Friday, February 14, 2014

CONVICTS on Sailing Australian J/24 Nationals

J/24s sailing on Sydney Harbour, Australia
(Sydney, Australia)- Steve Girdis won the start, won the race and won the regatta, the new Australian National Champion talks a little about the regatta as seen from the cockpit of CONVICTS REVENGE – wise words indeed!

“All agreed the 2014 J/24 Nationals was well run by the very quaint and accommodating Royal Prince Edward Yacht Club. There was much attention to detail and plenty of volunteers and staff to ensure the sailors felt welcome and enjoyed themselves. There was the friendly tender service servicing all the moored Js and the catering staff doling out bacon and egg rolls and cappuccinos for competitors to enjoy while sitting on the grass overlooking one of Sydney Harbour’s most pristine beaches. The presentation dinner was wonderful on the enclosed verandah.

This was some consolation to the Melbourne folk who observed that for most of the regatta it was sunnier and warmer in Melbourne, to which of course the locals responded with the local standard “its not normally like this, you should have been here last week“. In other onshore developments an undeserved twist of fate found the RPEYC Commodore’s (Sean Kirkjian) J/24 beached in front of the club one morning mid-regatta under mysterious circumstances, suffering considerable keel damage.

It was great having competitors from Singapore, South Australia and Victoria as well as locals.

It certainly was not “the brochure” of steady Sydney summer nor’easters, in fact we only had nor’easters for the invitation race and final day.

Most of the racing happened in fairly shifty and mentally challenging south and south east winds. The upside from this was that there was a lot of “snakes and ladders” on the course, with leaders never being able to relax and those deep able to carry on in hope.

Racing was close, positions changed regularly throughout the whole the fleet, and big winning margins were rare.

The results sheet over 10 races bears this out and shows the variety in heat winners and place getters which made it fun and kept it interesting.

All the competitors would have their own perspective of how it went, but from on board Convicts Revenge this is how it happened.

From a technical sailing perspective this regatta seemed very much about throwing away the compass and fine tuning guide and just sailing free and fast to the next bit of pressure.

The racing culminated in a friendly “showdown” of sorts for the last 2 races on the final day, where 1 point only separated Pacemaker from Kaotic and Convicts Revenge between 1st, 2nd and 3rd.

Some tough decisions to be made because the bible for Sydney Harbour sailing says “thou shall starboard tack from start, hit Bradley’s head, tack on to port and thou shall to the lay”. However the bible also says “the incoming tides around the celebration of Xmas can be strong so go right on port”.

So, which theology to apply on top of which boat to cover!?

In the first beat of the first race, the 3 boats went right, covering each other, to be collectively somewhat hammered by those who stuck with tradition and hit Bradley’s on the left.

In the last race there was (predictably) some match racing action at the start between Convicts and Pacemaker which resulted in Pacemaker doing penalty turns. Convicts came out better on the first beat, in the lead, working the left with Kaotic going right. Up the last beat Kaotic worked the middle well and caught right up and then it was a tacking dual. They split, Convicts picking up a pressure advantage in the right which delivered the winning margin— of one point.”  For more Australian J/24 sailing information