Wangi is a beautiful sleepy hole 1.5 hrs north of Sydney – on a huge tidal Lake Macquarie
Wangi RSL Amateur SC stage many national events - and are well experienced. The sail set up area is a huge lawn – with beers from cool boxes and the RSL club next to the SC
The original entry list of 16 was unfortunately reduced to14 a week out – with two Victorian sailors out with injuries. Sailors have come from south NSW, north NSW and Melbourne. Age range of sailors range from 17 to approx 67 yrs
Vince has kindly arranged a drone to take footage and the fleet are the fleet are all chipping in to cover costs. Stay posted
Race 1 – 10-11 knots from the east – moving NE.
Good start with slight committee boat favour – Peter Coleman and Stuart Lyons pushed out during first beat – and held through to the first gate. The 2nd beat saw a shift to the NE and favoured those going left. With Stuart sailing the centre of the course – he took the lead at the windward mark hotly followed by a fast Pete Coleman. A bunch of 5 sailors then rounded including Duncan Dey at 65kg and in his 60s – who had only ever sailed against 2 other RS100s before. Paul Tadich and Duncan gybed and went to more pressure left – while others went right. The gate was hectic – with boats taking both marks, however with Duncan and Paul taking right gate – and then having a nice shift into the line allowing Duncan to get the bullet, Paul T 2nd (Stuart OSC) – so Pete Coleman 3rd. Dave (Dizzy) Williams in his new boat out of plastic (519) coming in 4th – but also OSC, making way for Zac in 4th, Tom Le G in 5th and Vince S in 6th.
Slight pin end favour – and wind increased to about 13-14 knots from the Nor East. The line was hampered with a minute to go – with random capsize. This start was a general recall, due to over-zealous sailors at the pin led by Rob Morton . Second start went away with no fuss. Dave Williams sailed beautifully up the middle of the course to have a good lead at the windward mark – and was not challenged for the rest of the race. Solid works and down wind by Stuart L and Paul T stamped their authority on the regatta, with new lad, 17 yr old Zac Heuchmer from Ballina coming in 4th and Vince also from Ballina 5th.
The wind stayed in the Nor East – but increased marginally to 13 – and by end of race white capping – at around 16 knots – blue skies and 32 degrees. Just fantastic RS100 sailing conditions. These medium winds suddenly showed weaknesses in the fleets ability to gybe consistently – with capsizes at both ends of the fleet – most notably from race leader Vince S and Zac H and later also from Dave W and Stuart L. Zac had a huge lead at the first mark putting his 196cm and 105kg frame to full advantage – but an error on first down wind allowed Dizzy (DW) through. However, by the end of the 2nd work – the top 7 boats all rounded the mark within 20 seconds. The pressure got to Vince (in the lead) and he threw in a needless gybe and sadly tipped it in - as Paul T took his wind. Zac H was now up and running and got through Paul T (2nd)to score his first bullet, with a tight finish thereafter: Zac’s Dad Bill (new to RS) came in 3rd, Stuart Lyons 4th and Dizzy 5th and Rob Morton sailing “Forty Two” 6th
Result after day 1
Paul Tadich 7 pts
Zac Heuchmer 9
Peter Coleman 18
Vince Selleck 18
David Williams 22
Stuart Lyons 22
Tom Le Grice 23
Ross Wyatt 23
Bill Heuchmer 24
Duncan Dey 26
Rob Morton 27
Peter Jackson 32
Brett Heath 38
A fabulous NSW sunny (32 degree) windy day. East to start backing Nor East – with wind shifts in each gust. The wind increased through out the afternoon - as is normal with sailors, huge variation in wind speed estimate – but approx.:
Race 1: 12-17 knts
Race 2: 17-18 knts
Race 3: 18-20 knts - gusting 24/25 knts – and 15 degree swings in the gusts
3 windward - leewards set. Fleet got off cleanly – with a small pin end favour. Zac hit the pin and cracked off with speed, weight and height to have a large lead at the first mark. The drone hovered overhead taking footage – as we all work at speed and keeping the boat flat in a small but consistent chop. The chase group around windward mark was roughly Dizzy, Ross W, Stu - the lyon, Vince , Paul , and Tom. With a small legit tack by Le Grice at the windward mark – put carnage and confusion through the next 5 boats behind – with boats in irons, hitting marks, port starboards, loud voices... Paul and Tom went on their merry way – giggling away - this is what nats are about!!. The wind increased significantly through-out the race. Sadly Ross, lying in 3rd – missed the toe straps – forgot to release his extension and broke it - forcing him ashore and missing results for race 4 and 5. Other capsizes and turtles started on lap 2 and 3.
