F11 HEAP PRAISE ON THE AUSTRALIAN MIDWINTER YOUTH CHAMPIONSHIP
The regatta venue had to be seen to believed....
F11 REPORT AUSTRALIAN MIDWINTER YOUTH CHAMPIONSHIP
Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron July 3rd-6th
Thirteen Flying 11s registered in the Australian Midwinter Youth Championship regatta incorporated in the Queensland Youth Week activities held earlier this month at Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron, Manly, Qld. Included in the entries were two Flying 11 association boats sailed by local Queensland crews, although one entry returned to the Sabot class when the first day of winds reached around the 25kts+ level, making it a big start day for all crews from all classes.
The Australian F11 Association recently began to reintroduce the class to Queensland after few ex-Flying 11 sailors and stalwart parents expressed a renewed interest to the association resulting in the placing of two of their boats at Southport YC for the last three months to enable young sailors the opportunity to try the dynamic F11 dinghy. Most of these young Queensland sailors emanated from the local Sabot fleets.
The regatta venue had to be seen to believed, with a football field area of grass to rig on and adjacent to the largest launching ramp seen just about anywhere. The club facilities were second to none with family friendly wet-bar area & bar-b-qs next to the rigging area. Each day could start with espresso cafe from 7:30am, on to breakfast, an a-la-cart lunch and finally an outdoor dinner from the restaurant until 7:30pm, making it an extremely pleasant way to do a regatta for all concerned.
Suellen Hurling was the RQYS Marinesports Co-ordinator & Regatta Director; how lucky we were to have a past F11 sailor (now grown up) in Suellen. Suellen provided endless encouragement to the F11 Assoc to foster our participation in this event. Courses were a little different to what our crews were used to, being windward – leeward “ hotdogs” but with a separation mark at the windward end, and a pair of leeward ‘gate’ marks. All races finished on the wind, and length varied from 1 – 2 laps. We shared our course with the 29ers, 420s, and Bic Techno sailboards, approximately 1.5 nm from the marina.
DAY #1 – Saturday 3rd: At midday as we left the harbour the wind was building 15 knots from the west (straight offshore), with expectations of increasing strength. WELL, by start-time sailors were faced with 20 – 25 knots and 6+ft of wind wave, more challenging than any of them has faced on a F11 race course to date. Carly Turner (Belmont 16s) 1229 “Not Quite Angels” was the first casualty with a dislocated shoulder, and an unexpected end to her regatta. There were 2 retirements with gear failure, but the other 9 boats certainly put on a fabulous spectacle, being the most complete racing fleet of the day. 1386 “Wet Willy” (Avalon) Will Dargaville & Sean Watt had their first regatta victory with an all-the-way win from the new owners of 1337 “Shake Your Booties” Caitlyn & Sophie McIntosh (now Belmont 16s). Followed by 1373 “Hammertime” Jack Buchan & Jarrod Turner (Belmont 16s).
The second race of the day started in 20 knots and slowly eased to 12 knots by the finish. Nina Long in 1355 “Ninja” had ‘broken-in’ her new forward hand Caleb Agostino in the first race, and then sent the 1355 ‘all-the-way’ to victory in race 2, followed by “Hammertime”, then “Wet Willy”. This gave Will & Sean the Orange Leaders vests for racing on Day 2.
DAY #2 – Sunday 4th: Three races planned for the day, starting at 11:00am. Wind was from the South at 8 knots in race #3, which faded to almost nothing by the time the race was shortened after 2 beats & 2 runs. 1352 “Boris” (Hunters Hill) sailed by Felix Grech & Adam Bloomfield scored their only win of the regatta. Drifting in second was “Wet Willy”, followed by 1375 “Outlaw” (Middle Harbour 16s). Harrison West chose a mighty little QLD crew in Ezy Pritchard. Ezy had done some sailing on an Assoc F11 boat at Southport, and served Harry brilliantly over the regatta.
Race #4 & Race #5 were sailed in 8-10 knots of SE seabreeze, which remained consistent throughout. Race 4 showed us our fourth winner in 1379 “Firefly” (Hunters Hill) sailed by Ravi Raj & Emma Jones, clearly ahead of 1375 “Outlaw”, who tussled with 1352 “Boris” all the way.
