Day 4 – 24 March
The forecast for our final 2 races of the series was not promising, with 10-15 mm of rain predicted. Conditions began with dark clouds foreboding as wet put boats in the water. Soon the expected downpour began with the first race postponed as the worst of the rain cells passed overhead. As we sat on the deck watching the rain, Warranilla, Manjimup and Hanini from Hobbos got some early practice on the water, with Warranilla’s blue spinnaker being hoisted. Practice completed, they decided to join us at the Royals for a coffee and a break from the wet.
Eventually, a fleet of 12 Bluebirds headed out for a 12.30 pm start in light Northerly winds. Tandeka and Drambuie were competing for 1st place in the series, while Blue Volvo, Nunyarra and Warranilla were competing for 3rd place overall. As usual in Northerly winds, the wind was flukey, leading to several changes in the lead. Blue Volvo made it first to the top mark, followed by Drambuie, Tandeka, Nunyarra and Warranilla. A yellow hitch mark had been laid just west of the top mark for the Harold Ward Trophy race. Unaccustomed to being first to the top mark, Blue Volvo decided that while the hitch mark wasn’t in our SI’s, they’d better round it “just to be sure”. Drambuie followed them “just to be sure”. Meanwhile, Tandeka and Nunyarra couldn’t believe their luck and ignored the hitch mark and headed around the top mark downwind towards the leeward gate. Tandeka, arrived first, followed by Drambuie, Nunyarra and Blue Volvo hot on their heels. After passing through the gate on the port side, Tandeka and Nunyarra headed east to avoid the Harold Ward fleet, while Drambuie and Blue Volvo tacked and headed North. Drambuie tacked again to avoid the Harold Ward fleet and managed to claw back the lead. The wind shadows created by the Harold Ward fleet caused Blue Volvo to lose ground on the other leading three boats.
Race 6 OD Results: Drambuie 1st, Tandeka 2nd, Nunyarra 3rd, Blue Volvo 4th, Warranilla 5th.
Race 6 PHS Results: Bunyip Dreaming 1st, Blue Volvo 2nd, Moody Blue 3rd, Nunyarra 4th, Hanini 5th.
Race 7 would be the final race of the series and a showdown between Patrick Clarke and crew on Tandeka and Craig Black and crew on Drambuie who were now tied on points for the honour of being crowned Bluebird ‘Intergalactic’ champion for 2018. 2 laps, winner takes all. The wind was still a flukey Northerly, but had strengthened to 12 to 15 knots. Peter Roberts sailing solo on Bunyip Dreaming and Tim Blunt skippering on Gaylene, showed no respect for the Tandeka – Drambuie showdown and got a good start to join the leaders up the first leg. David Barnett on Nunyarra was determined to cement 3rd place in the Titles and also got a good start. About 100 m short of the top mark, Nunyarra on Port tack threaded the ‘eye of the needle’, by passing just in front of Drambuie and just behind Tandeka, both on Starboard tack and only two boat lengths apart. Alas for Nunyarra, Tandeka and Drambuie handled the flukey winds better and were clear ahead after rounding the top mark. After reaching the leeward gate, Bunyip Dreaming, Nunyarra and Gaylene were battling for 3rd place in the final race on the second upwind leg. Bunyip Dreamings’ main halyard came loose upwind, causing the main to drop by half a metre. Peter Roberts had to juggle steering and raising the halyard solo as Nunyarra and Gaylene passed ahead. This was, however, only a temporary setback for Bunyip Dreaming as Peter’s experience in flukey conditions came to the fore and he regained 3rd position rounding the top mark for the final downwind leg to the finish.
Race 7 OD Results: Tandeka 1st, Drambuie 2nd, Bunyip Dreaming 3rd, Gaylene 4th, Nunyarra 5th.
Race 7 PHS Results: Bunyip Dreaming 1st, Gaylene 2nd, Tandeka 3rd, Revel 4th, Blue Volvo 5th.
The 12 starters all finished the course.
Our after race social BBQ was celebrated in unexpected fine weather. Thanks to Cheryl and Lindsay Lauder for the great salads. All participants enjoyed a wonderful series in both the high standards of competition on the race course as well as the social side after races.
Series OD Results (2 drops): Tandeka 1st, Drambuie 2nd, Nunyarra 3rd, Blue Volvo 4th, Warranilla 5th.
Series PHS Results (2 drops): Blue Volvo 1st, Shitake 2nd, Moody Blue 3rd, Hanini 4th, Aoi Tori 5th.
(Note: The top 3 placed boats in the OD results were defined ineligible for a place in the PHS results)
The best 5 races in the 7 race series were counted (as per NOR).
By David Barnett
Day 3 – 17 March
Saturday was the scheduled Long Race for Bluebird State Championship series with an 11am marina start. The day was a warm northerly with a breeze around 18-20 knots. Course 9 was chosen, which took us out to P2, then back to 79, via R2.
A fleet of 13 Bluebirds headed to the start, but Drambuie’s main halyard failed for a 3rd time this Summer and they retired before the start. After heading around past the Williamstown dockyards we had a nice 45 minute run to P2. Most of the fleet chose the less adventurous poled out jib, while Tandeka and Warranilla flew their small kites.
For the first half of the downwind leg, those flying spinnakers made little ground on the rest of the fleet. Hanini and Blue Volvo leap-frogged into 2nd and 3rd position respectively from the back of the fleet in the latter part of the run as periods of 15 knot winds gave them an advantage.
Heading upwind after rounding P2, Tandeka was in a clear lead followed by Hanini and Blue Volvo.
