by David Price
NSWIS ETS crew Harry Price and Nathan Edwards sailing Crunchie snatched a tightly held lead in a gripping finale from Queensland visitors and 2012 Australian Youth Team members Tom Siganto and Joel Turner in Seriously Guided in the last race of the 2011-2012 NSW 29er State Championship.
2011-2011 NSW 29er State Champions Harry Price and Nathan Edwards - 2011-2012 NSW & ACT 29er Championship
The Queenslanders had come into the final series with a narrow lead of three points from the locals after six races back in December at Sail Sydney and on the final day had extended their lead after a first drop to seven points with a maximum of four races remaining.
Price and Edwards continued their all-bullet performance from Saturday’s racing with another bullet in their first race on Sunday followed by a second place in the next. Now with another drop invoked, the series tally had Siganto and Turner two points ahead whilst one of Sydney’s recent tropical storms threatening to close out racing early as had happened the preceding day.
After the RO Jeremey Atkinson signalled the fleet would only sail one more race, the eleventh race began with Crunchie caught over the line having to return and restart whilst the remainder of the fleet cleared off to the top mark.
NSW 29er Fleet Start - 2011-2012 NSW & ACT 29er Championship
Crunchie fought back and eventually established a significant lead continuing on to take the race and their fourth bullet for the weekend whilst awaiting the series leaders to finish their race crossing the line in fifth place.
Both crews had amassed four bullets each over the two weekends but it was Harry and Nathan’s 21 points in Crunchie eventually winning by only two points from Seriously Guided on 23 points to be crowned the 2011-2012 NSW 29er Open and Youth Champions. 'Coming into this regatta, we were planning to stay consistent as we have been in the past few regattas', Price said 'and we managed to pull that off so we are pretty happy'.
'Our tactics were to focus on picking everything right and getting through the course with as little mistakes as possible'. Their NSWIS coach and 49er Olympian Ben Austin was pleased with their progress. 'He liked how we did each race and managed the difficult breezes, how much we have improved even since Christmas –he’s happy too' Price commented.
Second place in the championship went to both youth and fastest junior skipper visitors from Queenslander Tom and Joel in Seriously Guided.
'We viewed this second part of the series as a warm-down training regatta after a long break from the nationals' their skipper Siganto said. ‘We now have to travel more and more in order to achieve our goals with our programme to represent Australia at the Youth Worlds in July'. Crewmate Joel was eager to point out 'the fleet numbers in NSW are much bigger than Queensland, and the easterlies we experienced over both these regattas on Botany Bay and Sydney Harbour were very challenging and so it was really good for our preparation'.
These two will be continuing with their training and racing back home with their coach Shane Smith until April where they meet their training partner crews Harry and Nathan along with Nina Long and Ben Robinson in Victoria at the Australian Youth Squad Training Camp at Sorrento Sailing Club.
The winner of the NSW Junior Skipper Trophy was won by Harry Morton with James Walters in Ship Happens, and the NSW Female Skipper Trophy went to Nina Long with Ben Robinson/Lewis Brake in Ninja.
The event was hosted by the Wollahra Sailing Club.
NSW 29ers On Sydney harbour - 2011-2012 NSW & ACT 29er Championship
2011-2012 NSW 29er Championship Winners - 2011-2012 NSW & ACT 29er Championship
Full results can be viewed on 29er website