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2020 Flying Fifteen WA State Championships at Fremantle Sailing Club

by Jonny Fullerton 29 Sep 13:15 PDT 26-28 September 2020
2020 Flying Fifteen WA State Championships © George Vaskovics

The three day 2020 Flying Fifteen WA State Championship regatta got under way in Fremantle in Western Australia with 30 competitors all rigged, briefed and ready to go for a first race starting at 1100hrs.

Race one started in a gentle 5 - 8 knot steady breeze at 320 degrees. 'Tuffan Up' sailed by David Yu and Chris Nelson (RFBYC) appeared to get the best start but surprisingly the first to round the top mark was Sandy Dunn and Greg Howell 'Fly in the Ointment' (SoPYC) followed closely by 'Ineffable' Nick Jerwood and Brad Sheridan (SoPYC & FSC).

It didn't take Nick and Brad long to take the lead by the bottom gate marks taking the right mark with 'Glamour Buoys' Greg Leaversuch and Peter Barblett (RFBYC) choosing the left. With a few positions changing places on the next upwind beat, the final top three placings went to 'Ineffable' Nick and Brad in first, followed by the dark horse 'Phar Lap' sailed by David Swan and Matt Elliot (EBYC) in second. Finishing strongly in third was 'Firefly' sailed by Philippa Packer and Dean McAullay (RFBYC).

The second race of the day was completed in similar light westerly breezes. 'Tuffan Up' David Yu and Chris Nelson again started strongly taking a convincing lead and the race win followed by the vet and farmer from Esperance, David Swan and Matt Elliott. Third went to 'No Stress' Peter Burtenshaw and Graeme Monkhouse from South of Perth YC.

Race three was cancelled after the promised stormy front moved very quickly over Rottnest and Carnac Islands bringing with it dark, stormy clouds, rain, a couple of magnificent water spouts and 25 knots rotating the breeze to the south-west. The fleet enjoyed a great ride into the Fremantle Sailing Club marina.

Racing resumed on a beautiful Spring Sunday morning at Fremantle Sailing Club after a slow start waiting for the breeze to settle. Race 3 got going in a gentle 5 knot breeze at 310 degrees. With the U flag up sailors were clearly too keen to get started with 50% of the fleet over the start line so an AP was displayed. The race officer attempted to get racing under way several times and finally a light breeze of 5 - 8 knots at 270 degrees moved over Rottnest Island in a westerly direction to allow racing to restart at 1340hrs.

First at the top mark again was 'Tuffan Up' of David Yu and Chris Nelson from Royal Freshwater Bay YC, with club mates, Hamish Carnachan and Peter Mudford sailing 'Neffarious' in second. Third to round was a Geraldton boat 'Mr Fox' sailed by Mark Millman and his new crew Sam Dewers.

With only one upwind beat and a down wind finish, the first two places remained the same but with another (RFBYC) boat, 'Firefly' sailed by Philippa Packer and Dean McAullay, moving up to take third over the finish line.

With another stormy front slowly moving in over the city of Perth from a north westerly direction, race 4 was started using a course 3 in 12 knots of breeze.

Consistency started to appear in positions on the water with 'Ineffable' Nick Jerwood and Brad Sheridan, winning two quick races in succession to gain an overall lead with the first drop coming into effect after 5 races.

'Neffarious' Hamish Carnachan and Peter Mudford scored a second in race 4 but a UFD in race 5 halted their push to topple the top three. The 'Glamour Buoys' Greg Leaversuch and Peter Barblett (RFBYC) managed their best result of the regatta with a third in race 4, and likewise 'Ffast Lane 4' sailed by John Wilson and Matt Summers (SoPYC/RFBYC) finished a strong second in race 5.

With another storm looming over Rottnest Island, the Flying Fifteen fleet reached home in a good 15 knots of breeze and plenty of rain!

Hang on, raining again in Western Australia!

The final day of the championship began with two races scheduled at a start time of 1000hrs. The regatta was coming down to a battle between 'Ineffable' and 'Tuffun Up' with two points separating the two local teams.

The race officer had to abandon the first race on the final day, half way through following a 90 degree wind shift. After a course adjustment, racing resumed with David Yu and Chris Nelson keeping everything tight with a race win in race 5 but unfortunately for them, Nick Jerwood and Brad Sheridan where sailing in their wing mirrors to cross second creating a slither of an advantage going into the final race. Third in race six was a new boat called 'The Answer' sailed by Greg Tonnison and Mike Dunbar (SoPYC).

In the final race of the series Nick Jerwood and Brad Sheridan scored their fourth bullet of the regatta to become winners of the 2020 Flying Fifteen WA State Championship. A very close second went to David Yu and Chris Nelson with Philippa Packer and Dean McAullay in third overall, both crews from RFBYC.

A special mention must go to 'Cool Change' sailed by Gregor McQueen and Peter Fox, all the way from Esperance some 960 kms south of Perth. (Yes, WA is a big state!) The pair scored a third in the final race climbing to 12th in the overall rankings.

In the consistency results, the winners were Gregor McQueen and Peter Fox from Esperance, Greg Leaversuch and Peter Barblett (RFBYC) in second and Greg Tonnison and Mike Dunbar representing (SoPYC) in third.

Full results can be found here.

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