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Southern Spars - North Technology

Australian Open BIC Cup record turnout

by Bevan McKavanagh on 30 Apr 2011
SA in pyjamas. Sophie NIMMES & Rhiannon MULLAN - 2011 Australian Open BIC Cup Deb Schutz
72 sailors, 68 O’pen BIC’s sailing, great weather, great company and wind. It couldn’t really have been better. What a way to spend Easter!

Such was the scenario for the 2011 Australian O’pen BIC Cup held at the Great Lakes sailing Club at Forster NSW, the second National event for the class in Australia.

Held over the Easter extra long weekend April 21st-25th with sailors from all over Australia and even a couple of kiwi sailors, this year’s event was bigger than ever.

Similar to the inaugural Australian O’pen BIC Cup held last year at Tinaroo Sailing Club, this year organisers split the regatta into 3 sections. The 'business end' of Points Score racing and two fun divisions the Adventure Racing and the Freestyle Expression session, with prizes courtesy of sponsors Zhik and Ronstan.

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With an over whelming number of entries this year, giving us a wide range of sailors from the very talented seasoned racers to the first timers, organisers split the fleet into Gold and Silver. Gold being the experienced, Silver being the first time racers or sailors within minimal racing experience. The split was made on the first day after one race with sailors and their parents making the call on which fleet they felt was more appropriate for them. This worked well, allowing organisers to cater the specific needs of each fleet. The gold fleet having longer races and enforced rules with the silver having shorter, easier courses with plenty of coaching and encouragement to ensure they all made it around the course. The point score racing crowned the O’pen BIC Cup Champion and gave the experienced kids a chance to stand out and work towards a title, much like that of any other sailing regatta.

O’pen BIC regatta’s also play with the rules a little. Important rules that stand out as opposed to other regattas are: 1. All Sailors Must have Fun. 2. No protests.

The no protest rule is an interesting concept, but the way O’pen BIC regattas deal with penalty infringements seems to work. Protests are replaced with Rules Advisory Boats, generally one Rules Advisory Boat is on the water for every 20 competing boats. Their primarily role is to enforce the rules of the regattas and help the Silver Fleets get around the course if need be. They fly an O’pen BIC Class flag and carry a red penalty flag. If the Rules Advisory Boat sees what they deem to be a penalty, they inform the offending boat that they are required to complete either a 360 or 720. The decision of the Rules Advisory boat is final, eliminating the ugly side of protests after a days sailing.

The other, very important sections were the Adventure Race and Freestyle Expression Session. These sections had a major emphasis on fun and ensured the sailors mixed between ages, sexes and ability levels. This is and always will be a very important aspect of O’pen BIC regattas. These activities take the intensity out of the full-on race periods. We noticed this particularly on the second day of the regatta when 3 races were run back to back. The afternoon finished with an Adventure Race and a very relaxed vibe for the end of the day.

Adventure Racing:
This was a fun series of two races that did not go towards to the overall points score result. The first was a 2-up race with each sailor teamed up with another randomly selected partner. This worked well and lightened the mood after 3 point score races back to back giving the sailors a chance to mix often with a partner they had never meet before. The adventure race entailed a running start off the beach, a reach to the first mark, down to a second mark 200m down the beach and a run up to the main camping area where competitors were staying. At this point the sailors collected a baton then sailed back to a running finish on the beach.

The second adventure race was a singles version of the above with the same course, although being Easter Sunday the baton was substituted for an Easter Egg!!

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Tandem Freestyle Expression Sessions:
Unique to only O’pen BIC regattas this consists of sailors teaming up with a friend to 'sail' their boat in a way that will impress the judging panel located on the beach. Stern stand, boom walks, hood ornaments and mast climbs were the order of the day with additional prizes awarded for costumes and synchronised moves. A very popular part of the regatta which also worked as a good way to fill in the light wind periods.

After the success of the 45 boat fleet at Tinaroo in North QLD last year it was always going to be difficult to make this years event just as enjoyable and just as fun. From all accounts the Great Lakes Sailing Club did a very good job at doing just that, complete with perfect sunshine for the 4 days of the regatta. A perfect mix of organisation with the laid back feel of a grass roots sailing club, President Brian Bath and his committee put on a great event. The daily activities ran to schedule, courses were set correctly, the inexperienced and experienced were all catered for and everyone went away smiling. Located on the Lakes Way about 3.5hrs North of Sydney - 10 minutes South of Forster, the Great Lakes Sailing Club house sits on the eastern side of Wallis Lake within the Booti Booti National Park. A fantastic place to sail for young and old, the Great Lakes Sailing Clubs hosts its annual Wild Cats catamaran regatta over the October long weekend. If you’re a cat sailor I highly recommend it. For the surfers amongst the sailors, morning glass is regularly on offer just 300m across the road.

Most of the accommodation for sailors and their families was provided by Camp Elim a Youth Cam located 200m North of the Sailing Club. Camp Elim looked after breakfast and dinner which made for a really easy day without the need to arrange meals at night. The daily lunches were handled by Heather Bath and her team at the Sailing Club’s canteen. Thanks Heather!!

The classes biggest challenge now in Australia is where to for next year??!!! Rumour also has it that Australia may have a chance at hosting the 2014 World O’pen BIC Cup. Stay tuned!!

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Summary of Results are as follows:

1st Place (Overall) Finn GILBERT (HHSC, NSW)
2nd Place (Overall) Hamish Wiltshire (DSC, NT)
3rd Place (Overall) Harley Walters (RPAYC, NSW)

1st Place (Silver Fleet) Natasha BRYANT (ASC, NSW)
2nd Place (Silver Fleet) Annika MASON (ASC, NSW)
3rd Place (Silver Fleet) Alexander FIEBIG (GLSC, NSW)

1st Place (Gold Fleet, Open) Toby SOROKIN (ASC, SA)
2nd Place (Gold Fleet, Open) Andrew RING (MBSC, WA)
3rd Place (Gold Fleet, Open) Luke BUTCHER (ASC, SA)

1st Place (Gold Fleet, U15) Finn GILBERT (HHSC, NSW)
2nd Place (Gold Fleet, U15) Hamish WILTSHIRE (DSC, NT)
3rd Place (Gold Fleet, U15) Harley WALTERS (RPAYC, NSW)

1st Place (Gold Fleet, U12) Sean HERBET (MSC, NZ)
2nd Place (Gold Fleet, U12) Simon MURNAGHAN (M16SSC, NSW)
3rd Place (Gold Fleet, U12) Oliver MEDD (MBSC, WA)

Check out the full results here

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Launched in 2006, the O’pen BIC is a junior, ISAF registered International Class. Approximately 4000 O’pen BIC’s are sailing world wide. Approximately 165 boats are sailing throughout Australia.

For more information check out www.openbic.com or contact Glide Industries Pty. Ltd. info(at)glideindustries.com
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