Victorian Tasar State Championships - Light weather tussle

Ronstan Victorian Tasar State Championships
Lucy Townson
Ronstan Victorian Tasar State Championships 2013 - With Melbourne having its ninth day straight of over 30C, there was some trepidation about the lack of wind forecast for the state championship, but with good race management from Royal Geelong Yacht Club, all eight races were held in good conditions.

Three races were sailed on the Saturday in a shifty and light N - NNW which saw the local Geelong heroes of Tony and Julie Creek winning the first race from the inter state crew of Darryl Bentleigh/ Darren Watkins, showing that Super Grand Masters can still sail fast. Race 2 was won by Heather Macfarlane/Chris Payne from last years National Champion Craig McPhee/ Gill Berry from South Australia. Race 3 was taken out by the newly engaged couple of Peter Ellis/ Charlotte Birbeck after a close tussle with class legends Alistair Murray/ Darren Eger.

Sunday brought light sea breezes in the morning which strengthened as the day progressed and produced champagne sailing and close racing for the whole fleet. Race 4 saw the current World Champions Paul and Bronwyn Ridgway have a clear win from McPhee/ Berry. Race 5 was again Macfarlane/Payne’s race with Ellis/ Birbeck sneaking past McPhee/ Berry. After lunch the Ridgway’s won again from Ellis/ Birbeck, but in Race 7 the new kids on the block dual Sabre National Champions Peter Hackett/ Chris Dance squeezed past the Ridgways to take the win.

This left one race to sail on the Monday with the points very close. Ridgways were on 18pts, Ellis/ Birbeck 20 pts, Macfarlane/ Payne and McPhee/ Berry 21 pts and Hackett/ Dance on 24 pts. Unfortunately a few boats including McPhee/ Berry had to get back to SA for work and were unable to sail. The fleet was held ashore for an hour waiting for the breeze, but finally the conditions filled in and Tony Gauge, PRO, took the fleet out. The race got away quickly and all four boats in contention were in the leading pack at the first mark with the Ridgways holding the lead. On the second beat the Macfarlane/Payne were able to sneak in front as the Ridgways tried to cover all the contenders. It was close on the run with the Ridgways almost getting an overlap on Macfarlane/Payne with Ellis/Birbeck - Hackett/ Dance just behind. On the short beat to the finish Macfarlane/Payne managed to hold up the Ridgways enough to get the fast finishing Ellis/ Birbeck and Hackett/ Dance past them. Macfarlane/ Payne won the race by four seconds from Ellis/Birbeck with the top-five boats finishing within 25 seconds and the rest of the fleet close on their heels. This left the top three on equal points overall with the tie break going the way of Macfarlane/Payne, Ridgways second, Ellis/ Birbeck third and Hackett/Dance fourth.

The 25 Tasars thoroughly enjoyed the event, with Royal Geelong YC going out of their way to making everyone feel at home. Like most Tasar events, a lot is owed to the event sponsor Ronstan, who provided the majority of the trophies along with Hastings Betta Home Living. No Tasar event is complete without the Ronstan half hour hosted by Alistair Murray after every days sailing, and this event was no different, along with Champagne and cheese.

There is plenty on the calendar for the Tasar class with NSW state titles at Easter, the World Championships coming up in August at Cascade Locks USA, the Nationals being sailed at Blairgowrie (27 December - 4 January) and the Worlds back in Australia early 2015.

2013 Ronstan Victorian Tasar State Championships website