Magpie, which is helmed by Graeme Taylor, with Steve Jarvin and James Mayo crewing, is the reigning Victorian champion. Magpie was also recently installed as the 2014 NSW Etchells champion, as well. So after a second and sixth place on day two of the 2014 Victorian Etchells Championship, Magpie has taken the overall lead by a notable and quite possibly defendable, four points.
Taylor commented, 'We’ve been battling away and are truly happy with the result. It was a tough day on Lake King, with plenty to think about. We also had a spinnaker that would not come done in the first race, so we had to reach off to the side as we struggled to secure it. That cost us heaps, but came back for a second place.'
'We had the most terrible start to the second race and were well into the middle of the fleet. Thanks to a handy early gybe that was met with a shift in the breeze, we got over the top of about five other vessels on the first run. On the next work we clawed back a few more, too. At today’s second start, we had to duck everybody, so to ultimately score a sixth means we must have got a lot right along the way', said Taylor.
Leading again – Magpie. - 2014 Victorian Etchells Championship - David Jeffreys
Another to show that consistency really does pay off are Mark Bulka, Steve Young and Stewart Nichols on, Balance. They won the first race of the day and achieved a fourth place in the second to own second place overall after the first four races. 'Happy to be there and loving being back in the Etchells, almost as much as being here in Metung once more. What a place. Great stretch of water and it is really good to go somewhere other than Port Phillip. We’re experiencing glorious conditions and we’re not the only ones soaking it up. There is an amazing sense of camaraderie around, for you get to see everyone at both breakfast and dinner. A terrific ambience and a standout venue', said Bulka.
'It is great to sail with my mates once more and all of us are delighted to have a race win after the time off. We have not sailed on Etchells together for six years. The light winds forecasted for tomorrow could make this whole regatta very interesting and there are some shifts around you have to be aware of. Looking forward to tomorrow and some more glamour sailing!'
The consistency card is also evident in which craft now holds third place overall. Boat X had a third and fifth today with Noel Drennan, Glenn Ferguson and John Shallvey on board. 'We improved today and hope to go even better tomorrow! The lighter breeze has been part of us getting going. We’re always there or thereabouts, so you just have got to keep looking for the one percenters that stack up to good result.'
The crew of Boat X are on fire and a serious podium threat. - 2014 Victorian Etchells Championship - David Jeffreys
On the alternate side of the consistency curve is Fifteen+. Since moving to a four-person crew, the usual podium places have been more than elusive. Not so today. In the second race, David Clark, Alice McClure, Will Northam and Sean O’Rourke collected a reinvigorating win. Reflecting on how he’s now back, Clark said, 'Yes. We’re excited and very happy! We finally got it to work. The combination is working better with the differences between being a three-up crew and a four-person outfit requiring some re-jigging of the roles on board. It was a bigger change than I had originally thought and having different people occupying those spots at various regattas has also been part of the learnings.'
Clark, who is also an International Etchells Governor said, 'A lovely regatta with supreme conditions. The venue is just fantastic, offers steady wind pressure with only 5˚ shifts, so we hiked the whole way around the course. From the moment we all arrived, the volunteers have been bending over backwards to really make this event so, so memorable. It is game on tomorrow for all the leaders and it certainly is fantastic to be a part of it all and also witness the fleet in action. Good to luck to all.'
Fifteen+ show a very clean pair of heals to the fleet during Race Four. - 2014 Victorian Etchells Championship - David Jeffreys
In sailing, Nev Wittey needs no introduction. He’s aboard Yandoo XX with Jeanne-Claude Strong and Marcus Burke and they sit in 13th place, overall. Wittey commented, 'The nicest racetrack and the best people - so helpful. It’s gorgeous. We are having a good time and enjoying great racing, so cheers to the volunteers, of which there are many. There are some very good local yachties here, as well, so if you’re not heading in the same direction as them, then you need to ask the big questions! Is this place it’s own State? It’s a slice of paradise, although we are under strict instruction not to mention that. Oooops!'
Race Three of the regatta was the first to be conducted today, Sunday. There were four vessels scored On Course Side. They were Triad, Walk on Water, Shoulda Gone Left and Fast Forward. The first three race together regularly off Brighton, so perhaps there is some extra rivalry involved in that.
Race Officer, Deborah Lloyd said of the day, 'We waited patiently for the seabreeze to come in, which it duly did and the first race got underway on an axis of 120˚, with no change of course required in the 8-10knots that was present. The second race got away to 100˚, and then we had a small change to 105˚ for the second work. By now the breeze had hung in at the 8-12 knot range. Both courses were over 1.4nm, which took about 70 minutes for the leaders and our start line was once more 400m long. Simply beautiful conditions to be had and the volunteers have been stellar with a perfect outcome, which just s makes everyone happy and the racers are smiling. It all provides for exceptionally fair competition.'
There was just the one protest today, with Jukes of Hazzard being scored as disqualified (DSQ), following on from a start line incident with No Star, which occurred towards the pin end of the line.
Close racing is always a feature of the Etchells. - 2014 Victorian Etchells Championship - David Jeffreys
Rob Hanna is certainly Captain Effervescent, or possibly even more accurately, Captain Irrepressible. Hanna loves his sailing and always gets out on the racetrack to compete. Accordingly, it has to be something when he comments, 'That was the worst day I have ever had on the water! In the first race we were 400m behind, so it was not even funny. I only wanted to go left, but could only go right after a poor start and everyone was there heading left, so we just had to keep pushing out to the right. As is always the case in Etchells, a good start is the key and it has been challenging, to say the least. The boat went well, and this new crew combination is working OK, too. Metung is just great and the people are terrific. However, it’s certainly not my regatta!'
Free Advice, which has Hanna on the tiller, with Tim Clark and James Hannah crewing, currently sits in 22nd place. Hanna will not like that, so look for that to change tomorrow.
The 2014 Etchells Victorian Championship is providing for lots of close racing, with a plethora of sailing talent on display 8-10 March, inclusive. To see how hot Metung can get, you’ll have to follow it closely. See http://www.etchells.org.au
for all the details.