Race 4 post carnage: 1. Zac H, 2. Paul T, 3. Stu L 4. Dizzy W 5. ..the consistant Vince S, 6. Bill H
A short postponement – to allow the Formula 15 class to regroup and the windward marks to be moved – then the RS100 fleet again got away cleanly on a slight pin end favour. Williams and Lyons in the middle of the line did well. Zac at the pin along with Vince, Tom and Rob got away well and Peter Coleman and Paul T closer to the committee boat got free air and were in contention up the first work. Order of the day – flat is fast. Zac, Dizzy and Rob did this best – hitting the end of work 1 (of 3) in that order. First major drama was at the leeward gate. Rob must have been reading books on whales breaching up and up out of the water – for this is what he did with “forty two” at the left gate mark ! …to the amazement of Stu, Paul and Tom. We all narrowly missed Rob – but his heart stopped as he looked up and saw three RS100s hurtling towards his bow – navigating 4m between him and the mark. Paul T put “Too Hot” in the drink 3 times at one mark. He dropped the kite early – gybed – main loaded up – kite fell out chute and he kept putting it in !! - fell back out of the running
Zac (again) 2. Dizzy 3. Lyons 4. Bill 5. Peter C, 6. Duncan D (amazing huge huge effort – take my hat off to you – Sir DD)
Wow – one that will live with many of us for some time to come – for a multitude of different reason – which can never be fully captured here – but here goes – for some of the events!! - 2 windward returns (thankfully as some of us were cramping..)
The line turned out to be pretty well biased – with Zac tacking on port on the gun at the pin – and crossing the fleet – and Vince and Tom getting away to fliers. First beat rolled into one of Zac (again), Vince, Dizzy, Peter Jackson (sailing his new boat 317), Lyons, Le Grice, Tadich and Bill H at the windward mark. The leeward gate was tight fast and frenetic, with Le Grice eventually going over after a mix up. Dizzy fell out of the boat (missing foot straps ) on his final work – putting him back 3 spots – Vince and Zac both hit a marks - that no one saw- and did their 360 turn – hat off to you …. (Q: how many of us actually – truly do this… following rules brilliantly - Ask your self this one …) In the guts of the race yet again Rob Morton did a triple pirouette – navigating down-wind with kite – just about taking out three other helms (all of whom played safe and did Grannies) – and comically hit the gate and fell in the drink big big time!!.
Two amazing things in this race occurred (other than Zac getting his 3rd bullet for the day – well done – a great feat) was:
Peter Jackson sailing his first RS100 regatta went around 2 laps (including a work to the line) – with a total of 5 tacks, no kite hoists, no Gybes and for a 3rd overall. Now I know these are fun boats to sail in 20-25 knts with a kite – but this was real Risk mitigation played out for a great result – Hat off to you Peter.
The Lyon – sailed the race superbly in the foot steps of Zac – lying 2nd and …wait for it…. Just 5m from the finish he tacks for the line – feet tangled in main – tips it in – and ends up 5th ! – heart goes out to you mate. – but laughing at the same time !!
Race 6: 1. Zac 2. Dizzy 3. Peter Jacko!!!! 4. Paul T, 5. The Lyon !!! and 6. Vince
Hardest bit of the day was the 15 min sail back (down wind) to the club - Brett B – mate… we made it in eventually brothers in arms – wet soggy and exhausted - !
Day 2: standings with one drop
Peter C 30
Bill H 33
Peter J 46
Ross W 51
Brett B 52
Brett H 59
Day 3 (and last day Sunday 28 Jan)– Races 7, 8 and 9
Early start today – 11 am – in the dingy park at 9am and the wind is up to 12 knts – and building - a bit of overcast today – and temps around 29 -33 degrees
Race 7: 14-16 Knts
Race 8: 17-18 Knts
Race 9: 20 knts – gusting 24 Knts - all from the Nor East (ish)
“We sail to Win, but we all love to sail” – a good Chris Walker Aussie Quote going back some years – and how true this is in this small but grand RS100 Aussie fleet of boat owners .
Committee boat favoured – a number of boats approached line early and were forced down the line. Yet again… Zac sped (as he did in all 3 races on day 2) - off from the leeward end of the fleet , on what appears to be a tight reach - with speed and flat boat –powering through waves. At the windward mark there were the usual characters plus today a surprise in Zac’s dad: Bill – so roughly it was: Bill, Zac, Stu, Paul, Dizzy, Vince – followed by the mid fleet battle of: Tom, Peter C, Rob M, Pete J and Duncan.
Sadly Ross’s boat started some very uncanny manoeuvres part way up the first beat – which left him scratching his head. Suddenly his bow nose-dived and emerged a full minute later – with Ross clinging to his transom. He made a desperate run for the shore and spent 25 minutes removing water from his hull - and was done for the day (mast step failure).
