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Garmin Etchells NSW State Championship – Three races surprises all

by John Curnow 16 Feb 03:33 PST
Avalon and Tango from Royal Brighton Yacht Club skippered by Chris Hampton and crewed by Sam Haines and Charlie Cumbley enjoying a close tussle © Alex McKinnon Photography

The second day of racing in the 2019 Garmin International Etchells Class NSW State Championship did not live up to expectations at all. Everyone was thinking they would have to spend at least a portion of the day onshore, waiting for the wind to come in. Instead, we managed to get all three races in, even if we did need to wait just a little while, so that the wind could settle down and come from a consistent direction.

The first race of the day was set on an axis of 060 degrees in around six knots of breeze. It looked as if it would get off the first time around, but with a wind shift just before the start causing a number of boats to be over the line, so a General Recall resulted. The course was subsequently adjusted to an axis of 055, and the fleet was sent off again, this time with a clear start for all. After the first lap, the wind had lightened off a little, and the top mark was moved slightly West.

Whisper from the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, skippered by Bruce Ferguson, and crewed by James Hodgson and Malcolm Parker won the race. Congratulations to them, for this was the best result the team had recorded so far in this regatta. Second was Havoc, skippered by Colin Beashel and his crew of Richie Allanson, and Henry Kernot. Third was Jeanne-Claude Strong, with her crew of Seve Jarvin, Marcus Burke and Kate Devereux.

The Answering Pennant then went up again, and the second race of the day was delayed while we waited for the wind to settle once more. A course with an axis of 055 was set. Then, just as the fleet was about to commence the race, and the AP had yet another airing to allow everyone to wait a little longer for the wind to oblige them all. The course was then reset to 060, but alas the second attempt ended with the same result as the first. The course was reset again to a new axis of, and yes, we got away that time. Phew!

This race, number six in the championship, was won by Havoc, which was their second for the series. Second was Magpie skippered by Graeme Taylor and crewed by James Mayo and Ben Lamb. Third was Flirtation, which is skippered by Matt Crawford and crewed by Robert Crawford, Lucy Shephard and Karl Bromfield. Well done to this young team from the Royal Prince Alfred Youth Development Squad. They are currently sitting fifth place overall after the drop has been factored in.

Course Two (downhill finish) was set for Race Seven, also on an axis of 060, and there was just the one individual recall. The breeze had gradually been increasing throughout the day, and now ranged 10–12 knots, which in turn provided for some great racing. Top 40, skippered by Peter Merrington with his crew of Ian McKillop, and Geoff Bonouvrie won it. Second was Havoc, and third was the reigning World Champions, Lisa Rose, which is skippered by Martin Hill, and crewed by Julian Plante, Mat Belcher and Dave O’Connor. This is their best result so far in this series.

Whilst Havoc is in the box seat for the championship, having just taken out the Australian Championship last month, the minor placings are still under hot contention. At the end of six races, Havoc leads by nine points after the drop. Richie Allanson from Havoc said “We had a very good day today with a second, first and a second. So that means we have won the regatta with a race to spare. There are a lot of good sailors here, and to win an Etchells regatta is a very special thing. Its not that easy to do.”

“It’s great to see the young ones on the water, and their doing really well. Flirtation were going well again today. I was just talking to one of the guys off the boat, and he’s enjoying it, so that’s cool, and if they tell their mates to come along, then the class is only going to get better!”

The points are even for second place after the drop with Top 40 and Magpie both on 23. 1435 is just one point behind them on 24, and Flirtation is just a little further behind on 28. With just one race for tomorrow, it is going to be very exciting...

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