QLD State Titles Race Report
Over the Easter weekend the QLD 125 fleet converged on Hervey Bay to contest the 2013 state titles. The fleet of around 20 boats (split over two divisions) battled out one of the hardest fought, closest series, I think that we have seen. The end result hung on the result of the 5th and final race with 3 boats in with a mathematical shot at claiming the title. Let’s recap the series….
The contenders – The series this year contained the top 3 boats from the most recent National Championships at Lake Macquarie; Shake n Bake, J and Tic Tac, with Shake n Bake sailed on this occasion by the other half of the Robba sailing family. Throw in a couple of previous national and state champions on Waterloo and She Waits for No Man, and a bunch of upcoming juniors and family combinations and we knew before the first race got underway that it was going to be a great series both on and off the water.
Race 1 – Less than 5 knots of breeze and a massive course greeted the fleet for race 1. The race was postponed for a short period to allow the breeze to settle. They were soon underway. The start line was reasonably even and the breeze also looked fairly even across the course. This saw the fleet split up considerably just after the start, some boats heading out to the left, some out the right, and some a little more conservative, working shifts through the middle. In the end those who banged the corners came out in front with J, Shake n Bake and Imagine coming in from the left whilst Accelerando came in from the right. Not far back were Tic Tac and She Wait coming up the middle. A little further back was Waterloo with a few troubles at the start working their way back through the fleet. The first run proved just as difficult to decide where to go with the fleet unable to sight the wing mark until over half way down the run. Tic Tac soaked a little lower than the rest early on and
ended up sighting the mark first, allowing them to move from 5th to 2nd by the wing mark. Meanwhile J had skipped away to a small lead. Places 2-6 were all within 5 boat lengths of each other. The battling chasing pack allowed J to skip away. As the race progressed Doug and John continued to skip away making the most of their favourite conditions. The pack consisting of Tic Tac, Imagine, She Waits, Waterloo and Shake n Bake traded places over the next lap. The all-girl crews on She Waits for No Man and Imagine showed great speed and tenacity to end up crossing for 2nd and 3rd respectively.
Credit must go to all sailors who battled for positions right through to the end of the marathon 3 hour long race. Tiger Lilly took race 1 on handicap, and the young crew on Blurred Image crossed first in division B.
Race 2 – Day 2 saw a change in the weather conditions with the traditional Hervey Bay south-easterly making an appearance. Breeze ranged from around 8 knots up to 16 knots with some big shifts and gusts coming through. The start line on this occasion was going to be a challenge. The breeze had swung and made it impossible to cross the line on port tack. The fleet lined up gunwale to gunwale at the boat end. It was great to see a lot of the junior’s right in there fighting for position. A late shift further to the right just before the start complicated things further. J picked the approach correctly squeezing out Waterloo, Tic Tac and She Waits. She Waits ended up having to bailout, while Waterloo and Tic Tac were able to hold out just long enough to squeeze inside the start boat and follow J across the line. J continued to lead narrowly from Waterloo with Tic Tac a further 30 seconds back with Shake n Bake and Imagine just a little further back. Waterloo climbed into the lead on the final lap and was able to open up a small lead to claim victory from J and a closing Tic Tac. Lily and Xanthe in Imagine, managed to battle through to finish 4th. The win on handicap went to Tic Tac with Canada Connection taking the win over the line in division B.
Race 3 – Pretty much a duplicate of race 2. A boat end favoured start again. J again got off the line in the number 1 position alongside junior crew of Meg and Delphine in Osterley. Tic Tac and Waterloo also got off the line well. Swish was the first to tack off and head towards the favoured side of the course and benefited greatly. Nicole and Simon hooked into a big right hand shift coming off the shoreline and skipped to the front of the pack to lead around the first mark, closely followed around by J, Waterloo, and Tic Tac. The front four opened up a reasonable lead as the pressure faded for the others approaching the top mark. Very little changed over the next 2 laps. Nicole and Simon continued their fantastic race to match it with the leaders, and hold on to 3rd place at the final mark. The continued pressure from Tic Tac finally was too much. Waterloo 1st from J, Tic Tac and Swish. The strong showing by Nicole & Simon on Swish got them the win on handicap with another win going to Canada Connection in division B.
Race 4 – As sailors awoke for the final day of racing it didn’t look promising for the remaining 2 races. The sailors and shore crews didn’t seem to mind though. Sailors enjoyed the beach and the sun and spent the morning taking it easy swimming and relaxing on the beach waiting for the breeze. After lunch the breeze picked up to an enjoyable 5-10 knots. The waves however were a different story. The North easterly direction of the breeze built up a short steep chop to ensure that sailors had a whole range of conditions for the series. As we needed to complete 2 more races it was decided to hold the races back to back in a short course format. Current national champion, Tim
Robba, jumped back on board Shake n Bake to crew for father (Mark), whilst Steve Geck filled in for Tash in Nikita who was unfortunately injured earlier in the series.
Again the boat end was favoured and the bunch gathered at the boat. J was squeezed by boats to leeward and was forced to bailout and complete a couple of quick tacks just before the start. Imagine was also seen in a little tangle with another boat with a minute to go. Tic Tac on this occasion managed the boat end best and got away with speed with a nice gap to leeward. Tic Tac lead up the first work with Waterloo and Accelerando not far behind. J and Imagine after a few early dramas headed out to the left hand side but unfortunately missed locating the top mark and had to set spinnakers to come back. A couple of other boats including Waterloo also went a little beyond the mark but were able to recover. The short race seemed like it was over in around 15 minutes which didn’t allow J and Imagine to come back. Tic Tac crossed with a comfortable lead with Accelerando doing a great job to cross second, just in front of a fast finishing Waterloo. The top result by the girls in Accelerando also enough to claim the win on handicap. Nikita taking line honours in division B.
Race 5 – The stage was set for a cracker of a last race; one 20 minute race to decide the podium positions. J (1,2,2,10,?), Waterloo (5,1,1,3,?) and Tic Tac (4,3,3,1,?).
The top 3 all got away well along with Osterley again right in there with a cracking start. At the first mark the result was no clearer. Waterloo rounded first, centimetres in front of J, who was centimetres in front Tic Tac, who was only 2 boat length in front of She Waits and then Shake n Bake. Tic Tac encountered an issue setting the kite and was quickly rounded up by She Waits and Shake n Bake, leaving Waterloo and J to battle it out for the lead. Great boat speed and smart sailing by Viv and Kerry in She Waits allowed them to close right up to the 2 leaders, making it a 3way battle for the race lead with Tic Tac, Shake n Bake, and Nikita 25 metres back. The front 3 boats rounded the final mark nose to tail with only a 50 metre upwind dash to decide it all. In the end J held on to claim victory and break their Hervey Bay curse, having not claimed a series together on the bay before. The win was fitting for the work these guys have put into the class over the years. On many, many occasions Doug and John have finished runners up, not only in state championships, but also with at least 4 or 5 second place finishes in national titles. They were certainly made to work for it this year, claiming the win by a mere 3 seconds from Waterloo, with She Waits for No Man a further 10 seconds behind. She Waits taking the final on handicap and Canada Connection another win in division B.
This is an exciting time for 125s in QLD. We have a large number of juniors coming through, a large number of experienced 125ers making a return, and great competition throughout the fleet. With the national championships to be held in Brisbane this year we are seeing numbers increase. To assist sailors and families to get into 125s in QLD the state association has committed to assist in sourcing boats. A number of the top 125ers will also be working hard providing training and development to all sailors to raise the level of the whole fleet.
I already can’t wait for next season….
Luke Johnson (TIC TAC)