Pantaenius Australia 2015 WA IRC State Championship – Ideal conditions for windward-leeward style racing was enjoyed by the fleet for race day number four. The Yachting WA event is being held in conjunction with Fremantle Sailing Club’s Valmadre Series.
Two races were scheduled for the day which had been postponed twice already. Thankfully the Indian Ocean winters’ day gave sunshine and a moderate offshore wind and the WA IRC yachts enjoyed some tight racing, a change of pace from the previous passage races.
Division One were off first, a clean start with Indian’s nose clean ahead of the others. The yachts soon split tacks deciding their path to the windward mark near to the beach. Andrew Harry steered Calm to lead around the first mark although Craig Carter’s Indian made gains on the runs, both spitting gybes and taking different paths on the downwind leg. All crews worked hard. At the finish, The Next Factor was a close third over the line and most thought she would take the win. On corrected time, Indian took the podium just one second ahead of Calm. The Next Factor had to settle for third, only four seconds behind a win.
The pressure was on in Division Two, Robert Halvorsen’s Giddy Up began the day with three wins on the board, with the change from passage to windward-leeward racing, the fleet seemed to want to step things up a notch. Pre-start was busy and after two false starts they finally got away. Some exciting and close racing was seen in this fleet, the 12-15 knot off the beach wind kept all teams alert. Across the line first was Giddy Up closely followed by Joss, steered by Patrick Clyne then The X Factor with Will Hammond at the helm, only seconds later.
Division Three had a steady day with the podium positions unchanged over the two races. Laurie Flynne and crew on Dynamic took home two wins on corrected time and held on to their overall lead. There was a change on the scoreboard though with La Premier moving ahead of Selkie. Alison Stock’s Selkie has one point on Mike Campbell’s La Premiere going in to the final day of racing but they tie on points after a drop, La Premiere ahead on a count back.
The breeze reduced in strength for race two and there was a change in position of the windward mark for Division One. Paul Eldrid couldn’t get the Indian close enough to Calm this time and let her have an overall win as well as line honours. The Next Factor fell behind too but remained ahead of Al Fresco, corrected time making no difference to the overall places for this race. Going in to the final day of racing, it’s close, only a point separating all three podium places.
At the Division Two start, Brent Fowler was keen to shake things up again steering by and large aggressively in pre-start. It paid off this time, she crossed in third place, only seconds behind Joss and took a win on corrected time.
For the final two races next weekend, Giddy Up has a comfortable lead in Division Two as does Dynamic in Division Three. Division One will be the one to watch.
by Susan Ghent