Race 1 'Black Monday' Report - 2010 F11 Nationals


Tas Committee Boat
Tas Committee Boat
David Price, Beauty Point, Tasmania, Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Black Monday as it seems to be now referred to looked just so promising when the expected seabreeze began to kick in early around noon......

Monday 11th January 2009 – Tamar Yacht Club, Beauty Point, Tasmania

 One can say it is never dull in the Flying Eleven class. Take Race 1 of the 2010 Flying 11 Nationals for example……..

“Black Monday” as it seems to be now referred to looked just so promising when the expected seabreeze began to kick in early around noon on a rather picturesque hot summer’s day here at Beauty Point.


All 71 boats were ready for action and lined up at the starting line for the scheduled start of the first race of the championship at 1330 hours. The breeze however decided to play games for RO Hugh Leicester and his team, with ever increasing swings to the right, the intensity now fluctuating from 5-15 knots. Add to this the very low tide (remember Christmas tides here) and it looked like part of the course would have to consist of a running race to achieve a suitable length for the first work on the Tamar River.

The committee start boat was anchored in 0.75m of water on the depth sounder…….. and it draws 1.5m – go figure!?! The locals did mention the N/NE breeze was not the most favoured on the river at Beauty Point. Options for laying a reasonable course seemed somewhat difficult every time the breeze swung around from 025deg then back to 340deg. Pressure kept coming in from the right but settled long enough for a go at the slated time of 1330 hours – more a coincidence than anything else. Mr Leicester being renowned for starting “on-time” racked them up, fingers crossed the breeze would hold and we’d get off cleanly first time around.

The fleet had other ideas and by the boom of the shotgun, only a few boats were not ocs so a general was sounded to recall all back for another go at it.

A half-hour later, after wrestling with the erratic conditions playing havoc for the committee boat, the black flag was hoisted with the expectation the fleet would realise the RO meant business in his endeavours to get the fleet off to start the business end of the 2010 National Titles.

The Black Flag (aka the Big Stick Rule 30.3!) when displayed requires that all boats/crew or equipment not enter the triangle area created by the first mark and the start boat and pin end mark during the last minute before the starting signal. Its use is synonymous with “the last straw” option to get a clean start.

Well, by go time and subsequent general recall, we had 10 boats scribed upon the infringement list now hung on the transom of the committee boat. It was clear that no favouritism was afforded to the offenders, with the majority of the Flying 11 committee and volunteer offspring appearing on the list! Happy Days !!!  


The next start almost a full hour from the first attempt and again under the “Big Stick” funnily got off very cleanly,

with virtually no-one near the line within the one minute prior to kick-off. At this time, the pressure had swung back in the north and the pin end was plastered with the hotties on their way up the first beat.

However, as you would have now expected, this did not last for long before a big right shift in pressure shot the right side to the lead on starboard, those on the left of the course now looking like poor asthmatics in a running race. This pattern dominated the rest of the afternoon and as one sailing coach succinctly stated, “it was harder to pick than a broken nose”!

By the first mark, 1301 Frozen With Fear  Harvey Bates and Ben Bannon CSC had won the lottery and had established a seven boat length lead from 1386 Wet Willy Will Dargaville and Sean Watt ASC and 1387 Tetris Paddy Bannon and Luke Brady CSC, with 1359 Frantic Keats Thompson and Tim Narborough CSC, 1288 Onya Mark Nick and Sean Connor M16’SSC and 1364 A Little Psycho Angela Bates and Simon Boardman CSC.

The 10kts of breeze was still inconsistent but held for the front runners along the first reaches to the leeward mark with 1301 Frozen With Fear fifteen seconds ahead and positions remaining the same except for 1340 Xlr8 Murray Jones and Harry Morton B16’SC assuming the sixth spot from 1364 A Little Psycho.

The second beat had the right hand side favoured with 1301 Frozen With Fear now comfortably leading from 1386 Wet Willy with 1364 A Little Psycho gaining third rank from 1387 Tetris, followed by 1288 Onya Mark and 1337 Shake Your Booties II Toby Dind and Finnian Alexander HHSC now in the play.

By the third beat to windward, the wily breeze had commenced to shutdown in a number of areas over the race course. 1301 Frozen With Fear only extended their lead from the fleet, but 1364 A Little Psycho now held second position from 1386 Wet Willy, 1340 Xlr8 now fourth, 1288 Onya Mark next and 1337 Shake Your Booties II. All except 1301 Frozen With Fear headed to the wing mark for the last time with pressure, only to come unstuck by falling into a breeze void two thirds of the way across on the starboard tack. 1301 Frozen With Fear had managed to slide past the doldrums zone and now had almost a full leg advantage of the pursuing fleet.

Harvey and Ben were never headed after the first beat to windward and crossed the line 2.5 minutes ahead of second place 1305 Lethal Blonde Chris Fay and Emma Knighton B16’SC after they skirted the many holes across the course up the last work, along with newbie Flying 11 sailors 1382 MWB Ash and Daniel Heyworth M16'SSC getting a God Card too. There was understandably plenty of new blood in the top ten. 

Well done to the crews that made the most of it and succeeded in realising their potential during race 1.




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 Photos Race 1


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