After rounding R2, the front half of the fleet kept to the east side, while the back half headed west for a period. Nunyarra in the back half decided they had little to lose by splitting completely from the fleet and heading west to Williamstown hoping for some luck and a favourable shift from the west. Meanwhile, on the east side, Blue Volvo was gaining on Hanini when their genoa halyard gave way. From there they had no option but to sail fat on a shy reach limping along to 79 using a make-shift spinnaker halyard instead.
It was no surprise to see Tandeka reach 79 off Princess Pier nearly 5 minutes ahead of Hanini, ready for the final broad reach to the finish. Shitake proved themselves as upwind specialists, moving from the back of the fleet at R2 to clear 3rd at 79, after overtaking Hanini for a brief period. Peter Roberts showed his single-handed mastery on Revel, finishing 4th. Nunyarra’s gamble paid off as favourable conditions on the west helped them finish 5th. It was good to see Bunyip Dreaming finish the course with a replacement boom after the bad luck of the previous weeks. The 12 starters all finished the course this time.
Our after race social BBQ maintained its usual high standards of catering thanks to Paige, Samantha and Julie on Blue Volvo for the superb salads.
Race 5 OD Results: Tandeka 1st, Hanini 2nd, Shitake 3rd, Revel 4th, Nunyarra 5th.
Race 5 PHS Results: Hanini 1st, Shitake 2nd, Aoi Tori 3rd, Revel 4th, Tandeka 5th.
Series Results after race 5: Tandeka 1st, Drambuie 2nd, Nunyarra 3rd, Warranilla 4th, Blue Volvo, Hanini and Manjimup tied on 5th.
By David Barnett
Day 2 – 3 March
Day 2 of the Bluebird State Champtionships took place last Saturday. The 11am start was delayed due the Half Yearly General Meeting, but it didn’t take long for us to get out on the water and join the Diamonds on course with a 12.30pm start in light winds on a beautiful, warm, balmy day!
A fleet of 13 Bluebirds including a repaired Bunyip Dreaming from last week, but no Bounty. This was a race without mishaps, with Drambuie 1st, followed by Tandeka 2nd, Warranilla 3rd and Nunyarra 4th.
Waiting for the wind to settle to begin race 2 was frustrating for all, as the wind shifted from southerly, to northerly to easterly to westerly – boats could be sailing in opposite winds within 100m of each other! David LeRoy and the start crew had the task of shifting the start line, gates and top mark, from one end of Hobson’s Bay to the other, hoping the wind would settle enough to start. Paige on Blue Volvo decided she needed to cool off and jumped overboard for a swim while we waited.
Finally at 3.10 pm, we started race 2. Just after the start, the wind swung from SE to SW and back again, making choosing the favoured side a lottery and boats went from the front to back to front with the extreme wind shifts on the first leg. The wind started to build for the 2nd lap of race 2 and settled into the predicted South Westerly. Luck again deserted Bunyip Dreaming as its boom snapped after a gybe. Drambuie again proved their dominance with 1st, followed by Tandeka 2nd, Manjimup 3rd and Warranilla 4th.
No sooner had the fleet reached the finish when the predicted 30+ knot squall came through. We all quickly dropped our no 1 genoas as we became massively over powered. We headed back to the Club tired and hungry after a long day under mainsail only.
At the after race social BBQ was hosted by HBYC members. Thanks to Dan, Tim, Maureen and Bruce for the magnificent feast of steak, salmon, sausages and superb salads.
Series Results after race 4: Drambuie 1st, Tandeka 2nd (tied), Blue Volvo, Warranilla, Nunyarra 3rd
Series Results PHS after race 4: Tandeka 1st, Aoi Tori 2nd, Blue Volvo 3rd, Shitake 4th.
By David Barnett
Day 1 – 24 February
Ominous weather threatened to spoil Day 1 of the Bluebird State Titles last Saturday (24 February), with early morning gusts over 25 knots followed by an afternoon SW change expected to be of a similar strength. Our 11:00 start occurred during a window of light to moderate winds, so while we left the Club with No. 2 genoas, we soon had to change to No. 1s before the start as winds moderated.
A fleet of 14 Bluebirds made their way to the course to prepare for the start. As the 5 minute sequence began, Bounty and Bunyip Dreaming became intimately acquainted, kissing bows in a manner that looked like two walruses head-butting. Both retired after the exchange, leaving 12 boats to fight it out to become Intergalactic Champion. The women on Blue Volvo started strongly and were near the front after the top mark, heading downwind when Paige decided she needed to practice for the next day’s Big Bay Swim. Samantha and Julie proved able to pass the ‘Man Overboard Drill’ with competence. At the end of the race, it was Tandeka 1st, followed by Drambuie 2nd, Revel 3rd and Shitake (formerly Andy Capp) 4th. It was Shitake’s first ever race, with skipper David Johnson showing he will be a force to be reckoned with over the rest of the series.
Before the start of Race 2, the wind picked up to over 20 knots, so a change of wardrobe was required with No. 1s being replaced by No. 2s or 3s. Tandeka quickly gained the lead as the race began but, with a cool Paige now on board, Blue Volvo stayed in touch to come 2nd, followed by Drambuie 3rd and Nunyarra 4th. Despite the 20 -27 knot winds, 11 Bluebirds finished the race, an excellent achievement showing the quality of the fleet.
At the post-race social BBQ, the crew of Blue Volvo had the champagne flowing to match the chicken, sausages and salads provided by Chinna (Craig Black). A great day’s racing and social occasion was had by all.
Series Results after Race 2: Tandeka 1st, Drambuie 2nd, Nunyarra 3rd and Revel 4th.
Series Results PHS after race 2: Tandeka 1st, Aoi Tori 2nd, Moody Blue 3rd, Hanini 4th.
By David Barnett