24 August 2016

WA A Class State Championship - 21st August


On Sunday August 21, the Western Australian A Class State Championship regatta was held at Jackadder Lake in Woodlands Perth. A small but very competitive fleet arrived at the lake early in the morning to find that the wind was drifting in and out from the north east.

Forecasts of rain and storms had been pretty consistent for the past few days. However, the sky was clear, and it’s not very common for rain to come from that direction. Unfortunately, two skippers were unable to attend on the day, which reduced the fleet to seven skippers.

Our Race Officer for the day was Rob Mews. His helpers over the course of the day were Craig Taylor, Rodney Moss and Rosco Benett. Many thanks to these gentlemen for volunteering their time to assist in running the event so the rest of us could sail.

Two races were held in the morning, and they proved to be challenging in terms of setting a course. Nevertheless, Rob managed to get a couple of results onto the scoresheet, before calling a halt to wait for a more settled wind.

Fortunately, the wind did arrive pretty quickly afterwards. Whilst Rob re-set the course to the southern bank of the lake, we took an early lunch. The breeze came in from the West South-west and blew at about 5 to 10 knots.

After the break, the course turned out to be very good indeed. There were plenty of shifts, which made the choice of side critical. Typically on Jackadder Lake, it is a matter of taking what you have when you have it, and making the best of it. Consistency is the aim, and trying not to make a hash of any particular race is key.

The return of two time ex-National Champion in the class, Graeme Howie, sailing his own design was terrific. Graeme’s “Wombat” is a very large boat with large sail area. It loves light winds and moves along really easily. The Wombat does need to reduce sail area a little earlier than some of the other designs in the fleet.

Roger Paul had his Venom sailing very well. Roger was particularly fast upwind, but suffered slightly with less sail area on the downwind legs. His Venom was certainly fast also in the lighter winds.

Three Swords – Jeff Green, Denton Roberts and Glenn Dawson, all enjoyed the conditions as the wind increased in the early afternoon. Jeff had a few great races and was right in the mix throughout the day. Unfortunately for Denton, he was suffering health wise on the day, and his performance suffered as a result. Glenn Dawson sailed the most consistent series, and had the Sword moving along really well.

Both Hub Bell, with his A1 and Len White, with his lovely old Hi-Ho both needed the wind to be up to be more competitive. Both the A1 and Hi-Ho have smaller sail area, which requires higher wind speeds to allow them to keep up with the designs with the larger sails. When the Swords, Venoms and the Wombat are looking to change to a B rig, the smaller sails of Hub abd Len’s boats are starting to come into their own.

Rob got in 16 races, so that we could get to 3 drops. The races were quite long and there were plenty of opportunities to make mistakes, or have the opportunity to catch up if you got behind early in a race. Skippers sailed the regatta in good spirits, and there were a few mistakes resulting in mark contact requiring penalty turns. Skippers were very quick to acknowledge their mistakes and clear themselves. Fortunately there were no boat contacts, which is really important in this class. Boat contact generally results in pretty severe damage, so avoiding contact was something everyone took very seriously.

By the close of the regatta, Glenn had won 9 races of the 16 to take out the title for 2016. Roger Paul and Graeme Howie went toe to toe all day. Graeme won 4 heats and Roger only won one. However, Graeme had a few too many lower finishes and Roger pipped him by just one point for second. Jeff Green finished fourth, just 5 points behind.


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