GILL(R) 2012 Australian Flying Eleven Championship - Day 1
The GILL(R) 2012 Australian Flying Eleven Championship welcomed 174 young sailors vying for the ultimate Flying 11 class event of the season on the pristine waters of Salamander Bay at Port Stephens, NSW...
F11 Nationals - Day 1 “QUALIFYING SERIES”
PORT STEPHENS SAILING & AQUATIC CLUB.
Monday 16th January 2012 – Pt. Stephens
The GILL® 2012 Australian Flying Eleven Championship welcomed 174 young sailors vying for the ultimate Flying 11 class event of the season on the pristine waters of Salamander Bay at Port Stephens, NSW.
Whilst last year’s modern record of 103 boats for the Flying 11 class had the sailing community abuzz with a very positive view of participation within the sport, many of the class’s more experienced and older sailors were encouraged to move into the next level of skiff and dinghy competition such as the 29er fleet swelling their numbers to NSW and national record levels in 2012.
With the unique social and technical attributes of the Flying 11 class, we again achieved a huge number of 87 boats comprising an obviously new and spritely influx to the class – all good signs for the future of the sport.
Due to the swelling numbers of participation in the Flying 11 class, the association adopted a modern split fleet format to ensure fair and competitive racing with four fleets sailing a six race qualifying series followed by a gold and silver fleet playoff for the title with a maximum twelve races scheduled over the two series. The format is now commonplace for like classes around the world and provides our sailors with an introduction to the graduate classes’ format when they age out of the class.
Races 1-3 Qualifying Series
The RO Col Chidgey was able to manage three races as per schedule for the start of the championship conducted back to back. The four group allocations of Red, Blue, Yellow and Green each comprised of 22 crews creating a start line-up of 44 on each of the two starts for each of the races – a total of six starts.
“The most perfect NE winds on the planet prevailed on day one, this was what the national F11 Association was asking for”, commented National F11 Vice-President Mark Long.
Race 1 – The first race of the day got underway at 12 noon in 17kts with the additional chop & wave new to most F11 sailors. Initially proving a little challenging for many there were numerous capsizes on the first downwind of the day. Both starts began cleanly with small oscillations on the 0.8 nm beat out to West Bank. The revised course of a windward/leeward leg followed by a triangle dished up two screaming reaches; the waves they battled upwind made for spectacular surfing downwind for the amassed spectator fleet quite befitting reminiscent of a Sydney to Hobart start.
Blue/Red Group: Angus Williams and Jesse Lilley 1365 Whatever cleared out to win by over two mins from Ash Heyworth and Daniel Heyworth 1382 MWD followed by veteran pure blonde Kajsa Doyle and Nathan Lilley in 1356 Pure Blonde in her favourite wind range.
Yellow/Green Group: The current leaders in the 2011-2012 NSW State Championship series Jack Buchan and Emma Jones 1373 Hammer Time started their campaign with a hard fought win over new up and comers Owen Long and Sarah Jones 1396 Slick, the race switching leaders until the last windward mark when Hammer Time set kite first in building 20kts wind with Slick showing they weren’t about to give in closing the gap and threatening all the way down the final leg finishing 30secs astern with a larger gap to third placegetter 1357 Smoke & Mirrors Andrew Isles and Daniel Bromelow.
Race 2 – The second race of the day began in slightly less wind of 14/15kts, but still a true nor’easter.
Blue/Yellow Group: The conditions offered up a clash for the heavyweights – the more heavy air specialists giving within these randomly assigned groups a chance to have a good crack at each other. Hammer Time again jumped to an early lead with the relatively lightweight 1263 Oscar Kurt Hansen and Lindsay Pike (our Sail Sydney & Youth Midwinters F11 winners) present the challenge them, finally placing third just astern of Angus Williams in second, Hammer Time logging her second victory to stamp her dominance early in the championship.
Green/Red Group: Brother and sister skippers Andrew and Jessica Isles waged a sibling battle in the second start, 1357 Smoke & Mirrors Andrew Isles and placing first and 1366 Protagonist Jessica Isles and Barnaby Dowse second respectively, ahead of class stalwarts 1362 Guccii Ira Dubery and Tristan Bongolan.
Race 3 – Not wanting to waste any of the perfect true NE wind, the Race Committee decided to insure the complete qualifying series with the third race for the day. Each of the previous two races had been completed in just over one hour each. With the air temp of 26 degrees and a clearing sky, coupled with a majority of huge smiles on the faces of the sailors, the decision was made to stay afloat and go to a third dose of the best of what Port Stephens has to offer!
Yellow/Red Group: Wind was a little harder into the NNE and left was the way to go. Hammer Time started from the pin end and Slick from the Race Committee boat end. After a long 5 minute drag-race to the left, they crossed within meters respective order. These positions held down the first square run, then up the big beat, a battle royale unfolding with pure boat speed being tweaked up notch by notch. These crews sailed away from the rest of the fleet to round the final windward mark with Hammer Time 100m ahead. Slick wasn’t giving up and closed to 40m astern at the wing mark. This is the way things stayed with the more experienced combatant crossing 25secs ahead over the line. Skipper Lachlan Murnaghan with crew Niall Powers in 1353 Flying Hellfish steered his personal best taking the Flying Hellfish to a well-deserved third spot.
Blue/Green Group: The second groups start of race three saw Pure Blonde score her maiden victory in a Flying 11 national’s competition after many years in the class, ultimately showing her long time club-mate Whatever a clean wake. 1391 Bolt Nicola Forbes-Smith and Natasha Bryant sailed into third following up from her earlier fourth and fifth places in race 1 and 2.
Tomorrow will serve up more of the same perfect NE conditions in the 15 – 20 knot range. Now with their new-found wave sailing techniques, the close to two hundred young F11 sailors will be keen to test themselves in “Sailing Paradise”.
|Results Day 1 - Race 1-3|