Top 6 finish ended: Zac, Stu, Bill (his 2nd 3rd placing), Paul, Vince and Dizzy sailing Will Power – but sadly the name did not stop a swim today …
With the wind ever increasing to conditions akin to Sat afternoon – the lake a-flood with white caps and big gusts hitting hard and repeatedly - one felt (in some strange way) that this was our own small version of the Volvo Ocean 60s!! . We all sat huddled in our dinghies eating and drinking while Dizzy kindly did a belly flop off his boat and swam to help Pete C who turtled his boat and was breathless - he has a heart condition and needed time out on the rescue boat to get his heart rate down. We all waited until Dave and Pete were ready and the Committee kindly delayed the start until all were aboard boats and accounted for.
2nd Sunday race - Very similar start – to race 7 – with Duncan and Tom flying in for a timely committee boat start – while the fleet has slid down the line. The first work was a dog fight for the Lyon, Tadich, Williamson, Selleck and Le Grice – with Zac out in front – and Bill putting his boat in on the windward mark. Some faltering by Dizzy – bought him back to the bunch. The rear guard of the fleet were beginning to follow Pete Jacksons lead from the previous day- and running kite-less (like that word?) – which while is good seamanship – is hard for some of us to cope with!! - Hence we had the situation of mid-fleeters in Rob M, Tom and Bill flying kites and gybing and swimming – trying to race Kite-less competitors – Needless to say the kite-less lot (generally) won hands down in both races 8 and 9 this afternoon! …
Race 8 top 6 finish ended: 1. Zac (this wrapped up the National title for Zac with 4,4,1,1,1,1,1,1 DNS: 14 pts), 2.Paul, 3. Stuart 4. Vince 5. Dizzy in Will Power and 6. Bill.
The remarkable thing about these wee great race dinghies is their amazing strength and durability through these Wangi winds and also the Port Philip rolling waves, surfs and thumps through the chop (the Ross mast step issue is the first I have heard of such a failure). Over this long weekend – the helmsman and boats have plugged away remarkably - while the F15 had a broken carbon mast and many bruised crew. There have been no spar, sail, rope or hull damage – (with the exception of the one discussed here). It was fabulous to our eldest helm in the fleet (in Sea Dog (BB)) – persevere with a difficult capsize and then pop him-self back into his boat - and push on for his ninth race and an 8th position.
With Zac sitting out Race 9 – the fleet got off cleanly – main sheets being worked over time now as the breeze kept hovering up and down from 20-25 kts. Boom vang on – boom vang off on again – hike hike relax momentarily – hike again – work those quads, calves, abs and fore-arms – fingers cramping – not moving – stuck closed !! - main off main off – main on main on – keep her flat – power – fast – watch the waves – watch the boat angle – bear off – work on speed – Phew.
First down wind – I counted four upturned white hulls at the gybe position – OK-Kite down – Granny – gentle gentle bear away – kite back up - whoosh – wobble – whoosh – ropes – water – spray – warm as – so hot this water ….
Don’t really know what went on – at the front as I was swimming – and trying to improve some crap down wind sailing – loving every minute – over again – hit the plate - up up In rapid – kite back into chutes in under 2.5 seconds – done – off again . heart rate up big time – Tadich recording 160 peak .
Duncan – as a man in your 60s – and at 65kg – how well did you go in these winds – awesome – relentless .
Top six in race 9: Dizzy got Will Power ‘motor-ing’ – 1st. 2. Paul (much needed for his regatta performance) 3. The Lyon 4. Bill back up there – 5. Peter Jackson (a Kite-less performer) 6. Vince (6 of his races were 5th or 6th !)
Great Grand Master (born in the 40s): Brett Bowden
Grand Master, (born in the 50s): 1. Vince Selleck 2. Peter Coleman 3. Duncan Dey
Master, (born in the 60s): 1. Dave Williamson 2. Bill Heuchmer 3. Tom Le Grice
Scratch: 1. Zac Heuchmer (14 pts) 2. Paul Tadich (21 pts) 3. Stuart Lyons (25pts)
Peter Coleman – the half block RS100 model prizes are just magnificent – all 10 of them – colour codes Gold, Silver and Bronze -
Brett Bowden – your authored book donated to each participant : “Sailing to Win” will be read from cover to cover through Feb - and will sit next to my Paul Elvstrom three books, Eric Twinam “Start to Win” - and many others – thank you.
Many Many thanks to the Wangi Amature SC great team of volunteers – a magic few days -
Voted on last night for 2019 Nats: Port Stevens NSW – Australia Day weekend 2019 – let the planning begin! May be some Europeans come to experience sailing down under
Cannot wait to see the drone footage from Friday and Saturday.
See the video here.