The 2016 Tasmanian IOM Championships were held over the past weekend in very tricky and testing conditions. PRO for the event was Les Hanson, assisted by yours truly on both days and Commodore David Murfet on Day 2. With a low pressure system parked off the east of Bass Straight, winds were light and patchy from the south to southeast and conditions cool and overcast, but dry for Day 1. With the forecast similar for the whole weekend, the regatta was going to test skipper's pond sailing skills. We can't have champagne sailing all the time!
Early standout for the Championship was Wayne Behrens who took line honours in the first race and 3 second places up to the first drop. Defending Champion, Michael Hickman was also in the mix with a couple of wins. At the first drop, Wayne led the fleet with 5 points from Michael on 7 points. Third place was Ray Joyce with 11 points, 2 points ahead of Chris Wood in fourth place sailing well in the conditions and taking the win in Race 2. Kyle Stewart was also sailing well, rounding out the top 5, on countback from Lisa Blackwood, both on 14 points. The next four races saw a win for Lisa and Michael and a double for Rod Jackman taking line honours in Races 7 and 8. Wayne continued his good form taking out second place in races 5 and 6 to make it five in a row second place finishes. Other podium places went to Chris Wood with a third in Race 6 and David Jones with a second in Race 7 and a third in Race 8. After the second drop, Wayne held a 3 point lead over Michael on 15 points. Lisa made ground on the leader board improving to third place with 24 points, 3 points ahead of Chris Wood in fourth on countback from David Jones and Rod Jackman all on 27 points. Another 4 races were completed making it 12 races for Day 1. Leading the fleet at the end of the first day was Wayne Behrens on 25 points from Michael Hickman in second place on 31 points. Lisa Blackwood held third spot by a comfortable 4 points from Rod Jackman on 37 points and David Jones rounding out the top 5 with 43 points.
Day 2 dawned and conditions had deteriorated with constant rain which was decisive for some skippers as only 6 skippers were eager enough to front the elements and the starting line for Day 2. Lisa commented post regatta that it was the only time she had got wet radio sailing. On the plus side, the wind was a little stronger to maybe 6 to 8 knots in the puffs, but still variable in direction with plenty of holes and shifts making for some close racing for the remaining skippers. Race leaders would get the jump on the fleet only to be caught again on the next leg, but that is sailing.
Michael Hickman threw down the gauntlet early on Day 2 taking line honours in the first two races for the day with Rod Jackman happy with a couple of second places as well. Lisa Blackwood was also sailing well with a third, second and first place in the first four races of the day. David Jones and Chris Wood kept them honest with a third placing each. Unfortunately for Wayne Behrens, Day 2 was another story from Day 1. After the third drop, Michael had taken the lead with 33 points from Rod Jackman leapfrogging from sixth to second place on 35 points, with Lisa just 2 points adrift in third place. Wayne was having an ordinary day dropping back to fourth on 40 points and David Jones up there as well rounding out the top 5 with 55 points. In the next 8 races, Michael tightened the screws winning five of them and third place in the remaining three. Lisa had a couple of wins, seconds and thirds each, and Rod with a couple of seconds and a win in the final race of the regatta. Chris Wood and David Jones managed to keep them honest with Chris making the podium with a second and two third placings, and David with two third placings.
Final results and Michael Hickman won the 2016 Tasmanian IOM Championship on 42 points, with Lisa Blackwood second on 53 points, nudging Rod Jackman to third place with 55 points.
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