Breeze, unhappy halyards, but a happy Rat

Breeze, unhappy halyards, but a happy Rat

The WA State Championship put on a full range of conditions for the fleet over a terrific three day event. Congratulations to winners, The Rat (AUS 963), sailed by skipper Grantham Kitto, Ethan Prieto-Low and Chris Pratt.

Thank you to John Greeves for this colourful daily regatta wrap.

Day 1 of the WA Etchells State Championship

A Balmy 32 degrees with 14 knot southerly predicted but I was suspicious on the way in with trees heaving at the front gate. Huey put on a tantrum that took its toll on the fleet.

It was a turbulent track reminiscent of an Indian Cricket pitch with 20k puffs. Greg Kerr on Screaming Plum started in excellent form in the first race and looked like he had it locked away until a late downhill blitz by The Cure ( I suspect no brakes) and The Rat overhauled him with Chilly Bin just holding of a tight chase for 4th.

Two halyards lost in race 1 was not enough to appease Huey and race two started in strong 18-ish. Galactic tried a Hail Mary on the right side that looked momentarily ok but there was nothing to come back on. Screaming Plum was UFD. The Cure broke a jib halyard but The Rat stayed strong to take race 2 from a well sailed and consistent Chilly Bin. Alistair came in from the Nullarbor at the first turn (last) to take an impressive 3rd from Racer C, and great crew work by The Cure, swapping jib halyard for kite halyard came in 5th.

Race 3 - Strange track, boiling one moment and carpet smooth the next, made it a challenge although not overly shifty. The Rat nailed the pin but the pack gained through the centre and they were well back and 5th around the first mark but another down hill flyer saw them gain places. Screaming Plum was fast uphill but The Rat took the gun with The Cure still improvising with the kite halyard taking a tight 3 from the consistent Chilly Bin.

Standings day 1 see The Rat and The Cure at the top of the table from Chilly Bin and Screaming Plum.

The Rat crossing the line on Day 2
The Rat crossing the line on Day 2

Day 2

Race 1 today saw 15-20 knots from 210, a longer beat but still tight at the top mark with Plum, Chilly Bin and The Cure tussling for first around, Chilly Bin infringed in the zone and got dizzy, race done for them. The Rat broke a pole on the first run, repaired it and made a great recovery. On the second downhill Alistair on Daylight Come took the early gybe to get a glamour run and hit the front till the end. Rat held on for 2nd with Screaming Plum a nice 3rd. Massimo on St John’s Dance had a blinder coming into 4th after a solid race.

Race 2 into a moderating breeze had Chilly Bin launched midline and first to tack to take a big win from the consistent Rat with The Cure taking 3rd.

The series looks all but wrapped up for The Rat. However three boats, Chilly Bin, The Cure and Screaming Plum are separated by a point for second place and Daylight also having strong claims a couple of points adrift.

It’s all on tomorrow for the final three races, lighter breeze forecast and game on.

The Cure crew
The Cure crew

Day 3

Day 3 of the Etchells 2023 State Championship greeted the competitors with a light 3 to 9 knots. It was a flat track but a swinging and oscillating breeze made it a riddle. Race 1 saw massive shifts and fleet rotation. Downhill was reaching to drifting. The Rat had a great win to take the series. Second was Screaming Plum from Chilly Bin, with Galactic doing the Lazarus for 4th after a dawn raid to rebuild the mast and The Cure 5th. It looked like The Cure had been put to the sword despite surviving a day 2 with broken Halyard and outhaul.

Race 2 of the day and day and final of the series was sailed in a puffy but dying breeze. It was tight boat racing at the start that led to a very tactical race. Places 2 and 3 in the series were not settled and The Cure was in trouble. They rolled with the shifts and took the lead at first downhill and held it all the way. Dirk on Chilly tried to pinch the first mark but hit it and again got dizzy and there was no way back. Second was Alistair on Daylight concluding an impressive regatta. Three was a great performance by Keith Anderson on Postman, and Galactic held off The Rat for 4th.

The regatta RO has done an amazing job supported by an army of volunteers. The competitors loved the courses. RO Kim sounded the retreat and it was a made scramble back to the clubhouse for the feast enjoyed by all.

Ohh yes, the results...

  1. First and congratulations to The Rat AUS 963, Gratham Kitto, Ethan Prieto-Low and Chris Pratt
  2. Second and a well sailed regatta was The Cure AUS 1445, Ray Smith, Al Smith and Michael Hughes
  3. Third Screaming Plum AUS 1022, Greg Kerr, Luke Paterson and Richard "Plugger" Rowell
Full results

Well done and well deserved.

A special shout out to Sharon Skinner and RFBYC team who put the regatta together.

A big effort by the Etchells SRF boss Doug Kerr and Dirk Vander Struyf for co-ordination of the Regatta.

A great weekend for the Swan River Etchells fleet.

Thank you to George Vaskovics for Day 2 photos.

Start on Day 2
Start on Day 2
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