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back in the saddle

race report

back in the saddle

Anarchist jfunk gets all sentimental on us…

I had given up sailing 505’s after the 2011 Worlds in Hamilton Island. Not by choice, but by necessity. I had been nursing a bung knee for three years leading up to that event, trying to keep on sailing and training. Afterward I had it fixed and the surgeon sat me down and said my days on the wire are over. Too much basketball, running and trapezing over the years meant I had to limit what I did to it from now on.

So I decided to do the SB3 Nationals with Rob Deussen (Fritz – posts here as Helmut) who I had been sailing 505’s with and Phil Gray, another 505 mate and we had a ball. We gave three time World Champion Glenn Bourke a good hurry up, dipping out by 1 point after nine races and a broken boom which cost us the overall. During our usual race banter, Fritz said do you want to pull the 505 out and do the NSW states? The thing is, Fritz lives in South Oz and I now live in Qld, we are a good 3,000km’s apart, so I knew there would be no training involved, and it would be a weekend of fun, so I said stuff it, lets do it. A week later, the phone rings and its Fritz saying, “you know there is a container leaving from NSW for West Oz for the Nationals a week after their states, how about we do both”? “Alright I say”, “but this is it for me”. Fritz hadn’t won a 505 nationals before, but he had 4 or 5 in FD’s and Sharpies, so in my mind it would be a great way to finish my 505 career, trying to get a win with a great mate.

The NSW states went well, better than we expected, we tied for the win, but dipped out on the count back. There were boats from NSW, QLD, VIC, ACT and SA, so it was a good regatta to lead in to the Nationals.

The Nationals were in Mandurah in Western Australia, a town about an hour south of Perth. Held over Easter, it was tied in with a major West Oz youth regatta, so there were hundreds of boats everywhere and some major atmosphere. We were racing in open ocean a fair way out to sea and the West Australians had plenty of new youngsters joining the class and racing (including Sam Gilmour, Peter Gimour’s son, who has some real talent) so when day 1 was 25kn and 5 metre swells, the race committee held us ashore. So racing didn’t start till day 2 for us, and Fritz and I hadn’t got on the water yet.

Luckily day 2 was light and shifty with big pressure changes. Both Fritz and I love this sort of weather, the more tactical the better and we had a good day. Three firsts with most of the rest of the major threats having good and bad races!

The next day was a little more pressure and a fairly stable direction and we started with a first and then a fifth after collecting a heap of weed right off the start and not being able to get back after cleaning it off. Race six we lead till 100m from the finish when Michael Quirk and Simon Reffold sailed through us to leeward on the final run. Apart from a fifth and eighth on day 1 these two had been super consistent posting seconds and thirds and with two race drops allowed after nine races, they were a close threat still.

Day four saw two more races. There was more pressure again, around 12 knots and we lacked a little pace. Quirk and Reffold on the other hand had heaps and won both races. After eight races, all drops were in play and with one race left we lead by one point. To win Quirk and Reffold had to finish in the top three and beat us.

The last race was a doozy! Held in 8-10 knots with small shifts and pressure changes the tension held to the end. We went left early trying to drag Quirk and Reffold away from the fleet. Quirk and Reffold came across, stood further left, hooked a pressure line and rounded in the top three with us back in sixth. We clawed back through the race and heading into the last leg Quirk and Reffold were just in front of us. We split tacks. Quirk Reffold went right and we went left trying to pull them away from the fleet again. When we converged halfway up the beat we were in front and from there it was a match racing battle. Our goal was not only to keep Quirk and Reffold behind but slow them down, so three boats could gap away from them to ensure they finished fourth or worse. We had a great time, throwing tacks, spotting dummy tacks and pushing them past the layline.

In the end Nick Davis and Mike Duffield won the race leading from start to finish, we finished fourth and held Quirk and Reffold to fifth and we had won Australian Champions with a 2 point margin, Davis and Duffield pulled themselves up to third with their strong final race a further seven points back. They had, had a great battle throughout the regatta with fellow West Australians Brett Sharpe and Anthony Guant. The victory in the last race gave them the final spot on the podium by one point.

We were ecstatic (pictured left), as where Quirk and Reffold who are great mates of ours. It was a great way to finish both our 505 careers. A big thanks to Gill who were the major sponsor of the event and all the team in Mandurah and West Oz who made it happen. Results can be found here.

Nick Davis and Mike Duffield 8817 lead the last race of the Gill Australian 505 championships. Michael Quirk and Simon Reffold 9036 sit third and with Rob Deussen and Jordan Spencer nowhere to be seen look set to win the championships.