12ft Skiff Australian Championship started with a slow drift around Green Island (not the one off Cairns) ended with a cranking third rig in the steep waves of Waterloo Bay. The 76th Championship was won by Nick Press and Brad Yabsley on Dimension Polyant Australia with only a small margin to last year’s champs Brett Hobson and Alex Johnson on Garde. The one point win capped off a great season for Press and Yabsley after winning the Interdominions early in the new year and the NSW state Championship in late 2010 the first boat for some 25 years to win all three major championships in one season.
Race one was a round-the-island race and despite the soft big rig wind, the racing was tight with only five minutes separating all 20 boats. Clear air was key and Garde, after taking the lead from Dimension and locals Ghetto Sled about half way around, made the most of the small gap to lead the fleet home with Dimension in second place.
Race two and three were postponed to wait for breeze and eventually got under way in a soft second rig wind with the forecast 15-20 only turning up on the last lap. With an extra wide wing mark, crew work was put to the test with extra kite hoists between bursts of two sail reaching. Lachie Paramor had a blinder in the first race of the day, pulling third place and showing great speed. Equally impressive was the fourth to PB Towage from Queensland in the second. Dimension took the first, Garde the second, but a fifth in the second by Dimension had Garde leading the regatta after three races.
The forecast for Sunday was a healthy 15-20 knots from the South East. second rig was the call, however the breeze failed to fill and the fleet were subjected to a soft ride barely pulling two strings all day. Racing was tight with mistake-free sailing important to stay in touch. Dimension Polyant pulled two bullets in the trying conditions, followed by Garde in the first and Brendan Matthews in Allwood sails in the second. New Queenslander, Michael Spies in Andrew Short Marine took a third and Vantage real estate in their new boat a well-earned fourth. Gemmell Sails, having a very consistent regatta with the recent teaming of Murray Press and Damian Vlotman took a fourth. Ghetto sled came into form posting a fifth.
Dimension fighting for last heat win - 12 foot skiff Australian Title - Suellen Hurling ©
It took until race six for the bay to finally prove its world class skiff venue credentials by putting on solid 20kts South East breeze. The seas were whipped up and the racing hit another level of excitement. third rigs were donned and there were battles throughout the fleet. Wave ramps were set as the 12s took to the sky! Starting very sharply were the Queensland boats with a first, fourth and fifth around the first mark. PB Towage led the charge to the wing mark, then dived underneath it after a bit of a right of way disagreement. Dimension and Garde surged on with Allwood Sails and Ghetto Sled and in pursuit. These four would hold their positions to the end, but further back in the fleet, battles raged. The Squid, sailed by Ben Guymer and Craig Dancer showed good pace to lead the chase pack for a while. Lincoln Crowne found a watery place to rest during a kite hoist and Cunning Stunts, Vantage Real Estate, Gemmell Sails and Foxy Lady 3 all fought for supremacy. Meanwhile, PB Towage, having swum around at the first wing mark for a long while, got back on their feet and were blasting around the course. Lincoln Crowne overcame their swim to fly back into fifth, with Gemmell, Squid and PB Towage following close behind.
Consistency from the top two boats gave them a healthy points gap to third. Garde didn’t finish worse than third all weekend and Dimension Polyant dropped a fifth. third place Gemmell Sails was consistent throughout. After a poor start to the regatta, Allwood Sails took the most handicapped award and Gemmell Sails and Cunning Stunts took the Veterans and Juniors respectively. Results
First: Dimension Polyant,
Third: Gemmell Sails,
Fourth: Lincoln Crowne,
Fifth: Andrew Short Marine,
Sixth: Allwood Sails,
Seventh: PB Towage,
Eighth: Ghetto Sled,
Ninth: Vantage Real Estate,
11th: Cunning Stunts,
13th: Foxy Lady III,
14th: D Unit,
15th: CST Composites,
17th: Hey Charger,
19th: Camel Toe,
20th: Snot Bloo
First: Allwood Sails, second: Ghetto Sled, third: Vantage Real Estate
First: Gemmell Sails
First: Cunning Stunts
12 foot skiff Australian Title - Suellen Hurling ©