by Max Hawkes
2013 is the 50th anniversary for the Pied Piper Class. In 1963 the first Piedy aptly named ‘Pied Piper’ was launched, and who would have thought back then the thrills, spills, and antics that would be associated with this class of yacht 50 years on.
Motamouse finish race 8 - Pied Piper Champs 2013
This year’s nationals had it all, Torrential rain, thunder, lightening, squalls, protests and incredibly intense racing.
Saturday the competitors had to deal with the worst that the elements could throw at them with Race 1 underway after the first big rain squall to come through for the day. The crews dried out pretty quickly as the competition was hot. In breezy conditions Motamouse sailed a strong race to take the gun in race 1 with Moneyshot holding out Rat Catcher in third.
Half way through race 2 was abandoned when it was affected by a massive shift and torrential rain reduced visibility to almost zero. An aborted attempt at a restart due to another big shift meant that it was early afternoon before the second score had been carded. It was a very close finish with the top four finishing in close company with Moneyshot taking the gun followed by Motamouse and Rat Catcher.
Race 3 got underway after a short postponement and with an increase in breeze all the crews had their hands full managing the lively Piedys around the race course. Another close race ensued with Moneyshot holding out Motamouse for another win.
The fourth race of the day will be remembered for the close proximity of lightening in the race area, which made its presence felt making the sailors and race committee nervous and decided to call it a day and head for home after Moneyshot had got its third gun for the day. It was a welcomed decision as shortly after the Piedys had made it home a massive 50 knot squall and more torrential rain hit washing away any chance of a dock party for the evening.
Sunday morning the sun was shining, but reports on the radio of winds forecasted to reach 130kph in the afternoon with 4 races scheduled racing got underway with no delay. Another tight finish saw Moneyshot hold out Motamouse again for its fourth consecutive gun and going into the final 3 races, held a 3 point lead over Motamouse.
Race 6 and it was time for Motamouse to make its move as it sailed an impressive race to take the gun with Rat Catcher on the improve to take second and Puddle Duck in front of Moneyshot falling off the podium for the first time in the regatta. The cat was amongst the pigeons as there were 2 more races and a drop to come into play.
Race 7 and everyone on the podium knew it was do or die and pushing hard on the start with an individual recall for Moneyshot and Motamouse meant it was going to be a tough ask to get a gun in the race for either crew. Puddle Duck cleared out after having a fantastic start to take the gun with Motamouse second, ahead of Moneyshot who sneaked into third when Rat Catcher had an issue with their Kite Halyard caused them to go shrimping on the hoist.
Going into the last race Motamouse had a one point lead, but also had to beat Moneyshot in the last race to secure the title as a tied result would give Moneyshot would get the title on count back. Race 8 started match race style with both boats luffing hard before the start trying desperately to give or avoid an infringement. At the top mark Rat Catcher was leading which went on to take the win in the final race with Puddle Duck on her heels. In third Moneyshot had a slight lead over Motamouse heading into the downwind where both crews had aggressive kite sets as they arrived at the separator mark. Moneyshot held onto its margin, extending slightly at the gate where they elected to cover Motamouse all the way up the final beat.
Motamouse closed the margin at the top mark and a frantic luffing dual insinuated with Motamouse to leeward and Moneyshot desperately trying not to infringe. At the top mark rounding Moneyshot had regained the upper hand as Motamouse had to perform two extra tacks to round the mark. Moneyshot had its kite up and set and was heading to the finish , Motamouse was sailing hard trying to get there dirty air on to Moneyshot as they were giving it everything to stay in clear air. With 100 metres to go it looked like Motamouse was going to run out of runway to overtake when all of a sudden a big squall came out of the NW and flattened both Piedys causing all sorts of dramas for the crews as both boats were on their ear side by side, kites flapping uncontrollably. It was Motamouse who recovered quickest and re hoisted there kite to surge past Moneyshot to go on and take the national title by 1 point in a thrilling and spilling finish!
What a massive weekend of racing! Everyone who participated had a great time despite the weather! Big thanks go to our loyal sponsors and supporters of the Piedys, Bucklands Beach Yacht Club, North Sails, Mt Gay Rum, and Burnsco Marine.
Congratulations to Tom Kearney and Team Motamouse for a well sailed and hard fought victory. Already looking forward to 2014!!!
3rd Rat Catcher
4th Puddle Duck
6th Panic Mouse
7th Jim Beam
8th Rat Attack