11 May 2016

WA IOM South West Championships

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The South West Championships were held at the Provence Estate in Busselton, over the weekend of May 7/8 2016. The Geograph Radio Sailing Club put on a terrific weekend at their new lake.

The lake is a great radio sailing venue, with uninterrupted wind, deep water without weed. The prevailing winds blow along the length of the lake.

As is usual in Western Australia, the regatta was sailed in two fleets. The Championship fleet sailed for ranking points, whilst the Cup fleet was an opportunity for skippers to participate in the event without pressure. Skippers in the Championship fleet spend time helping the skippers in the Cup fleet by assisting with boat tune and coaching.

11 skippers took part in the Championship fleet, with 8 skippers from Perth joining 3 locals. Seven skippers took part in the Cup fleet.

The regatta commenced at 11.00am on Saturday, and the rain was coming through in squalls. Everyone was using B rigs, which was great fun after weeks and weeks of light winds. PRO for the regatta was Rosco Bennett, and he got the racing moving along efficiently.

Fortunately for us, Andree Bennett gave up her weekend to come along and manage the finishing and scoring. Andree is a fantastic support to radio sailing in WA.

In the championship, Glenn Dawson flew out of the blocks taking wins in the first five races. Rob Mews also had a good start sailing consistently well. Unfortunately, Sean Wallis had electrical troubles, which took a while to diagnose and rectify. In the Cup, Moby Stuart and John Smith showed that they were going to be hard to beat over the weekend.

As the day progressed, the wind built and the rain disappeared. Those who had C rigs changed down to them, and had a great time sailing with the little rigs. Rosco was looking on with envy, wishing that he hadn’t volunteered to PRO, and would have loved to get his boat out. The wind lasted for a couple of hours, but towards the end of the day, the B rigs came back out again.

Overnight, the wind dropped, so that when we turned up for the 9.00am start, it was pretty light. Fortunately, the direction was still the same, and the course could still be set along the length of the lake.

One of the great things about going to the regional events is the opportunity for the clubs to promote the sport of radio sailing. The Busselton guys did a great job of letting people in the area know that an event was on. Plenty of people came down to the lake to have a look, including a number of former Commodores of the local sailing club, and other sailing people. We hope that there are a few people who saw the sailing, who will take up the sport and grow the club.

As the morning progressed, the main interest turned to the Cup fleet, where Moby and John were having a really close tussle for the chocolates. Moby got a bit of a lead in one race when John had some battery problems. Fortunately, John managed to get his boat going again in the next race, but that small glitch was enough for Moby to establish a slight lead, and hang on for a well deserved win.

The Championship fleet was a bit more spaced out, with Glenn taking out 11 race wins from the 18 heats, to take a commanding lead. Rob Mews continued to race well, holding off Graeme Howie and a fast finishing Sean Wallis.

Congratulations to all the skippers who sailed in a friendly, sporting manner. Thanks to the Geograph club for their hospitality, as well as Rosco and Andree Bennett for their time and energy.


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