The Australian Sharpie is a highly competitive yet social class with a long history of attracting and developing champion sailors

Monday, February 17, 2014

2013/14 WA Sharpie State Titles

Many thanks to GBYC for hosting this year’s event and the PRO Rob Rose and volunteers that ran the 7 races. Leading into the regatta the favourites were Blatantly Obvious and Bullit with the smokey class newcomer and light wind maestro Paul Schneider in Perth Pathology.

The forecast means very little at Busso as the bay creates its own mystical patterns that the locals understand and the rest of us are bewildered by. The PRO’s prediction of  NW at 8 ish knots from 1200 until 1500 and then a SW after that proved almost spot on with the breeze switching to the SW at 1600.

The first three races in the NW set the scene for an interesting regatta with upsets, surprises and a few broken hearts.

Heat One: Petrovski Ivanisonavichskovloski in Vanquinovish pulled off a ripper to lead from start to finish for a three second win. It must have been the late night carbo loading and the shadow theatre he watched pre-race as part of his motivational regime. Perth Pathology were fast and the evergreen Vern Tidy had Blatantly Obvious on track for third. Kim Nisbett was a guest skipper on Loaded Dice showing he still has the touch.

Heat Two: Keysie wins the start and led from wire to wire. The old man still has it and the new boat is slowly getting up to speed. Great to see a wide smile on the great man’s face. Bullit slipped into second, Perth Pathology third and Vern in fourth.

Heat Three: Perth Pathology showed great pace after another good start to take the lead early and have a runaway 18-second win from Vern and the Trevor “Banana” Date, Ash and the lads in Bullit were close behind as was the ever consistent Kim Nisbett in Loaded Dice.

The PRO pulled us off the water for a spell as he anticipated the breeze to die and clock around to the SW. While some thought we should have cracked on, in hindsight it was a great move as we managed two more races that afternoon, all but guaranteeing a 7 race series and an early trip home on Sunday.

Heat Four: Perth Pathology muffed the start and Vern needed make a clearing tack, with Bullit and Datie firing left, it looked like the series could be blown wide open. Showing great discipline Perth Pathology stuck to the game plan of getting left early and got back into the leading bunch, Vern wiggled his way out of trouble again to be in a close group of four with Bullit and Keysie. In the end, Vern got away to a very comfortable 50 second win from Perth Path, Keysie and Bullit.

Heat Five: The wind switched and created a few winners and losers in the process. As the gun sounded the breeze began to clock from NW to SW making the line hard to cross on starboard. Vern and Perth Pathology picked it again and looked good at the top mark. The PRO had made the course change and the fleet bunched back up at the bottom gate. Once again the breeze switched further left and strengthened to 12 and in patches 15 knots. On the run to the finish the leaders (Perth Pathology and Vern Tidy) ran out of breeze and were challenged by Kim Nisbett, who slipped down the middle in a lovely streak of breeze to finish third. Placings were Perth Pathology, Vern, Loaded Dice and Impact.

This gave Perth Pathology the lead after 5 races from Vern, in what was shaping as a two horse race unless Bullit could produce something magical on day two. Perth Pathology, Bullit and several other teams took the coming racing very seriously with several hours of de briefing and planning at the picturesque GBYC with many staying to study the late night wind patterns. The galley worked overtime cranking out burgers and chips for the boys. Needless to say a few sore heads and croaky voices were about on Sunday morning.

With a light offshore SW blowing the day was going to prove challenging. Could Bullit put a cat amongst the pigeons early or would it turn out to be a gun fight between Perth Path and consistent Vern Tidy and his faithful crew?

Heat 6: 5 to 10 knots from 220/230 with shifts and puffs coming from the shore - classic Busso challenges. There were always going to be tears of joy and sorrow on days like this.

A big shift just after the start saw the fleet separate onto the left and right, Busso boys on the left, City boys on the left. One does not need to be a rocket scientist to work out that a big southerly left-hander magically appeared half way up the leg and it was all over for those on the right. This include Vern, Perth Path and Bullit. Keysie was one of the lefthanders and took out another heat win with a local crew on Loaded Dice taking second and Amber Dreams third.

The big deal was Perth Path and Vern having shockers with an 11th and 15th respectively. The titles was down to the wire for first and second and a shoot out for third and fourth between Loaded Dice and Keysie in SBD Drilling.

Heat 7: With it all on the line Perth Path and Blatantly Obvious would shoot it out for the titles and the honour of having there names on the O’Grady Trophy. The left looked good on the first work however late in the leg Mona picked up a puff in the middle that projected her into the lead. Vern, in his usual fashion, worked the centre and was just off the leading pack whereas Perth Path had some work to do.
Vern pulled his ace out downwind, jibing off early and twisting and turning his way down the inside of the fleet. At the bottom gate it was Snow Francis in Amber Dreams and Vern. Vern split the middle uphill and spread-eagled the fleet for an emphatic three minute victory and another place on the trophy.

Local boats Amber Dreams and Dean Dickson in Asylum second and third respectively. Perth Path had to be content with finishing 7th and 46 seconds away (3 pts), ending the dream for Paul and crew of taking the main prize. But, like you, I am sure this will not be the last you hear of them.

In summary, it was two days of great racing in testing light to moderate breezes, with the association’s sincere thanks to GBYC, the Busso boys, PRO Rob Rose and his start and rescue crews. .Well done to Blatantly Obvious, everyone who was involved in the series and I’m sure those sailors who went south at the weekend are glad they did so.

Full results are being calculated and will be posted in due course.

Next years State Championships venue is in the process of being finalised and we hope to have clean ocean water and fresh breezes.

Craig Mann

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