After a long run of being resigned to the bridesmaid dress at a few Australian Championships, Rosco Bennett has broken through to take out the Australian Marblehead Championships in a fantastic event at Champion Lakes in Perth.
For once, The wind and weather at a National Championship was absolutely brilliant. Champion Lakes turned on two of the best day's radio sailing conditions you could possibly hope for. The breeze stayed in the south-west, which is right along the shore. It was steady and solid. Over the course of the two days, we had one morning in A rig, one morning and part of an afternoon in B rigs, and the rest of the time in either C or C2 rigs. The sun shone for most of the time, and the rain stayed away.
Bruce Robins was our Race Officer, and his team of Andree Bennett, Mary Davis, Jackie Hunter, Rob Mews, Bruce Quail, Max Hunter, Moby Stuart, Rod Moss, Graham Howie and Peter Buchanan who all contributed over the two days, ran a terrific regatta. The courses were long and fair and the pace of the event was just right. As a sailor himself, Bruce understood when to allow a bit of leeway for boats to change rigs, and when to hold the fleet to account regarding starting the races on time. As a result, he managed to get through 32 races over the two days. Having said that, the races were taking between 10 and 12 minutes and the courses were really good - high quality races indeed.
On the opening day, we welcomed David Thomas from Victoria and John Gower from Queensland who made the journey to sail. Their presence was acknowledged and their effort very much appreciated. Racing started with most boats in B rigs. As the day wore on, the breeze built, and just after lunch everyone was changing down to C rig, and later into the C2 rigs.
Day 1 belonged to Rosco Bennett and his well prepared Grunge. Rosco took out 8 wins from the 15 races, whilst the F6's of Glenn Dawson and Cliff Davis took the remainder. At close of play on day 1, Rosco held a 9 point lead from Glenn, with the very consistent Adam Viney still in with a show another 9 points further back.
One unfortunate event towards the end of day 1 saw Dave Thomas's F6 flat on her side without a fin. The screw and retainer were still with the boat, but the rest of the fin was nowhere to be seen. Adam took off home to get the goggles and snorkle, but despite his best efforts, the fin is still there at the bottom of Champion Lakes. A new strategy for recovery is being hatched, but to Dave's credit, he took it with good humour and offered to contribute as an Observer on day 2.
The second day was forecast to be slightly lighter than day 1. About half the fleet set out with A rigs and the other half with B rigs. Early in the morning, the B rigs were very competitive. However, the breeze softened slightly, and the whole fleet were soon wearing their swing rigs. The lighter conditions suited the F6s and Glenn started to make a run at Rosco's lead. 6 bullets in a row leading up to the lunch break meant the gap was tightening.
John Gower found the lighter conditions better suited to his Nioutram, and he was pushing the leading pack. Chris Woods fought on throughout the day until he encountered technical issues and was forced to sit out the final few races. Cliff Davis showed plenty of form, and his boat simply flew downwind. Given a bit more time in the class, Cliff will certainly improve.
Meanwhile, Rosco had a few setbacks which opened up the door for Glenn to pounce. But late in the afternoon, Rosco must have decided to knuckle down and he started to get back to his previous form. Going into the last race, Glenn needed to get a boat in between himself and Rosco to have any chance on the scoreboard. Rosco wasn't going to let that happen, and took second place in that race. So in the end, after 32 races, 1.5 points seperated the two, with Rosco taking home the Australian Championship for 2022.
The result goes to show the value of consistency.Radio Sailing has always been like that. Whilst Glenn won 15 races and Rosco won 11, it was Rosco's ability to limit larger scores that proved the difference. Mistakes cost dearly, and limiting them always seems to be the best way to come out on top.
No longer the bridesmaid!
The whole crew retired to the Lakers Tavern in Thornlie for a water and feed. There was plenty of fun and frivolity, with many tall (but true) radio sailing stories being told and re-told. Peter Buchanan and the team at RSAWA are to be congratulated on putting on a brilliant event that was enjoyed by all.
Moby Stuart has taken some photos and video, and we will get these to you as soon as we can. In the meantime, we are looking forward to another couple of brilliant days for the Ten Rater class. The forecast is looking great.