Smallest yacht wins Pot of Gold in WA offshore series

The smallest boat in the Pot of Gold weekend of offshore racing in Perth also turned out to be a giant killer. Ryan Binedell’s little S97 Low Flying Duck, sailing in the double handed division with 17-year-old crewman Nathan Stacey (who has been sailing on the GP42 Dirty Deeds), set the standard with a superb display of tactics and boat handling skill.

It was most obvious in Sunday morning’s windward and return race held at Hillarys. Turning the top mark narrowly behind the two leaders, Low Flying Duck’s spinnaker was set and drawing while the boats ahead were still trying to hoist. Sailing the same course as division 2 yachts, Low Flying Duck beat the corrected time of the division 2 winner by more than a minute in the half hour race. During the afternoon race from Hillarys and back to Fremantle, Low Flying Duck posted an IRC corrected time that bettered the winners of both divisions 1 and 2 by a margin of more than three minutes.

The weekend of offshore racing began with a shortened race from Fremantle to Hillarys due to a forecast of very light winds. Winds turned out to be substantially stronger than forecast so the race might well have run over its original course, but such is the challenge for race committees.

Mark Nagle’s Weapon of Choice won the Division 1 IRC Pot of Gold race from Fremantle to Hillarys last Saturday, ahead of line honours victor Dirty Deeds and Obsession. Barry Walsh’s Twitch won the Division 1 YAH trophy.

Division 2 IRC honours went to Bill Henson’s Circa ahead of Wyuna and Mulberry, with the same results repeated for YAH handicaps.

Sunday morning’s schedule of two windward and return races was shortened to just one race due to light winds, but the race to Fremantle which followed was sailed in beautiful conditions, with Alan Stein’s Dirty Deeds completing the course in a little over four hours.

The Shepherdess race IRC Division 1 was won by Obsession, with Argo and Enterprise filling the minor places, while Twitch scored first place on YAH handicap, giving her the double for the weekend.

Division 2 IRC was won by Dennis Vincent’s Wyuna with Circa second and Michael Thorpe’s Soon in third. On YAH, Bill Henson’s Circa was successful, followed by Wyuna and Soon.

But make no bones about it – the weekend belonged to the two boys on Low Flying Duck. Their talent augurs well for the future of offshore sailing in WA.

Full results at www.sportspage.com.au

– Bernie Kaaks

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