For the second year running Zhik's continued sponsorship made it possible for South Lake Macquarie Amateur Sailing Club at Sunshine to conduct their yardstick regatta over the three days of the October long week-end.
Despite the inclement weather with strong winds and rain squalls prevailing for much of the first two days the club hosted a six race series plus a marathon race on the Sunday morning. Winds covered the full spectrum with gusty south-westerlies on the first day, moderate south-easterlies on the second day culminating in light winds for the final two races on the Monday.
The event attracted entries from Melbourne, Albury, Canberra, Sydney, the Central Coast, Port Macquarie, Northern NSW and Lake Macquarie areas and included several World, National and State Title holders. Classes represented included Sabots, Spirals, OK's, Impulses, Lasers, MG14's (one up), International Canoes, Contenders and Moths.
The racing was conducted in four separate divisions starting six minutes apart with the slowest classes getting away first and the fastest starting last. In addition the Moths completed three laps of the trapezoidal course while the remaining classes sailed two laps except for the Sabots who completed just one lap.This arrangement lead to the bulk of the fleet compacting at the end of each race with extremely close finishes being the order of the day.
As usual the Moths put on a spectacular display but were brought back to the fleet in the light winds of the final day when they were able to foil for only a small proportion of these two races. Within classes the competition was fierce with particularly close racing evident in the Spiral, Impulse and Contender classes.
The Impulse class sailed their State Championships in conjunction with this event with strong competition coming from the Victorian contingent. Nonetheless, local sailor Michael Brown from NSW prevailed to take out a very close series with Jim Scott from Victoria impressing with his second place. Glenn Bond from Toukley came in third.
South Lake Macquarie Amateur Sailing Club applied its own yardsticks to this event. It became clear from the results of the previous year that the standard VYC yardsticks were not keeping pace with performance improvements in development classes such as is the case with the Moth class. Moth class officials were most helpful in establishing a more realistic yardstick and this change along with other adjustments made for a much more equitable event and a fairer distribution of prizes. The local club's yardsticks were confirmed at the presentation with a very wide range of classes featuring in the prize giving with no class dominating as had occurred in previous series.
The divisions and yardsticks used for this event were as follows:
Class Yardstick Laps Sailed
Moth Foiler 65.0 3
International Canoe 89.0 2
MG (single Hander) 104.0 2
Contender 106.0 2
Moth Scow 115.0 2
Laser Radial 118.0 2
OK 118.5 2
Impulse 118.5 2
Spiral 126.5 2
Sabot 160.5 1
The marathon race held on the Sunday morning was a popular event. It was a stand-alone race that traversed a substantial portion of southern Lake Macquarie including a lap of Pulbah Island. One Spiral sailor, after rounding the southern tip of Pulbah Island was heard to say, “Where do I go from here?” He was temporarily lost but eventually got back on track to complete the course. This race saw current World IC champion Hayden Virtue prevail to take out the event on yardstick ahead of Luka Damic in a Moth. The canoe responded to the long tacking legs available on this course.
David Lister dominated the Moth class in the fresher conditions of the first two days with others prevailing in the lighter conditions of the final two races. Andrew Stevenson pushed Lister throughout the series to finish second in the Moth class.
A resurgence of interest in the NSW Contender fleet was evident in this series and Brett Holly from the local South Lakes club put in a strong performance to win comfortably even going well in conditions that did not particularly suit him.
Once again the Spirals turned up in numbers with very close racing a feature of the regatta. Ultimately Matt Craig prevailed with Ross Pagett second and Jonathon Gough taking out the junior division.
In the Miscellaneous Division a single handed MG14 sailed by class stalwart Greg Roche finished ahead of Peter Burton in a Laser Radial.
The whole series was run in a competitive but friendly fashion with the host club receiving praise for an excellent series conducted in sometimes difficult conditions. This small country club continues to punch well above its weight and provides an excellent service to visiting sailors who enjoy this outstanding waterway.
At the presentation of prizes Club President Doug Blackstock thanked major sponsors Zhik, presenting over $3000 worth of prizes to the winners. He also thanked the dozens of club members who gave up their long week-end to ensure this regatta was again a success making certain that it continues to be a must-do event on the calendar of all single-handers in future years.
2009 Zhik Single Hander Regatta Results:
Overall yardstick: 1st Moth David Lister
2nd Moth Andrew Stevenson
3rd Spiral Matt Craig
4th IC Hayden Virtue
5th Impulse Michael Brown
Marathon Race: 1st IC Hayden Virtue
2nd Moth Luka Damic
Junior: 1st Spiral Jonathon Gough
Class results: Moths David Lister, Luka Damic
Impulses Michael Brown, Jim Scott
Spirals Matt Craig, Ross Paget
Contenders Brett Holly, Alan Griffiths
IC Hayden Virtue
Misc Greg Roche, Peter Burton