Matt Owen and Andrew Reed off to a fflying start

A fleet of 35 Flying Fifteens have travelled to Mornington Yacht Club on Port Philip Bay in Victoria for the 2018 Flying Fifteen Australian Championship held from January 1st – 6th. Some competitors have made a long journey from Queensland, Western Australia and even one entry from Hong Kong. 

The invitational race, also used as a practice race on New Year’s Eve had a slow start. The race committee waited for some time for the breeze to fill but to no avail, eventually hoisting AP over H and the fleet returned home. 

In a cruel twist, as the fleet were almost back inside the harbour a nice breeze appeared from the SSW. Some boats used this as an opportunity to test and tune. 

Race day 1 delivered a light to moderate breeze of 8 – 10 knots from a SSW direction. Gradually as the afternoon progressed the pressure increased to around 17 knots with a bit of a lumpy sea.

Greg Tonnison and Graham Lillingston from South of Perth YC in WA, made an excellent start to their regatta winning the first race of the day but slumped to 14th in the second race as the pressure built. 

“We got into second spot on the fourth beat and into the lead on the middle leg of the triangle. We made good gains downwind but Matt Owen was always on our heals. We made a few mistakes in the second race of the day, we didn’t expect the wind to come in as strong as it did so we got our settings all wrong and were a bit slow,” said Greg 

One of the regatta favourites, Matt Owen and Andrew Reed from Canberra YC, took out second and Sue Thompson and Cameron Taylor from Davey’s Bay YC, third. 

The pressure built up a bit for race 2 of the day as did a slightly confused lumpy sea. Matt Owen and Andrew Reed were in charge of this one from the start.

Matt’s summary of his race win: “Really interesting, great courses, some confused seas but great fun. Andrew Reed, ‘Mr Tactics’ and ‘Mr Compass’ got us round the course today, he did a great job, I just had to steer this new boat where he tells me to go.”

The local Flying Flamingo boys from Davey’s Bay YC,  Lewis Davies and John Radnell, scored an excellent second place and Sue Thompson and Cameron Taylor again crossing third. 

Cameron summed up his solid day on the water: “There was building pressure in both races, both with good true courses. It was difficult because there were some heavy waves on port tack but they were smoother on starboard. Some good downwind runs in 15 knots though.”  

Two more races on day 2 with similar wind speeds of 15 knots dropping for a while after the start of the first race of the day and gradually building later in the afternoon.

Matt Owen and Andrew Reed from Canberra were on form all day winning the first race of the day to receive the impressive Uffa Fox Trophy, and following it up with a second in race 4 of the regatta. 

Matt's summary: “We had around 15 knots at the start, it dropped a bit and kicked in again on the third leg. It was a case of changing gears all day. Pressure built during the race, we got a pretty good start and good boat speed, it was really fun sailing in good breeze. The breeze kept coming and going so it kept up on our toes. We had a few breakages onboard in the second race but Ashley and Adam had a blinder of a start and we couldn’t catch them so we just had to consolidate to hold on to second.”  

Race 3 was won by John Wilson and Matthew Summers from South of Perth YC, with Matt and Andrew in second and David Swan and Matt Elliot all the way from Esperance YC in WA on the podium in third. 

David Swann was happy with his day: “In race 3 we had a good start and excellent boat speed. We started at the pin, worked the left of the course to round the top mark around 6th. On the final work we chewed up 3 more boats to finish 3rd on the line so we were very pleased with that.

“In the second race of the day we were a bit sloppy, lacked a bit of boat speed and got caught up to round about 15th in the pack on the first lap, but clawed our way up to 10th by the finish.”

Queenslanders, Ashley Smith and Adam Kingston from Sandgate SC won race 4 or the regatta by a big margin from start to finish. 

Ashley explains: “It was windier before the start of the earlier race so we put in a lot of mast  rake, but the wind eased to 10 – 12 knots after the start so we had to adjust it again. We started at the pin, had good height and speed and got good speed off the line. We had a nice lead at the first mark, 10 boat lengths or more, got the kite up and cleared out. On the second work we rounded about 15 boat lengths clear. Matt couldn’t split away so we didn’t really need to cover Matt & Reedy.  

In the Silver division for older Flying Fifteen’s, Karen and Russell Dawes from South of Perth YC are the early leaders. 

Racing continues tomorrow with two more races. 

Results after 4 races (top 10 of 35 boats)

1 AUS 4023 Cool Change – Matt Owen / Andrew Reed – 2,1,1,2 = 6pts

2 AUS 4007 FF – Sue Thompson / Cameron Taylor – 3,3,5,9 = 20pts

3 AUS 3989 FFast – John Wilson / Matthew Summers – 12,6,2,3 = 23pts

4 AUS 3972 Sake – Ashley Smith / Adam Kingston – 5,7,11,1 = 24pts

5 AUS 3919 Fforgetful – Jeni Danks / Peter Danks – 7,9,6,4 = 26pts

6 AUS4053 Phar Lap – David Swan / Matt Elliot – 6,8,3,10 = 27pts

7 AUS 3890 The Flying Flamingo – Lewis Davies / John Radnell – 13,2,4,14 = 33pts

8 AUS 3880 Where the bloody hell – Craig Rainey / Ian Rainey – 9,5,7,20 = 41pts

9 AUS 3743 Spot the Difference – Greg Tonnison / Graham Lillingston – 1,14,16,11 = 42pts

10 AUS 3651 Surprise by Giver – Stephen Fries / Richard Machin – 8,4,14,16 = 42pts

– Jonny Fullerton

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