Vaughan Prentice has successfully defended his Etchells Queensland State Championship title and secured a place in the line-up for the Etchells Worlds in Sydney in 2012.
Prentice and his team of Mark Bradford, Stacey Jackson and Darren Hutchinson fought six light air races on Moreton Bay to win by only two points ahead of Matthew Chew on 12 points then David Rose on 14 points.
It came down to the last race before Prentice could seal his winning position. His nemesis, David Rose, was with Prentice every mile of the races as they fought each other for dominance. In that last race Prentice held Rose out from the start, but when he was assured Rose could not beat him overall, helped Rose to secure an overall podium finish.
Day one saw the fleet racing in light airs of about seven to eight knots. The first race was a wake-up call for some of the complacent members of the Brisbane fleet. Talk back at the club after racing was that some of the crews misread the tide and were surprised by their positions on reaching the bottom mark for the second time. After this nervous first race, the second and third races saw the fleet’s leg and finish times compress as they settled into the light breeze and Moreton Bay conditions.
At the end of day one Prentice led the overall pointscore on six points, one point ahead of Chew and then came Rose on 13 points.
Day two was another light day as the 13-boat fleet headed to the start line. One of the more relaxed skippers was heard to call ‘crew – arm doors and cross check’ while Noel Paterson handed over his six-pack for safe keeping until he had finished racing for the day.
Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron race officer Louise Davis got the fleet off to a clear start for the 1.2 nautical mile race. Matthew Chew (Gen XY) led the fleet at the top mark ahead of David Rose (This Will Make Her Scream) from Prentice (Funky Cold Medina). The breeze shifted on the work and Rose picked it up to take the lead from Chew on the run and take out first place. Prentice finished second, then Paterson (Waterloo Bay) in third and Chew back to fourth.
A short break and the fleet were ready for the second race. The breeze built to about 10 knots and held steady. Two boats were early - Craig Coulsen’s Trumpcard and Jason Passey’s Jump Lagi. Rose and Chew started at the pin end. Rose stayed left after the start. By the top mark Rose held a comfortable lead ahead of Prentice and Trevor Martin (Three Ring Circus). As the breeze softened back to about five to six knots Rose took more out of his closest rivals. With a soldiers course on the last run, Rose was able to hold his lead to give him another first place. Coming in second again was Prentice with third going to Martin, fourth to Paterson and fifth to Chew.
As the fleet gathered for the final and World Championship qualification deciding race for the Brisbane Fleet, the crews were quiet and focused.
At the start and with four boats OCS including Martin and Paterson, Chew took a safe line at the pin end and cleared it safely. But it was out the back of the Start Boat that the action was really happening. Prentice was holding Rose out, luffing him and delaying both their starts by about 20 seconds.
'We couldn’t let Rosie winner another one. We had to make sure he got worse than third and we crossed the line in front of him,' Prentice said. He then admitted that if they hadn’t of done the 'crazy stuff' at the start and still headed out the right hand side, both he and Rosie would have proably finished first and second overall.
Vaughan Prentice tries to hold out Rose at the start of the final series race - Etchells Queensland Championship 2011 -
'We are very happy with our results. It’s the first time we have sailed together. We have been trying a whole lot of new light air settings that Squark (Mark Bradford) learnt from doing the worlds in San Diego,' Prentice said.
Chew and his team of Darren Jones, Paul Wyatt and Adrian Finglas kept their heads and their focus in the building north-north-east breeze to achieve and hold a comfortable lead over the fleet to finish first. Next across the finish was David Healy (Rapscallion). Rose and Prentice continued their battle throughout the race as they slowly worked their way back through the fleet. After some ‘tap dancing’ by Prentice, just before the finish, to 'try to hold people out to help Rosie get up into second place' Prentice finished ninth and Rose in seventh.
This individual race result returned the state title to Prentice and moved Rose back to third place overall for the second consecutive year.
The youngest skipper in this weekend’s regatta, Chew is pleased with what his team achieved. 'We learnt a lot between yesterday and today about our light air rig set-up. We were much better set-up today. Our crew is much better. Our communication is a lot better now. From yesterday to today we have become a much better team.
'We were here to come together as a team and to learn about ourselves and that is what we did.'.
The likely Brisbane Fleet skippers to compete in the 2012 Etchells World Championship will be Vaughan Prentice, Matthew Chew, Fleet Captain Noel Paterson, David Healey and Craig Coulsen.
Final results of the Etchells Queensland State Championship 2011 were -
Place, Sail No, Boat Name, Skipper, Sers Score, Race 6, Race 5, Race 4, Race 3, Race 2, Race 1
1 , AUS1347, Funky Cold Medina , V Prentice, 10.0, [9.0] , 2.0 , 2.0 , 1.0 , 4.0 , 1.0
2 , AUS864, Gen XY, M Chew, 12.0, 1.0 , [5.0] , 4.0 , 2.0 , 2.0 , 3.0
3 , AUS1392, ThisWilMakeHerScream, D Rose, 14.0, 7.0 , 1.0 , 1.0 , 4.0 , 1.0 , [8.0]
4 , AUS415, Waterloo Bay , N Paterson, 22.0, 5.0 , 4.0 , 3.0 , 5.0 , [8.0] , 5.0
5 , AUS1144, Rapscallion , D Healey, 24.0, 2.0 , 10.0 , 7.0 , [10.0] , 3.0 , 2.0
6 , AUS852, Three Ring Circus , T Martin, 27.0, 6.0 , 3.0 , 5.0 , [8.0] , 6.0 , 7.0
7 , AUS885, The Boat That Rocked, J Chilman, 28.0, 4.0 , 6.0 , 8.0 , 6.0 , [9.0] , 4.0
8 , AUS826, Jump Lagi, J Passey, 33.0, 3.0 , 7.0 , [13.0] , 7.0 , 10.0 , 6.0
9 , AUS892, Trumpcard, C Coulsen, 35.0, 10.0 , 8.0 , [12.0] , 3.0 , 5.0 , 9.0
10 , AUS849, YEP, K Waller, 46.0, [13.0] , 9.0 , 10.0 , 9.0 , 7.0 , 11.0
11 , AUS1365, Jungle Drum , P Largier, 50.0, 12.0 , 11.0 , 6.0 , [12.0] , 11.0 , 10.0
12 , AUS249, Touch n Go , J McLean, 55.0, 8.0 , 12.0 , 9.0 , 13.0 , 13.0 , [13.0]
13 , AUS731, Betelgeuse, G Forgan-Smith, 57.0, 11.0 , [13.0] , 11.0 , 11.0 , 12.0 , 12.0