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Shoot-out at Austin Lakes for the South-West Regional Championships

A couple of skippers were unfortunately unable to make it to Austin Lakes today, which left a fleet of 12 to slug it out at the venue of the next Nationals for the South-West Championships of 2014.

We welcomed home Sean Wallis, who was in Perth for the weekend. It was great to sail with Sean again.

PRO for the day was Greg Reynolds – a very experienced yachtie, and recent convert to radio sailing. Greg did a terrific job on his first venture into one of these regattas.

The wind was from the north-east early at a light 5 to 7 knots. As the morning got underway, there was a dial to the left, and the wind ended up in the north – quite an unusual direction for Austin Lakes. The course was long, but close to the shore with easy viewing.

The early races were dominated by Rosco Bennett and Sean, with Sean winning 3 and Rosco 2 of the first 5 races. Ian Sherriff won race 6 and looked threatening in the conditions. Just under the surface, Glenn Dawson was maintaining consistency without managing a race win. By lunch, Sean and Glenn were equal on points and had opened up a small lead from Rosco.

As the afternoon wore on, it turned into a shoot-out between Sean and Glenn, as they traded race wins and second places. The wind lightened off, and was mostly around 3-5 knots. There were plenty of interesting races in which two, three or even four boats were on the finish line at the same time, making Andree Bennett and Fred Webber's job difficult.

Other notable performances came from Ian Ritchie, who gradually got his Mad Max going pretty well and managing a few 3rd, 4th and 5th places after placing about 9th or 10th for most of the morning. Dave Bedford also had a couple of good races, and is learning how to get an IOM going.

Most of the skippers had the occasional good race here and there. Certainly, the starting technique of the fleet improved over the day, as skippers were willing to get to the line early, hold their position and take off on the gun.

Late in the day, the wind increased slightly, and shifted around to the north-east again. All in all, the venue once again proved to be a fantastic place to hold a regatta. There were wind shifts that made the racing interesting. At no time, were there any fixed tracks to sail to – sometimes the wall was the best way to go, and others it paid to go to the middle of the lake. Skippers had to work the shifts and take their opportunities when they arose.

Many thanks again to Andree and Fred Webber for looking after the scoring and finishing. Thanks also to Greg Reynolds for taking on the PRO role. Lastly, thanks to Ian Sherriff for bringing the rescue boat and marker buoys.

At the conclusion of racing, Sean and Glenn finished up equal on 32 points, with Sean taking the chocolates based on 9 race wins to Glenn's 6. Rosco rounded (in more ways than one!!) out the podium on 57, just holding out Ian Sherriff on 61.

Full results:

1 Sean Wallis Panko 32
2 Glenn Dawson Cheinz 32
3 Ross Bennett Britpop 57
4 Ian Sherriff Britpop 61
5 Robert Mews V8 81
6 Roger Paul Pikanto 94
7 Chris Holland Mad Max 112
8 Ray Bassett Evo 123
9 Ian Ritchie Mad Max 130
10 Kevin Uren Extreme 140
11 Dave Bedford Goth 166
12 Denton Roberts Britpop 173