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Pacer Nationals 2010 report from Robe, South Australia

by Phil Chadwick on 11 Jan 2011
Pacer Nationals Robe 2010 - Pacer Nationals 2010, Robe SA Jane Chadwick
2010 / 2011 Pacer Australian Championship - Robe Yacht Club, 28th December 2010 – 2nd January 2011.

Robe is magnificent. It may be the best holiday spot we have found. Robe has great scenery, weather, sailing, surfing and shopping. The Yacht club is perfectly positioned to the south of a beautiful harbour with Cray fisherman constantly going back and forth.


The Yacht club is headed up by Commodore Jim Callahan who made us all feel totally at home. The Pacer people are very welcoming and friendly. It makes for a perfect family holiday with kids of all ages all playing together and enjoying themselves. A special thanks to Bronwyn Bird who stepped up to be a fantastic race officer and Katrina Berryman for organising the lunches. Many other volunteers all worked together to makes it a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

28th December 2010 - Invitation race
5-10 kts Southerly. Club start with soldiers course due to lack of resources. A short sprint to the top mark resulted in a pack of boats arriving together and then the search for the gybe mark in the swells. Hi Stepper (Campbell and Clare Martin) and Pocket Rocket (Murray, Liam and Anna O‘Brien) found it first with Chaddywagon (Phil, Bridget and Jack Chadwick) and Spellbound (Lisa Barrand and Matilda Hiscock) following on their heels. Pocket Rocket and Hi Stepper extended away. No real upwind leg made it hard. Wind was offshore and lifting on port with a starboard course. You needed to sail the lifts high on Port tack to get the breeze first to reach hard latter. Results - first Pocket Rocket, second Hi Stepper, third Chaddywagon. Pocket Rocket is flying in these conditions.

29th December 2010 – Heats 1, 2 and 3
3 races today for three first to Chaddywagon. Others had mixed results. Chaddywagon’s downwind speed is a huge weapon. Breeze was perfect 10-15 kts South Easterly offshore with regular shifts up to 15 degrees. Heat 3 was a real dog fight was the highlight so far. At the last leeward mark it was Hi Stepper, Chaddywagon and Spellbound all tied up and drag racing for the finish. First Spellbound dropped back a boat length then it was Hi Steppers turn to fall back slightly. Hi Stepper then tried a difficult tight cover on Spellbound which failed and resulted in Spellbound lee bowing Hi Stepper to take second behind Chaddywagon. It was fantastic to see Lisa and Matilda absolutely thrilled to the back teeth with their result. Well done Girls.

30th December 2010 – Heats 4, 5 and 6
3 more races today for 3 more firsts to Chaddywagon. 6 wins from 6 heats in all conditions, Chaddywagon is on fire. Heat 4 started in 3-5 kts North Easterly with Chaddywagon wanting the left. Chaddywagon and Pocket Rocket had a Port and Starboard on the line due to a floating anchor line on the start mark. Pocket Rocket did a 360 and both boats raced to the right with Hi Stepper waiting for pressure to get back on but it never came. Pocket Rocket was first to tack up the middle and suffered as a result. Chaddywagon tacked across just short of the layline and got the new right hand pressure to lead by 2 min. The wind stopped at gybe mark and then filled in from South East. Chaddywagon won easily. Heat 5 and 6, 10-20 kts South Easterly. Heat 6 had Hi Stepper and Chaddywagon tack for tack up the last beat when Hi Stepper broke left and Chaddywagon going right for pressure near the starboard layline. On the long Starboard tack to the finish the breeze went slightly left and it was all tied up until the last minute a right hand shift gave it to Chaddywagon.

31st December 2010 – Heats 7, 8 and 9
2 more first and a third today for Chaddywagon. Breeze South West to Southerly 8-20 kts. Great day with close racing. The lighter breezes bought more boats to the front of the fleet with Hydropump (Tully Hiscock and Ross Berryman) and Pocket Rocket fighting out heat 8 with Hi Stepper and Chaddywagon. In the end Hi Stepper was flawless in first to Spellbound in second. Chaddywagon and Hydropump had a port and starboard on the finish line with the result Hydropump doing a 360 and refinishing fourth. The kids are now exhausted and getting cranky. We are all looking forward to a day off and then 3 more races on the 2nd Jan. A lot of the crews alternate races, which spreads the load and works well. After many poor races and unusually slow sailing the Boy’s on Seize the Day (Mitchell and Mackenzie Bird) finally tip their boat over on the beach to find the centreboard is delaminating and forming a fibreglass pocket making progress agonising slow. Finally the boys have found the reason behind speed issues.

2nd January 2011 – Heats 10, 11 and 12
Breeze 15-22 kts South Easterly with big shift both ways. Chaddywagon just needs to get around in one of the last races to take the title. Sailing out to the start in 20 kts we notice a 75 mm tear in the main leach just under the top batten. A quick assessment reveals it will not last one more race so Chaddywagon races to the beach for repairs. Thanks to Craig Hiscock for sprinting down the beach with toolbox in hand to assist in a quick stickyback and hand sewing repair job. The repair held out and Chaddywagon took another 3 wins to make 11 wins and a third with Hi Stepper second overall and Hydropump third and 1st Junior. Heat 12 was the freshest of the series at about 22 kts from the South East with big shifts both ways. Chaddywagon started at the pin and raced left waiting for a shift to come back on. The breeze went right and it was Little Wizard (Pete, Georgia and Oliver Strong) crossing in first near the top mark to Hi Stepper. Pete casual as ever says 'Hello Campbell' at the cross. Little Wizard had their best result and are improving. Robe will be remembered for its friendly atmosphere, pristine waters and a perfect Holiday destination. As a sailing venue it is as good as it gets.
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