B14 National Championships first day of racing got underway in a strong freshening seabreeze. 15 boats faced the starter and after a short delay the race got underway in choppy conditions.
by Adrian Beswick
At the top mark Onemoreforthebone (OMFTB) Guy Bancroft and David Grace (Vic) closely followed by Siren Nick Darlow and Mike McDonald (Vic) then father son combination of Andre and Jake Webster sailing Octopussy (ACT). At the end of the first of three laps OMFTB was still in the lead from Octopussy and Wing It with James Patterson and Freya Vickery (VIC). Meanwhile throughout the remainder of the fleet there were some casualties occurring with Bondi Tram sailed by Steve Mitchell and Briony VanGalen (TAS) got blown flat and retired while British brothers, Carl and Guy Raynes on their charter Toxic broke a tiller extension. During the second lap there were little changes to the placing’s until the third lap when Strait4devils sailed by Adrian Beswick and Clare Cromarty (TAS) in fourth place blew out their boom vang and Siren snuck back through on the upwind. OMFTB managed to hold out challengers Octopussy to take the win by a minute with Siren coming in third position and Strait4devils coming back one spot after their breakage to take fourth after a Wing it crossed on the wrong side of the finish boat, a trending mistake that seemed to claim numerous finishers before they corrected their mistake and went back around.
The second race got underway with a reduced fleet of 13 boats in a 20 plus knot breeze. Boats were well clear at the start being very conservative in what appeared to be quite hard conditions. The seaway had chopped up significantly and was to take many casualties throughout the race. Just after the start the B14 fleet was greeted by some of the stragglers of the I14 race who had been dropping like flies at the bottom gate. Rounding the top again was OMFTB followed by Octopussy and in third, Hunt Leather sailed by Sophie Hunt and Andy Paine (NSW). Shortly after the first rounding over went Hunt Leather letting through Strait4devils into third position. The next group rounding was Siren and B Sting sailed by Daniel Watson and Josie Roper (NSW) who capsized after rounding the top mark allowing Phantom, Sailed by Steve Miller and Lauren Keil (TAS) to gain a couple of spots. Back at the front of the fleet things were also getting interesting with Strait4devils sneaking through Octopussy after they capsized during their gybe. By the top of the second and final lap, OMFTB had held their lead of about two minutes and were rocketing down the course, after a nosedive they too became capsize casualties and sent their boat skyward in what is known to the fleet as the 'Rocket Ship' Manuvre whilst keeping their spinnaker set. This allowed Strait4devils an opportunity to pass to claim the win if they could avoid the same fate. Again playing it on the conservative side they decided to drop the kite and granny gybe the boat to sail to the finish, their conservative sailing that kept them upright managed to secure what was their first ever heat win in a national championship in nine years. Octopussy also managed to sneak through OMFTB to claim second with OMFTB limping to third position with a blown out spinnaker. Throughout the fleet there were again casualties from the race: Blown Seal sailed by Mark Lainson and Paul 'Beardy' O’Connor cracked a wing and went in to assess the damage; Wing it broke their forestay whilst B Sting broke their top rudder gudgeon.
The overall standings after day one are OMFTB and Octopussy on four points each with OMFTB in first with a first and a third with Octopussy having two second finishes. Strait4devils is on five points in third with Phantom in fourth position with 14 points and Hunt Leather fifth on 15 points, NSW legends, Ritchie Reynolds and Lissa McMillan sailing in The Nude made the most of a windy day finishing overall in sixth position on 16 points.
For full results click here
. Event website
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1:42 AM Tue 3 Jan 2012 GMT
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