South of Perth Yacht Club had a pleasure of hosting the 61st Western Australian Flying 15 State Championship over the Easter long weekend and what a great regatta it was. A hearty congratulations to all the winners, competitors, volunteers and sponsors.

Regatta summary (words and images) by Rick Steuart:

Good Friday for some.

The day started as all days do, the sun got up.

By midday, the briefings had been done, the boats were almost ready, lunch was consumed and the old skate sailors had put down a couple of nervous Coronas. The breeze had dropped to a whisper from the south east and the volunteers were phlegmatic about the day with RO Les murmuring about a 3 pm start.

Well done to the volunteers in the canteen with lunches already made and ready to go and Sailing Administrator Sharon in control of everything else. Up went the AP with a sound signal, but the RO wasn’t phased.. ” I’ll go out to see what the river is up to, ” he announced to us all and proceeded to do so.

His arrival on the water heralded the sou wester. In it came with a slow but steady build and by 1.25 the AP came down and the fleet was rushing out onto the water. As did we.
Tail end Charlie we were the last to head out following up the last of the fleet and announcing the same to the RO.

​The line was set with commensurate skill and judgement and the waiting fleet roared away off the line. Hooray … a start .. and at least one boat was going to be OCS as there was a flag waving on the start boat signifying the same. No one returned.  A course one with an up wind finish that had the Start boat eventually drifting up to the top of the course and setting a finish line in readiness.

I’ll not go into the intrinsic of the race, but with the breeze clocking left the change of choice of the bottom gate gave the lie to the day. By the third lap, the fleet had separated into the haves and have nots and the battle for first, second and third was already under contest with David Yu creating a lot of work for a class favourite and was equal to the task. He gobbled up the first race with some smart moves and had Nick Jerwood thinking on how he managed to let him get away. But David admitted prior to launching to being a light weather sailor and this suited him.

The second race was offered to the fleet as a course two as the breeze was suggesting that it was dropping already. So a sausage and a triangle.  But the breeze decided to freshen up a little and they were doing very well on the course. The Corona drinking ex skate sailors has woken up from their malaise and were pounding the front of the fleet. Nick and David were still there but were looking sideways at the pair of Dunbars as they managed to hold onto the lead right to the bitter end and even as we watched on the line.. we couldn’t pick it and left it to the RO and his team to decide. By a whisker was the verdict in my mind.

The chance that we would go again was raised, but the breeze decided to flip flop into a down phase and the boats were sent home to be ready for the seafood bbq that evening.

Day 2 :

A relentless afternoon

The Doctor was in. 

A glance at the forecast gave us the idea that it was going to be perhaps 17 knots on the top. The BOM got it almost right. Base 19 – tops of 24/5knots.  And those incredible gusts.
Sailing at the bottom of Melville water has its hidden pleasure with the wind waves piling up so that every short edged pitching wave was ready to go over you or if you were caught on a beam reach with a gust, it would flip you on a slow tack.

And then it was blowing.. no breaks, no quiet spells – it just blew. Rotating as it built, by the time the day was over the breeze was dead south. And so the course changed with the occasional AP in order to get the course realigned. All the RO had to do was lengthen the course occasionally and it was out to 1.4 km from what I could discern.

No discussion on the ins and outs of the day other than the attrition of the breeze had 18 starters left by race three. The odd breakage and quite possibly the wish to not break anything led to retirements during the day. However the survivors were there and their boat maintenance and skills on the water stood out.. all of them.  From Esperance to Albany and up to Gero. They were all there on the day along with their sister clubs of the river.

As to the leaders. They call the second day moving day and mistakes made in day one were accounted for with the drop after 5 races. Nick Jerwood and Brad Sheridan have one hand on the cup after an amazing day with lightweight sailors David Yu and Chris Nelson punching above their level to keep the second spot despite a bad moment on the 4th race.

However the big mover was Greg Tonnison and Nick Robinson who dumped an OCS in the first race  and finished with two seconds and a first in the last race. That last race by the way.. the boat was so far in front they were back in the club and chowing down on the snags and a lemonade before anyone else.

While the top three are looking at each other, it aint over yet with a number of boats filling in the minors and being top ten in the states is worth a glass or two.

The camera got a real dunking today and it’s currently drying out in a bed of rice. Hopefully it will be in good shape for tomorrow.

Well done to the canteen people and the OW volunteers today. We broke the back of the regatta and two races tomorrow will put the finish on the weekend. Though I think that everyone will sleep well tonight. Many thanks to Sharon our Sailing Admin for having everything just right on the day.

Day 3

No surprises, but !

The day got off on to a good start with a decent sou easter that held on for the first race ( a course two ) and provided a bit of a surprise at the end of the race when the breeze shut down for the lead two boats. Phillipa Packer had been doing very well running second behind Nick Jerwood and the breeze just stopped. 

“Thanks,” said Phillipa and slipped through to take a really pleasing (for her) win.  As for Nick, well he snagged second as expected but the second race was the one.

The breeze refused to settle into the south and there was a decent wait for the last race. Finally RO Les was able to get the breeze settled well enough and sent everyone off on a course one and a number of the fancied boats were buried. Then the pleasure of watching Fast Lane 4 cross the fleet on port. Wellllllll! the problem was that the breeze didn’t hold up as well. But gosh it was a good effort.
However it was a good day for them in the end as they took the win for the race and bumped themselves up the ladder a little. In fact it was a good day for a number of the middle of the fleet as the top boats were working hard to get to the front. Improvers for everyone.

The results are up and predictably Nick and Brad took the overall with Greg Tonnison and Nick Robinson in second. David Yu with Chris Nelson took third and were unlucky as they had the same numbers as Greg and Nick ( both on 19 ). Especially as they battled through the really heavy day yesterday.

Many thanks to everyone who sailed, to the canteen people who fed us all and to the volunteers who were on the water. It was a successful regatta and I enjoyed the sailing.

​Enjoy the photos and two cameras were used for the day.

Results:

Championship
1st Reliance 4k – Nick Jerwood and Brad Sheridan
2nd The Answer – Greg Tonnison and Nick Robinson
3rd Tuffan Up – David Yu and Chris Nelson

Consistency
1st Ffirefly – Philippa Packer and Dean McAullay
2nd Fast Lane 4 – John Wilson and Matt Summers
3rd Fullback – Humphrey Hale and Monno Weustink

First Lady Skipper – Philippa Packer
First Lady Crew – Anne Knowles

Well done everyone! Full results can be found HERE.

Thank you to all our sponsors for supporting this event:
Endeavour Homess
Boating Hardware
Greenskin Wine
Sundew Small Batch
The Amanda Young Foundation

A very big thank you to all the wonderful volunteers, the event would not have been the success that it was without you. You did good!

Full results:https://sopyc.com.au/flying-fifteen-61st-state-championship-2022/

More Images:https://perthsailingphotography.weebly.com/61st-flying-15-state-championships.html