Sean Wallis and his team sailing Wetty Gripper sailed a flawless regatta to win the first J24 Asia – Pacific championship. The Regatta was held at the Cruising Yacht Club of South Australia and sailed over three days.
With eight races scheduled day one started in 7 knots from the NW and a tight dual between Sean Wallis W.A. Ben Lamb N.S.W. and Simon Grain Victoria ensured with Sean Wallis holding a tight finishing fleet. Heat 2 Saw David Suda from Victoria leading but Vladimir Borstnar from Singapore sailed deeper angles downwind to take heat 2 from Suda and Wallis.
Day 2 was sailed in 12 kts of steadier breeze and heat 3 saw Ben lamb lead from Alyn Stevenson S.A. with Wallis 3rd. Wallis worked his way to the lead to win the heat from Lamb and Stevenson. Race 4 proved to be costly for DavidSuda who was OCS and Wallis again sailed extremely fast up the first beat to lead from Lamb with Borstnar third.
Heat 5 saw David Suda from Victoria again mixing it with Wallis and Lamb and the trio led the Singapore team around the first leg. Wallis was just too quick and went on to win another heat from Suda and Borstnar.
Day 3 and the weather looked ominous. The Race committee boat blew a turbo so racing was postponed whilst another committee boat was prepared. The Race committee kept a close eye on the rain bands to the west expecting some turbulent weather. With only five races sailed David Suda was hoping for at least two races so he could drop his OCS. After a 90 minute postponement the fleet made its way to the start in 22knts of breeze.
Heat 6 Wallis was just too quick and bolted to lead the fleet around the course with Suda second and Lamb third.
Heat 7 started ok but a 35 knot rain squall came through half way up the first beat reducing visibility to zero, hence the Race committee abandoned all further racing.
The Regatta has some extremely close racing and all competitors were thrilled the standard of competition vowing to return next year with the fleet expected to swell to 30 entries.
Wetty Gripper once again showed a disappearing transom to the fleet at the 2009 Asia Pacific Regatta in Adelaide over the Queens Birthday weekend.
In an even more totally convincing display of dominance than the Nationals in January on the same racetrack, Sean Wallis from Perth cemented his current position as the top J24 skipper in Australia.
Twenty Js made the start line for the newest series on the Australian race circuit, braving conditions that were at times extreme at both ends of the wind scale, and cooler than the brochure suggested. The only thing hot was the competition. Sean Wallis, Ben Lamb, Vladimir Borstnar from Singapore, Dave Suda and Alyn Stevenson made up the top 5 in that order. Leaving luminaries such as Hugo Ottaway and Sean Kirkjian to help fill in the top ten – such was the depth of talent and competition in the fleet.
The fleet was made up of some of the countries best skippers visiting from NSW (2 boats), Victoria (5 boats), TAS (1 boat), WA (one boat), SA (9 boats). From Singapore we had Vladimir Borstnar and his crew and from Korea we had Park Ki-Cheol and his crew (of 8, we think), as with some of the interstate crews, both using a loan boat from SA. We have to thank the untiring efforts of Alyn Stevenson and Peter Stevens and their helpers, the race officers and crews of the CYCSA for organising loan boats and crew billeting for making this first Asia Pacifica Regatta an amazing winter success.
Racing on the Saturday started in a light northerly wind, shifty and threatening to be stormy, it provided an easy entry for the competitors to winter racing in Adelaide – much like the brochure said it would be. Wetty Gripper set the pace in the first race early with Armed and Dangerous and Make My Jay hot on his heels at the first mark and with the race steadied, the major placegetters finished in the same order.
Race Two was sailed in softening and shifty conditions, pleasant sailing saw some fleet changes during the race with the final placings being Fun, Pacemaker and Wetty Gripper.Race three on Saturday was abandoned due to lack of wind – quite a popular decision judging by the cheers on the radios around the fleet.
Day Two and the wind had gone round to the SW – cold and windy with a few comments about ‘not in the brochure’ going around. The first start was a general recall, a sure sign that the fleet is getting serious in the new breeze. Sean Wallis didn’t have it all his own way at first and had to fight through the pack to win from Pacemaker and Fun 2. However a solid win all the same. Race four saw 3 of the Victorian boats OCS with all but Pacemaker going back and this was to cost them dearly in the overall results as the series ended up without any drops. Another win to Wetty Gripper with Armed and Dangerous second and Fun third. Adelaide was now showing its SW weather with strong upwind sailing and exciting downwind surfing, with many places being won and lost on the long surfing rides, a reward for the ‘downwind workers’.Race five was very hotly contested with a logjam of boats on the top mark the first time around, being a disaster for several boats arriving on port and having to gybe away to find a spot further back in the queue. With the wind gusting strongly this race provided exciting sailing, however once again although Sean Wallis had to fight to get to and stay at the front, he clinched another strong win with Pacemaker and Armed and Dangerous close behind.
