by Ian Grant
Ken and Lucas Down proved they could handle the blustery 20-30 winds and white crested waves when they helmed Bribie Star to a resident trophy award in the Aberdeen Asset Management Queensland championship last weekend.
Keel Train (foreground) racing in company with Transfusion.
The talented father and son skippers alternated their turn at the helm with Ken steering Bribie Star to a 6-3 on Saturday while Lucas secured the best Queensland crew result when he mastered the boisterous breeze on Sunday to record a 5-2-5-4 on the wind and wave tormented Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron course on Moreton Bay.
Racing the state of the art one design Farr 40 is a handful in a moderate 12-15 knot breeze and all crews including the strong New South Wales team of Transfusion, Kokomo and Estate Master were placed on notice when the boisterous South East breeze blew in for race one .
As expected the Queenslanders had their backs to the wall in trying to match the boat handling skills speed and tactical strategy produced by their New South Wales rivals led by the 2011 World champion Guido Bongiorno-Nettis and his talented Transfusion crew including London Olympic 49er Gold Medallist Iain Jensen.
London Olympic 470 Gold Medallist Malcolm Page also returned to big boat one-design racing calling the tactical strategy on Lang Walker’s Kokomo while Sydney Olympic Laser Bronze medallist Michael Blackburn coach of London Laser Gold Medallist Tom Slingsby was the tactician on Martin and Lisa Hill’s Estate Master.
State pride and reputations were on the line however while all of the Queensland crews welcomed the chance to test their boat speed they were forced to fight from the second row when Transfusion sailed fast and flat to lead at all marks in a drama packed race one where the minor places between Kokomo and Estate Master were decided in the protest room.
Kokomo was ultimately disqualified while Estate Master which suffered extensive spinnaker and mainsail damage in a collision with the official finish line vessel was reinstated to second and granted average points for race three.
This was a dramatic start to a regatta which also produced an interesting debut from the relatively young crew on the Kevin Miller owned and Greg Torpy skippered Keel Train.
Former Olympian and Americas Cup sailor Greg Torpy and his long term sailing friend Grant Wharington were the senior members and principal ‘nautical class room tutors’ for the young crew who cleverly mastered the wet and very windy deck on Keel Train.
Young Mooloolaba Yacht Club sailor Josh Torpy was in the crew who impressed their crew coaches.
'All of our young blokes showed they have the potential to develop into a top one-design sailing team we were in good shape with a 4-4-4-5 but had too many damaged sails to continue,' a proud Greg Torpy said.