongst the array of craft surrounding the finish area.


As a testament to these sailors, it was still a fierce battle between the three crews with anyone's guess who could be in front 300m from the line. These seasoned competitors had been racing each other for many years now, and they tenaciously retained the focus of true champions on the final tacks of the day. The battleground was back outside the top 10 placing's by now as they approached the line.


With 3 points between them in the regatta, 1358 crossed just ahead of 1363 Crunchie and 1362 Guccii. This resulted in the all girl crew of 1363 Crunchie Olivia Price and Maddie Clancy becoming the runners up with third and fourth positions from yesterday inverting with last year's NSW state champion 1368 Cotton On a point ahead of last year's national champion Alex McFadyen in 1362 Guccii.


The regatta certainly had its moments and was very testing both physically and mentally for the fleet heavyweights. There was no clear fleet leader upon arrival, with more than a handful of crews expected to be able to take out the series.


Well done to all the crews of the 73 boats for a mighty effort, and congratulations to the newly crowned 2009 Flying Eleven National Champions Josh McKnight and Ira Dubrey from Manly 16'SSC.


Next year's nationals will be played out in Tasmania hosted by the Tamar Yacht Club.




Other Links
 Results Race 7
 Overall Results
 Handicap Results
 All Photo Links of Regatta
 Photos of Race 7
 Photos of Presentation Night


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