by Marc Ablett
NSW Sharpies - Well the dynasty continues, Team Smoke sailed by the Forster brothers and Forward hand Mark Jarvis have secured their ninth straight NSW title for the team.
Smoke powering off the start line - NSW Sharpie State Titles Round 3
This unprecedented run of success began back in the 2004/2005 season and skipper Michael Forster has remained largely unchallenged except for a brief period in 2006/2007 by Derek Milligan and crew and recently by The Curry Brothers and Hayden Sellars, while this year David Dixon-Hughes and crew of Jon Pederson and Robbie Inglis launched a full scale attack in a near new boat.
The final round there was only 2.75 points separating the top three. With the forecast for a windy finish to the series, it was widely thought that it would be the year that the 'Truck' boys from the gong would finally break through and steal the title. On Saturday halfway through the seventh heat of the series it was proving just that with heavy air specialists 'Truck' and 'Deep Sea Racing Prawns' leading the way however when they both got to the bottom of the run the race committee had pulled the pin on the racing for the day with the bay scattered with all sorts of craft from the annual regatta and the wind pumping in at 35knots its probably understandable.
However that decision was to deal several teams a great blow none the least 'Truck' who now with the series reduced to two drops slipped a little opening the door for 'Shazam' and 'Smoke' to pounce, both being light to moderate air specialist. There was still hope of a breezy finale with the southerly forecast to come through late during the night and holding throughout Sunday, However while everyone was enjoying the social BBQ and Beers at the caravan park, many (who were jaded by the Amber fluid) might have missed the Southerly pump in at 8pm, not what the boys from Wollongong were after.
Smoke leading the pack at the bottom mark - NSW Sharpie State Titles Round 3
So it was down to this, 0.5 of a point separating three boats going into the final heat. With it all to play for 'Truck' ended there series in the worse possible way, by being over the start early and DSQ, while Smoke with all its experience nailed the start. 'Shazam' was left in second last place and with it all to do in its quest for the title. They lifted their work rate down the reaches and by halfway up the second work had powered into second, these guys are extremely fast in these conditions.
They were challenging 'Smoke' heavily and the lads were in major defensive mode, with a tacking duel starting up the third work, however the 'Smoke' lads had a fantastic finish to the third work and put a gap on 'Shazam', all that was left was for 'Smoke' to hang on down the reaches and survive the short work to the finish, easier said than done in a shifting breeze. However the experience and class prevailed and Michael, Andy and Mark held on for a much deserved victory, to keep the dream of 10 straight alive.
But the victor is nothing without the challengers and 'Shazam' and 'Truck' went all the way in this heavyweight title fight and if it wasn’t for the element s who knows it may have been different. But that is why our sport is so demanding and challenging. Smoke had been able to hang in there in the breezy stuff and excel in the lighter stuff to be easily the most consistent and win the series.
Smoke sending it at the Nationals 2012/2013 "papparazzi photo" - NSW Sharpie State Titles Round 3
Special mentions to the young guys on Pleasure and Pain, lead by Nick Marzano (19) Alex Marzano (16) and Dylan Zanin (19) to steal the handicap trophy and finish fourth overall on scratch. They will be ones to beat in the future that is for sure.
Socially the series has been one of the best and numbers have stayed up across the three rounds. With huge interest in the up-coming nationals and more boats being purchased into the state we are looking forward to the interstaters visiting Sydney over Christmas time and challenging the NSW boats on home waters. Everyone is pumped and ready for a big party and series at Christmas time.
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