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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Day 1 Fleet Racing - RC44 Oman Cup 2013 - Day 2

Katusha On Fire at RC44 Oman Cup - Day 2

Muscat produced some perfect sailing conditions for the start of fleet racing at the RC44 Oman Cup. The sea breeze clocked in at 12:00 noon and continued to build from 9 to 15 knots throughout the afternoon bringing with it a big rolling swell. The conditions however couldn’t separate the fleet of 13 RC44s who seemed to arrive at the windward mark in unison, causing difficult mark roundings that kept the umpires very busy.
Photo: MartinezStudio.es
Katusha (RUS) were on fire and dominated the day winning the first two races and making a great recovery in the last to finish third, even after picking the un-favoured left side up the first beat and being buried at the top mark.
Photo: MartinezStudio.es
Steve Howe who is helming Katusha this week for owner Gennadi Timchenko, put his team's day into perspective. “Yesterday was a good day and we tried to keep the same plan for the fleet racing today, get a good clean start, sail the shifts and get around the race course ahead of the fleet. It’s one design sailing at its best, you have your good days, your bad days and it’s going to happen when you have a bad race like we almost had in race three, but you just have to focus and minimise the risk.”
Photo: © Pierre Orphanidis - VSail
Chris Bake’s Team Aqua (GBR) was hot on Katusha’s tail, finishing second in both the opening two races and sixth in the third. But a collision in the final race resulted in a dramatic end, seeing the American team’s scoop rip away from the hull. A protest was lodged by Ironbound’s new tactician Paul Goodison and after much debate in the protest room, Team Aqua were disqualified from race three and given three additional penalty points, dropping them from second to sixth overall. Ironbound was awarded redress leaving them third in the overnight standings.
Photo: MartinezStudio.es
Artemis Racing won the final race of the day after what had been an indifferent start for Swedish team. They had picked up a penalty in the first race for missing the offset mark and again in the second for trying to squeeze inside MAG Racing at the leeward gate.
Photo: MartinezStudio.es
Owner Torbjorn Tornqvist who arrived in Oman this morning was pleased to end the day on a high note. “The third race finally went really well. We hope that the good results will stay for the rest of the regatta but you never know. There are so many good boats here, from year to year all the teams are getting better, the new teams learn from the established teams and they obviously improve which is good to see. Some you win and some you lose but we are happy with the way we are sailing at the moment, we have good boat speed, good handling, no issues.”
Photo: MartinezStudio.es
Sitting in second place overall after Aqua’s disqualification is Brian Benjamin’s Aegir Racing. The team from England came 13th in Croatia last October and are clearly enjoying their guest tactician, Russell Coutts, valuable input this week.

In a further incident between Team Italia and RUS 7 the Russian team were given three penalty points for damage.Racing at the RC44 Oman Cup presented by Oman Shipping Company continues through to Sunday 3rd February with the first warning signal on Friday at 12.30 (GST).

Overall Fleet Race Results

RC44 Oman Cup 2013 presented by Oman Shipping Company

After three races

1 Katusha – 1 1 3 – 5
2 Aegir Racing – 6 3 7 – 16
3 Ironbound – 4 6 7RDG – 17
4 Team Italia – 8 5 6 – 19
5 RC44 Team CEEREF – 7 11 2 – 20
6 Team Aqua – 2 2 14DSQ (3) – 21
7 Team Nika – 5 8 8 – 21
8 RUS7 Sail Racing – 3 7 10 (3) – 23
9 Artemis Racing – 12 10 1 – 23
10 Lunajets Aleph Racing Team – 10 4 9 – 23
11 MAG Racing – 11 9 5 – 25
12 Synergy Russian Sailing Team – 13 12 4 – 29
13 Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team – 9 13 11 – 33

