Lachy Gilham “getting the boat going”
The first day of the 2016 Laser State Championships at GBYC Busselton
Nearly 80 boats fronted on the line today at sunny Busselton off the beach at Geographe Bay Yacht Club. Two races were slated for today and after a false start caused by a change in the wind direction; racing began in earnest at 4 pm as a nor-wester settled in across the bay.
RO Robyn Olsen had the fleets away briskly and the first of the radial fleet began to spill around the top mark in quick time. The breeze was starting to swing to the left and by the end of the afternoon was almost due west with not a sign of the abrupt change that signifies the sou-wester booming past the capes.
Local knowledge has its pleasure and it was without surprise that the locals swung into the shore to pick up the breeze that was coming through on the left of the course. Listening to one of the younger full rig sailors today, he said that he hadn’t sailed down at Busselton for a while, but it didn’t take him long to catch the shore breeze and neither did everyone else.
The two races had everyone spilling into the shore as the sun was setting in the West over Cape Naturaliste and all we had was the time to grab a quick snag in a roll and then head off home for a shower and perhaps dinner with friends.
As to the results.
The Full rigs have Alistair Young first and Mark Wong second while trading places at the front with Mark taking a first and a fourth in the second. Alistair took a third in the first race and came first in the second. Third over all is Lachy Gilham with a fourth and a second. In the masters, Bruce Utting is leading, showing that there is still a little sparkle in his eyes.
In the 4.7s Joshua Pang is showing all class early on in the regatta with two bullets to his name and it has been left to Hayden Coote and Rome Featherstone to take second and third both on 6 points. In the girls Bee Allison was a very good seventh over the line and leading female with Geordie Sicree in ninth over the line and second behind Bee. But oh what tears there will be in the morning when three younger sailors realize that they were penalized for having not signed either on or off during the day.
It’s not easy being in the radial class as Zoe Thomson is finding out, especially when you are a light weight radial driver, however today fell into her range and she was only three boats behind Elyse Ainsworth. But in the men’s radials, both Conor Nicholas and Caelin Winchcombe are 5 apiece, each taking a fourth and a first. The big improver is Zac Littlewood who scored an eighth in the first race and a second in the next race giving him third spot, but looking at the ups and downs in the placings over the first ten boats in the two races, it’s possible that there could be some other changes shortly.
Elyse Ainsworth “Rounding” Conor Nicholas “The final tune”Zac Littlewood “Making the mark”Rome Featherstone and Hailey Johnson at the start
The second day of the 2016 Laser State Championships at GBYC Busselton
A Day in Two Halves.
The beginning of the day was great with an average 8 to 10 knots sweeping over the course from the East. The fleets were sent away with some great gusts being utilized as they worked their way up to the top mark with the leaders making the top without much difficulty. In the radials Richard Maher on Reach Around made it to the top mark with Conor Nicholas in hot pursuit. Zoe Thomson found the first leg to her liking as well and continued on in that vein for the rest of the day.
The second race began with the radials sent off on a light easterly that promptly started to die and any one who went south found themselves stranded. Those who went north picked up the last of the easterly and did well while those in the middle struggled to keep moving. It led to some interesting finishes as the first two or three radial boats who rounded the top mark in the second race were able to use the breeze as it picked up again and stay in front for the rest of the second race. The 4.7’s were less fortunate and started with an AP for the 4.7’s and they were sent off again minutes later. The Full Rigs were also beset with an AP while the breeze swung around into the south and the change of course advice went out to get the last two fleets onto different tracks. An unexpected win by Marcus Fisk in the full rigs, who picked the breeze line to begin and was never headed.
Racing finished around 4.30 pm with a heart felt sigh of relief by all and sundry as the boats flowed across the finish line and from then onto the shore.
Jackson Porter with the Busselton Jetty as backdrop. Conor Nicholas leading Jackson Porter into the mark
Rome Featherstone “follow the leader” Mark Wong hiking.
Zoe Thomson with Tristan Brown in hot pursuit.
The results from the second day were as follows.
In the radials Conor Nicholas is still locked head to head with Caelin Winchcombe with both on 12 points. If Conor had chosen to go north at the start, there may have been a different outcome to the second race. Still it’s a big six to drop. Richard Maher is backing up in third place with Sam King from Tasmania climbing up the ladder. In the girls Zoe Thomson has eased ahead of Elyse Ainsworth with some good sailing on these light days.
In the full rigs, Mark Wong is enjoying a one point lead over Alistair Young, but James Stewart is sitting two points back, having claimed his first bullet for the regatta ready to pounce on any mistakes. Lachy Gilham is in a near fourth spot. In the masters David Whait leads both John Roberson and Bruce Utting who are separated by a point and there are a bunch of masters waiting for any of the three to make a mistake.
The 4.7’s overnight leader Josh Pang has been relegated to fourth following a bad fourth race when he essentially dropped out of contention. In his place Rome Featherstone put in back to back bullets to break the deadlock he had on second spot with Finn O’Dea, and even though Finn had an average performance for the last race he still ended up a little better off to retain third spot. The girls however have started to churn over and Geordie Sicree has shot to the top of the tree in the girl’s lists with a 4 point lead over Hailey Johnson who again is five points ahead of yesterday’s leader Bee Allison.
Monday mornings sailing promises for a good easterly breeze.
Story and all images by Rick Steuart For WALA