The WA States for the IOM class were held at Champion Lakes on Saturday and Sunday November 11 and 12. There were 16 entries.
The forecast was for gusty easterly winds over the two days – not the ideal situation for Champion Lakes as an easterly is basically onshore. The windward marks have to be set on the other side of the lake, but that is treacherous due to a large wind shadow coming off the opposite bank.
Bruce Quail was our Race Officer and Andree Bennett scored the event. Our gratitude to both Bruce and Andree – your contribution is greatly appreciated. Bruce commenced the regatta with a recognition of Remembrance Day holding a minute’s silence to reflect on our fallen and give thanks for their service and sacrifice.
Owing to the tricky conditions, and with the windward mark a reasonable distance off the shore, it was decided to split the fleet into two, using HMS. This reduced the number of boats potentially getting to the top mark at the same time. It worked well over the weekend.
Racing got underway in what can only be described as shifty, gusty winds – read “all over the place”. Everyone had their A rigs up, as there were plenty of holes in the win. It was pot luck whether you got hit with a gust on the upwind or downwind. Large gains and losses were experienced by all. Fairly quickly, it became apparent that Sean Wallis and Greg Torpy were going to battle out the top places.
On the first day there were 9 races completed, and Sean held a slender lead over Torpy, with Adam Viney sitting in third place, still in striking distance after he wrapped up his day with two bullets.
Day 2 dawned with similar conditions, albeit with slightly stronger gusts. Fortunately, around lunchtime, the wind kicked around to the north, which meant the breeze was coming more along the shore. The course became more manageable and the sailing far more enjoyable.
Sean managed to find a number of ways to help Torpy get to the front. Mind you, Greg was sailing very consistently despite the shifty winds. As is normally the case, the most consistent skippers come out on top, and this event was no different.
Adam Viney held off a group of three others to finish on the podium. He was chased hard by Rob Mews, Edgar Vitte and Glenn Dawson, with the four skippers finishing within 4 points after 17 races.
Other notable performances came from Brian Knuckey, who visited the A fleet on a number of occasions. It was terrific to see Brett Milner sailing again too. He clearly improved over the course of the weekend, despite not sailing for quite a while.
It should be noted that Bruce’s job over the two days was something not many of us would have envied. He maintained good courses despite the conditions and kept the racing going at a good pace. Thank you again Bruce and Andree.