Fantasea 2011 F18 Australian Championships day 1: Survival Time!!

Ullman Sails - Fantasea F18 Australian Championships, Sealink Magnetic Island Race Week 2011  Teri Dodds ©
Tradewinds of 16-18 knots with gusts up to 24 were forecast for the first day of the Fantasea 2011 F18 Australian Championships, being sailed as part of the 2011 Sealink Magnetic Island Race Week.

But the weather gods conspired and as the F18s prepared for their first race start out on Cleveland Bay, the sky darkened and the conditions deteriorated, the wind building and the swell increasing.

Conditions were tough out on the Bay with Principal Race Officer Stewart 'Jock' Ross after two races postponed further racing until tomorrow.
Duropex Paints - Fantasea F18 Australian Championships, Sealink Magnetic Island Race Week 2011  Teri Dodds ©

Adam Beattie onboard Nacra No 1 took the two lap Race 1 from Jason Waterhouse (Team Wildcat Australia) and Mick Guinea (Nacra NQ). Then followed Luke McMullen (Overdrive), Gary Gornall (Goose Marine), James Ogilvie (Durepox Paints), Dale Mitchell (Shady), Warren Guinea (Team Magic Marine), Brett White (Feral Cat) and Gordon Beath (Edge2Edge).

The big swell deterred many of the F18s from starting Race 1. A number sat unrigged on the beach, while there were at least three retirements from Race 1.

In the heavy swell and tough conditions Katie Spithill (Team Harken) finished back in the fleet in 11th. As she predicted yesterday the heavy conditions were not in the lightweight Team Harken's favour.

Ullman Sails - Fantasea F18 Australian Championships, Sealink Magnetic Island Race Week 2011  Teri Dodds ©

Jason Waterhouse went one better in Race 2 taking the honours from Dale Mitchell, with Mick Guinea third. Adam Beattie was fourth followed by Luke McMullen, Brett White, Grant Bow (High Roller) and Gary Gornall.

The Overall Series leader is Jason Waterhouse from Team Wildcat Australia, two points ahead of Adam Beattie's Nacra No 1 with Mick Guniea's Nacra NQ one point further back.

FNQ F18 representative Mick Guinea (Nacra NQ) explained ‘It was tough out there. In the first race we were fifth at the top mark, second at the bottom mark for the first time, but Jason got us on the second work.

‘But there was serious drama for us in race two. We were first to the top mark and we led all the way.

‘We were just coming to the finish line when Viv Hayden, my crew, fell off the back of the boat. He was in the water with the kite sheet pulling him under the water for about 30 seconds. I dumped the spinnaker halyard, the kite went into the water and that capsized us and Viv surfaced. He was OK. We got the boat back up and finished third --- and most importantly I still beat my brother Warren, so that was the key thing' he smiled.

Series leader Jason Waterhouse said ‘When we first went out on the water, it seemed like survival, but we settled down. It was a matter of keeping the boat together.

‘In the first race we went cautiously but were still fifth at the top mark. We have a Hobie Wildcat and we are faster upwind than the Nacras but slower down wind, so we had to work hard to grab places on the second beat and pushed up into second place and held on to finish behind Adam Beattie, who had led from the bottom mark to the finish.

‘We broke the tiller extension right off the start line. I could just reach it, trapezing, crouching forward. We were second place all the way round.

‘We had expected to have Adam in front of us from the second start but he had broken his jib car system just after the start and then he capsized at the top mark, so his fourth place showed just what a good sailor he is.'

RO 'Jock' Ross brought the fleet ashore after two races. Ross said 'It was really hard work out there. We started the first race in 20 knots and one and a half metre seas, the second in 22 knots with two metre seas but we had gusts to 25 knots and conditions were worsening. We needed to bring everyone in to preserve the fleet as we had seven retirements between the two races and less than 10 finished the second race.'

Results are provisional and subject to protest.

Fantasea F18 Australian Championships, Sealink Magnetic Island Race Week 2011  Teri Dodds ©


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