Zhik ….......the yardstick for success!

1st David Lister - Moth - Zhik Single Handed Regatta
John Boyd
The recent Zhik Single Handed Regatta (ZSHR) hosted by South Lake Macquarie Amateur Sailing Club (SLMASC) was again a huge success, attracting the largest fleet since its inception just five years ago. Zhik’s continual sponsorship has helped build this regatta into one the most popular with single handed dinghy sailors, attracting Olympic, World, National and State Champions, as well as many club and junior sailors alike, with thousands of dollars on offer to the ‘Zhik Top Ten’ based on yardstick results. Sailors love the venue, with the open and flat waters and consistent breezes making for near perfect dinghy racing conditions.

The Zhik SHR adopts a modified yardstick which the race organisers have formulated using class VYC handicaps and the now significant race history that has been built up from previous Zhik SHR’s. Being a yardstick event, the organisers started out using the VYC ratings but found that these resulted in heavily skewed fleet results, especially when the Moths foiled in optimum conditions. The first Zhik SHR sailed back in 2008 was a good example of this, when sailing in ideal 12 – 15 knot conditions, the moths raced off their VYC yardstick of 79 and took out the first six places.

The concept of the yardstick system enables the best sailors in each class to sail against each other in a mixed fleet regatta (divided into divisions) with the overall results then reflecting differences in sailor performance and ability rather than boat capability. This skewing of results in the first year was also evident in other classes the following year until race organisers started to use the race data from all races sailed throughout the Zhik SHR series to modify the yardsticks used, and once the race committee started to make these adjustments the mixed fleet results became far more consistent. The continual year by year refinement of the yardsticks over the last five years lead to an extremely close 2012 regatta, with the first seven placings in the 'Zhik Top Ten' for 2012 going to seven different classes of boat ….. a handicapper’s dream!

Scott Babbage - Moth - Zhik Single Handed Regatta
John Boyd

The weekend was sailed in near perfect light to moderate conditions on the trapezoidal course format on the open and flat waters of Southern Lake Macquarie. Saturday’s first race was sailed in 5 – 7 knots was a tight result but Chris Caldercoat sailed his Finn to victory, with Mark Skelton in his OK second, closely followed by Michael Brown in his new Impulse . With the wind building to 8 – 10 knots in the second race, Scott Babbage in his Moth Foiler '7' took out first place.

Sunday’s racing proved to be exciting and even more action packed with a building Nor Easter throughout the afternoon, with Race 3 sailed in 8 – 12 knots and race 4 in 12 – 18 knots. The Moth Foilers really took flight, and despite sailing off an adjusted yardstick handicap of 60, the top moth sailors lead the fleet with David Lister sailing faultlessly to take out both races, closely followed by Iain Jensen.

In the ever growing and highly competitive Junior Division, Scott Hendeneith sailing a Laser Radial was ranked first closely followed by Shane Conly and local junior, Scott Singleton- Turner (Laser 4.7) .

The 'Zhik Top Ten' comprises the top 10 boats in the regatta based on overall yardstick results, and the 2012 Zhik Top Ten winners were:

1. David Lister……………………Moth Foiler
2. Mark Skelton………..........OK dinghy
3. Michael Brown………………Impulse
4. Chris Caldercoat………….Finn
5. Steve Russell……………….Laser Open
6. Jonathan Vandervoort … Contender
7. Scott Hendeneith……………Laser Radial
8. Paul Cohen……………………..Contender
9. Iain Jensen………………………Moth Foiler
10. Luka Damic……………………..Moth Foiler

Full results are available from the SLMASC website

2nd Mark Skelton - Ok dinghy - Zhik Single Handed Regatta
John Boyd

3rd Michael Brown - Impulse - Zhik Single Handed Regatta
John Boyd

4th Chris Caldercoat - Finn - Zhik Single Handed Regatta
John Boyd

6th Jonathan Vandervoort - Contender - Zhik Single Handed Regatta
John Boyd

8th Paul Cohen - Contender - Zhik Single Handed Regatta
John Boyd

10th Luka Demic - Moth - Zhik Single Handed Regatta
John Boyd

The Zhik Single Handed Regatta will be back bigger and better than ever in 2013 with event organisers having several new ideas to further improve the competition, and continued work on refining the yardsticks should continue to make for exciting and close racing in this unique regatta format. Can you make the 'Zhik Top Ten' in 2013?