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On Sunday October 16 at Champion Lakes, the Ten Rater fleet gathered to establish the 2016 Western Australian State Champion. The forecast was for mid range winds gradually dropping towards the latter part of the afternoon.

Thirteen skippers fronted for the day. Race officer Hub Bell and his able assistant Rod Moss had us all organized and on the water at the advertised starting time of 10.30am. There were a number of shifts early in the regatta which made setting the course a tricky task. Hub kept on top of the windshifts and made sure the courses were fair. There was only one abandoned race in which the fleet sailed to the first mark on a reach.

Out of the blocks and straight into the lead with three firsts and three seconds in the first six races was Sean Wallis, sailing a Diamond. His starting was first class, reaching the top mark in great shape regularly.

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Race Officer Hub Bell and his sidekick Rodney Moss (in the background)

Graeme Howie sailing an Aero, and Rosco Bennett (Diamond) did what they could to stay in touch with Sean in the early part of the day, with consistent finishing positions. The wind gradually settled in to blow from the south-west. It strengthened slightly around lunch time and skippers were starting to think about a change in rigs.

After a break for lunch though, the wind dropped a bit, meaning that the decision was made for all. Following a break, Jeff Green began to sail his Diamond really well, and notched up a number of heat wins and second place finishes.  Roger Paul also seemed to need the lunch break to change his fortunes. Roger’s Diamond was moving really well as afternoon unfolded.

Contrary to forecasts, the breeze actually began to lift slightly, and about half the fleet changed to their B+ rigs. With the rig change, Rosco Bennett regained some terrific boat speed and took out a number of races. Sean was sailing all too consistently, and continued to finish in the top three on the race track.

Ray Bassett launched his new Sanga on the day. There were some glimpses of real speed with the boat. Ray was pleased with the outcome, never having sailed a Ten before. It’s great to see another really competitive couple of Aussie designs, in the Aero and Sanga. With a bit of time on the sticks, it will be interesting to see what Ray will be able to get out of the boat.

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Ray Bassett’s new “Sanga” – a Steve Sedgeman design.

One big difference this year, compared to previous years, was that the vast majority of the fleet kept sailing all day. Unfortunately for Richard Fielder, he succumbed to boat gremlins and was unable to finish the day. Apart from Richard, the remainder of the fleet stayed on the water, which was a testament to the improved boat set-up and maintenance which people have been doing.

Also, it was clear that the skippers were being really careful not to have collisions with other boats. The majority of the day was incident free. Skippers sailed especially cleanly and fairly, whilst still experiencing close, competitive racing. Everyone took their turns when necessary, and there were no on water incidents requiring intervention.

Hub and Rod managed to get in 16 quite lengthy races, allowing for plenty of opportunity to catch up if you mucked up the start. There were plenty of opportunities to stuff up too, if you were out in front of the chasing pack.

The outcome of the regatta was fairly clear from the middle part of the afternoon. Sean had sailed very consistently and was a deserved winner. Rosco managed to hold off a fast finishing Graeme Howie and Jeff Green.

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Lunch break.

With six of the WA skippers planning on competing in Sydney for the 2017 National Championships, the regatta provided some really tight, close racing. There will be a few more chances for the Ten Rater fleet to get together in the chop at Maylands, in an attempt to learn how to sail these things on bumpy water.

Thanks for their time and efforts go to Hub Bell and Rod Moss for looking after race management. Their contribution was invaluable, and made for a terrific day.

Results for the day:

  Skipper Sail # Hull Score
1 Sean Wallis 76 Diamond 22.0
2 Ross Bennett 39 Diamond 33.0
3 Graeme Howie 30 Aero 3 42.0
4 Jeff Green 95 Diamond 49.0
5 Roger Paul 86 Diamond 69.0
6 Glenn Dawson 176 Blade 75.0
7 Ian Sherriff 695 R106 84.0
8 Robert Mews 41 NRW 84.0
9 Chris Woods 84 Diamond 86.0
10 Denton Roberts 65 Diamond 108.0
11 Justin McAullay 59 Blade 113.0
12 Ray Bassett 31 Sanga 138.0
13 Richard Fielder 82 Diamond 151.0