Blackwood Challenge - Crews battle to win points

Rear l-r: Peter Wagner DBYC, Caelin Winchcombe DBYC, Chad Cowan DBYC, Rick Wagner DBYC, Murray Macarthur AYC, Brue Quail MBSC, Steve Heywood MBSC, Peter Johnson AYC Front l-r: Colby Taylor DBYC, Dean Cowan DBYC, Callum Woods AYC, Sarah Hales DBYC, Peter Compton AYC, Mal Buzza AYC, Louis Prosch MBSC & Ray Wakelin AYC. - 2013 Blackwood Challenge
The annual Blackwood Challenge was held over the weekend of the 6th and 7th April when the Augusta Yacht Club played host to visiting clubs. Visitors and sailors enjoyed the racing and socialising at one of Australia's most picturesque yacht clubs on the banks of the Blackwood River at Augusta.

Although the regatta this year has been held later in the sailing season in the hopes of quieter winds, Augusta turned on an afternoon of wind and waves for the first day. The second race of the day saw some very strong winds and major gusts that were responsible for some gear failures, capsizes and anxious moments as crews battled to win points.

The young sailors from Dunsborough Bay Yacht Club competing for the Junior Challenge were amazing to watch, as they sailed their tiny Minnows in conditions which had experienced sailors in much bigger boats wondering when an extra strong gust was going to end their race. When the Minnows did flip, they were quickly righted and off again. These races were eagerly fought by a fleet of Minnow, Splash and Mirror dinghies from DBYC and August Yacht Club.

One very new 11year old sailor, Colby Taylor, stuck at his task and managed to get round the course on the second day, although he had barely stepped into a Minnow till this weekend.

Six GP14s, a Mirror dinghy and AYC with their their usual mixed fleet of monohulls and multihulls all competed for the Senior Challenge.

The Teams' Race for the Flying Fish Cup was simultaneously run between three GP14s from DBYC and three from Mounts Bay Sailing Club (Team Big Smoke) producing strong competition and see-sawing place getters with rivalry fierce and dinkum. La Rousse (MBSC) and Cocktail Cherry (MBSC) as always provided strong opposition with the spinnaker handling of La Rousse giving them the edge.

Ragged Edge (DBYC) was up there in the rankings even though they did not fly their spinnaker over the two days. Aeolus ( DBYC) had moments of dizzy speed and challenging promise but came to grief fairly frequently with the sand and mud banks in the unfamiliar river, or gusting winds proving too diverse at the crucial moment.

Three junior sailors from DBYC sailed in GP14 Grey Power with Morgan Flower at the helm; Sebastian Roocke on the jib sheet and additional ballast, and Mary Pethick on the trapeze and jib pole - performed well in an unfamiliar boat and in strong gusty conditions, exhibiting lessons well learned from their Flying Ant training. They stormed round the course in all races with broad grins on their faces and singing at the tops of their voices - a tremendous advert for the joys of sailing and camaraderie at DBYC.

Richard Rowell helming his Mirror Barnacle Blues with daughter Matilda in races one and two and then daughter Rosie on Sunday in races three and four got some invaluable practice for the forthcoming National and World Mirror Championships at Loch Derg, Ireland in July. He as usual, was always up there in the contest and performed extremely well on yardstick against the faster and bigger GPs.

The Flying Fish Teams' Cup was won by Mounts Bay Sailing Club with Dunsborough Bay Yacht Club close runner-ups.

Junior Blackwood Challenge Results:

1st

Spinnow

Dean Cowan

DBYC

2nd

Smartie Pants

Caelin Winchcombe

DBYC

3rd

Splash

Chad Cowan

DBYC

 GP14s  Senior Blackwood Results:

1st

La Rousse

Bruce Quail & Steve Heywood

MBSC

2nd

Ragged Edge

Peter & Rick Wagner

DBYC

3rd

Cocktail Cherry

Louis Proksch & Ian Greenham

MBSC

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