Hillarys Yacht Club hosted the 2015 Contender State Championships and like last year turned the wind on for the small fleet of nine boats. Two long races were sailed on Saturday in a building sou’westerly and big swell, or at least it seemed big to most of the fleet who rarely have an opportunity to sail off the river. Then anchor trouble struck the committee boat and after a long wait while the breeze continued to build to 25kts racing was abandoned for the day with defending State Champion Simon Barwood and previous two times States title holder Clay Cook locked on 3 points each. Adam Brett and Richard Shallcross sat in third and fourth respectively both having scored a third place.
The wind had turned south-easterly on Sunday and was forecast to moderate, the nice swell had been replaced by a confused lumpy slop that was not as pleasant to sail in. Still there was a breeze and a new RC boat and racing started promptly in a big left hand shift that saw the fleet struggle to lay the line. Simon hit the pin mark and had to do a penalty turn off the line allowing Clay an easy win. In the next race Clay capsized in a tack giving Simon a comfortable win. In the third race of the day Clay was caught under lay at the top mark and had to gybe around allowing Simon to skip away to a comfortable lead only to sail into a hole metres from the finish line and having to tack twice was pipped by half a boat length by a fast finishing Richard S. Clay finished in third so after 5 races the leaders were again locked together on equal points with two wins each. Richard’s race win had moved him to within striking distance of a podium finish, only 2 points behind Adam with one discard now in play.
Race six saw another big shift left at the start with most of the fleet tacking to cross the line on port. It was a clean race at the front this time with Simon first at the top mark and then extending the lead for a comfortable win. Chris McDonald made the hero move of the regatta taking a flyer to the left on the second beat moving him from next to last to second place. Clay finished third with Richard S fourth and Adam made it home in 5th to cling to third place overall by a solitary point. Chris’s great last race moved him up to fifth overall on equal points with the Master’s division winner Richard Whittaker in 6th. Stefan Golic only completed two races when his mast track gave way but did enough to secure the Junior division trophy being the youngest competitor by a comfortable (more than 50%) margin.
Many thanks to Hillarys Yacht Club, PRO Chris Kelly, RO John Porter and all the HYC volunteers for hosting another exciting and enjoyable Contender States regatta.
The Contender fleet looks forward with much anticipation to the 2016 National Titles being hosted by RFBYC in January.
Contender Fleet Captain