07 December 2015

WA IOM State Championships 2015

2015 Western Australian IOM State Championships

The WA State Championships were held at two locations this year. Saturday 5 December found us at the Maylands Yacht Club for some racing on the Swan River. Open water with quite a few waves made for a different challenge. Sunday, we moved to Champion Lakes for flat water racing.


Unfortunately, whilst we had a sail at Maylands on Thursday afternoon when everything was terrific, by Saturday there were quite a few small jellyfish in the water. Most of us got “jellied” at some point. There was a significant change on the weather leading to the appearance of the jellies.

We welcomed Norm Wallis from South Australia, who came to sail with us for the weekend. There were a total of 22 entries, and the regatta looked to be pretty competitive. We sailed in two fleets for the weekend. WA is well represented on the ARYA Rankings, and we had 4 out of the top ten in the country competing.

The PRO for the weekend was Warren Rock and he was more than ably supported by Bob Paton. WA is especially fortunate to have such great volunteers when it comes to putting on these events. We must thank Andree Bennett for giving up her weekend to take the finishing positions and help with the scoring. Also, Ray Forsyth regularly does a fantastic job for us managing the scoring and fleets.

In addition to these guys, there were a number of people who came along to give a few hours here and there. Thank you to Phil Brown for your assistance on Saturday in particular.

As far as the weather was concerned, Saturday turned out to be the coldest December day in 55 years. There were a number of cold fronts come through which really stuffed up the normal weather pattern. We had rain squalls, thunder, more rain, wind, calm to contend with on Saturday. Plenty changes in direction kept Warren and Bob “entertained”. Plenty of changes of rig kept the skippers entertained too. To their credit, we managed to get through 7 races in the day.

Overnight, Glenn Dawson held a slender 3 point lead from Rosco Bennett and Ian Sherriff. Sean Wallis and Roger Paul were only a point further back. The regatta was up for grabs on Sunday.

Sunday dawned slightly warmer than Saturday, but there were still a number of cold fronts rolling through, containing plenty of the wet falling stuff. On Sunday, the regatta moved to Champion Lakes, where we were pretty certain there would be no jellyfish! Unfortunately, there was quite a bit of very fine floating weed in the water which slowed people down from time to time. Discussion about which obstacle people preferred abounded.

On Sunday, the wind stayed very steady in direction, but the strength varied from a precarious A rig wind to a solid B rig breeze. Race one for the A fleet found the boats turning the weather mark to head to the gate downwind, when an especially strong squall came through and flattened the fleet, who were all wearing their A rigs.

By late-morning, everyone was down to B rigs and the racing was fast and furious. As the day wore on, Glenn took control of the regatta with consistent finishing positions. Rosco Bennett stayed with him for a while, but the gap was gradually widening.

Ian Sherriff sailed a really good series of races, and had his V9 flying. Chasing hard, Sean Wallis kept the pressure on Ian and was looking at knocking off Rosco for the silver.

We dodged more rain, and had to dodge the weed, making for a difficult day all round. It’s easy to sail in warm sunny conditions. Congratulations to the skippers as most of the fleet made it through to the end.

Mention also should be made of the fantastic behaviour and attitude of the skippers. At no time was there any aggression, or animated discussion over any situation. Skippers who infringed regularly acknowledged their indiscretion and performed a penalty turn without question. The standard of rules observation was excellent all round.

Final scores showed that Glenn Dawson won 7 of the 16 races and finished with 5 second places in an especially consistent performance to take out the championship for 2015. Rosco Bennett won 5 races, but found that he had to carry a few mid-fleet finishes for second place. Sean Wallis came from behind Ian Sherriff to pip him by 3 points. Sean won 3 heats overall. Other heat winners were Roger Paul and Justin McAullay.

On the next line of finishers, Peter Buchanan, Graham Howie and Rob Mews fought out a close result, with Peter taking 7th, Graeme 8th and Rob Mews 9th.

Andrew Brady started the event in fine style early on Saturday, but found the going tougher on Sunday, and finished just a few points behind Rob. Peter Johnson launched his new design this weekend. He called it a JX1. It has a very fine entry and a transom which is similar to a Diamond Ten Rater. Peter battled all weekend and will be better for the outing.

Positions 14 to 18 were decided by a handful of points. Norm Wallis got most of the blame for bringing the weather with him, as it not normally like that here – you should have been here last week – you know the story! Norm sailed into 14th place ahead of the group containing Ian Ritchie, Denton Roberts, John Merchant and Lenny White.

There were a group of skippers who were only able to sail on one day of the weekend. Thanks for coming along to support the fleet, even if it was only for the one day.

All in all, the event was a great success, despite the weather, the jellies and the weed. Congratulations to Warren and bob in particular for keeping the sailing moving for a total of 16 races, despite some rather difficult situations to deal with. Great company, and great camaraderie marked the whole weekend.

That’s the last regatta for WA for the year. It has been a strong year for RC sailing in WA, which we hope will continue into 2016.

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