by Teri Dodds
Graeme Taylor’s Magpie has taken out the Etchells title on the final day of racing, in a mixed bag of sailing conditions.
Spinnakers with Magpie (Sail 947) - Victorian Etchells Championships 2008
After two days of racing in three-five knots of breeze, Corio Bay put on a glorious day, with a temperature of 33 degrees and the promise of a 15 – 20 southerly seabreeze later in the day. Two races took place in tight sequence after the fleet was put into postponement for nearly two hours, awaiting the breeze. After a general recall the fleet took off for race six under a black flag in 10 – 12 knots of breeze from the west nor-west, with the top contenders choosing the boat end start.
As the race progressed the seaway built to a short chop and with the breeze around 20 knots, conditions tested crew skills downwind. Rob Bird from Western Australia on Chill Pill came home first from Graeme Taylor’s Magpie, with Royal Geelong Yacht Club's Gary Sheard on Wicked, third.
Race seven was a mixed bag for all competitors with major wind shifts and pure pot luck. The pin end was favoured with Mark Bulka (Critical Balance) right on the money and taking the lead into the first mark, closely followed by a tight group including Cameron Miles (Black Snake), John Bertrand (Triad), Chris Jackson (Quantum Leap) and NZ’s Alistair Gair (Velsheeda). Within metres of dropping their spinnakers the southeasterly seabreeze came in, which resulted in cracked sheets back to the windward mark. Devastating for some of the leaders as they dropped to mid-fleet coming into the last mark, particularly for Mark Bulka who rounded first at mark two, then third last for the run to the finish.
Chill Pill - Victorian Etchells Championships 2008
The Kiwi team seemed to hold their position well, rounding third behind Rob Brown (Steampacket 7) and Alice Spring’s entrant Jeff Rose (Second Wind). It was a tight reach into the finish as Brown and Rose had to drop their spinnakers, and were just pipped by the New Zealanders on the line. Lucky for all crews no major damage was sustained in windy and unpredictable conditions, except that was for the other Kiwi entrant Addiction which suffered a broken boom shortly after the finish.
After the race an elated Graeme Taylor was happy with his Championship win, only having purchased Magpie last year. His crew of Grant Wharington (owner of 98ft Skandia Wild Thing) and Peter (Billy) Merrington have many years of sailing experience together on Skandia. Wharington commented ‘We had good speed all series and just sailed a solid race, it was great sailing.’
Velsheeda’s Alistair Gair gave his thoughts on the regatta. ‘We were pretty vulnerable after day one with two 14th’s, but yesterday we came up OK and of course we’re really happy with the win in the final race of the regatta today.’
Overall second place went to Rob Bird, who ‘enjoyed the flat waters of Corio Bay’ adding ‘For a 61 year old, this is perfect for Etchells racing, much like our Swan river back home.’ From here Bird’s Chill Pill will be sent to Sydney for shipping to Chicago for the Worlds in June, then back here to Melbourne for the Worlds at RBYC. Just coming off their State titles win two weeks ago, Bird and his crew of Graeme Johnson and Nic Gray were more than pleased with their overall second place. Rob ended with ‘We’ll see how the body shapes up after all that, before we look ahead of the 2009 Worlds.'
Cameron Miles was pretty happy with his regatta, saying ‘It’s been the best regatta I’ve been too with the hospitality to the sailors, refreshments on the water, pizzas and drinks after racing and everyone here to help us out, it’s been fantastic.’ Miles returns to Sydney to oversee the new standard keel Reichel Pugh 63 for Stephen Ainsworth (who lost Loki in the 2007 Rolex Middle Sea Race), in between some Sydney 38 racing and possibly the Etchells Worlds in Chicago.
Overall the host club Royal Geelong Yacht Club was thrilled with the 45 entrants, especially with being able to attract some of the best Etchells sailors, both past and present, on the circuit. And for some, it was a great opportunity to 'mix it with the best of them.'
Brilliant summer conditions and competitive racing made for a very successful Victorian Etchells Championships 2008.
We hope to see everyone back at the Royal Geelong Yacht Club to find out what will next year bring.