RC44 Media

Match Race Highlights RC44 Oman Cup 2013 presented by Oman Shipping Company

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

RC44 Season Kicks Off in Muscat, Oman - Day 1

30 January 2013, Muscat, Oman

After a breezy practice race that had blown away the cobwebs after a three month break, conditions were more gentle for the start of the RC44 Oman Cup presented Oman Shipping Company.
Photo: MartinezStudio.es
With the race course just outside of The Wave Muscat’s marina complex, it was Katusha who relished the conditions at the events only day of match racing, finishing the day unbeaten. New tactician Andy Horton took the helm and held off some tough competition including 2012 RC44 Match Race Champions, Synergy Russian Sailing team. 
Photo: MartinezStudio.es
“It was awesome, what a day for it to all come together, the pieces of the team just seemed to fall in to place. We had 4-11 knots of breeze with six races seven flights in total, no other boat in the world would you get that many races in 4-10 knots of breeze and be on the dock by 4pm,” Horton said.
Photo: MartinezStudio.es
It wasn’t just the professional sailors who shone on the day where either the pros or owners can opt to helm. Brian Benjamin joined the class at the end of 2012 having purchased the old Oracle Racing and for the first event of the season, class founder Russell Coutts is sailing with Team Aegir. Benjamin is helming for both the match and fleet racing. The team finished the day with four wins and just two losses as the newest owner in the class explained. 
Photo: MartinezStudio.es
“Today was pretty cool, we enjoyed it a lot. We have never won a match race before so beating Ed (Baird) was very satisfying. After that we were on a bit of a roll and won three more matches before letting the last one go, but we had a really good day, the crew learnt a lot and I learnt a lot being at the helm for the entire day,” Benjamin said.
Photo: MartinezStudio.es
Synergy also finished the day with a 4-2 scoreline, losing two matches to Aegir and Katusha. Out of the 13 boats, half the owners took the helm today. Another top performer was Igor Lah at the helm of Team CEEREF with Michele Ivaldi calling the shots. The Slovenian team won three of their five matches.
Photo: MartinezStudio.es
The French Lunajets Aleph Team match against Team Aqua proved to be the most exciting of the day. Rounding the final windward mark the French team were ahead of Aqua but a penalty down. As they approached the finish line they slowed, Aqua responded trying to match their every move. Both teams ended up the wrong side of the finish line, with Aqua then infringing Aleph as they tried to squeeze between their opposition and the finishing bouy. Their red penalty flag gave the win to Aleph.
Photo: MartinezStudio.es
The RC44’s crash bows, designed to take an impact and not damage the hull, also came into good effect in Team Aqua’s race against Ironbound. Chris Bake had successfully shut David Murphy’s Ironbound out at the committee boat in the pre-start, Murphy dipped to try and release himself from the situation, but just caught Team Aqua’s stern. Ironbound were deducted two points for the damage, Team Nika were also penalised and deducted 3 points in another incident.
Photo: MartinezStudio.es
Oman Sail are hosting the event at The Wave, Muscat. Although the class has raced the region before, this is their first time in Oman, and the fleet are clearly enjoying the new venue.

Match Race Results

RC44 Oman Cup 2013 presented by Oman Shipping Company

1 Katusha – 6
2 Aegir Racing – 4
3 Lunajets Aleph Racing – 4
4 Synergy Russian Sailing Team – 4
5 Team Aqua – 3
6 Artemis Racing – 3
7 RC44 Team CEEREF – 3
8 MAG Racing – 2
9 Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team – 2
10 RUS7 Sail Racing Team – 1
11 Team Italia – 1
12 Team Nika – -1
13 Ironbound – -1

RC44 Media

Monday, January 28, 2013

Easy Tiger Racing Wins F18 Masters at 2013 F18 Australian Championships

Sheeting rain and 30 knot gale force nor ‘east winds caused the final day of racing in the 2013 F18 Australian Championships at Lake Macquarie to be abandoned today.
Photo: Mark Rothfield
Jason Waterhouse and Brett Goodhall (NSW) were declared the winners followed by Brett Burvill/Ryan Duffield (WA) and Adam Beattie/Jamie Leitner (VIC) in third place. Rod Waterhouse and Chris Way of Easy Tiger Racing held off seven other teams to take out the Masters Divisions and finished in 12th position overall.
Photo: Mark Rothfield
“We’re happy with our results at this shortened regatta. It’s disappointing we couldn’t have had more racing but the east coast low and forecast winds would have made it treacherous. I’m pleased to see Jason and Brett are on form for this season and the upcoming AC45 youth racing in San Francisco next week,” Skipper Rod Waterhouse said.
Photo: Mark Rothfield
"Today was just miserable. We all de-rigged and packed up in pouring rain and strong winds and then the wind abated for a while, so we could have had a race or two. However the PRO definitely made the right call with gale force winds and flood waters heading down the coast from Queensland,” said Chris Way.
Photo: Mark Rothfield
“We won the Masters and ended up in 12th place overall which just qualifies us for the 2013 F18 Worlds at Marina di Grosseto, Tuscany Italy in July where Australia has 13 places. That was our goal this weekend and we achieved it despite having to endure the wet and at times kamikaze conditions," he added.

