33 boats greeted the starters gun on Day 1 of the WA State Flying Fifteen titles on Good Friday, April 3. Conditions were cool with moderate breezes from the South East, with the wind rotating to the East throughout the day.
Race 1 started on time, with a slightly overanxious fleet leading to a general recall and the first U Flag of the regatta for the restart. Winds were about 8 knots and built throughout the race. The usual suspects were at the sharp end of the fleet, with Nick and Janet Jerwood greeting the gun in first place in Ineffable, and Grant Alderson and Dean MacAullay second in El Toro, both showing their former World Champion class. David Yu and Chris Nelson sailed a great race for third in Tuffen Up. In the Silver Fleet, Karen and Russell Dawes in Eagle Eye carried on their National Championship Silver title form to finish well clear of Stuart and Narelle Paisley in Vengeance with Phil Lammonby and Rita Nesdale in Ffoenix only just behind in third place.
Race 2 was abandoned after a 20 degree windshift, but the restart saw the race sailed in a perfect 15 knots of breeze from a heading of 130 degrees. Once again, class came to the fore with the first two placings in Race 1 being repeated in Race 2 – Nick and Janet ahead of Grant and Dean. Peter Burtenshaw and Kevin Griffiths in No Bull made up for their 17th in Race 1 to come in an excellent third. Once again in the silver fleet, Karen and Russell Dawes finished first, with Phil and Rita in Ffoenix managing to edge out Stuart and Narelle in Vengeance for second.
So after the first two races, the two ex-world champions lead the fleet – Nick and Janet in Ineffable ahead of Grant and Dean in El Toro. Behind them a number of boats are showing great consistency in finishing in the top 10 – David Swan and Matt Elliott in Changing Lanes showing that a little local knowledge doesn’t do any harm with a 4th and 5th in the first two races putting them in 3rd place overall. Greg Tonnison and Steve Roberts in Spot the Difference and Greg Leaversuch and Peter Barblett in Glamour Boys are in 4th and 5th overall respectively, after consistently finishing in the top six in the first two races.
Our hosts at the Esperance Bay Yacht Club put on a great fish BBQ in the evening, with entree of sashimi tuna and abalone followed by salad and BBQ snapper, ocean jacket and red emperor. The eskys flowing over with beer, and the sponsor’s wine flowed throughout the night. An amazing tranquil candle lit dinner under the stars.
Race officer John Taylor and his mark laying team headed up by Paul Bayliss did a great job today, and we look forward to more excellent racing tomorrow.
Day 2 of the State Titles at Esperance Bay Yacht Club dawned bright and sunny – but with the wind in the North and expected to swing South, racing was postponed awaiting the wind change. Competitors took the opportunity to relax in the beautiful surroundings of the club, and share tales of “what was” and “what could have been” from the previous day.
After the AP came down sailors left the cricket game and headed for the light 5 knot conditions of Esperance Bay waters. John Taylor and his team were under pressure to sail three races. With light south easterly winds it would be unlikely three races would be completed before dark.
On the work up to the top mark in Race Three of the series (the first of the day), the fleet was well spread with large distances between them. The light wind made for some interesting mirage reflections, but it was no mirage that No Bull (Peter Burtenshaw and Kevin Griffith) rounded the mark in first place, with several others not usually seen at the front of the fleet close behind, including Tim Bussemaker and Alan Debry in Frequent Flyer and local entrant Two Dogs skippered by Ashley Reichstein with his crew Paul Galloway. The south easterly breeze had swung around to the right with a beautiful finger of breeze bending around the point near the port to the give those who decided to work the right an advantage to the top mark.
By the finishing line, Ineffable (Nick and Janet Jerwood) had worked their way into first place with No Bull finishing in second and Frequent Flyer sailing as hard as they could to finish in third place and Two Dogs in fourth – well done Tim, Alan, Ashley and Paul! The light winds didn’t favour Grant Alderson and Dean MacAullay in El Toro, but they still managed to cross the line in 5th.
Normal service was resumed in Race Four, with
Inevitable Ineffable finishing in first place once more, followed by El Toro, and Greg Leaversuch and Peter Barblett in Glamour Boys crossing the line in third place. and Chris Nelson repeating their efforts of Race One to cross the line in third. John Wilson and Andrew Knowles in Fast Lane 4 continued their steady improvement throughout the regatta to finish fourth, and Albany’s Simon and Aileen Lucas in Fforeigner came in 5th.
With one day’s sailing (and three races) left, the standings are interestingly poised. Despite the Jerwood’s run of unbeaten first place finishes, Grant and Dean in El Toro are not far behind, with three second placings and a fifth. Behind them, the battle for the remaining placings in the top 5 are evenly balanced, with several consistent sailors battling for these positions including Greg Leaversuch and Peter Barblett in Glamour Boys, Greg Tonnison and Steve Roberts in Spot the Difference, and some others with one bad result which they will be hoping they will be able to drop in the final results (David Swan and Matt Elliot in Changing Lanes, Peter Burtenshaw and Kevin Griffiths in No Bull, and John Wilson and Andrew Knowles in Fast Lane 4).
In the Silver Fleet, Karen and Russell Dawes in Eagle Eye continue to lead the fleet comfortably (although Stuart and Narelle Paisley in Vengeance came them a good run for their money in Race 4). The Paisleys and Phil Lammonby and Rita Neesdale in Ffoenix are all tied up in equal second place, with two seconds and two third places each.
After the days racing Glamour Buoys sponsored a few drinks and delicious BBQ’d chicken wings cooked by Sue and Peter Barblett. Let’s see if that enhances or detracts from their sailing performance on Sunday!
After watching the next generation of Flying Fifteen sailors run in all directions with eager eyes to find where Easter Bunny might have been the 33 boat fleet ventured onto the water for the last day of sailing in Esperance Bay.
With a light southerly breeze and nimbus clouds looming over head threatening with precipitation. RO John Taylor had racing under way with race 5 completed in approximately 70 minutes. The Jerwood’s fueled with the delicious hot egg and bacon rolls from breakfast ($5 at the club) lead the fleet with another win with an unbroken picket fence. El Toro Grant Alderson and Dean McAullay in second and Tuffun Up David Yu and Chris Nelson in third.
The breeze oscillating 20 – 30 degrees indicated race 6 might be favored to the right. Yes, No, Maybe Jennifer Sims and Andrew Wallace won the start at the boat end rolling El Toro forcing a tack off to the right. Meanwhile Nick and Janet Jerwood are sailing middle to pin with El Toro picking up a nice finger of breeze placing them in first place to the top mark with Glamour Buoys Peter Barblett and Greg Leaversuch in second and Yes, No, Maybe Jennifer Sims and Andrew Wallace in third.
A final break in the picket fence left Gill Team El Toro with a win, Jerwoods in seventh, local sailors Chris Wells and Ian Grey sailing Catch Me Iff you Can in second and a fabulous result by Philippa Packer and Andrew Jackson sailing Absolutely FFabulous in third. Well done ladies!
Race seven and the final race of the series saw the breeze freshening with another win to Gill Team El Toro, second Ineffable Nick and Janet Jerwood and Glamour Buoys Greg Leaversuch and Peter Barblett finishing third.
The weekend saw some great results with guest appearances at the front of the fleet by Frequent Flyer and Catch me Iff you can.
The final results can be found here: