The FNQ J24 Championships were conducted by the Cairns Yacht Club over 3 days, 22-24 July 2011, on short inside harbour courses.
Morning races were light 5-10kt conditions with afternoon races sailed in 10-15kt breeze. A total of 8 boats competed; 6 owned by NQ Sailing, 1 from Port Douglas Yacht Club and 1 privately owned. Kaizen 2 won the finals carrying a 2min. in 100min handicap as a dry sailed boat, over the rest of the fleet in clean wet sailed condition.
The 23 boat strong fleet of Canadian J/24 sailors were treated incredibly well by their host for the Canadian J/24 Nationals, Port Credit YC. PCYC has to be one of the most gracious, fun-loving clubs on Lake Ontario, renowned for their “can do” attitude, excellent RC/PRO management of races and a club membership totally focused on having fun sailing. Note, this is the same crew that host the largest offshore race of the summer Lake Ontario season- the Lake Ontario 300 that starts this coming weekend.
The 23 teams woke up Friday morning to light air, blistering sun and warm temperatures. Nevertheless, the PRO managed to complete one race and then by 2:00 pm the wind shut off completely. The RC hoisted AP over H and the fleet went back to shore for shade, a dip in PCYC’s pool and re-hydration at the bar. By 4:00 pm a line of wind was spotted coming over the lake from the south west, so the fleet headed out and were able to squeak one more race out of the day. That’s awesome RC work, if you go to sail a Nationals, then be ready to go anytime! At the completion of Day one, it looked like Rossi Milev sailing CLEAR AIR/ ORANGE BLOSSOM was a leader to be reckoned with, scoring a 2-1 to lead over Peter Wickwire’s team on SUNNYVALE with a 1-3. Just off the pace was Tom Barbeau’s NAVTECH.CA with a 4-2.
On Saturday, the forecast called for very light air and the fleet wasn’t too optimistic, however, the wind filled in and by 11:00 there was a solid 9 knots of breeze coming from the east. The Race committee started the race right on time to make the best of the wind while it lasted. On the next 2 races, a persistent veer in the wind caused the race committee to put up ‘charlie’ plus green flags at the top end to indicate the leeward gates where shifted course-side-left. By the third race the wind had dropped substantially, but the waves & slop did not. The Race committee shortened the course and brought the windward mark to 0.9 nm. It was a hard slog up and down the course, and by the time the last boat had finished the fleet was exhausted. Still leading after this long day on the water was Rossi Milev with a 1-2-2 followed by Peter Wickwire’s SUNNYVALE with a 3-1-11 and Scott Weakley’s REX team working on the comeback trail with a 13-3-1. By 4:30 Saturday, the fleet was back on dock folding sails and finding shade. The wind had completely died so calling it quits when we did was the right call. The fleet was definitely dehydrated and looking forward to the party Saturday night where PCYC put on a great BBQ spread with salads and deserts, and plenty of beer taps flowing.
Sunday morning dawned with a good breeze and the fleet took off to get in two races before the time expiration for the start of the last race. After scoring a 5-5 and holding his principal competitor back, Rossi Milev’s team on CLEAR AIR/ ORANGE BLOSSOM from the local J/24 fleet at Port Credit YC were declared 2011 J/24 Canadian National Champions, winning with just 13 points after a toss race. Second was Peter Wickwire’s SUNNYVALE crew from Royal Canadian YC with 21 points. Third was another local boat, Scott Weakley’s REX team from PCYC with 28 points, winning a tie-breaker over Tom Barbeau’s NAVTECH.CA team from Yacht Club Quebec also with 28 points for fourth place. Fifth was the first woman team skipper, Katie Colman-Nicoll sailing QUICK NICK for the host PCYC. All in all, a good showing for the local PCYC boats taking three of the top five. [Excerpt from Jboats newsletter]
The Weymouth Olympic Sailing Center hosted their annual Weymouth Regatta that included the J/24 UK National Championship. The organizers were blessed with beautiful weather, gorgeous breezes both days of racing for all. The J/24s showed up en-masse ready to do battle to determine the 2011 UK champion– several veterans showed up that included past J/24 UK Champions, like Stuart Jardine from Royal Lymington YC.
After the first days racing in the steady breezes punctuated by long wind streaks, it was self-evident that one team simply had everything dialed in to go fast, stay out of trouble and show their transom to the rest of the fleet. By day’s end, Bob Turner’s SERCO from Castle Cove SC simply smoked the competition, starting off with three bullets and a second to lead by a large margin. Nipping at their heels and still within striking distance was Mark Penfold from the RYA sailed RELOADED.
The second day of sailing again dawned with good weather and a nice breeze from the southerly quadrants. Again, Turner’s SERCO team stepped on the gas pedal, dialed in a 1-2 for the first two races, then simply coasted home in the last two races with a 7-6 to win with 14 points. Brilliant sailing is an adjective that comes to mind to describe their remarkable, somewhat sparkling performance! Maintaining their second position was Mark Penfold’s team on RELOADED, finishing with 20 points. A perennial class leader, Stuart Jardine from RLYC sailed his latest generation J/24 STOUCHE to a strong third, narrowly missing out second by one point! Fourth was Darren Stansbury from Saltash SC with 30 points and fifth was Roger Morris on JOLLY ROGER from Parkstone SC Sailing photo credits- UK Fotoboat.com [Excerpt from Jboats newsletter]
After checking with the international committee, and referral to our local international judge, the following decision has been made:
There is no breach of any rule – including 42, 47.2, 49.1, 49.2, and the definition of finishing – as follows:
§ There is no breach of rule 42 unless, of course, the person in the water is kicking his legs to propel the boat.
§ There is no breach of rule 47.2 when the person who fell overboard is making a reasonable attempt to get back on board – as opposed to swimming away or making no attempt to get on board. There is also no definition of what constitutes ‘back on board’ and a person hanging on to the boat is, arguably, back on board within the meaning of the rule. The rule is intended to prevent someone (a crew member) from leaving the boat and swimming away / going ashore / getting on to another boat / etc. In those circumstances, the rule is breached if leaving was deliberate and, if not, the crew member must be back on board before the boat continues in the race.
§ There is no breach of rule 49.1 as the pulpit is not a device designed to position a competitor’s body outboard.
§ Rule 49.2 does not apply to someone who has fallen overboard. In this situation, the person overboard is not ‘positioning’ himself outside the lifelines in the context of the rule. For what it’s worth, there is no difference between a wire lifeline and a stainless steel tube pushpit as far as the restriction on positioning a crew member outside them is concerned.
§ The definition of finishing reference to ‘in normal position’ refers to equipment and not the crew.
Therefore NO rules were broken – just a crew member!
The J24 class in South Australia is looking forward to further growth over the coming season with the formation of a second fleet in SA, based at the Port Adelaide Sailing Club.
J24 SA President Sean Wallis said “Along with our well established fleet at the Cruising Yacht Club of SA it is fantastic to see the class establish the second fleet at the Port and this will certainly benefit us in achieving our goal of increasing the number of J24’s sailed in this state.”
Wallis, who is also the current Australian Champion will be basing himself at the PASC and went on to say “The Port Adelaide Sailing Club has been as enthusiastic as we have as far as the establishment of the fleet. They are an excellent club with world class facilities and offer very competitive membership and hard stand fees.”
The sailing program for the PASC is in the final stages of preparation and will include dedicated fleet racing for the J24’s both in the Port River and in the Gulf. The sailing program has been designed to compliment that offered by the Cruising Yacht Club of SA providing sailing at either club on most Saturdays or Sundays throughout the season.
“This is our second fleet in South Australia and is the first step of our plans to establish additional fleets in this state. Ideally we would like to have a third fleet in the Adelaide metro area in the next 12-24 months but right now our focus is ensuring that we see further growth with our existing two fleets” said Wallis.
The next event on the J24 SA calendar is the Port Line Cup, hosted by the Port Adelaide Sailing Club on the 7th & 8th August. A good sized fleet of J24’s is expected to compete in the event which has short course racing scheduled on the Saturday and the Port Line Cup on the Sunday.
A somewhat delayed post about the nationals – but better late than never!
As mentioned in an earlier post, there were two battles to take place on the final day of racing in the nationals.
The race for first between Sean in Wetty Gripper and Doug in Code Violation and the race for third between Hugo in Vice Versa and Dave in Pacemaker – with both boats only separated by a point.
As it turns out the race for third turned into very interesting battle on that final day.
The goal for Hugo was simple, beat Pacemaker in both races and secure third.
As soon as the northerly filled in and the start gun fired, it was game on. Hugo had the pace and the tactics to keep Dave at bay for the first lap. The comments from the crew on Pacemaker were that they had been outclassed by the team on Vice Versa. During the final lap, Vice Versa held a loose cover on Pacemaker taking them close to the starboard layline. A tacking duel just before the layline gave Pacemaker just enough room to breath on the way towards the mark.
By the time the to boats reached the top mark for the final time, Vice Versa had extended their lead to almost 10 boat lengths. Spotting traffic and a left hand windshift at the top mark gave Pacemaker the break they were looking for and tacked in on the stern of Vice Versa as they rounded the top mark heading for the finish.
From this point, it was game on. Pacemaker had one goal at this point… get in front! What ensued was a shy to shy gybing duel that would have had at least 10 gybes in it (we lost count!) that pushed both crews to the limit of their abilities.
At one point down the leg, Pacemaker broke the overlap and moved clear ahead, but failed to gain a starboard advantage. It was during the second half of the leg, that the Pacemaker crew had realised that something interesting was about to happen on the scoreboard. By locking horns with Vice Versa, Pacemaker had moved Vice Versa back down the field to a point where the boats were due to finish 8th and 9th. It was the 8th that was going to make the scoreboard very interesting as this changed the drops for both boats and left them with even points going into the last race. (For a detailed explanation, which includes hand waving and whiteboards – talk to the Pacemaker crew!)
Race 9 finished with Vice Versa just beating Pacemaker across the line.
The final race was shaping up to be a battle, with both teams going in on even points, but with Hugo ahead on a countback.
An unfortunate first beat and top mark rounding saw Vice Versa stuck at the back of the pack, with Pacemaker having an easy time up the front. The final result saw Pacemaker sneak home with a third.
Last night’s Mexican hijinx was a night to remember. The Mexican spirit flowed liberally and stick on moustaches ponchos and sombreros were all the rage. Live music, Mexican accents and margaritas all combined to make sure that the night was a huge success. Dave off Wetty Gripper won the major prize in the raffle of a hamper donated by Hamper Creations of Melbourne and is seen in the picture carrying off his prize !
It’s rumoured that Dougie McGain must have gone home after the first day and written lines – ‘I must not go right, I must not go right, I must not go right, I must not go right, I must not go right, I must go left’. And clearly it worked because he came back with a vengeance yesterday, he didn’t go right at all, just banged the left corner every time and came home with 3 bullets.
Of course 3 wins helps every time and he has moved up the leader board from fifth to second. Sean Wallis had an almost equally consistent day with two seconds and a third and still holds a 9 point lead from Doug on current points score without the drop. A pretty clear picture you might think, but look again. Factoring in the drop changes the picture dramatically and gives Doug the chance to win if he gets another clean sweep.
This means that the Wetty Gripper guys will need to stay sharp and get another win or two if they want to take the trophy home. If Sean continues his current consistence he should just win the championship although some poorer placings than thirds and wins by Doug will make the points table as tight as Sean is likely to get after the presentation.
Doug already has his drop with a 10th in the first race so he has nothing up his sleeve there and can’t afford another bad one, Sean is dropping a 3rd at this stage so has a little margin for error.
If Doug does have another bad one he risks having a battle for second with David Suda and Hugo Ottaway and both these skippers still have the chance of being the bridesmaid this year if they can keep their noses clean and stay in contention for race wins or a second placings in the next 4 races.
The battle of the Seans is now a fizzer, with Sean Kirkjian although putting in some good performances yesterday now being 13 points behind allowing for the drop at this point. He will have to work hard and bring in some good finishes to get the money as he also already has a drop in his current results. Dave and Hugo can afford to have a bad one and still be in the race for 2nd and third.
Once again the ‘Hyper Girls’ are doing well, currently lying 6th although they have a 12 point gap off the back of Starpac.
The weather for the last two racing days looks good with forecast winds under 20 knots on both days and mostly sunny skies. Temperatures on Friday are forecast to get into the mid 30s so it will be a hot finish to a hot regatta.
Ron Thomson and crew are sailing like demons and are now guaranteed to be the first green boat in this years regatta
Story of Day One of the Nationals by Mel Hawkes, sailing on Starpac
When my legs had finally stopped shaking and after I had stuffed a roll in my face I headed for the bar. Not normally a drinker I am finding I am quickly making up for that in the last few days. Still in a bit of a daze I found myself being asked how we did. I had no idea so was very surprised to find not only had we come fourth overall but we had been leading for a while on the first race.
The whole experience has been a steep learning curve and another one I found was probably how to annoy everyone by me piping up I had no idea where we were I was too busy concentrating on my two little lines that were my job. The correct terms for them would be the topping and the kicker line.
I must confess to shutting my eyes at each start as it looked more like a pack of bumper cars about to attack and judging by a rather loud thud at one point I think that theory was correct.
I have an absolute respect for all skippers especially mine as how they manage to pick their spots remains calm is a new mystery to me. I also have to rethink the theory that men can’t multi task as our skipper apart from helming and trimming the boat prevented me from hanging myself on more than one occasion and hoisting up the bow girl with the pole and that’s just the parts I had my eyes open for.
My goal tomorrow is to try and look up at one point. Baby steps! I started sailing with Pacific sailing school a few months ago after a holiday in st Lucia and I managed to flip a hobbie cat which I am told is pretty hard to do. Few months later I find myself racing in the Nationals way out of my comfort zone. Hank at the school reassured me that girls can be very good sailors let’s see what our skipper has to say at the end of the week.