"In the end these Nationals were a bit of a frustrating event really with only five races held, but the race committee did the best they could considering what the conditions were like. So that's another Nationals Team Tiger has racked up."

Since finishing second in the Masters Division at the F18 Worlds in Long Beach last September, the Easy Tiger F18 Racing Team has been working hard on increasing their fitness and overall physical strength.

“As soon as I got back from Long Beach I joined a gym and engaged a trainer who is an ex-Naval diver and with his military background he takes no prisoners. He has got me doing some pretty hardcore training that includes crawling along the ground with 80-kilogram weights attached to me with ropes. It’s all designed to strengthen the back muscles. Rod has gotten me into stand up paddle boarding and that is great for the core strength,” Way said.

“The combined crew weight in the F18 class is a minimum of 150 kilograms and we are targeting that for Tuscany. Being light really helps our speed. Some of the crews at this regatta weighed in at over 180 kilograms so I reckon we had a pretty good weight advantage over them.”

For full results>>>

Lulu Roseman

Hat Trick For Young Guns - F18 Australian Championships 2013

The Australian F18 National Championships 2013 had the final day of racing scrapped off the schedule due to heavy flooding and a looming gale on Monday, allowing Jason Waterhouse and his crewman Brett Goodall to bag their second consecutive national title after five races at Mannering Park Amateur Sailing Club, Lake Macquarie.
Jason Waterhouse/Brett Goodall Photo: Mark Rothfield
As flood waters rose around the State, it left the appropriately named Jason Waterhouse and his crewman Brett Goodall with their second consecutive national title, following an emphatic performance in the five races staged over the weekend.
Jason Waterhouse, John Cootes and Brett Goodall Photo: Mark Rothfield
Carrying a third placing as their drop they finished on just six points, comfortably ahead of the WA combination of Brett Burvill and Ryan Duffield (14 pts) and Adam Beattie/Jamie Leitner (15 pts).
Brett Burvill/Ryan Duffield Photo: Mark Rothfield
"This event was probably tougher than last year’s and the finishes were a lot more diverse, so we’re really happy to come away with the win," Waterhouse said. "It was a very quick boat – we want to pack it up and take it to the Worlds in Italy in July. I’m begging them not to sell it."
Adam Beattie/Jamie Leitner Photo: Mark Rothfield
Brett Goodall, whose father Greg designed the C2 they were sailing, was philosophical about not getting more racing in. "We would've liked to get on the water. We came here for three day’s racing and no matter what today gave us we were confident we could get some more good results," he said.
Photo: Mark Rothfield
"I’m absolutely looking forward to the Worlds now. Jason has a full schedule with the America’s Cup but we’ll look at doing some training and pre-events in Holland. It’s always an unknown as to how we’ll go until the European season starts and you see who’s going quick."

Their boat was assembled for the first time on the Tuesday prior to the event, with Race 1 being its first competition. They won that race with no jib luff tension, after a shackle parted.

The trophy was presented by the event sponsor, former Australian rugby league legend John Cootes, who is a passionate catamaran sailor aged in his late 70s.

For Brett Burvill, builder of the Windrush Edge, the second placing justified a 40-hour haul across from Perth with five boats stashed inside a trailer and pausing only for refueling and a hamburger.

"We were a bit unlucky with the weather but we all had the same conditions out there, so it was fair sailing," Burvill said. "I was disappointed that we didn't win any races but we only finished the boats last Sunday and had never seen the sails before.

"It would be nice to have come here prepared and given Jason and Brett a better run for their money, but full credit to them – they sailed really well."

While content with his third placing, Adam Beattie was left to rue a spectacular pitchpole while leading Race 3. "It proved costly when there are only five races, but it was one of those things that can happen when it’s windy," he said. "We were in survival mode and came around the mark – next thing we were flying through the air.

"We were leading in Race 4 as well but didn't pick the right gusts going downwind and ended up letting quite a few boats through. Still, it was good to sail with Jamie again for the first time in a year. We’re off to the Nacra Worlds now, providing the roads are open, and we’ll see how we go there."

In the hotly contested State trophy, the three-boat Queensland team took the honours from Western Australia and Victoria, with NSW last.

"All in all it was good series, and the best sailors won the event," Class President Kyle Amadio said. "The pleasing thing is that 38 boats competed. Five years ago there were only 10 boats sailing, so we've built the fleet up really well. We have lots of people with different skill levels, from the hotshot guys to beginners, but everyone gets in and helps. There’s great camaraderie and friendship."

