31 March 2017

WA IOM Great Southern Championships - 25/26th Mar



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The Great Southern Championship and Albany Cup 2017

Western Australia’s Albany weekend proved to be another successful regatta all sorts of wind, great sailing, good company, good dining out, plenty of mishaps and plenty of fun had by all.

The regatta really started on Friday night with dinner at Rustlers. Local skippers and Perth ring-ins mixed amusement and in depth sailing discussions with normal ribbing and pseudo slander. It was great to see Moby again as he has been away from sailing with other work and family commitments. Unfortunately he was unable to sail things were subsequently a lot quieter in the control area.

Saturday dawned clear with light winds which went in the usual circles until settling in mid-afternoon. Leisurely breakfasts got the day underway, before we wandered down to the Marina around 9am to help setup and meet with more local sailors. Greg Westerberg, Ian Lunt, Peter Truphet and others started and continued their organising of the area and event a great credit to them and much appreciated by all.

Briefing late morning and racing started 11.30am A rigs, two fleets with 4 up 4 down. Exception was the Cup fleet sailors stayed in B fleet great for some of the championship skippers who failed to make the top 4 in B fleet only to find they were elevated because there were Cup fleet skippers in front of them a few races nearly missed so paid to check the fleet board. This was kept up to date by Ray Forsyth and Andre who did their usual magnificent job with finishing and scoring We are so fortunate to have them.

The marina is a good venue. Like all venues and regattas we had the wind direction that never blows in Albany to start with and accompanied by multi-directional changes. Sometimes there were favoured sides these worked once or twice in a race but usually disappeared when you needed it most. There were 6 different winners in the first 6 races after the seeding race so competition aplenty.

In the Championship fleet both Sean Wallis and Edgar Vitte showed their speed in the seeding races with their TNT’s having good boat speed. They were pushed hard all morning by the Britpop of Rod Moss who was having a good day out in the light tricky condition.  Roger Paul with his AKA was also showing light air speed of the design.

The changing breeze direction made it difficult for the PRO’s  to lay a course despite well appreciated  assistance from the local sailors.  Many course changes were made during the day due to the variance in wind direction which also made it difficult for sailors to pick a consistent pattern of wind direction.  

Despite Sean Wallis maintaining his place at the head of the score board local sailor Andrew Grist showed consistent boat speed and mastery of the light air to work his way up the ladder despite missing some early races.  His consistency with putting his Goth at the top was causing the high ranked Perth sailors to scratch their heads by giving them some light air Albany sailing lessons.  Gear failure robbed him of the opportunity to shine on day 2.

By end of day 1 Sean had a good lead with good consistent sailing. Andrew Grist missed the first two races but made up for it after that sailing very well with his Goth finishing the day in 2nd. Rod Moss had a great day 1 lying 3rd. Roscos head was not on straight in 4th. Roger with too many visits to B fleet in 5th and Chris Woods sailing Rogers old Pikanto doing well in 6th only 4 points between 4th and 6th.

Race 2 in light winds and flat water saw Roger and Chris fighting it out well in the lead. Chris nearly got there but probably gave it away so as not to beat the Pikantos owner. The two purple people eaters had a good race showing the rest of the fleet a clean pair of heels. Fortunately for all they werent able to match that again.

Some frustrating wind shifts, light patches and wind direction changes saw quite a few position changes, big gains, big losses and Roger in full song cursing himself, and Hewey maybe thats why the wind changed on him. Graeme Howie sailed a few good races and seemed to be sailing consistent enough to be well in contention until his winch gave out 3 races from the end of the day.

Everyone was having some good races Edgar won his seeding race and race 3 but must have de-tuned his boat as results waned during the afternoon. Rosco started to get his head clear and hair out of his eyes and improved. Mewsy must have thought he was in a Nationals as his results were not up to his usual standard. Peter Buchanan had a bit of a disastrous first few races but improved to be finishing consistently around 6th. Ian Sherriff sailed consistently all day finishing 4th or 5th in most races. Greg Westerberg started the day well but maybe all the organising was interfering as his results faded during the day. Chris Aberle had a lot of up and down races where unfortunately he finished most of the races down a bit. Paul Wilkinson was a welcome sight from across at Busselton and had his Britpop going well at times but must be a bit out of practice as his results were not up to his usual standard.

