2009 2.4mR Australian Championships Canberra

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 2009 2.4mR Australian Championships Canberra
                           YMCA Sailing Club of Canberra, 23-25 January 2009
                                                 by Kim Williams
Twelve is a significant number only because that was the number of competitors in this the 12 Australian
Championship held by the YMCA of Canberra. For those that say “the numbers are low” need to remember
that one of the pinnacles of this class (the Paralympics) has averaged only 17 competitors since 2000. The
competition was hot!
Day one and the breeze was at a steady 12 knots from the North West, sometimes gusty into the 20’s. Not
easy sailing because of the erratic shifts around Black Mountain and the amount of floating weed in the lake.
The race officer (Graham Dennett) and his team of volunteers set a course that ran up West basin to the foot
of Black Mountain into what is called “Deep Water”, a notorious spot for 150 deg. wind shifts. There were two
lines of flotsam, one up the middle and one to the right of the course. During the preparation, there were a
number of the locals doing the backing up trick to remove weed. The unsuspecting were in danger of picking
up what was just dumped, but then that only added to the fun. There were a couple of breakages at the
beginning with John Hoskings and Peter Richards (Ricco) returning to shore before the start. It should be
noted that this was the first time Ricco’s boat (‘The Meaning of Life’ – AUS42) had sailed. Ricco had built the
boat from timber and had a launching ceremony the day before the championships.
Race 1 it was clear to some that the left side was favoured and that is where we found Peter Thompson
(Thommo), Peter Russell (Russy) and Michael Leydon (Osamma) leading the pack. The lead changed twice
(at least) on the first work, as people got the feel of the oscillations. Russy clearly had the boat speed
although Thommo could never be written off with Osamma very close. Two other locals were leading what I
will affectionally call the “B Fleet”, Colin Brown and Kim Williams. The results in the first race were Russy 1st,
Osamma 2nd and Thommo 3rd. There was only one minute separating these three and the rest of the fleet
finished inside three minutes. Exciting racing and very tactical.
Race 2 and Russy got his straps and was a clear minute in front at the finish but only a second separated
Osamma and Thommo with the same order as the first race. The race in the B Fleet was hotting up with
Rachael Cox, Matthew Bugg, Kim and Colin coming in that order over a two minute period. Peter Warren had
retired but Greg Hyde (1st time in a 2.4) and Tim Morland were still out there trying in the windy conditions.
The fleet finished over a four minute period keeping the race officer on his toes.
Race 3 saw some changes in tactics, again with the top three guys getting good starts and reading the
course well. Osamma got the win a clear 30 seconds in front of Thommo with a weed-logged Russy and his
worse result of 3rd only a minute behind Osamma. The B Fleet was starting to real the top runners back as
they settled into the racing with Kim only 7 seconds behind Russy and Matthew and Rachael closely behind.
Three minutes and the whole fleet had finished.

Race 4 in perfect westerly winds                                                         Photo: Graeme Dennett
                                                           2009 2.4mR Australian Championships Canberra
Day 2 saw us sitting in the club house waiting for the wind to drop below 25 knots. The race committee
decided to delay for and hour in the expectation that a front was expected that would see a drop in the wind
strength. Almost on cue the breeze dropped to a manageable 10 to 15 knots. With everyone refreshed from
Jeanette’s (The Galley Captain) BBQ the night before, we had 11 starters with John Hosking rejoining the
Fleet. Unfortunately Ricco was still having some teething problems.
Race 4 had Thommo turning the tables and scoring his first win of the Championships, 30 seconds in front
of Russy with Osamma 15 seconds behind him. Rachael was fourth only 4 seconds in front of Kim. Colin and
Peter Warren (Wazza) just pipped Matthew and John Hosking. The fleet was a little more spread out in this
race with the last boat crossing the line four and a half minute after Thommo. I think Tim was beginning to
regret putting on the small mainsail as the breeze was beginning to lighten.
Race 5 and Thommo again dominated from the start. Osamma let Rachael through for her best result in
3rd. Russy was 2nd and now clearly the one to beat.
Race 6 was clearly Russy’s but the surprise packet this time was Mattew who picked up his best place of
3rd just behind Osamma and Thommo was a disappointing 5th. So much fun should be illegal!
Sunday was fine and calm. At the outset it was going to be one of those typical light Canberra days. Wind
shifting all around the compass and a race officer’s nightmare. Much to Graham’s credit we got in one race.
Race 7 Russy and Thommo cleared out early, going up the middle. Osamma went hard left and fell into
one of those horrible holes. Kim was close on their heels and fighting off a determined Rachael and Matthew.
Their positions changed often and usually on the crossing of the centre of the course. On the final downwind
leg four boats had cleared out. Russy won by three and a half minutes, the largest margin of the entire
Championship and Thommo had had to back up to remove weed and still managed second with Kim just
beating Osamma by three seconds – close!
Final outcomes? Peter (Russy) Russell 1st, Peter (Thommo) Thompson 2nd and Michael (Osamma) Leydon
3rd. Rachael Cox was 4th on a count back from Kim Williams and Matthew Bugg only two points behind.
A great weekend thanks to the efforts of the organising team, the race committee, Jeanette Clark and the
wonderful competitors that made this regatta very memorable, exciting and a great spectacle of close and
competitive sailing to envied by other classes. I hope to see you all next year down in Hobart for the 13th
International 2.4mR Australian National Championships.

Race 7 drifted in a dying breeze                                                      Photo: Graeme Dennett

Peter Richards launched               Greg Hyde’s new adventure                Welcome John Hosking

                                                         2009 2.4mR Australian Championships Canberra
Curry at Kashmir House failed to stir the wind on Sunday                                    Photo: Mary Warren
Overall Results (drops = 1)
     Sail                                                                                                          Net
          Boat Name            Skipper             1       2      3     4       5     6     7      8
1    28   Jeelka               Peter Russell       1       1      (3)   2       2     1     1                      8
2    30   Morna V              Peter Thompson      3       3      2     1       1     (5)   2                      12
3    27   Octopod 2            Michael Leydon      2       2      1     3       (4)   2     4                      14
4    37   Gunboat              Rachael Cox         (7)     4      6     4       3     7     5                      29

5    25   Futs & Fugly         Kim Williams        5       6      4     5       (9)   6     3                      29
6    14   Guerilla Radio       Mathew Bugg         6       5      5     (8)     5     3     7                      31
7    10   Gretel 2             Colin Brown         4       7      7     6       7     (9)   6                      37
8    9    Advance Australia    Peter Warren        8       (13F) 13C    7       6     4     8                      46
9    11   Kookaburra           Greg Hyde           10      8      8     10      (13C) 13C   9                      58
10   19   Exerful Wondersize   Tim Morland         9       9      9     11      10    10    (12)                   58
11   29   Chuckle Guts         John Hosking        (13C) 13C      13C   9       8     8     10                     61
12   42   Meaning of Life      Peter Richards      (13C) 13C      13C   13C     13C   13C   11                     76

                                                           great to see Tim Morland swanning around again

                                                           Photos: Mary Tulip

                                                           2009 2.4mR Australian Championships Canberra