SERIES RESULTS Series Results [Class ET] for Etchells up to Race 7 (Drops = 1)
|Place||Skipper||From||BOW NO||Series Score||Race 7||Race 6||Race 5||Race 4||Race 3||Race 2||Race 1|
|2||AUS1367||Chill Pill||Rob Bird||Swan River||02||31.00||4.00||1.00||[19.00]||12.00||1.00||8.00||5.00|
|3||AUS945||Black Snake||Cameron Miles||Pittwater||34||38.00||7.00||4.00||4.00||[15.00]||13.00||4.00||6.00|
|5||AUS1326||Steampacket 7||Rob Brown||Pittwater||45||41.00||3.00||8.00||10.00||4.00||3.00||13.00||[22.00]|
|7||AUS1338||Critical Balance||Mark Bulka||RBYC||18||54.00||[29.00]||14.00||6.00||1.00||2.00||6.00||25.00|
|10||AUS1121||Bananas in Pajamas-2||Jason Farnell||RGYC||39||71.00||8.00||31.00||8.00||13.00||6.00||5.00||[33.00]|
|11||AUS1318||Bananas in Pajamas||Ian Johnson||Melbourne||29||76.00||15.00||6.00||16.00||17.00||10.00||12.00||[21.00]|
|12||AUS1131||Slick 2||Brendan Garner||RGYC||05||81.00||23.00||20.00||[25.50]||5.00||20.00||2.00||11.00|
|13||AUS1162||Happy Man||Campbell Myles||Melbourne||15||82.00||16.00||9.00||20.00||21.00||12.00||[24.00]||4.00|
|14||AUS1288||Magic B422||Steve Gunther||Melbourne||09||84.00||9.00||19.00||17.00||[20.00]||7.00||16.00||16.00|
|16||AUS1274||The Nurse||Ross Lloyd||Melbourne||08||94.50||[28.00]||13.00||25.50||11.00||11.00||25.00||9.00|
|18||AUS892||Second Wind||Jeff Rose||Alice Springs||03||100.00||2.00||25.00||3.00||30.00||[46.00O]||11.00||29.00|
|19||AUS1011||Quantum Leap||Chris Jackson||Mornington||35||103.00||6.00||21.00||14.00||25.00||28.00||9.00||[31.00]|
|20||AUS1276||Over Engineered||Garrath James||Blairgowrie||19||107.00||[42.00S]||26.00||15.00||9.00||19.00||23.00||15.00|
|22||AUS1293||That's Life||Ian Crisp||RBYC||04||115.00||18.00||32.00||7.00||14.00||16.00||[43.00]||28.00|
|24||AUS1237||Black Knight||John Savage||Melbourne||46||134.00||42.00S||[46.00S]||13.00||7.00||30.00||22.00||20.00|
|25||AUS417||White Pointer||A Sandy||Metung||33||137.00||10.00||33.00||[39.00]||35.00||18.00||31.00||10.00|
|26||AUS1189||The Archer||Clark Swan||RGYC||44||137.00||20.00||[36.00]||34.00||22.00||14.00||29.00||18.00|
|27||AUS1024||Voodoo Spirit||Guyon Wilson||RGYC||26||138.00||25.00||11.00||35.00||28.00||[40.00]||15.00||24.00|
|29||AUS872||Count Boris Secret R||Nick Knezic||Melbourne||31||158.00||33.00||43.00||[46.00Q]||38.00||9.00||32.00||3.00|
|30||AUS1026||Jacks Hut||Bill Fairley||Melbourne||20||160.00||31.00||23.00||37.00||26.00||17.00||26.00||[41.00]|
|32||AUS948||Smile N Wave||Graeme Alexander||Mornington||32||164.00||[46.00C]||10.00||28.00||42.00||29.00||18.00||37.00|
|33||AUS1048||Frequent Flyer||David Atkinson||Melbourne||22||168.00||13.00||35.00||31.00||36.00||[37.00]||36.00||17.00|
|34||AUS1141||Mens shirts shorts s||Peter Stubbings||Melbourne||21||173.50||[46.00C]||29.50||44.00||16.00||21.00||28.00||35.00|
|35||AUS941||J for Jig||Lex O'Connor||Melbourne||23||179.00||34.00||16.00||[43.00]||39.00||34.00||37.00||19.00|
|36||AUS994||Crew Control||Paul Minter||Cronulla||16||185.00||19.00||27.00||33.00||31.00||[41.00]||35.00||40.00|
|38||AUS747||Functional Overlay||Niesje Hees||Melbourne||06||197.00||36.00||42.00||24.00||32.00||22.00||41.00||[42.00]|
|39||AUS882||Jukes of Hazzard||Brendon Jukes||Melbourne||36||201.00||38.00||41.00||30.00||27.00||32.00||33.00||[43.00]|
|41||AUS1158||New Wave||Peter La Fontaine||RGYC||38||203.50||30.00||29.50||36.00||41.00||35.00||[46.00O]||32.00|
|42||AUS913||Never Enough||Andrew Telford||Melbourne||11||207.00||32.00||38.00||40.00||23.00||[43.00]||38.00||36.00|
|43||AUS784||Feng Shui||Andrew Perkins||Melbourne||24||221.00||35.00||39.00||38.00||37.00||33.00||39.00||[45.00]|
|44||AUS780||Urban Gorilla||Michael Shanahan||RGYC||14||231.00||39.00||44.00||42.00||44.00||24.00||[44.00]||38.00|
|45||AUS235||Clean Skin||Philip Dyer||Mornington||25||246.00||37.00||40.00||41.00||[45.00]||42.00||42.00||44.00|
Magpie - Victorian Etchells Championships 2008
Chill Pill Rob Bird (left) with Magpie’s Graeme Taylor -Victorian Etchells Championships 2008 Photo - Teri Dodds
Black Snake - Victorian Etchell Championships 2008