Australian Women's Keelboat Regatta - More bullets than the confectionery isle
Photo: Clawing back after poorer early performances, so all smiles with Executive Decision. Photo Alex McKinnon.
With a collection of bullets just about as sweet as the ones that come in the bags that adorn the supermarket isle, it is Penfold Audi Sport in front after Day Two of the Australian Women’s Keelboat Regatta on Melbourne’s Port Phillip.
The mover and shaker of the day is Nouannie, but given it was lottery central in the end, the final standings may well have had the hardener already mixed in to the primer. There were 40 to 60 degree shifts out there as one observer put it and if you have sailed these waters, you will know that looking at the top mark as the leaders go flying in, whilst you listen to that dreaded sound of the water slapping under the transom, can be a tad soul destroying.
Tanya Stanford, owner/driver of Nouannie said, ‘Large amounts of disappointment for sure, seeing as we had got on to the leader board after Race Four and to miss out with Race Five, as a DNF, hurts. However, we have managed to turn that in to motivation for a red hot go at AMS tomorrow.’ Nouannie presently sits in fourth place for Australian Measurement System (AMS) and Performance Handicap System (PHS) and occupies fifth in IRC.
Janet Dean from Jungle Juice, currently in third place across all three racing categories said, ‘We are loving it and really enjoying getting the boat going in these challenging conditions. So it is certainly smiles all round at the moment and tomorrow looks like being even more of a job on concentration and wind on the water watching.’
With four bullets from five races in IRC and two in each of AMS and PHS, Penfold Audi Sport leads all three categories, and in the case of the former two it could be considered an insurmountable lead. However, if the challenge of Monday lives up to its usual surprise, then in order to finish first, first you have to finish could well be the mantra heard around the Bay. Caroline Walker, mainsail trimmer on board Penfold Audi Sport had this to say, ‘We want to sail really well and have a good time, then the results follow. Fabulous bunch of girls and we sail on different boats on the Derwent River in Hobart and come together from successful boats. Together with or great friendships, we thought we’d make a great team that could have an awesome time at the AWKR.’ You also have to note that they are ever so humble and not likely to be counting chickens yet or showing up very dusty for the grand finale on Monday. Rather, you felt you almost had to coax a comment from them and they are also very gracious. It is not their first time at the AWKR, either. ‘We’d really like to thank a very generous David Ellis for providing us with this exceptionally well-prepared boat. So too, Savage’s Marina have a led a cast of awesome local support over here in Williamstown. Special note to Doyle’s for repairing a kite overnight for us, as well’, Caroline finished with.
Erin Foster is from Top Gun, which is lying in second place across all three categories. ‘We’re racing and working together well, so certainly enjoying the occasion. This is my second AWKR on the helm and I must have done seven or so of them over the last 15 years. I am only 28 and now the oldest in the crew, our youngest is 18 years of age, so it is very much in the spirit of Gai’s original vision. Erin did her very first AWKR with its founder, Gai Clough and Gai’s daughter, Sarah. ‘Max Peters has been tremendous and so, so supportive, so we’d really like to thank him for the use of his boat’, Erin finished with.
Not everyone ended up finishing Race Five. Sunshine was very aptly the last to glow, as seven of the 16 competitors missed out and yes that certainly affected the tables. ‘A frustrating day out on the water. We had the Answering Pennant up for 45 minutes before we got a start away. Not too long after that, the breeze went soft, then left and then filled in again. For the second race, we moved the course to 210 degrees to account for yet another change, it was flat water and nine knots, then we moved to 180 and shortened the legs up, but for the last downwind leg it all died and so the remainder of the fleet finished a minute or for some, considerably more, after the allotted two hour time limit’, said Paul Pascoe, the PRO.
‘We have moved the start for Monday back to 1100hrs to account for the anticipated fog and we only have to get the one race in to complete the series’, Paul finished with.
In terms of boats to look out for tomorrow, who may well be able to mount a challenge in the variable conditions, look for Jo Norbury’s Executive Decision crew to continue to make for the ground they lost early on the regatta. Nouannie is worth noting again, for they really do sail the hull out from under that boat and do it with not only aplomb, but also genuine smiles, which is certainly the key to the AWKR.
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