Around 4pm after 9 races sailing finished and all headed off to change, have a few beers then meet up again for dinner at the Due South restaurant. Good company, good food and drinks were not too expensive. Discussions again on the weather as B and C rig conditions forecast for Sunday.

Day two was total contrast with the blustery Albany westerlies growing during the morning and gusting up to 35 knots with a shower or two to boot.  The direction was still variable and challenging with all boats making wrong decisions on rigs at times.  Some got caught out and were regretting they had not taken more of the warning of squalls from local sailor Ian Lunt.  The A rigs were in the sail box to stay with B and C out to play.  Excitement was the wind and on the faces of the sailors.

Sunday is an early start no time for big breakfasts chocmilk or raison toast and coffee. Down at the Marina and rigging up around 8 to 8.15am. Patches of rain so on with the wet weather gear first. Wind is up so B rigs on. Wind still a bit shifty and variable in wind speed but generally out of the west.

9am and we are into the first race With B rig and wind increasing. Good stuff quite a bit of crash and bash but some good fast sailing as well. Race 2 and down to C rigs again some good fast sailing with plenty of mishaps. Race 3 back to B rigs solid stuff. Race 4 in A fleet with B rigs still up and a nice squall comes thru wind and rain lots of rudder waving and fast upwind sailing only 6 finishers. Race 5 with B rigs again and another good wind race with usual crash & bash at times. Then another squall and rain and with the time around noon, racing was completed.

Sean and Rosco were both sailing well again, Sean finishing with 2 bullets. Roger was having a better day. Mossy slipped a bit. Ian Sherriff managed okay but included a couple of drops. Edgar and Peter Buchanan stayed consistent. Mewsy improved. Chris Woods found it hard going Pikanto didnt like the heavy weather. Graeme was back with a replacement winch installed and had a couple of good races.

Sean continued to sail well to keep his first place.  Ross Bennet, who had been having a mixed first day decided he meant business with consistency and good recoveries after being caught out on the wrong side of the course early on with almost unpredictable wind shifts.

Sailing in the heavy breezes took its toll and combined with lulls mid race made some difficult sailing conditions It was well done by all who managed to complete races. It was also some good fast sailing.

 It was no cake walk for the Cup sailors either.  The Albany Cup event was being hotly contested with locals Rob Freeborough sailing consistently to keep in the money from Ian Hebiton and Ian Lunt.  Rob sailed consistently and took the money on the final day!! Well sailed Rob.

Sean sailed consistently well in all wind conditions in all races and was a deserved winner. Rosco lost the regatta in the first half of day 1 somehow bridesmaid again but overall a good result and for the most part consistently up the front. Roger in 3rd probably sailed a reasonable regatta good and bad consistency needs improving. Last minute decision by Rod Moss to participate was well worth it sailed a good regatta. Although he chose to get a lift home with Graeme rather than returning with Mewsy maybe Mewsys charm is wearing thin. And probably because Mewsy was in a rather confident mood after beating his arch rival Chris Woods on a countback but Mewsy, the Pikanto is an old boat.

The V 10’s, V 9’s , V8 and TNT  stood out with boat speed on the final day with wins from all of those designs with their B and C rigs. Local Sailor Greg Westerberg also showed good speed in the final races with his own design mixing it up with the top 3 place getters. 

The final result revealed that consistency and boat speed in the varying breezes was the winner.  It was a well done for Sean Wallis with the stand out performance on both days form Rosco and Roger Paul. It was much appreciated by all event made even more so by the Albany club members. 

There were the usual individual tales of woe during the 2 days that will provide topics of discussions, banter and entertainment. It was a great credit to all who competed for making it a success and enjoyable. Apologies from Roger for his outbursts, language, excuses and annoyance I think he is going to try humming yoga in pressure situations.

We would all like to acknowledge the great effort again from all the Albany sailors for making it such a terrific sailing weekend. To all those that didnt go you missed out it really is worth putting in your calendar for next year!



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