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40th Nationals Wrap up
40th Nationals Wrap up

Saturday 5th of January 2013 we left Sale in Gippsland for our annual trip to the RL24 Nationals. This year they were being run by Albury Wodonga Yacht Club on Lake Hume. The weather in Sale was fine with a few clouds about and 15 to 20 knots of wind when we left, however the forecast told us we were heading right for the worst heat wave that Australia had seen for many years. The travelling was all good in mild conditions until we were about 50Km north of Melbourne, by then the wind had dropped and the onboard temperature reading started to climb. By the time we were 100Km north of Melbourne the temp was reading 44Deg C, this certainly had an effect on most toeing vehicles even if it was just a drop in power. We passed Corben’s towing “Cosmic Sedso” a bit before Wangaratta and they were doing it a bit tough with all the windows open because they didn’t want to load the engine with the air con.
We arrived at AWYC at about 1530 and sent up camp in the 44Deg heat, the ones who had arrived earlier were already sitting on their deck chairs in the water on the edge of the Lake drinking beer. While we were setting up I had a call from Paul Corben saying that they were stuck in Wangaratta, the old Patrol wouldn’t run on petrol and the pressure in the gas tank had increased that they couldn’t refill it. Nothing that an hour’s rest in the shade didn’t fix. Back on the road again and they arrived 14 hours after leaving Bairnsdale, a long hot day for them with 2 little kids in the back.
Sunday was another scorcher well into the 40’s, we rigged the boat and launched at about 11am this was our first sail on “Whatever” for 18 months and after a major refurbishment. We sailed for about an hour and a half before the wind looked like it was finished for the day, we now see why the locals said to run all the races early morning. All Sunday more people continued roll in and set up camp, we had an association provided sausage sizzle for our meet the fleet at the AWYC. This is a great place for sailing and camping providing an enjoyable social atmosphere.
Monday we sailed 3 short invitation races in perfect sailing conditions 8 to 12 knots of breeze but on land it was again over 40Deg C. The breeze out on the water made it more pleasant to be on the water than on land. The invitation races gave everyone who made it a great chance for a shake down, we had 15 out of the 17 entries on the water with Simon Walsh on “Ohau Rua” taking out all three races in the drop keels and Mitch Dyer on “Whatever” taking out all the races in the swing keels. It was good to see how the fleet was gradually getting closer and closer to the leaders as each races went on.
Tuesday saw us leave the bank with very light winds and make our way to the start line, the wind was from the North West so there was a chance that it would increase. The race was started and before we reached the windward mark we had a good but blustery 20 knots, this continued to increase as the race went on and as the tail-enders crossed the line the wind was reaching 30+ knots. The keen sailors hung around for the next start but after the Race officer said that it was 30-35 knots we along with 90% of the fleet headed for shore, the start boat wasn’t far behind us. That was it for the day as the wind stayed strong and blustery all day with many fires breaking out around the area. “Ohau Rua” and “Whatever” continued their winning way.

Wednesday 3 races were sailed in light winds, one of these to make up for the missed one on Tuesday. In the drop keels “Ohua-Rua” went on her winning way but second and third place was shared around between the Jackman’s on “Dodgy Vindaloo” with two seconds, Corben’s on “Cosmic Sedso” with a second and a third, the Ratcliff family on“Legacy” with a third and Shannon’s with a third. This was showing that second and third was going to be a real battle. In the swing keels “Whatever” went on her winning way with Ian Lane on “This way up” achieving two seconds and a third, the Hetherington’s on “Mistress” sailing without a spinnaker and on a handicap advantage were second in race3. John Hawksworth on “Happy Days” using the original soft sails was able to manage a third in race 2, while the Pike’s on “Slyfox” got third in race 4. This was a great days sailing. Wednesday evening was the AGM and after we another social night with the club providing meals from the canteen.
Thursday was another scorcher, we started and were dragged back when most boats were going backwards we waited around for a start but due to the lack of wind the race officer decided at about 11am that the wineries would be a better option for the day so racing was abandon, a lot of socializing was done by all.
Friday was the last day of racing, 3 races were sailed in light but sailable winds. In the drop keels “Ohau-Rua” again managed 3 first’s and “Legacy” a second and third to secure them second spot, the rest of the seconds and thirds were shared around between “Cosmic Sedso”, “Lowana VI”, “Lowana V” and “F-Troop”. However due to their strong performance early in the regatta the dodgy boys on “Dodgy Vindaloo” managed to scrape through into third overall after a shocker of a day. In the swing keels “Whatever” continued their winning ways with “This way up” placing a 2nd and 3rd. “Street Car” was the big improver for the series with seconds on the last two races securing third place over all.
Friday night was presentation night with a meal catered for at the club with everyone enjoying all the old stories that were being exchanged between each other and delivered from Ross Corben on the stage. He looked like he was enjoying being back in the saddle.
Overall I believe this was the most successful national championships for 10 years or more, we had 17 boats compete overall with 8 Drop Keels and 9 Swing Keels, we sailed all races, the social atmosphere around the club was fantastic. The people that had never been to a nationals before were able to find out how the fast boats are doing things and from what I have heard have headed home and started work on these adjustments already. This enthusiasm is very pleasing. We also had boats and more important people/families who haven’t been to the nationals for a while back on the water. Great to see the Colac people again, hopefully we will see more Colac boats next year.
Next year the nationals will be back at “Royal Motor Yacht Club” Toronto on Lake Macquarie NSW from the 5th to the 11th January 2014. This is another great venue that we have sailed at before; Lake Macquarie is a great place to sail with its prevailing sea breeze at around 12-15 knots. The indication I was given by many boats at AWYC this year is that they will be back next year and very keen because it is on Lake Macquarie. Toronto is a location that is a one day drive for the QLDers and one day for Victorians leaving it an easy local trip for the NSW sailors. I have already been contacted by a new owner from Sydney who sails at a club with other RL’s, hopefully we can get them along as well. Let’s all start the planning to make next year’s nationals even bigger than this year.
For detailed results and youtube footage go to the RL website. http://www.rlyachts.net/Nationals.asp

Darryn 13-Feb-2013    Edit    Delete 
Re: 40th Nationals Wrap up
Nice wrap up Darryn .
Luke Ratcliff 17-Feb-2013    Edit    Delete 

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