After a brief hiccup in 2020, the Western Australian State Flying Fifteen Championships returned to their traditional Easter time-slot and the fleet was summons to appear at Geraldton Yacht Club for a fabulous social program interspersed with 7 somewhat serious races on the sparkling waters of, the aptly named, Champion Bay.
The City of Geraldton is just over 400kms north of Perth and has a long history with the Flying Fifteen class and, fortunately for the competitors, boasts a very large commercial fishing fleet with a number of club sponsors keen to promote their produce.
Twenty-four boats assembled for the first 2 races on Good Friday having driven from Perth although Wayne and Ela North came from the deep south of the state, Albany, which is a further 5 hours driving. Races 1 and 2 were sailed in a light south-easterly that flicked south just enough to frustrate race officers and competitors alike. Nick Jerwood and Brad Sheridan opened their defence of the title they won last year with 2 bullets ( horns ) with Greg Tonnison and Mike Dunbar second in both races.
Day 2, Saturday, and the light shifty south-easterlys continued to keep everyone on their toes with several starts broken during the start sequence. Liberal use of the U flag kept the fleet behaving (mostly) and ensured all boats got off the water before dark so the sailors didn’t get too cold and the beer too warm. Two more wins for Nick and Brad and one win for Greg and Mike. David Yu and Chris Nelson kept in the hunt with a range of seconds and thirds while Phillipa Packer and Dean McAullay did likewise and were a couple of points back. John Wilson and Matt Summers and Tim Walker and Alan ( Plonky ) Sharpe both put a blemish on their scorecards with a UFD in the second race of the day.
Easter Sunday, last 2 races sailed in a moderate southerly brought a smile to some of the heavier crews but Nick and Brad still won both heats with David and Chris second in the early race and Hamish Carnachan and Peter Mudford getting into some late form with a second in the final race.
Final results showed Nick and Brad winning the Championship for the third successive time in fairly convincing fashion having to drop a second. Greg and Mike toiled hard to finish second and David and Chris third only 4 points behind. Full results listed below.
Geraldton Yacht Club, having had a few lean years, are now a club on the rebound with recent refurbishments to the clubhouse, a strong core of members and sponsors and a junior training program that will continue their growth. The social functions, fish barbeque and presentation dinner, were a fabulous team effort by caterers and club members alike.
Key people to thank for making a successful regatta are Regatta Chairman Mark Millman and Race Officer John Rooke who took everything in their stride and made it happen.
Photos ©Desmond Hill