Mondays racing was to provide an interesting day for not only the minor placings but also the sailing finesse of the fleet. The first race promised a very strong SW blow, very cold conditions and it was touch and go with the race committee whether the day would be held at all. The start boat had a terminal engine problem and so eventually another was found. The conditions were found to be sailable and even borderline between jib and genoa at times. Sean Wallis clinched his 5th win from Pacemaker and Armed and Dangerous.Race seven started under foreboding skies and with the first two legs completed the fleet was on it’s second beat when it was hit by a squall of around 50 knots, rain, hail, zero visibility and flogging sails and screaming noise meant that many boats pulled down sails or ran for shelter leaving a smaller fleet to come out the other side into an almost oily calm and brooding light, only to find that the race had been abandoned. And that became the end of the regatta, no drops and plenty of good and hard luck stories as usual.
Later on Monday the presentation was held with Sean Wallis and his crew taking the honours in one design from Ben Lamb and Vladimir Borstnar from Singapore. In the handicap section honours went to Brian Walsh on Cookie Monster, Alyn Stevenson on Fun 2 and Simon Grain on Make My Jay. (Wetty Gripper gives up 3rd due to being the winner of the One Design series.
All the competitors expressed immense satisfaction and thanks to the efforts of Alyn Stevenson and his volunteers at the CYC for organising and running a brilliant first regatta for this series, which now has Intercontinental status. We are all looking forward to the next one !
Article by Simon Grain
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Hugo Ottaway collected some interesting quotes from the regatta !!!
1: Herschel: ” we didn’t bother going back when OCS……. we’ll drop that one”…………Oooops – No Drops.
Part 2: Herschel: Didn’t you hear the radio…….. “we turned it off”………. mmmmm.
2: Dave Suda: why didn’t you use the new mainsail you pulled up the mast and sailed out to the race area with?…………”no battens in it”.
3:Sean Wallis: Gees I thought Hugo’s and David’s J’s had good speed………”no they don’t, their shit slow”……….. Humble winner.
4:Doug McGregor: when trying to order from ‘Hurry Curry’, handed the phone over saying “the Scots have a language problem with the Indians”. (you had to be there).
5: Ron Thompson: ” I think I’ll miss today’s racing”…… good decision, 75% of the fleet flattened by a 40+ knot squall.
6: Angus McKechnie: on relationships: came home to find his new girlfriend (who had just moved in) had neatly cut up his worlds regatta tee shirts for cleaning rags………… relationship didn’t last !!!
7: Angus McKechnie: when asked to pass out the lunches…… pulled out bread sticks and fillings and began making them on the deck with 7 mins to the start……. not what was expected.
8: David Suda: when the race committee announced they may not get any racing in because they had blown up the start boat motor…….. (making no drops)…….” that’s f***ed”, (were f***ed).
9: Pete Stevens….. who proudly showed off his bow modifications……” she’s only a few kilo’s over…… that doesn’t matter…. does it ???”….. mmmmmmmmmmm.
10: Ron Thompson: “Get the spinnaker up”………………………………. crew…”NO”.
11: Ron Thompson: “Ready to tack”…………………………… crew…”NO !!….WERE TOO WET”.
12: Fitzy: “Simon needs to work on his starts”………………………….. Next race OCS.
13: Herschell: I think your car’s blowing a bit of smoke!!…..” that’s nothing! the transmissions slipping and the trailers lost its brakes”………He still had to drive home.
14: Fitzy: who cleated off the spinnaker for the run home and then went and sat on the pushput…………. boat rolled over in the next gust.
15: Peter Stevens…….. “what the f**k have the girls got against me……. they’ve hit me twice today”.
16: Fitzy: who was underneath the boat tying it to the trailer…… ” Simon, when do you want to get the rig down”……………………….. Simon….”its down, you helped me”………… senior moment.
17: The Korean’s ….. who sailed with 5 ….. had 8 at the presentation……… no room on deck ???