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Ronstan Victorian Tasar State Titles at McCrae Yacht Club

by Chris Payne 22 Mar 2016 23:35 PDT 12-14 March 2016
Our sponsors Ronstan and Felco representatives Alistair Murray and Blaise Vinot hand over their generous trophies to this year's winners Heather Macfarlane and Chris Payne © Phil Johnson

With two weeks to go before the 2016 Ronstan Victorian Tasar Championships the organising committee learnt that the venue, Yarrawonga, was under a Blue Green algae alert with strong recommendations that water born activities are not performed. This left the committee in a quandary, but with a few phone calls, McCrae Yacht Club on Mornington Peninsula came to the rescue and agreed to hold the regatta.

The late change put pressure on numbers but still a fleet of over 30 boats turned out for the starter gun, including 3 that made the long trek from NSW/ACT.

Even with the change in venue the fleet will arguably be one of the strongest fleets in Australia in 2016. Those racing included the current World Champion Chris Dance sailing with new crew Jon Holroyd and past World Champions Rick Longbottom(ACT) sailing with Darryl Bentleigh(NSW) and Bronwyn Ridgway crewing for her daughter Megan Ridgway. The fleet also included long time Tasar legends and Tasar coach Glenn and Vanessa Collings who are slowly immersing themselves back into the fleet from a long absence.

The wind blew offshore for the whole weekend and were sailed in ideal conditions of 10 to 15 knots with occasional periods closer to 20 knots to provide some great high speed reaches for the sailors. On day 1 Chris & Jon stamped there authority early with two wins in the three races with Rick/Darryl scoring a 1st and a 2nd. Unfortunately both boats also had a mediocre race which allowed Heather Macfarlane/Chris Payne to be the overnight leaders on total points.

Day 2 was a little more mixed up with Glenn & Vanessa winning the first race, Heather & Chris the second, and Rick & Darryl putting scoreboard pressure on by winning the 3rd race. Local legend Murray O'Brien with his son Liam O'Brien, also had a good day to keep the pressure on the front runners, along with 2015 state champions Peter Ellis/ Charlotte Birbeck. This set the scene for the final day of two races with only 3 points separating the top 3.

The first race of the day was won by Pete & Charlotte, with Rick & Darryl in 2nd to close the gap to the leaders. Heather & Chris managed to catch up to 3rd and importantly pass Chris & Jon to keep a slender lead going into the last race. In the final race tide was pushing the boats over the line, so the race committee flew the very large black flag again to try to get the race started as quickly as possible. Rick & Darryl stamped their authority on the race by winning the start at the starboard end, only to let Chris & Jon and Heather & Chris tack behind them to find better angles on the right. Chris & Jon led to the top mark and sailed onto win the race comfortably. Heather & Chris were further back, but managed to crawl up to 2nd on the reaches while Rick & Darryl were left with a bit of work to do, which was hampered by the main sheet strop breaking and taking away any chance of winning the series. In the end Heather & Chris won by a few points from Chris & Jon followed by Rick & Darryl.

Overall Results: (top three)

1st Heather Macfarlane and Chris Payne
2nd Chris Dance and Jon Holroyd
3rd Rick Longbottom and Darry Bentleigh

Super Grand Masters
1st Tony and Julie Creak
2nd Cary and Pat Pedicini

Grand Masters
1st Heather Macfarlane and Chris Payne
2nd Glenn and Vanessa Collings

Masters
1st Chris Dance and Jon Holroyd
2nd Rick Longbottom and Daryl Bentleigh

Most Improved
Ross and Natasha Martin

Full Results at www.tasar.org/regions/australia/victoria/state-titles/2016/2016-ronstan-victorian-tasar-state-title-results

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