VS Skiff National Championship final day and wrap up

Runaway & Purple Headed Warrior in close competition. - VS 15' Skiff 66th National Championships
Wendy Hodda
66th Australian VS Championship – Kangaroo Island, South Australia.

Saturday 8th January Heats 9 and 10.

Final Day 5 Races: Saturday conditions after a change overnight saw S breeze up to 18 knots on the course with short choppy water across the Bay. All skiffs good to go and the series points focus on the four skiffs with two races to win the Handicap Championship. ADD 123, Purple Headed Warrior and Wobbygong were equal leaders on 17 points, while Wildtrack were in with a real chance on 20 points. The courses for the day were two upwind finishes with the top pin directly out in the Bay from the Club and the Gate marks set off the Club beach. An early start scheduled for 11:30 am had all skiffs on the water at 11:00am on a flood tide.

Heat 9: The fleet got away on starboard with plenty of pace in an excellent planning breeze. The heavier crews were hiking hard and generating good power and speed with their fuller rigs. Ol’ Yella & PHW electing to go with their older smaller main sails staying with Firestorm and Runaway to round the top mark in close company, setting kites for the first run in exciting conditions. With one gybe the go Firestorm, Runaway and Old Yella over cooked the approach to the gate marks & had early drops with two sail reaches into the gate. PHW had made another good call & laid the gate with their kite to put pressure on for third place. The next beat and kite run saw close racing between the leaders as PHW overhauled Ol’ Yella to round third. Another high speed run and back to the finish for another win to Firestorm, Runaway enjoying their favoured conditions sailed well to second, PHW third and Battleship also enjoying the pressure moving up on the more experience crews fourth.

Heat 10: As breeze settling at 12 – 15 knot in the S the fleet readied for their last crack at series placings. A congested boat end start saw a number of skiffs arriving at the Starters boat with high speed. As the openings on the line closed Firestorm and ADD123 tangled and capsized on the Staters Boat, leaving the starters to retire to the cabin to avoid spars & rigging. The rest of the fleet didn’t mind, powering on uphill in really good conditions. Hot Tuna, skippered by Michael Northam, Dave Mulvaney on sheet and Brad Dodds in the bow pushed PHW & Runaway for the lead. At the first mark it was Runaway from PHW, Ol’ Yella and Hot Tuna setting a new kite and on the attack. The gate marks at the bottom of the course saw Runaway first PHW in close pursuit and Hot Tuna well an truly challenging as they went through Ol’ Yella to port, just as the yellow boat capsized on the gybe to the left gate pin. Firestorm had recovered from last place and was now well in the mix with tremendous determination closing the gap & powering towards the leaders. In the condition easing, Firestorm was well in touch with PHW and Runaway by the second top mark and headed Runaway at the last gate marks after a spectacular downwind leg. Firestorm went on to finish first, Runaway second, PHW third, Hot Tuna fourth and Ol’ Yella fifth. The Handicap title contenders did it hard with hcp heat places of ADD123 ninth, Wobbygong eighth, Wildtrack fifth with the well sailed PHW second. Hot Tuna scored a popular first on handicap on the back of their fourth on Scratch.

Final Series Results:

Scratch: First Firestorm (9pts), second Runaway (23pts), third Ol’Yella (27 pts), fourth PHW (29pts) fifth ADD123(39pts)

Handicap: First PHW ( 25pts), second Wildtrack (30pts), third Battleship (31pts), fourth Wobbygong (32pts), fifth ADD123 (33pts)

Firestorm at 100% down a run to win the final heat at the titles - VS 15' Skiff 66th National Championships
Wendy Hodda