IOM’s battle in Capricornia
24 November 2020.
The forecast for the Gladstone IOM State Championship weekend was a moderate easterly for the entire week before the event and that’s exactly what happened. The first morning the breeze gradually built from not much, to what looked like the top half of A-rig and that was the wardrobe for all for the first race.
Frank Russell had an issue with his rig in the first race and retired to fix it. While he was at it he decided to change to B-rig and returned to post a win in B fleet, a second place in A fleet closely followed by another win! This of course attracted the attention of all competitors and triggered a flurry of rig changes. A few races latter most were on B-rig and succeeding with the choice. The interesting part of this was that the conditions were below those normally requiring a change down but it is hard to argue with results!
As the racing progressed Greg Torpy started posting consistent wins with Paul Jones off the pace with his new K2 downwind. By the end of Day 1 Torpy had a three point lead on Jones and everyone was expecting some close and intense racing at the top of the board for day two.
For those not working on their boats that night, the Gladstone Yacht Club was the place to be for the evening. A good percentage of the fleet assembled there for the post-mortem of the first day with the usual ‘if only’ stories were shared. Some of those stories were not as I remembered them, but that’s what you get over a few beers at a regatta! The food and company was first class before some of us had to go home to prep for the next day.
Day two started as a carbon copy of day one. The same “so is it B-rig do you think?“. After yesterday’s lesson about the benefits of changing down early, nearly the entire fleet opted for B-rig for the first race while mumbling that it was really A-rig. The course had a small wave fetching across the harbour that caused the bigger rigs to ‘nod’ a bit while the B’s just motored through and over it, so it seemed anyway. The top marks were challenging at least for the visitors where they consistantly underlayed the approach on Starboard, after thinking they had plenty of height. This encouraged a port approach that produced more than a few ‘rafts’ of IOMs attempting to round the first mark. Many suspected a current was at play with the incoming tide.
Doug Allen posted a string of wins early the second day then faded leaving the battle to the top two. Interestingly, in mid afternoon Jones noticed a something ‘a bit odd’ about his craft and made an emergency adjustment which saw him post two bullets immediately after. These things happen with new equipment that was little used this year, and certainly not used at championship level. However the new found pace Jones found came too late to close the gap to Torpy who in the end beat Jones convincingly after fifteen years of trying. Next weeks NSW Championship followed by the South Queensland Championship will make for some interesting competition.
The Gladstone club did a fantastic job of hosting the event that was expertly managed by PRO Trevor Fisher. David Black supervised the scoring assisted by Glad and Marilyn and Gladstone volunteers. Lunch was provided both days and the menu and efforts of the volunteers were greatly appreciated by the fleet.
Check out the results for the sad stories of everyone else, except Frank Russell who took the inaugural IOM Masters State Championship and a creditable seventh place overall.
The coming South Queensland event is shaping up to be a big one, with all those who expected to do better in Gladstone, ready to redeem themselves. The only complication is that it will be a stronger and bigger fleet! As this story is posted, the South Queensland event has just hit 30 entrants so it looks like it could end up a three-fleet event. It’s gunna be huge!