• Manly 16ft Skiff Sailing Club
  • Manly 16ft Skiff Sailing Club

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Club starts Season with a NSW State Championship Win

The 2016/2017 sailing season is only 6 weeks old and already St George Sailing Club has added a NSW State Championship Trophy to the cabinet.

St George MG14 class sailors, Uncle and Nephew duo of Jack Andrew and Lucas Hassett sailed their boat Blues Brothers to victory on Gosford’s Brisbane Waters over the weekend of the 5th & 6th of November 2016. Another St George boat, Ella, sailed by Greg Junk and Ari Hume also finished on the podium coming in third.

Blues Brothers looking in control on Day 1 of the NSW MG14 State Championships

Sailed under extremely testing conditions, the series proved a test of patience and stamina. Day 1 of the series saw a 25-35kt Westerly which required a postponement by the race committee for almost 2 hours. With Sunday’s forecast predicting no breeze, many sailors were left wondering if a series could be completed.

Finally, the breeze abated and racing got underway at 3pm. Race 1 started and Blues Brothers jumped out to an early lead. In the closing stages of the race it appeared Blues Brothers would sail away with the victory before Gosford boat Final Phase, sailed by former 16ft Skiff sailor Jim Kerrison, managed to find a wind shift all to himself and go from 4th to 1st and relegate Blues Brothers to 2nd. Interviewed after the race, Andrew commented that losing the lead is becoming a pattern and he would need to correct this if they hope to stay in contention for the title.

Due to the late start to racing on Day 1 only one race was held resulting in a busy program for Sunday with 3 races scheduled. Day 2 could not have started worse for the Blues Brothers crew, trying to make every post a winner they were a little eager at the start and were recorded as being over early(OCS). After an extremely light and shifty race, young St George sailors Kashi Saunders and Luke Bartels aboard Sydney Fish Markets took out the win. Bartels and Saunders showed great patience to lead from start to finish and are a crew to watch in the future.

Race 3 was the defining race of the series with Blues Brothers and Ella leading the fleet all race. No doubt the nerves were being felt aboard Blues Brothers, Ella was hot on their heels and the potential to let another race slip away was very real. They held their nerve however to come away with the win in Race 3 with Ella remaining in second.
Ella and Blues Brothers fight it out in Race 3

Going into Race 4 with a two point lead over Ella and Final Phase was a great position for Blues Brothers to be in however the fickle weather gods of Gosford were about to throw a curve ball their way. With Ella out to an early lead and Blues Brothers well back in the fleet, things were looking good for Junk and Hume. On the first run a 90 degree wind shift saw Ella extend their lead with Final Phase in 3rd and Blues Brothers in 10th. With all boats now reaching between the top and bottom marks it appeared Ella would take out the series. This all changed again when the race committee abandoned the race due to the wind shift leaving Junk and Hume to lament what might have been.

With the breeze now a fresh Southerly, the sailors looked forward to the first consistent breeze of the regatta. Blues Brothers sailed a measured and conservative race to cover their main rivals and finish Race 4 in second, wrapping up the title. Ella finished 4th in this race and was overtaken in the overall standings by Race 4 winner Chilli’n sailed by Greg Roche from Gosford.

Attention now turns to the Australian Titles being held on Lake Macquarie at Mannering Park Sailing Club from 27th – 31st December 2016. With great club racing at St George Sailing Club every Saturday between the likes of Blues Brothers, Ella and Tempest, it appears St George is well placed to add the Australian Championship Trophy to the shelf as well!

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