2018 Gill Flying 11 National Championships
Manly 16' Skiff Club
Dates: 13th - 19th January 2018
The newly formed Rescue9A?aEURsA,A?team was now quite happily located on the balcony of the local hotel, and it sounded more like a duck shoot than a sailing race......
Wednesday 13th January 2010, Tamar Yacht Club, Beauty Pt, Tasmania
Stories, stories, stories – step right up……………….
With the first two days of the series only being able to reward us with one race each instead of the two scheduled, and the fact the RO Hugh Leicester also had had not luck with his early morning fly fishing expeditions to date, it was obvious we were in for some serious business on the water this afternoon on “When Will It End” Wednesday.
We needed four races in order to have a national’s series and the wind forecast for later on in the week was threatening to drop out all together. Two races today was a must have to lock it all in.
Never a dull moment in this regatta; the forecast was for light westerlies and this was going to create real problems if we were to achieve a fair course laid across the Tamar River. The on and off pressure was hop-scotching across the course area from 210deg and 270deg every five minutes, from 2kts to 14kts. The more dominant pattern on the right had its issues near the top mark being flippant and fluky due to the influence of Seahorse and Platypus Worlds big industrial sized sheds coupled with the hills in the background, and the left hand pattern putting the port course’s wing mark on the soon to be very shallow muddy banks where the present breeze looked very sad. We could also consider falling back across and up river to where there was no breeze to speak of and run a starboard course making it a top mark spectacle of fibreglass shards and grief for the fleet approaching it on port tack; what joy!
Meanwhile, work was being done on the committee start boat’s flag staff relocating same from port to starboard as the tide had turned the boat to now be facing downwind, it’s stern pointing back up the course and the anchor line off the bow extending out to make it a sort of obstacle course for the fleet starting at the boat end with tide pushing boats uphill. Are we having fun yet?
It was then that our RO issued a statement that there was a job vacancy on board – all welcome to apply. The RC Chairman Iain Murray and National President (moi) aka the Comedy Team were summonsed to the committee boat to share the love.
A debate ensued on the idea of sending the fleet ashore for an hour until a settlement of the breeze might occur. Translated, this meant at least two hours before a start could be achieved which made the idea of two races today somewhat cramped. Next idea was to just time the bib-and-bub behaviour of the wind direction and pressure, and run with a start when things looked doable knowing it would switch back or out or both in the not too distant future.
We eventually chose the latter.
Well, attempt No.1 went as expected with nearly every boat ocs, the current pushing heavily to windward across the start line. No.2 the same. No.3 – you guessed it! Ok, out with the big stick once again; after all, they had had a bit of practice by now.
Comedy is all about timing they say and we got this one off just before 1500 hours in one of the right handers which gave boats even on 5th and 6th row at the boat end a real chance at stardom by the first crossing of the fleet.
By the top mark, 1340 Xlr8 Murray Jones and Harry Morton B16’SC had grabbed the cheese from team mates 1305 Lethal Blonde Chris Faye and Emma Knighton B16’SC, ahead of 1386 Wet Willy Will Dargaville and Sean Watt ASC, 1349 Outrageous Gemma Rasdall and Jessica Angus ASC, 1357 Smoke and Mirrors Jessica Isles and Chris Stenta M16’SSC and 1365 Whatever Gus Williams and Lachlan Murnaghan M16’SSC.
Off to the wing mark which looked ever increasingly docile. By the time the leaders had turned for the second reach, the committee boat was unfurling the good ol’ N Flag to the sound of Mr Shotgun to put the sad old beast down and out of its misery.
Jump forward a little to 1619hours and we pick things up again with start No.5 for race 3. From the river banks way across at the clubhouse and from where the newly formed “Rescue 9” team was now quite happily located on the balcony of the local hotel, it sounded more like a duck shoot than a sailing race. Thank G we had a smart shotgun operator who had been to Woollies on the way to the club earlier in the morning and had stocked up on a trolley full of cartridges in anticipation of another fun day out. The deck of the committee boat looked more like a navy patrol boat with spent shotgun cartridges a plenty and the single and double barrel shotguns a ready.
The breeze had swung all around to the north by now and was steadily building to a good 18kts. Those on the right hand side did well jumping on the bus (current) flowing out fast towards the top mark, with 1305 Lethal Blond and 1374 Fired Up Nat Greentree and Harry Price M16’SSC three boat lengths ahead of 1348 SS Squill Wil Coxon and Oliver Bell ASC, 1362 Guccii Billy Ditmarsch and Sam Holmes M16’SSC, 1366 Protagonist Declan Reilly and Ira Dubery M16’SSC and 1373 Hammertime Sam Ellis and Kurt Hansen B16’SC.
The fleet enjoyed the two very fast reaches and settled back into the second beat uphill, 1366 Protagonist now leading 1374 Fired Up and 1305 Lethal Blonde back down the leeward leg to the bottom mark.
The position of the leaders remained the same by the turn up to the top mark for the last time in race 3. 1366 Protagonist started the reach to the wing mark with 1305 Lethal Blonde, 1348 SS Squill, 1373 Hammertime and 1374 Fired up in hot pursuit.
With the time now almost 1700 hours, the RO had shortened the course to finish at the leeward mark with the intention of jamming in another race before nightfall.
The wing mark arrived with 1305 Lethal Blonde inside 1366 Protagonist and a big gust hitting them just as they gybed throwing spanners in the work for both crews,
Lethal Blonde’s crew dropping everything to hang face-down over the windward gunnel to remain upright, 1366 Protagonist also experiencing difficulty and unable to bank the advantage offered to windward.
It was now a drag race to the downwind finish at the bottom mark with 1305 Lethal Blonde climbing over 1366 Protagonist to win race 3, 1373 Hammertime also snapping third place from 1374 Fired Up.
The crews had now been out there for the past four hours.
Our RO gathered the fleet together one last time for the day and got race 4 underway by 1740 hours, the breeze still a moderate 14kts from the north. What had changed though was the tide, which was now heading back up the river.
This produced a big variance between the previously favoured right hand side and the “out of tide” left, which caught most of the main players off guard. By the time the pennies had dropped the leaders were mostly fresh new faces with 1327 Cheeky Sam Nugent and Maddie Clancy M16’SSC heading down the reaches ahead of the pack. (At this time, a certain support boat ran out of petrol and had to be rescued, so details now jump ahead a little to when we catch up again with the fleet – sorry).
1391 Bolt Tim Forbes-Smith and Jim Colley ASC had benefited from heading off to the left all race and again took this route the third time to land at the top mark well ahead of the fleet on the final triangle, despite crossing continually through the downwind spinnakered fleet’s disturbed air. With such a healthy lead, they were never headed and crossed the line a minute and a half ahead of 1373 Hammertime in second place, 1334 Ace Matthew Mayall and Lucy Murray ASC sailing a great race to finish in third place.
The fleet retired to the shore at 1900 hours very tired and weary, but they had secured their nationals series. After such a marathon effort, the RC called a Lay Day for Thursday, much to the delight of many parents and some crews who were eager to have some time off and enjoy their visit to Tasmania.
1305 Lethal Blonde’s Chris Fay and Emma Knighton B16’SC currently lead the series after 4 races, with many of the top guns having to carry their black flagged race 1 result of 72 points well back in the field without the ability to drop until they get another race in. There is still plenty of regatta to go over the next two days and as we have seen, anything can happen and probably will.
|Photos Race 3|
|Photos Race 4|
|Overall Series Results|