Race #5 saw 1379 on fire yet again, to hold out 1352, then 1375. This meant “Boris” would wear the orange leader’s vests on day 3.
DAY #3 – Monday 5th: Again the plan was for three races with a start time of 11:00am. The breeze had shifted to the ESE, and a little lighter at 6-8 knots, throughout the three races. The crew of “Firefly” 1379 were not just satisfied with their first ever regatta wins on the previous day, and so proceeded to score a beautiful ‘hat-trick’ of victories in all three races of the day.
Race #6 had 1379 first, followed by 1375 “Outlaw” then 1352 “Boris”.
Race #7 winner being 1379, followed by 1352 “Boris” then 1337 “Shake Your Booties”.
Race #8 winner again 1379, followed by newcomer 1263 “Kiss My Stern” (Gosford) sailed by the lightest (75kg) crew in the regatta Kurt Hansen & Lindsay Pike. You will remember Kurt as the forward-hand for Sam Ellis 1373 – Hammertime who came 3rd in the last Nationals in Tasmania. This boat was purchased just prior to the regatta from a QLD family who had it stored in their garage for the last 6 years, and Kurt had set his eyes on it only on the Friday before the racing started. Yet another 3rd place for 1375 “Outlaw” kept Harry in the title race.
With their very impressive scorecard building, Ravi Raj & Emma Jones, deservedly would wear the orange leader’s vest into the last day of racing.
DAY #4 – Tuesday 6th: Forecasts said that we would be lucky to get any racing done on this day, but after only a small postponement, the fleet was set for a 12 noon start. Racing was held in 5 knots of NNE breeze, which made crews have to deal with some tidal flow effects flooding from the right of course.
Race #9 saw 1380 “Missleading” (Hunters Hill) Kanya Raj & Sarah Jones start cleanly off the pin end and hold the lead until the flying-midgets of 1263 did a straight-line speed act on the whole fleet. 1263 “Kiss My Stern” sailed away to a 3 minute victory, from 1380, then 1391 “Bolt” (Avalon) now sailed by Nicola Forbes-Smith & Alicia Watt. It was pleasing to see the older girls in their third season as skipper, getting a taste of front end of the fleet.
Race #10 had 1263 “Kiss My Stern” sailing free & fast to do another ‘horizon job’ on the fleet. 1352 “Boris” and 1379 “Firefly” both had to work hard through the fleet to score their second and third placing’s respectively. The last three hot races by 1263 zoomed them into 4th place overall, just behind the three consistent top placegetters. It was a maiden regatta title for Ravi Raj & Emma Jones, and the smile he was wearing at presentation, told everyone that he would return next year to defend the crown.
The Flying Eleven Class has been officially invited to attend next year’s Australian Midwinter Youth Championships, and it has taken no time for the Association to respond in its acceptance. The concept of sailing more races in less days is one area to be discussed during the planning of the next National Titles at Belmont 16s on 16th-22nd Jan 2011. With Belmont’s proximity to the race course, coupled with its abundant rigging and launching areas, we may find that it is entirely possible to cater for the modern format of more starts. There was almost unanimous preference for maintaining our traditional F11 courses where the Flyers get to enjoy some screaming reaches. With our symmetrical spinnakers on skiff-style boats/rigs, the F11 seems to be well suited to the current triangular course configuration. The leeward ‘gate’ pair of rounding marks added another dimension to the course, and also will be a point of discussion for use in future F11 events.
Ask anyone who competed at this regatta for a recommendation to take part in the event next year. The weather is definitely warmer, and it will always coincide with the midyear school holidays. The village of Manly is close by, with pubs (1 x Irish), IGA supermarket, numerous restaurants and cafe’s along the water’s edge. The RQYS has a purpose built motel adjacent to the club carpark & rigging area, so you don’t have to use a car if you choose. Others camped in the club grounds, while another option was to have a caravan delivered onto site at the club. All-in-all there is every reason to think about planning to compete at this regatta in 2011.
Flying 11 Top 3Results:
1 NSW 1379 Firefly Ravi Raj Emma Jones 18.00
2 NSW 1352 Boris Felix Grech Adam Bloomfield 22.50
3 NSW 1375 Out Law Harison West Ezra Pritchard 29.00
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