Mark Rothfield

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Rainy and Light - 2013 F18 Australian Championships - Day 2

There were card games all morning and snakes’n’ladders on the race course during an intriguing, rain-interrupted second day of the 2013 Australian Formula 18 National Championships at Lake Macquarie in New South Wales.
Rod Waterhouse and Chris Way leading Masters Photo: Mark Rothfield
After a bright and breezy start to the regatta, where racing was eventually suspended due to 25-knot winds, the scene at Mannering Park Amateur Sailing Club was one of complete contrast today with steady rain and glassy waters beneath a breathless sky.

A fickle sou’easter eventually filled in at around 1:30pm, and competitors dialled down their rig tuning for light airs. Two races were eventually sailed, with positions swinging wildly throughout as the more tactical sailors got a chance to shine.
Jason Waterhouse and Brett Goodall Photo: Mark Rothfield
Holding a four-point advantage, Jason Waterhouse and Brett Goodall immediately stamped their authority on the regatta, winning Race 4 in style.

A general recall was need for the first start as the fleet was itching to get underway, however the second attempt was clean. Adam Beattie, sailing with Jamie Leitner, was first to hook into the breeze on the left hand side of the course and led at the top mark from Waterhouse/Goodall and the Italian team of Matteo Ferraglia and Lorenzo Bianchini.
Queenslanders Matt Homan and Adrian Forset shone on a vintage Capricorn Mk1 - Photo: Mark Rothfield
Masters Rod Waterhouse and Chris Way were showing all their wile and guile, rounding sixth in the 36-boat fleet only to be 15th by race’s end.

Son Jason Waterhouse grabbed the lead from Beattie after a blistering downwind leg and cleared away to a 45-second win over the Italians, followed by Queenslanders Matt Homan and Adrian Forset.
Hobie Wildcat sailors Adam Beashel and Grant Pellew were fast but down on luck Photo: Mark Rothfield
Beattie slipped to eighth after leading early, while the father-and-son combination of Brett and Lachie White grabbed a creditable seventh placing on their Hobie Wildcat … at just 14, Lachie is the youngest sailor competing at the nationals.

Race 2 saw two general recalls and a further wait as the race committee altered the course. Rain settled in for the afternoon as well, but Homan quickly proved that his first race result was no fluke.
Sailing a Windrush Edge, Matteo Ferraglia and Lorenzo Bianchini had two 2nds Photo: Mark Rothfield
Sailing a 12-year-old Capricorn Mk1 cat, he and Forset got into perfect synch with the shifts and led handsomely at the top mark. They were followed around by Brett Burvill and Ryan Duffield from WA in their Windrush Edge, then Adam Beattie. The Italians were 5th and Waterhouse was 8th.

There were ladders aplenty on the next downwind leg as Adam Beashel and crew Grant Pellew crept into contention and Ferraglia/Bianchini climbed to third. Homan held a 40-second advantage going into the final leg and was never headed, however fortunes fluctuated wildly for the rest of the fleet.

First, Waterhouse and Goodall played their get out-of-jail card by gybing immediately at the mark and threading through the starboard tackers towards the wind line. They flew home to finish third, just metres behind the Italians who’d also done a Houdini impersonation.

Arguably the most pain was suffered by Beashel/Pellew as they slipped from second to ninth place.

It left three crews with four points for the day – Waterhouse/Goodall, Ferraglia/Bianchini and Homan/Forset – but with a discard counted it was the overnight leaders who had stretched their margin to eight points over Burvill/Duffield and Beattie/Leitner.

"We weren’t in the best shape during the second race but the boat has really good downwind speed and caught up nicely. Our goal is top three in all the races because they’re a keeper, particularly with the drops," Waterhouse said.

"In our last regatta we didn’t go so well in the light so it’s a big confidence booster. We’d thought the breeze might fill so we left the mast rake back but eased off the diamond tension to make the sail a bit fuller."

Matt Homan was ‘stoked’ with his win in an older design: ‘We had a good start and just tried to stay in front from there, although it’s a bit hard in that breeze. There were some big gusts coming down and we kept trying to find them.’

Ferraglia was also smiling after a consistent performance in a boat he’d barely sailed. "The course was very tactical today," he said. "Our crew work was fast, our tactics were good, and the boat was also really fast. We are still getting used to it. I’m a bit sad, now, that we capsized and had an OCS yesterday, because otherwise we’d be doing really well."

