17th of January 2008, Australia, NSW Formula Windsurfing Championship

NSW State Formula Championships

Dolls Point 12,13 January 2008
January in Sydney, nor-easters blowing, DEN111 in town, formula at Dolls Point – its almost a windsurfing institution these days – and so to the 2008 instalment, and a very exciting time – first of all a new year brought the new boards for a two year term. By new boards I meant 95% of the new boards were starboards and to justify the plural, a new Gaastra board(?). Secondly it was the first event of the year, and first formula sailing for sometime, plus a pre-cursor to the national championships in a few weeks. And not least, FE+ was incorporated for the first time at a State Championship level.

And the curse of the evil voodoo witch doctor from Denmarks’ curse on my hands has continued. There has been about three times in my life my hands have fallen apart and required gloves to protect further damage, and for some reason DEN111 has been there every time. And before we had even started sailing on Saturday, courtesy of a freak downhaul incident (not teeth related), I was sporting nice 1cm puncture holes in each finger on my left hand, and DEN111’s big laughing gawking, german like face mocking me. The guy should have a health warning tattooed across his forehead “avoid to minimise risk of Vesty hands”.

The guys seemed to enjoy it so much he forgot about the racing and got caught off guard by surprise in the first race crossing the line fourth behind Sam, Brett and Sean. That seemed to catch his attention, and he pretty well won everyrace after that (although not without being contested), and it’s pretty cool to see that the top end of our fleet is pretty competitive using an international benchmark.
The first day ended with four races in a very tidy steadily climbing NE, which backed off slightly for the last race particularly at the bottom of the course. A run out tide meant that there was generally one way to go upwind. And it meant a couple of minute slog into the run-out tide chop, a lovely test of thighs calves and a boards stiffness. The first day also ended with a lovely conversation on the beach between myself and another competitor, he seemed to be a little bit hard of hearing, perhaps something to do with the lack of washing of hair clouding his ears, and voices had to be raised slightly to ensure the message was conveyed. Pretty silly incident followed by a pretty silly conversation but thankfully all sorted now.

The second day dawned with promise to be very similar to the first day for wind. The evil Danish witch doctor had consolidated top spot, with Sam settling into second but a promising battle with Sean to come. Brett, deserving to be in fourth found himself one place down courtesy of some over anxious starting the day before. John Pearce had pretty well dominated the FE+ fleet with Mick Saunders settling into second but starting to come under some pressure from young Ben Morell.

Expecting wind, most went conservative in the first race to find things weren’t that windy after all and some re-rigging/re finning ensued for Race 2. And conditions plateaud for the rest of the day around the 15knot mark – the leats race felt a bit windier, possibly with a threatening thunderstorm changing the light and making it look darker and windier, but probably more due to the fatigue of eight great races over the two days – again the run out tide made port tacks brutal.

Day 2 was categorised by port tack starts! By the third race, port tack starting was getting quite easy as a majority of the fleet were on port making very few left to give way too. But by the fourth race, with a tweak of the line, only two tried their luck on Port – with a notable mention to one brave (some said stupid) sailor crossing the fleet on what looked like a boat biased line – didn’t help him though as he couldn’t judge the layline and ended up double tacking with fatigue and had his worst race of the weekend.

The event ended with kaos in the car park – the word had got out the States were on and spectators swamped the car park for a look at the action – so distracted, not worrying about such petulant things as car parking rules, cars were left everywhere making it quite difficult for packing up and leaving.

Final results had Sam finally claiming second by a fraction from Sean and Brett settling into fourth (and best Master, from Anthony and Floydie). FE+ saw John Pearce taking the win, and likely consolidating his entry into the main fleet next year. Second went to Mick Saunders just from Ben Morrell, who is a pretty exciting prospect given his recent second place at the Australian Youth Championships and his first formula event on a competitive board.

Given 5 nano-seconds to do the results, the grand master results needed a quick review, which confirmed Rick in first and the Illawarra pair of Nick Nelson and Glen Morell in second and third – pretty cool results for the Morell family and the Illawarra Club!
Huge thanks to the guys who gave up all weekend for us to stage the event including Barry Fawkes and Mr Lancey in the boat for a whole weekend. Graeme Morris who stayed out from NZ specifically to help out for the weekend and John O’Brien who helped on shore, plus Sean O’Brien for results. Plus huge kudos to Brett Morris who ran the event plus was able to compete extremely well.

Check out results (PDF) and Photos.

Join the discussion

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