217 dinghy and skiff sailors are together this weekend for the annual ICR at Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club in Western Australia. Often referred to as the windy city, Perth certainly lived up to its reputation today.
Racing on two course areas, the 12 classes began at 9am and looked spectacular in Freshwater Bay with many parents and spectators watching from the Clubhouse. There were sailors from all over Perth as well as a group of 11 Optimist’s from Singapore.
Singapore Coach Sherman Cheng says Perth is renowned for great sailing conditions in the summer and his team is keen to get some good training and racing in the strong winds. He was pleased with the conditions today for his sailors at the 2017 ICR. Sherman comments “Today was a great day, light and shifty conditions in the first few races and towards the end of the second session we had 20 knots, gusting 23 knots. It was a fantastic opportunity for my sailors to be sailing against the WA sailors. I couldn’t ask for better conditions”. His team of young Sinaporeans said that the Race Committee did a fabulous job setting up a really nice and challenging course. It was good to be competing in the Perth weather conditions and learning a lot racing with the locals. They are really looking forward to racing again tomorrow.
Race Area Two catered for the younger classes with the Optimist, O’pen BIC and Flying Ants. Race Officer Geoff Brown and his team ran four races in the morning session with southerly winds at around 10-12 knots in strength. In the Optimist Silver fleet, Skywalker (HYC) skippered by Bradley Dick is in the lead followed by Zombie Hunter (SoPYC) Emma Nightingale then Hand Loose (HYC) Mitchell Graham. O’Pen Bic Silver has Bev (RFBYC) George Elms in first position with four wins then Angus Cameron and Alasdair Cameron, both from RFBYC. After the lunch break and as the breeze strengthened to 20 knots and over, Geoff Brown concluded racing for the Silver fleet sailors.
Gold Fleet in Optimist and O’pen BIC as well as the Flying Ants had also completed four races and went out for 2 more in the afternoon session.
In the Optimist Gold class there were mixed results with different winners in each race. Leading the charge overall is bronze medal winner from the 2017 SEA Games, Radiance Koh from Singapore with a total of 16 points. She is followed by local sailor Toby Coote (SoPYC/FSC) then fellow Singaporean Faith Hailey Toh in third. O’pen BIC Gold had more consistent results with Will Drew on Forward WIP Australia leading with four firsts and two seconds. Rosie Hennessy (RFBYC/PDSC) on her boat Aerobic is second with 10 points then Razor, Samuel Williams (MBSC) is third with 30 points.
Also on Race Area Two, the Flying Ant class managed six races for the day. Toby Webster (FSC) leads with four first places today. He is followed by Mitchell McLeod and Harry Wright (TCYC) with 15 points then Eleanor Green and Daniel Bower (FSC) with 20 points. The top four placings are close on points, Eleanor and Daniel take third from Liam Vause and Niamh Carter on countback with equal points.
Race Officer John Taylor ran seven races for the Mirror, 420, 29er, Laser (4.7 / Radial & Standard) and Contender classes. He commented that “it was testing conditions for the sailors this afternoon with south-westerly winds averaging 20 knots and gusting to 25 knots. Most handled the conditions very well although we did see a lot of swimming”.
In the double-handed classes, Alex and Charlotte O’Beirne are ahead of Peter and Rohan Dean, both teams from RFBYC. Joshua Pang and Liam Forrester (RFBYC/FSC) head the 420 fleet from Marcello Torre and Owen Ready (RFBYC). The 29er class has boys team Kieran Bucktin and Shannon Wright (RFBYC) leading current Women’s World Champions Annabelle Davies and Maddy Woodward (RFBYC).
Single handed sailors on the Contender class are chasing Clay Cook with a good lead on 6 points from Simon Barwood on 11 points. Stefan Shircore-Elliott (SoPYC/FSC) leads the Laser 4.7 fleet followed by Michael Compton (SoPYC/FSC) then Lawson McAullay (RPYC/FSC). Consistent results from Zac Littlewood (RFBYC/FSC) sees him leading the Laser Radials then Caelin Winchcombe and Marcus Fisk (HYC). On 16 points in the Laser Standard, Ken Fujimoto leads Marcel Vos on 19 points.
At the end of the days racing, Race Officer Geoff Brown echoed John Taylors’ comments on the conditions and added that the strong winds in the afternoon were at the top end of what he thought the sailors could cope with but he was impressed with the way they handled their boats. His team saw some very good starts, in general he thought is was pretty tough racing but is sure the sailors enjoyed it.
Both Race Officers are expecting lighter conditions tomorrow for the final day of the event and are aiming for a full series of 12 races as scheduled.
Racing begins at 9am Perth time tomorrow. Full results and information on the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club website rfbyc.asn.au