So the Minnow kids cracked the big time and were mixing it with the rockstars all weekend at the Sailing World Cup. Olympic medalists, Americas Cup heroes and sailing legends were on full display at the prestigious Sail Melbourne Regatta and it was an awesome experience for the kids to be competing alongside many of the world's sailing elite. It was also fantastic to see a strong turnout from the Minnows with a total of 29 boats including an exceptional effort from our interstate visitors from WA and NT. This was certainly no ordinary regatta with a total number of entries of 465 and the buzz around Sandringham Yacht Club was very exciting.
Light airs predominated sailing on day 1 and 2 making it tough going for the heavier kids who are just about kicking the side tanks out of their boats. Nevertheless Hayden Harding found a way of crossing the line first in heat 3 ahead of all the lightweight flyers and Ethan O'Brien was first at the first mark in two races on day 1 continuing his good form through the range of conditions.
Racing was very closely contested and of a high quality standard with 4 different heat winners and 7 different boats placing on the podium over the 6 races. Hamish Bolton performed very consistently with 3 fourths and a third place and Jack Challands showed that he's not finished with the Minnow yet with some outstanding performances including a 2nd and a 3rd. Anna O'brien continued to show her high potential in her 'oldest looking boat' in the fleet with a fourth place in heat 4.
There were two brand new, very smart looking Deryck South built boats that were launched at the regatta sailed by Kieren Bucktin and Dean Cowan, both from WA. Dean got his red boat firing with a 5th place in the final race knocking off the current national champion. It should be noted that Laura Harding was spotted coaching the West Australians post race - if this was a tactic to help beat her rival brother it was certainly successful.
Another highlight of racing was Sophia Burns nailing a start in textbook fashion - a highlight not so much because it was a fantastic start but because her dad was so ecstatic with excitement and proclaimed he could now die happy with his daughter's accomplishments as a sailor.It was great to see Tori Campbell step up from the Novice division in Darwin to be sailing around with the open fleet in her aptly named Bar Code. And thanks also from the 'Save the Dolphins Society' to Jaz Hackett who contributed to a cleaner Bay by managing to collect rubbish from the water during the races.
However probably the highlight of the regatta, and possibly the year, was the heat 6 performance by Jade Telford. After years of unsuccessfully coaching Jade to hike out in her boat, the miracle finally occured and there she was steaming up the final beat, hiking out to the toenails. Had the years of perseverance and patience from coaches finally paid off? When Jade was later asked on shore why the breakthrough, the reasoning was simple: 'I was in front of Luke and I wanted to make sure I beat him'. Hmmm, something to be said for figuring out the right psychology.
Unfortunately, Minnow racing was cancelled for day 3 bringing a premature end to a great regatta. However watching all the capsizes and carnage in the medal races off the balcony of Sandy Yacht Club was pretty good fallback entertainment for the day. Overall honours were awarded to Kieren Schortz, beating James Hackett on a countback with Laura Harding in third. Well done Kieren, James and Laura, the medal presentation on the podium was pretty special and no doubt this result throws the National Championship wide open with conditions likely to be a key factor. Its sure set up for an exciting and fun Nationals at Blairgowrie, see you all there.
Watch out for the notice of race and registration for the 2014 Musto Minnow National Championships to be held at Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron. Coming Soon.
Nine NT Minnows packed up bound for Melbourne last weekend for this January's Nationals at Blairgowrie. See the photo below shows the challenges faced when trying to pack boats in a container whilst a cyclone is approaching Darwin. Looks a bit more challenging than the Vic team faced heading north over winter.
Should be an exciting summer with at least 2 NT Boats also competing at Sail Melbourne next week along with a few from WA. Expect some competitive racing and lots of opportunity to catch up with interstate friends.
The infamous reputation of Sail Sandy as a regatta of wild winds and waves looked set to continue as 25 knot gusts whistled through the rigging area of Sandringham Yacht Club prior to start time. The twenty strong 2013 Minnow Development Squad spent the early morning in a theory session talking about the key areas of heavy air technique with Paul super coach Rogers’ favourite training aid – playdough.
Above: A familiar site each morning, postponement!
Under the watchful eye of myself, dux of the class in the most recent powerboat handling course, I guided Jono in Blowup Blossom out through the choppy seas to do a wind check on the course area. With the careful consideration and assessment that us Australian males pride ourselves on, we both came to the same conclusion: ‘she’ll be right’.
So the call was made and out they went. As always after such calls, 15 knots pretty soon turned into squirts of 20. Despite the challenge, the kids stepped up and punched out 4 solid races.
Laura and Hayden revelled in the heavy air and had some fantastic battles at the front with the day 1 honours going to Laura 3:1. Ella also showed what she is capable of in strong winds with a 4th place in race one.
Victorian Sailing Team member, Alex Bolton, returned to the fray after the winter break and immediately exposed his dad’s negligent maintenance program with his mast coming down just seconds after the first start. The pitt team went into overdrive and had Alex back out on the water by the fourth race in which he slotted straight back into the front of the fleet. Surrendering the lead late on the last beat due to a big ‘leftie’ he held on for third.
Day 2 and a cranky Huey, grumpy that we got all scheduled races in on Day 1, remembered that it was Sail Sandy and cranked things up to 30 knots all morning. But in a rare show of complacency after the morning was postponed, Huey took a breath which allowed the fleet to get on the water for 2 races in the afternoon. The twins had more fierce battles with continual lead changes, but it was Laura who took the series victory and cash prize, her performance also giving her second overall place in the 170 boat fleet. Ethan sailed very strongly and consistently throughout the regatta to secure 3rd place. It was also great to see significant improvement from Liam Batty who was consistently challenging the top group. Well done to all competitors on a great series.
Above: Winner Laura Harding with 2nd Hayden Harding and 3rd Ethan O'Brien.
The next Development Squad event sees the fleet return to the waters of this season’s Nationals – Blairgowrie, 9th-10th Nov. See you all there.
Please see below the Notice of Series for the 2013/2014 Victorian Sailing Cup (VSC) - Yachting Victoria’s season long championship for junior and youth Off-the-Beach classes. This championship is based on the same concept as the ISAF Sailing World Cup but specifically for junior and youth sailors, to build fleet racing experience. The series is comprised of 7 existing established regattas that many sailors already compete in. Using the results of those regattas a high score points system will be used calculate the VSC winners in each class and as was the case last year the Minnow is a part of this Series.
There is no entry fee and no need to register for the series; Yachting Victoria will use the results from each of the nominated regattas to score the series. The score board will be available on line at the Yachting Victoria website www.yachtingvictoria.com.au. The Notice of series document can be found here: Notice of Series.
A high points scoring system will be used with the first 20 places in each class in each regatta to be scored. First place receives 20 points, 2ndplace 19 points, 3rd place 18 points and so on down to 20th place scoring 1 point. Placing 21st or worse in a regatta or not competing scores 0 points.