While Rod Waterhouse and Chris Way are still leading the Masters Division, Way said their day had more downs than ups.

"It was tricky. It was one of those days. The wind was shifting through 45 degrees and there were lots of holes, so if you were caught on the wrong side you were out of the game. The way these boats accelerate they can really punish you if miss the pressure."

For full results>>>

The regatta, sponsored by John Cootes Furniture Warehouse, concludes tomorrow. 

Mark Rothfield

François Gabart, MACIF Wins the 2012-2013 Vendée Globe

On Sunday January 27,  François Gabart crossed the Vendée Globe finish line at 15 hours 18 minutes 40 seconds, French time, setting a new solo round-the-world record of 78 day, 2 hours, 16 minutes and 40 seconds. Beating Michel Desjoyeaux’s record by 6 day 00 hours 53 minutes
Vendee Globe Finish For Francois Gabart (Fra) / Macif - Photo Olivier Blanchet - DPPI - Vendee Globe
His final race time is 78 days 2 hours 16 minutes 40 seconds. His average speed was 15.3 knots and covering 28,646.55 miles. The race’s theoretical distance is 24,393.41 miles.
Photo Olivier Blanchet - DPPI - Vendee Globe
François Gabart’s Vendée Globe is a story of transformation. In a little less than 80 days, the young skipper, viewed as a talented outsider, he evolved turned into a race leader, successfully keeping the other competitors at bay.
Photo Olivier Blanchet - DPPI - Vendee Globe
A Spectacular Start

From the outset of the race, François Gabart set about upsetting the order. He took the lead in the Bay of Biscay, imposing his fast pace and sailing in a style akin to the French short course solo racing circuit, the Solitaire du Figaro skipper than a long-distance sailor. The weather conditions favoured the front runners, who soon extended their lead. It took them three days to reach the Madeira latitude, where the first strategic choices were made, followed by Armel Le Cléac’h storming into the front.
Photo Jean Marie Liot - DPPI - Vendee Globe
Four Way Match

Sailing down the South Atlantic after a complicated the doldrums confirmed the situation, that the race was dominated by a leading quartet featuring Armel Le Cléac’h, Vincent Riou, Jean-Pierre Dick and François Gabart leaving Bernard Stamm and Alex Thomson in their wake.
Photo: Vincent Curutchet / DPPI / Vendée Globe
As they reached the Roaring Forties, the skippers ahead picked up the pace, resulting in a series of amazing performances. On November 30, François Gabart broke the first 24-hour distance record (482.91 miles). Shortly, after Vincent Riou was forced to abandon and three skippers - Jean-Pierre Dick, Armel le Cléac’h and François Gabart – entered the Indian Ocean together as a tight pack while Bernard Stamm, ranked fourth, lurked behind.

The Great Escape

On December 10, the MACIF skipper drove the point home by setting the ultimate solo distance record on a monuhull, covering 545 miles in twenty-four hours. Armel Le Cléac’h was the only one able to hold on and the two Frenchmen, positioned at the front of the fleet, built up an impressive gap in only a few days.
Photo: Vincent Curutchet / DPPI / Vendée Globe
On December 13, Jean-Pierre Dick was 155 miles behind. 24 hours later, the gap had increased to 300 miles and eventually 500 miles on December 15. The Southern Ocean adventure then turned into a spectacular duel in which the two solo sailors were rarely more than twenty miles apart. At one point within visual contact on several occasions. François Gabart returned to the Atlantic on January 1, securing the 2012-2013 Vendée Globe edition a place in the history book as the first race in which a rookie rounded Cape Horn as the race leader.
Photo: Vincent Curutchet / DPPI / Vendée Globe
François’ Trick

Leaving the Le Maire Straights behind them, the two frontrunners laboured through a windless hole and Gabart managed to slightly widen the gap, sailing forty miles ahead. On January 5, Le Cléac’h broke the union for the first time since the Amsterdam gate and tacked west his sights set on a ridge of weather. François Gabart kept sailing along his eastern route, taking him to the edge of the Saint Helena high.
Photo Olivier Blanchet - DPPI - Vendee Globe
Demonstrating his strategic acumen, Gabart extended his lead and positioned himself back in front of the Banque Populaire bow. He crossed the Equator five days ahead of Michel Desjoyeaux’s record. Despite a tricky Doldrums crossing, Gabart kept warding off Le Cléac’h’s attacks throughout his climb back up the North Atlantic.

