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WA Dragon State Championships at Royal Freshwater Bay YC in Perth
The second weekend of the WA Dragon State Championships hosted by the Royal Freshwater Bay YC, was held over the weekend of 11 - 12 February on the Swan River in Perth.
Willy Packer and his team onboard Scoundrel came into the second weekend of the championship with a four point cushion over John Cassidy’s Seajoy. Four more windward/leeward races were scheduled to complete a tightly fought championship.
Race 5 of the series started early on Saturday morning in a typical 12 - 14 kts E/SE breeze. Peter Bowman (Aeolus) and Willy Packer (Scoundrel) were pushed above the start boat but Greg Leaversuch (Jump) claimed the pin and lead the majority of the fleet out to the left of the course. But it was Rob Black (Nereus) who worked the small shifts best to round first at the top mark. The fleet split evenly downwind and at the bottom gate marks. The final work upwind provided some keen tactical duals with Packer’s ‘Scoundrels’ working their way back through the fleet followed closely by Rob Black, Mark Lovelady/Ian Malley (Saphira) and Sandy Anderson (Linnea). Positions remained the same on the final run to the finish with Peter Bowman’s Aeolus recovering to 5th.
Race 6 followed shortly in similar conditions. Bowman (Aeolus) and Black (Nereus) won the start with four boats over early. Packer (Scoundrel) again!, Leaversuch (Jump), Anderson (Linnea) and Trish Ford (Canewdon Witch) who failed to return. Once again with the very true course, the fleet split right and left and the top mark saw Anderson (Linnea) (OCS) lead from Ray Chatfield (Wizzardry), Rob Black (Nereus) and youngest skipper in the fleet, Ethan Prieto-Low (Hotspur). Yet again Bowman and Packer were running down boats on both jibes and the gate rounding was close. Chatfield took the lead from Black and Prieto-Low. The beat to top mark again saw some close and engaging sailing with Bowman entering the battle for the placings. At the final turn Black had taken the lead from Prieto-Low and Ray Chatfield and this became the finish order.
NB: Earlier in the day It was noticed that Ethan Prieto-Low arrived at the crane area fully dressed in black tie having attended his school ‘leavers ball’ to change into suitable attire for racing. Obviously this spurred him on to a great performance on the water.
Races 7 & 8 were again sailed in moderate 12 - 15 knot breezes from an E/SE direction. Once again great conditions for sailing and IRO extraordinaire John Taylor (JT) set his usual impeccable course allowing the sailors to exhibit their best skills with boat speed, tactics and course management evident to all to watch.
This time Bowman (Aeolus) won the pin with Packer (Scoundrel) in a safe position just to the pin end of centre and Sandy Anderson (Linnea) taking the boat end.
This provided interesting tactics up the first work with Packer leading Bowman and Lovelady/Malley and John Cassidy. Once the wind had moved 10 degrees left, all Dragons came down on starboard poles and the order changed slightly with Cassidy up to third. The fleet split at the gate marks with the majority favouring the left. Packer placed a loose cover to lead at the top mark from Bowman, Cassidy and Anderson. This was the finish order with the fleet split into two running down on both gybes.
The final race (8) had a slight increase in wind pressure and although Willy Packer and his ‘Scoundrels’ had all but secured the title, the remaining podium places were very much still up for grabs. This time it was Sandy Anderson again OCS having to return, whilst Packer and Trish Ford started well going to the right. John Cassidy was doing very well up the left when the genoa halyard parted company. He was to be first back to the dock and out of contention.
At the top mark Bowman had a clear lead from Greg Leaversuch, Rob Black and Ethan Prieto-Low. After an even run down with Dragons on both gybes, the positions we unchanged at the gate. Going to windward saw a significant gap emerge in the fleet with Bowman and Packer opening up a gap of 3 minutes over the fleet.
At the finish Bowman picked up the bullet from Packer in 2nd, then a gap to Anderson 3rd, Chatfield 4th, Black 5th and Prieto-Low 6th, all finishing within 4 seconds of each other.
Final results saw Willy Packer and his ‘Scoundrels’ a clear winner with 2nd overall going to John Cassidy (Seajoy) on a count back form Peter Bowman (Aeolus), the 52 year old wooden showpiece. The traditional ‘Mug of the Day’ went to Rob Black sailing (Nereus) who has been crabbing on the Swan river all his life of 78 years, but sill managed to find a new muddy bank only 1.15m deep. Rumour has it a Dragons official draught is 1.2m!
Provisional Results for Dragon State Championship
(after 8 races with 7 races to count)
1 AUS214 Scoundrel William Packer - 1,2,2,2,1,(6),1,2 = 17 - 11pts
2 AUS190 Seajoy John Cassidy - 2,1,4,4,8,7,2,(DNF/10) = 38 - 28pts
3 AUS109 Aeolus Peter Bowman - (8),6,6,3,5,4,3,1 = 36 - 28pts
4 AUS210 Linnea Sandy Anderson - 9,5,3,1,4,(OCS),4,3 = 40 - 29pts
5 AUS191 Nereus Rob Black - 4,7,8,5,2,1,(9),5 = 41 - 32pts
6 AUS201 Wizzardry Ray Chatfield - 6,8,1,6,(10),3,6,4 = 44 - 34pts
7 AUS144 Hotspur Ethan Prieto-Low - 7,4,7,7,(9),2,5,6 = 47 - 38pts
8 AUS221 Saphira Mark Lovelady - 3,3,(OCS),9,3,8,DNC,(DNC) = 60 - 48pts
9 AUS223 Canewdon Witch Trish Ford DNC,DNC,DNC,(DNC),6,5,7,7 = 73 - 61pts
10 AUS198 Whim Robin Hammond 5,9,5,8,(DNC),DNC,DNC,DNC = 75 - 63
11 AUS181 Jump Greg Leaversuch/David Yu (DNC),DNC,DNC,DNC,7,OCS,8,8 = 82 - 70pts
Attention turns to the 2017 Dragon World Championships in June where no less than seven Dragons will make the journey to Cascais in Portugal from the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club in Perth. Willy Packer, who is the current World Dragon Corinthian Champion, has a boat in Europe, whilst Ray Chatfield (Wizzardry), Ian Malley (Saphira), Trish Ford, (Canewdon Witch) Sandy Anderson (Linnea), Peter Bowman (Aeolus) and Rob Hammond (Whim) are all shipping their boats.
The Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club in Perth Western Australia, will be hosting the Dragon Worlds in January 2019.
by Jonny Fullerton for the WA Dragon Association