The 2020 Michael Bell Memorial Ten Rater regatta was held at a blustery Jackadder Lake on Saturday 19 September. Michael was a long serving ARYA Treasurer and a fine Ten Rater skipper, winning a number of Western Australian Ten Rater Championships. This regatta is held annually to remember Michael and his contribution to radio sailing in Australia.
The forecast was for blustery west to south-west winds gradually increasing as the day progressed. There were 8 skippers entered for the day's racing. In the morning, there were overcast skies and plenty of west in the wind. All the skippers rigged with their B rigs, as the gusts rolling across the lake were heavy. In between the gusts, there were some lighter patches, but the prospect of going downwind in one of those gusts with a larger rig wasn't enticing.
We attempted to sail off the southern bank of the lake to use the part of the lake furthest downwind, and avoid the section of water in the lee of the western bank. Unfortunately, the water level in the lake had fallen low enough that the fins were bottoming out on sections of the course, so we had to move further up into the shifty lee shore.
Our Race Officer for the day was Bruce Robins, who performed a terrific job. Bruce kept the racing going at a good pace whilst providing clear instructions. Courses were accurate despite the shifty winds - no mean feat on such a tricky day.
Roger Paul won the first race coming from far behind and finding a vein of wind which put him over the finish line just in front of Brett Milner. Brett had led the race by quite a margin, but fell into a hole up the last leg. After that, Glenn Dawson started to put the challenge up to the remainder of the fleet, rolling through three heat wins, and a couple of seconds.
Towards the lunch break, Graeme Howie found some boat speed and also notched up a few wins. Brett Milner was sailing really well. If the leaders made a mistake, Brett was right there to capitalise. Phil Brown was sailing his lovely home-built Bantock design which always looks lovely on the water. Gradually Phil is getting the boat going and from time to time was right in the pack.
Not having such a good day were Chris Woods and Jeff Green who were finding the blustery swirly winds not really to their liking. The Diamond really likes to get powered up with some long legs, but the wind didn't stay steady for more than a few seconds at a time. The Sangas and Aeros were able to be a bit more manouverable and sail their way through the lulls, gusts, shifts, cats paws, changes in wind direction and downdrafts. Denton Roberts popped up from time to time to put some pressure on the leaders but was also finding the wind conditions challenging.
Coming in to the final couple of races, the interest was in the make up of the podium. Roger and Brett were locked in a tussle for second and third, whilst Jeff and Graeme were very close for fourth. In the finish, Jeff and Graeme were separated by countback, with Graeme's couple of heat wins the difference. Glenn found some consistency to take out the event from a rapidly improving Brett Milner and Roger Paul.
The pleasing thing in terms of the overall event was that everyone's boats made it through the day, so we are starting to build some reliability into the class. The racing was especially clean with almost no boat on boat contacts all day. Skippers are working hard at making sure they look ahead and plan ahead. Communication between skippers was good which makes for much better certainty and awareness.
Thanks again to Bruce Robins, Maurie Summers and Bruce Quail who contributed to the running of the event. Thanks also to Hub Bell for attending despite a crook neck. Hub presented the trophies at the conclusion of the day and was pleased to see the Ten Rater Class back on Jackadder Lake. I'm pretty sure he could still show us a thing or two about sailing these lovely boats too!
|1||DAWSON, Glenn||AUS 76||22.0||37.0|
|2||MILNER, Brett||AUS 70||33.0||44.0|
|3||PAUL, Roger||AUS 86||35.0||49.0|
|4||HOWIE, Graeme||AUS 30||45.0||62.0|
|5||GREEN, Jeff||AUS 95||48.0||62.0|
|6||WOODS, Chris||AUS 24||53.0||67.0|
|7||ROBERTS, Denton||AUS 65||62.0||76.0|
|8||BROWN, Phil||AUS 50||93.0||109.0|