At 29, as he crossed the finish line, he became the youngest Vendée Globe winner ever. Alain Gautier was 30 years old when he won the 1992-1993 edition in 110 days and 2 hours. What a difference a decade makes.

Longest distance covered in 24 hours: December 10, 545 miles at an average speed of 22.7 knots.
Number of rankings with Gabart leading: (5 rankings a day): 234
Days spent leading the race: 44 days 20 hours
Les Sables to Equator: 11 days 00 hours 20 min (Jean Le Cam’s 2004-2005 record: 10 days 11 hours 28 min)
Equator to Good Hope: 12 days 03 hours 25 min (JP Dick’s record: 12 day 02 hour 40min)
Good Hope to Cape Leeuwin: 11 days 06 hours 40 min (new record)
Cape Leeuwin to Cape Horn: 17 days 18 h 35mn (new record)
Cape Horn to Equator: 13 days 19 hours
Equator to Les Sables: 12 days 01 hour 37 minutes
Maximum gap between MACIF and Banque Populaire:
Banque Populaire to MACIF: 263.14 miles on November 28
MACIF to Banque Populaire: 273.99 miles on January 14

Sabina Mollart Rogerson

18ft Skiffs: Australian Championship, Race 4 - Sydney Harbour

18ft Skiffs
Australian Championship, Race 4
Sunday, 27 January 2013
Sydney Harbour

The outcome of the Australian 18ft Skiff Championship will come down to next Sunday’s final race of the series following an incredible Race 4 on Sydney Harbour today. After 1 hour 15 minutes and 58 secs. of sailing, Race Officer Garry Linacre shortened the course when the fleet was practically becalmed after only one lap of the three-lap North East course.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
Smeg (Nick Press, Dan Phillips, Dave Ewings) crossed the line 24s ahead of Gotta Love It 7, John Stanley (replacing Seve Jarvin), Scott Babbage and Peter Harris.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
Team Daly (Nick Daly, John Walton, Peter Nicholson) was a further 1m15s back in third place, ahead of Appliancesonline.com.au(Micah Lane), Lumix (Jonathan Whitty) and defending champion Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon).
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
Allowing for discards, Thurlow Fisher Lawyers leads the championship with a total of 5 points, followed by Gotta Love It 7 on 6 and Smeg on 7.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
To complicate the situation, if teams finish on equal points after next Sunday’s race, Thurlow Fisher and Smeg both have two wins so far, while Gotta Love It 7’s points have been accumulated with three second places.

After yesterday’s strong winds, and predicted 15-25 knots winds again this afternoon, all teams elected to go with their smaller #2 rigs. It was an interesting race to the windward mark at Beashel Buoy with the fleet split into two distinct groups by an outgoing container ship.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
Those on the south side of the ship farer better and Gotta Love It 7 held a 25s lead from Appliancesonline.com.au when spinnakers were set for the run back to the wing mark off the southern end of Shark Island.

Yandoo (John Winning) was a further 15s back, then Lumix headed a group including Coopers-Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney), Smeg and Team Daly. Gotta Love It 7 was impressive downwind and opened up a big break over her challengers on the run into the wing mark.But that’s where it all ended as the fleet ‘parked’ after the skiffs cleared the wing mark.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
Smeg picked up some private air and took a narrow lead from Gotta Love It 7 and, although it took another 40 minutes or so, held the lead to win as the course was shortened.

The Australian 18 Footers League had changed the previous rule which did not permit the ‘shortening of course’ in its races, and so today created history as the first 18ft Skiff race where the course was officially shortened.

Frank Quealey

Cliff Hanger Decides Audi IRC Class A Australian Champion

The Audi IRC Australian Class A Champion for 2013 has been decided with local entry, Rob Hanna’s Shogun V hitting the jackpot in a cliff hanger countback finish to the nine-race series.
Shogun V Photo: Andrea Francolini
Like the last time the championship was run at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week in August, the winning numbers didn’t drop until the lottery wheel was spun on the final day, and in fact the better score in the final race was the clincher.

Shogun V and Marcus Blackmore’s 2011 and 2012 Audi IRC champion, Hooligan, both finished with 16 points, the former winning the tie-break with Calm 2 third on 18 points.

“That’s amazing, we thought Hooligan had it,” said a surprised Hanna as the news was relayed on the dock.

