Two hundred and seventeen dinghy and skiff sailors are together this weekend for the annual ICR at Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club in Perth – often referred to as the windy city – it certainly lived up to its reputation today.
Racing on two course areas, 12 classes began at 9am and looked spectacular in Freshwater Bay with many parents and spectators watching from the Clubhouse. Competing were sailors from all over Perth along with 11 Optimists from Singapore.
Singapore coach, Sherman Cheng, says Perth is renowned for great sailing conditions in the summer, making it ideal for his team who are keen to get put in solid training and racing in strong winds.
“Today was light and shifty in the first few races, but towards the end of the second session, we had 20 knots, gusting 23. It was a fantastic opportunity for my sailors to be sailing against the WA sailors – I couldn’t ask for better conditions,” Cheng commented.
His young Singaporeans said the Race Committee did a fabulous job setting up a really nice and challenging course. They are really looking forward to racing again tomorrow.
Gold Fleet in Optimist and O’pen BIC as well as the Flying Ants completed four races and went out for two more in the afternoon session.
In the Optimist Gold there were different winners in each race. Leading the charge overall is bronze medal winner from the 2017 SEA Games, Radiance Koh from Singapore with a total of 16 points. She is followed by local sailor Toby Coote (SoPYC/FSC) then fellow Singaporean Faith Hailey Toh in third.
O’pen BIC Gold had more consistent results with Will Drew on Forward WIP Australia leading with four firsts and two seconds. Rosie Hennessy (RFBYC/PDSC) aboard Aerobic is second with 10 points, with Razor, Samuel Williams (MBSC) third with 30 points.
Race Area 2 catered for the younger Optimist, O’pen BIC and Flying Ant classes. Race Officer Geoff Brown and his team ran four races in the morning session with southerly winds at around 10-12 knots.
In the Optimist Silver fleet, Skywalker (HYC) skippered by Bradley Dick is in the lead followed by Zombie Hunter (SoPYC) Emma Nightingale, then Hand Loose (HYC) Mitchell Graham. O’Pen Bic Silver has Bev (RFBYC) George Elms in first place with four wins, then Angus Cameron and Alasdair Cameron, both from RFBYC.
After the lunch break, and as the breeze strengthened to 20 knots and over, Geoff Brown concluded racing for the Silver fleet sailors.
Also on Race Area 2, the Flying Ant class managed six races. Toby Webster (FSC) leads with four first places today. Mitchell McLeod and Harry Wright (TCYC) are second, with Eleanor Green and Daniel Bower (FSC) third.
Race Officer John Taylor ran seven races for the Mirror, 420, 29er, Laser (4.7/Radial and Standard) and Contender classes.
“Conditions were testing for the sailors this afternoon, with south-westerly winds averaging 20 knots and gusting to 25 knots. Most handled the conditions very well although we did see a lot of swimming,” Taylor said.
In the double-handed classes, Alex and Charlotte O’Beirne are ahead of Peter and Rohan Dean, both teams from RFBYC. Joshua Pang and Liam Forrester (RFBYC/FSC) head the 420 fleet from Marcello Torre and Owen Ready (RFBYC).
The 29er class has boys team Kieran Bucktin and Shannon Wright (RFBYC) leading current Women’s world champions Annabelle Davies and Maddy Woodward (RFBYC).
Single handed sailors on the Contender class are chasing Clay Cook on 6 points from Simon Barwood on 11 points. Stefan Shircore-Elliott (SoPYC/FSC) leads the Laser 4.7 fleet followed by Michael Compton (SoPYC/FSC) then Lawson McAullay (RPYC/FSC).
Consistent results from Zac Littlewood (RFBYC/FSC) means he leads the Laser Radials from Caelin Winchcombe and Marcus Fisk (HYC). On 16 points in the Laser Standard, Ken Fujimoto leads Marcel Vos on 19 points.
At the end of the day’s racing, Race Officer Geoff Brown echoed John Taylor’s comments on the conditions, adding that strong winds in the afternoon were at the top end of what he thought the sailors could cope with and he was impressed with the way they handled their boats.
Both Race Officers are expecting lighter conditions tomorrow for the final day of the event and are aiming for a full series of 12 races as scheduled.
Racing begins at 9am Perth time tomorrow. Full results and information on the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club website rfbyc.asn.au