by Chris Nelson
The 50th Western Australian Flying 15 State Championships finished today in a thriller. Perennial Champions Grant Alderson and Dean McCaullay on 'El Toro' did the business, demonstrating their skills and experience to snatch the title from Greg Tonnison and Steve Roberts on 'Spot the Difference' who led the series until the virtually the last seconds.
Finish of Race 7, El Toro (Blue and white spinnaker) holds out Spot the Difference (all blue kite) for the series win - WA Flying 15 50th State Titles
Despite the predictions of all the weather services for a glass off, a light and reasonably steady breeze greeted sailors this morning and courtesy of an earlier start race six got away in a light but steady breeze from the ENE. Ron Packer and Peter Mudford on 'Afrodisiac' won the day after picking a good shift on the first run, taking a lead they defended for the win. Significantly 'Spot the Difference' had their worst result of the regatta with an eighth while 'El Toro' consolidated with a third.
With one race to go this left 'Spot the Difference' on 15 points and 'El Toro' on 16 points – 'Spot the Difference' needed to finish in front of El Toro or keep them out of the top five to secure the series.
Given the likelihood of a fading easterly the final race was quickly fired off. With a clean start El Toro and Spot the Difference followed each other off to the right of the course. The front runners met from both the right and left of the course with the series’ leaders in the pack. As the breeze was light but relatively steady no significant changes occurred until final top mark – with the 'S' flag making an appearance the race would finish on the wing mark.
As El Toro had followed Spot the Difference around the hitch mark, Tonnison set about sailing El Toro off the course. Spot the Difference held El Toro on starboard tack giving boats behind an opportunity to pass. The gybe however proved crucial with El Toro able to advance on Spot the Difference giving them sufficient leverage to hold them out at the finish, crossing a metre ahead and snatching the State Title on a countback.
The beneficiaries of the on course antics were the 'Glamour Buoys' who bookended their weekend with a win followed by Afrodisiac with a second that took them to fourth in the standings. Dave Tucker finished sixth securing third place.
On shore Grant Alderson explained his success on the final leg 'I could feel all the match racing practice for the Australia Cup 25 years ago coming back to me!'
1 El Toro - Grant Alderson/Dean McAullay (19)
2 Spot the Difference - Greg Tonnison/Steve Roberts (19)
3 Nuff Said - David Tucker/Matthew Summers (26)
4 Afrodisiac - Ron Packer/Peter Mudford (27)
5 Escalator - Graeme Lillingston/Ed Repsevicius (29)
6 Glamour Buoys - Greg Leaversuch/Peter Bartblett (30)
7 Fflashpoint - Peter Rooke/Martin Arrowsmith (41)
8 Tuffan Up - David Yu/Chris Nelson (46)
9 Storyteller - Christopher Paterson/Rupert Leslie (59)
10 Absolutley Fabulous - Philippa Packer/Nick Robinson (63)