“We were first around the top mark, Hooligan went for a fractional spinnaker and we went for the big bag (spinnaker) and tried to hold it all the way across; fortunately we could,” a grinning Hanna said on what he believed was their winning move in the final 16 nautical mile special course that finished spectacularly off Hanna’s home club, the Royal Geelong Yacht Club.

When asked whether a win for the local lad would be popular, Hanna laughed: “I hope so. It’s popular with me and my crew.

“There isn’t much to separate the TPs here; they are three very fast boats. Congratulations to both crews, Hooligan and Calm 2. We thought we lost it because our crew work in the first race this morning was pretty ordinary, then we ripped our spinnaker. We were shaking our heads.

“I have a really good crew but I can’t say enough about the competitors, they made the regatta and it was a lot of fun.”

Tactician Steve McConaghy was knocked for six: “To win on a countback is so special. It’s been good winds and an exciting regatta, it doesn’t get much better.”

Once results were announced, runner-up Marcus Blackmore immediately shook hands with Hanna, who had dogged him all week, saying “They’ve sailed well and deserve to win.

“It was unbelievable, it’s pretty amazing racing when you have three of the best TP52s in the world all trying to beat each other, and letting the other guys in occasionally. Unfortunately that’s what we did today. We had a Code O up and Shogun didn’t, then we got on the wrong side of a 20 degree wind shift,” Blackmore added.

Jason Van Der Slot’s Calm 2 came to the Audi IRC Australian Championship anticipating a third but not such a close finish.

“It was a good weekend; we are still learning the boat and every race we learnt more,” he said. “We always thought we’d finish third but didn’t ‘think we’d be able to take it away from the other boats like we did. Marcus has had his boat for three years, Rob for two and we got on the water in October.”

Before the penultimate windward/leeward in southerly conditions averaging 10 knots occasionally reaching 12, Hooligan and TP classmate Shogun V were frontrunners.

By that race’s conclusion, Jason Van Der Slot’s TP Calm 2 had out-maneuvered the duelling pair and was wedged in between them in second place with a point either side.

The final race, a 16 nautical miler was a thriller, with the wind shifting 25 degrees around 160 degrees and building to 15 knots.

It was a Beneteau triple in Audi IRC Australian Championship Class B.
Ikon  Photo: Andrea Francolini
Bruce McCraken’s Beneteau First 45 Ikon from Hobsons Bay Yacht Club sailed a consistently classy series to close it out with a comfortable six point lead over Chris Manton’s Senna, finishing with 17 points. Alan Woodward’s Reverie finished third on equal points with Senna, 23.

Ikon dropped out of the top standings once from nine races and for his efforts McCracken takes home the silverware and will be presented with a Audi branded North Sails spinnaker.

“Perfect, perfect, perfect as we did some damage to our own spinnaker in this regatta. An Audi kite will look great on the boat,” McCraken said this afternoon as he was organising a crew dinner to celebrate.
Executive Decision Photo: Andrea Francolini
In Audi IRC Class C, Grant Botica has collected his own hat-trick, three consecutive divisional Festival of Sails wins. Botica’s worst result was a second, which became their drop, giving Executive Decision the perfect score of nine points from nine starts.

“We had a plan 12 months ago to win, we weren’t sure we could do it, but in the end our plan came true. The more wins you have can sometimes mean the harder it is to win. I’m just so proud of the boys, it’s fantastic. I just don’t know what else to say, I’m so happy.”

Roger Hickman’s Farr 43 Wild Rose finished second with 14 points. In third place was Tasmanian boat Invincible, skippered by Harold Clark.

Competitors in the three divisions were exposed to a variety of conditions, from the opening day’s soft start to a gale warning and 30 knot SSW winds for Friday’s distance race to mid Port Phillip, the same day that sent many packing up early from the Melbourne to Geelong passage race for the cruising and other divisions.

A cool Australia Day weekend followed, moderate winds averaging 12 to 16 knots on the Saturday and milder south sou’easters for today’s final two races.

Lisa Ratcliff

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Wild And Woolly - 2013 Australian Formula 18 National Championships - Day 1

In a day of thrills and spills at the 2013 Australian Formula 18 National Championships, young guns Jason Waterhouse and Brett Goodall displayed remarkable maturity and consistency to take the lead after three races.
Josh McKnight and Nina Curtis     Photo:Mark Rothfield
The pair posted a first and two seconds to gain a four-point advantage over the equally consistent Western Australian crew of Brett Burvill/Ryan Duffield (three thirds) and Queenslanders Mick Guinea/Viv Haydon.
Jason Waterhouse and Brett Goodall        Photo: Mark Rothfield
Waterhouse and Goodall were satisfied with their effort as they gave away considerable kilos to some of their opponents in a breeze that left competitors in an Australia daze.

