The 2016 Tasmanian State IOM Regatta was sailed in what can only be described as testing conditions. The BOM forecast was for 15 to 25 knot northerlies strengthening to 20 to 30 knots and swinging to the northwest by noon, however with the Brook in the lee of Mt Direction, this was a recipe for some challenging racing with plenty of shifts and a few holes. It was quite warm for Hobart at this time of the year with mid 20’s temperatures and with colder water temperatures, the wind wasn’t “sticking to the water” as Bucko from 18 Footers TV would suggest, adding to the fluky and variable conditions. Prior to racing, wind strength was around the 10 knot mark or there abouts, stronger in the puffs, giving skippers the dilemma of rig choice. Wisely, all skippers opted for the No. 2 Rig. The course was pretty much a windward leeward affair around the cans a couple of laps, with a leeward gate before a relatively short windward beat to the finish, but this proved to be a critical leg with race leaders succumbing to the shifts and snatching mid fleet finishes from the jaws of line honours on several occasions. The wind strengthened as predicted and most skippers were forced to change down to C Rig as wind strengths were a bit more than modelled with 25 to 35 knots providing some spectacular and fast racing. The final run down to the gate was around 200m and in the conditions, was only taking boats around 90 seconds to cover keeping skippers “on their toes” keeping up. At times even the C Rigs were hard pressed with bows burying in the decent waves that also provided plenty of downwind surfing. With the extreme conditions there were a few retirements with minor gear failures or lack of C Rigs.
Sixteen races were completed for the day and after the first drop, Ray Joyce led the fleet with 6 points from Michael Hickman on 9 points. In third place was Lisa Blackwood on 10 points with Rod Jackman and Wayne Behrens rounding out the top 5, both on 11 points. After the second drop and 2 seconds and 2 wins, Michael Hickman led the fleet with 11 points from Peter Darcey notching up a couple of wins to take second spot with 15 points. Rod Jackman moved up the leader board to third place with 20 points, while Ray Joyce was relegated to fourth place on 25 points, on countback from Andrew Wardrop rounding out the top 5. The final 8 races saw the final top three skippers fight it out in a ding dong battle. Michael threw down the gauntlet though with an impressive 5 wins and 2 second places with Peter Darcey sailing consistently with a win, 3 second places and a third place, and Rod Jackman also in the mix with a win, 3 seconds and a third as well. Final results and there was no doubt to who had won the event. Michael Hickman gave a master class in extreme sailing conditions to take out the event with 20 points, streets ahead of second place Peter Darcey on 32 points who was comfortably clear of third place Rod Jackman on 42 points.
Next Wednesday is IOM only handicap racing while Thursday sees Round 3 of the DF95 Twilight Series at MBYC from 4:30 PM. Next Sunday is Round 2 of the IOM Summer Scratch Series with racing from 1:00 PM. The following weekend is the 2016 IOM State Championships so if you intend to compete, don't forget to get your entries in.
Till the next button press, wet sails.
Stuart Dawes (PRO).
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