As you drive down the narrow bumpy road to the entrance of Point Wolstoncroft on the south west bank of Lake Macquarie (NSW) visitors enjoy a warm feeling knowing that they are in for a good weekend.
MJ Open Fleet - Manly Junior NSW State Titles
The final round of the NSW State Championships, also the last major regatta of the season for the MJ fleet, was held in the perfect carefree surroundings of the National Park.
The foreshore is open and grassy allowing great rigging areas and easy access to the water for a large fleet of boats; for parents it is a relaxing weekend with pretty much everything catered for.
And this year, the MJs were out in force with their largest fleet for a number of years; over 60 boats assembled for a festival of junior sailing, with the rookie fleet, a Point Wooly tradition, making up a third of the fleet. In the state championship event three boats came into the weekend covered by just four points but in the first race not everything went according to their expectation.
On a lovely summer’s day the first race started in a moderate south easterly and after the first work the fleet was led by Bad Fish (Harley and Logan Walters) followed by Five Star (Simon Murnaghan and Alistair Hunter) with championship leader Tinny trailing the leaders in 19th place. As the wind filled in it was Murnaghan and Hunter who gained the upper hand hotly pursued by MJ national champion MWD (Daniel Heyworth and Jesse Dransfield) and Murnaghan steered his boat to his maiden state win by a 30 second margin. MWD earned second place from Tinny (Jackson and Flynn Twomey), who staged a remarkable recovery after their early struggles with Another Dark and Stormy (Chris Holmes and Angus Metcalfe) narrowly beaten into fourth place. The latter boats were later engaged in a protest over a race incident which led to the disqualification of Tinny.
After lunch on shore the fleet were back out in mid-afternoon for the second race with championship leader Another Dark and Stormy first to the top mark followed by Blake Out (Blake Doyle and Hugh Triglone) but as the race progressed the top three boats in the championship assumed control and led the fleet home; it was Tinny who won a thrilling race by 12 seconds from MWD with Another Dark and Stormy back in third place; the results meant that with one race to go there were just two points separating the leaders with MWD and Another Dark and Stormy two points ahead of Tinny.
Meanwhile the novices were engaged in their own excitement. After three major regattas the novice fleet were sailing with great confidence and Crazy ‘n Wild (Tom Schulenberg and Elliot Porter) and Full Throttle (Alistair Read and Philip Waters) took line honors in races 7 and 8. In the novice championship the races translated into handicap wins for Chicken Invader (Grace Powers and Madeleine Croker) and Twiggy (Michael Middleton and Will Jones) although novice leader Chimp (Will Divola and Liam Wright) maintained their lead into the final race.
So to the second day and a long Point Wooly wait for the gentle north east wind that finally allowed the fleet to head onto the lake after lunch for the crucial final race. Yet again we were treated to competitive sailing and at the top mark it was Tinny who led the fleet round the top mark. Fully aware of the position MWD moved past Five Star and tracked Tinny closely followed by Five Star. With the wind shifting and variable the championship remained wide open on the last work and the spectator boats at the finish line were treated to a fantastic conclusion to the 9 race series with MWD and Tinny side by side. It was Tinny who edged to victory by one tenth of a second with Five Star back in third place.
So after a thrilling and breathless finale, MWD (Daniel Heyworth and Jesse Dransfield) secured the NSW state title by one point from Tinny (Jackson and Flynn Twomey), with Another Dark and Stormy (Chris Holmes and Angus Metcalfe) in third place, a further point behind.
In the novice fleet Full Throttle (Alistair Read and Philip Waters) took line honours for the second successive race and Wil Divola and Liam Wright in Chimp sailed into second place to secure the Novice championship from Chicken Invader (Grace Powers and Madeleine Croker) in second place with Goose (Cody Linnegar and Kash Powell) in third.
Well done to Zac and Jake Barnabas in Skedaddle who finished first place on scratch in the Novice Fleet.
So at the end of a long season of Manly Junior competition the winners were presented with their trophies.
Congratulations to all sailors that have participated in the state events and to the 21 boats that made up the Rookie Fleet, some proving themselves worthy of competing in the Novice.
The Manly Junior fleet is looking good for next season and we wish you all happy sailing for the remainder 2011-2012 sailing year.
MJ Rookies - Manly Junior NSW State Titles
NSW Champion - Daniel Heyworth & Jesse Dransfield - Manly Junior NSW State Titles