"They were tough conditions out there," Waterhouse said. "In the last race in particular we saw one of our main competitors go over in a classic way and we realised we just had to keep the pointy end up."

Some of the better known sailors in the star-studded fleet including Olympic, America’s Cup and world champion sailors had costly boat handling lapses as a classic Australia Day nor-easter generated a short chop at Mannering Park on Lake Macquarie NSW.
Photo: Mark Rothfield
The championship started with the conspicuous absence of one of its biggest names, Steve Brewin, who was seriously injured in a collision while training on Friday afternoon. The two-time A-Class world champion was rushed to nearby Gosford Hospital, suffering a broken pelvis, and remains under observation.
Paul Raymond/James Clark (WA)  on the edge of control   Photo: Mark Rothfield
He was struck by the starboard bow of a Nacra Infusion sailed by a crew from Oman, which was running at high speed under spinnaker. Brewin’s boat was sailing upwind, with his brother Chris at the helm.

The first heat began in 12 knots, gusting to 15, and Jason Waterhouse and Brett Goodall blasted away from a tightly contested start to lead the 36-boat fleet around the top mark. Sailing a new C2 designed and built by Brett’s father, Greg Goodall, they showed a clean set of transoms to Victorians Adam Beattie and Jamie Leitner on a Nacra.
Sean Langman about to take an unplanned swim in Race 3 Photo: Mark Rothfield

Adjusting quickly to their chartered Windrush Edge, Italians Matteo Ferraglia and Lorenzo Blahchitii were third over the line, only to find they’d been adjudged OCS at the start. The Windrush sistership sailed by Burvill and Duffield flew downwind on the last leg to take the last podium spot.

It was a baptism of fire for the newly formed glamour crew of 2012 World Moth Champion Josh McKnight and Olympic match racing silver medallist Nina Curtis, who had a late start and an unscheduled dunking on the way to finishing 22nd in Heat 1.

The whitecaps began building ominously for Heat 2 and it was the Beattie/Leitner combination that led from start to finish. Waterhouse and Goodall were buried but eventually found a passing lane upwind and grabbed a hard-earned second place, from Burvill/Duffield and the fast-finishing Italians.

With F18 racing having a 22-knot limit for racing, the race committee measured 21 knots when Heat 3 got underway but the seabreeze soon filled in to well beyond that. The top boats were flying upwind at 14 knots and peaking at 25 knots on the spinnaker legs, but there were white knuckles on tillers and sheets as the boats bore away from the top mark.

Beattie nosedived while rounding in second place and was soon in good company, being joined by Adam Beashel, Sean Langman and Ferraglia, among others. Guinea and Haydon had the luxury of sailing conservatively as their rivals bit the dust, and they took the gun from Waterhouse/Goodall.

Sean Langman, who is preparing an Orma 60 trimaran for a tilt at the Sydney-Hobart race record, said there was mainly ‘ego damage’ when he was flung forward on trapeze during his capsize then watched as the boat drifted away.

“Our expectations weren’t that high. We just wanted to finish the races but we didn’t finish the last one. The boat left us," Langman said. "I’m learning, learning, learning – the competitive spirit is there, and having to adjust is the fascination for me. I love the challenge."

The big improvers were McKnight and Curtis, who grabbed their second consecutive seventh placing in Heat 3 to move into the top 10 overall.

"It was fast and furious, but I’m having a lot of fun," Curtis said. "We’re a new team and I’m new to the class so we’re really happy."

McKnight added that the day had a ticked a few boxes, including their first capsize. "We have a few things to fix and change, so it’s not all bad news," he said. "The conditions were probably at the limit for the class but the Capricorn felt super stiff and very strong, and downwind it’s a weapon."

For another Olympian, Laser sailor Krystal Weir, her day was over when she fell through the mainsail during a capsize. Soon afterwards, it was a relief to most competitors when racing was abandoned for the rest of the day.

Racing in the 2013 Australian Formula 18 National Championships, which is sponsored by John Cootes Furniture Warehouse, is scheduled to begin at around 10am on Sunday, although strong winds are again forecast.

For full results>>>

Mark Rothfield