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MJ State Titles - Round 1 Report

 ASC deck

 

23 Nov: MJ's - NEW updated photo link on page 

 

Wow! A HUGE weekend at Avalon Sailing Club. In its 57th consecutive year the Manly Junior State Titles drew boats from Wauchope through to Port Kembla with seven clubs represented. 72 enthusiastic sailors, 50 ASC volunteers and well over 200 people filling the deck set the scene for a fabulous weekend of sailing and having fun on and off the water.

With a forecast easterly of 6-8 knots all fingers were crossed for breeze as Saturday morning turned on blue skies and crystal clear water. With many helping hands from the MJ, F11 and ASC yachting fleets it wasn’t long before all competitors had wriggled their boats onto the rigging deck, the BBQ was running and Col Chidgey, our Race Officer, calling the briefing. Lunch done, green flag hoisted and 20 open boats and 16 novice boats took to the water.

Representing Avalon we had “Full Throttle” (Quentin Willman and Lawrence Simpson) and “Stingray” (David Tulk and Flynn Osomanski) in the open fleet with both crews new to MJ’s this year. And in the novice fleet Sophie Drummond made a return back to MJs, but this time as skipper ably assisted by Logan Crookshanks in “Glitter Monster”. And straight out of red group our 4th boat “Schmicko” was skippered by Jonah Griffiths with Louis Mandin up front on Saturday and Louis Attrill stepping in on Sunday.

Finger crossing worked, and we were treated to 10-12 knots from the east. With breeze funneling down the left hand side of the course the fleet romped off on a clean start. In perfect reaching conditions all boats had their spinnakers flying, including all the novice fleet, turning Pittwater into a patchwork of bright colours. Our ASC sailors reveled on home turf, with Stingray taking out 1st place and Full Throttle in 5th. Glitter Monster and Schmicko both sailed well, completing the course and finishing 13th and 15th.

With the breeze steady Col racked us up again for race 2, which was temporarily a repeat with Stingray crossing the line first, but under protest with a lee bow incident just before the finish which ultimately cost them a 30% penalty under arbitration, giving them a 6th. Full Throttle went one better and landed a 4th place position. Improvements all round with Glitter Monster finishing 12th and Schmicko taking out a well earned 14th.

Racing over, the hotly anticipated Couta Boat derby had all MJ Sailors queueing on the pontoon, eager to get back out on the water, this time in some historic gaff rigged timber boats. In the deepening shadows over Pittwater the Coutas looked fantastic – the jury is still out as to whether the junior sailors or old hands had more fun. It wasn’t long before MJ sailors took the helm and worked the mainsheet (OK a few hands on that one!), with one boat press ganging 6 sailors into hauling up the centreboard. Sporting their large sail areas the Coutas were soon reaching back and forth at a cracking pace. Enjoying their greater stability, the MJ Sailors were soon augmenting the vang by sitting on the boom, or stepping out along the elongated bow sprits, proving once again that “if you can sail an MJ, you can sail anything”. Massive thank you to the crews of Cariad, Sylvia and Kathleen Mary for sharing the Couta boat dream with our young upcoming sailors.

Sunday was another brilliant sunny morning, and Pittwater delivered true to reputation. Despite the same forecast and same start location the left side funnel was nowhere to be seen and mixed fortunes were found on both sides of the course. Stingray persevered out to the right and eventually found a big lift to climb back into contention from 5th to 1st at the second rounding of the windward mark. Full Throttle found a consistent groove up the middle and were in 3rd place at the start of the final reach. After the 4th beat to windward Stingray led Full Throttle over the finish line, but controversy again as Stingray was subjected to another protest flag – this time regarding proper course AFTER the finish – which was immediately rejected and a historic 1 + 2 finish for Avalon was recorded. Glitter Monster and Schmicko turned in another consistent performance to bag a 12th and 15th respectively.

Race 4 saw some very determined young sailors crowding the line with ensuing general recalls until the black flag brought order to proceedings. After an hour of tough racing it was Wildfire from Hornsby that took 1st place in the fastest race so far for the series, ahead of Go With The Flow from Manly, ASC’s Full Throttle in 4th and Stingray finishing in 5th. Glitter Monster collected another 12th in a super consistent effort and Schmicko was close behind in 15th. A big congrats to our novices, we hope to see you doing ASC proud at the next one.

Everyone had a fantastic time and Avalon’s friendly nature and contributions from so many volunteers did not pass unnoticed by any means. Photos of the regatta can be viewed on Danny’s “Creative Exposure Photography” site. With the top 5 open fleet spots in order held by Manly, ASC, ASC, Hornsby and Manly it sets the scene for a fascinating conclusion to the State Titles round 2 in February 2018. Stay tuned……

Rob & Valerie Tulk

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