Monday morning at 7.30 and the sun is pouring down on the bay. The smell of bacon and egg rolls had most of the volunteers flowing over to the canteen where the ladies were working hard to prepare the food. Just what was needed to get the juices going for what appears to be the end game for the number of tournaments that have evolved this weekend.
The easterly freshened up a little around 9am as the competitors made their way out onto the water and talking to GBYC past commodore Keith Stewart, he had a fair idea that it would start to track into the nor west and freshen further. Promptly at 9.30, the racing got underway with the standards being fired off first, followed by the radials both on the outer trapezoid while the 4.7’s took the inner course.
The breeze began to lag a little during the morning and it was with relief we saw the last of the boats finish at the line and the RO promptly put up an AP. The breeze finished its move into the north and all that was needed was a few minutes for the wind to settle.
During this time, we took a hard look at the finishes by some of the sailors.
Zac Littlewood had nailed it in the radials taking first to Conor’s fourth and was looking hot. But he needed another good finish to get into the top three. Sam King from Tasmania was also knocking hard on the door with a second.
Rome Featherstone had locked the door in the 4.7’s and the interest was the battle between Geordie Sicree and Hailey Johnson with the two girls overtaking a lot of the male sailors in the process.
In the full rigs, Alistair Young had taken his third bullet and was well enough in front of Mark Wong to take it easy, but local James Stewart and Jock Calvert of Tasmania were within spitting distance and neither would miss a chance if possible.
The last race of the series was in a nor wester, rotating into the west during the race and it led to some log jams at the pin end in the radial class as every one packed down to get the advantage. Fortunately the 4.7’s and the standards were a little more disciplined and with a black flag instead of the normal U being hoisted, meant that the RO had no mercy. Over the line and you’re out!
Good fortune followed Alistair Young as he took a comfortable second to take the title in the Open and Youth Under 21 standard titles. Craig Hughes took the Masters in the standards and WALA president Bruce Utting was pleased to take the combined GM and GGM title. The Apprentice Masters title was taken by Julian Bolleter.
Conor Nicholas confirmed his place at the top of the tree in both the Open Laser Radials and the Youth under 19’s with Zac Littlewood only two points behind him in both classes. In the Women’s Laser Radials, Elyse Ainsworth took the honours from a plucky Zoe Thomson. Both women sailed well and it was really consistency that put the championship into Elyse’s hands.
As mentioned, 4.7 sailor Rome Featherstone had already done the hard yards, but had enough petrol in the tank to take the last race with a bullet, serving notice that he will be a threat to the radials in a year or two. Hayden Coote was second to Rome and took the Juniors U 16 championship with Finn O’Dea in second place behind him. The Women’s 4.7’s had Geordie Sicree take both the open and U 16 championships from Hailey Johnson by one point. Both of these girls had sailed well for the tournament, but as Geordie was still recovering from a recent illness, she showed particular resilience over the regatta.
For full results please go to: http://www.laserwa.asn.au/
Many thanks to the Geographe Bay Yacht Club for hosting the event and to organizer Andrew Whittell. Thanks also to the Perth race teams who came down to help for the weekend. The club looked after the volunteers very well and the sponsors including the City of Busselton, the Dept of Sports and Recreation, Lottery West, K1 Sails and Performance Sailcraft Australia need to be thanked for their support for the event.
And to the sailors without whom we would not have been there.
Perth Sailing Photography
Report and all images by Rick Steuart