This years crown series was shaping up to be pretty big as always. The famous Green hockey turf was nowhere to be seen this year but the grass was greener than usual.
6 B14’s entered the series and light to moderate North to north westerlies were expected throughout the weekend associated with a large high sucking warm air down from the central deserts of Australia. This was associated with two of the hottest days of summer topping close to 40 degrees both days. 6 races were sailed across the two days of racing.
B14's hot off the startline on day 1 of the Bellerive Crown Series in Tasmania. Photo: Jane Austin
Only 5 B14’s managed to make it to the startline after one was a no show as they repaired their boat in preparation for the afternoon. The first race of the day was sailed in a dying Northerly and in a strong downstream current most of the smaller classes were struggling to make headway up to the top mark. In the challenging tidal conditions the fleet sailed strategically to get around the course with the best outcome. Strait4devils sailed by Adrian Beswick and his latest gun Crew Lucy Rees got out of the blocks well closely followed by Phantom sailed by Steve Miller and Claire Cerutty. By the top mark Phantom rounded first from Strait4devils, they were closely followed by Bondi Tram sailed by Stephen Mitchell and Tony Van Galen and Smokin’ sailed by Clare Cromarty and Richard McMinn. At the bottom mark Strait4devils took a gamble and headed left to try and get through Phantom. The plan backfired as they lost out in an easing breeze that shifted right in favour of the remaining boats. At the top mark of the second lap Phanton rounded ahead of Bondi Tram and Smokin’. Good Question sailed by Grant Atherton and Daniel McAully rounded just in front of Strait4devils who came around in last position. The final results were Phantom 1st, Bondi Tram 2nd, Smokin’ 3rd Strait4devils 4th and Good Question 5th, lunch was called.
After lunch the breeze had strengthened from the north again at a bit over 15 knots gusting upwards of 20. Windier conditions made it much more challenging for the fleet to tack out of the marina to make it back to the start line. The second race got underway and the pace was quick. Phanton got off the line with speed from Bondi Tram and Strait4devils. Smokin started further down the line to make the most of a left shifting breeze. By the end of the second race Bondi Tram took the win after taking advantage of his heavier crew from Phantom in 2nd and Strait4devils in 3rd position. Good Question kept it upright to take out 4th with Smokin retiring after a capsize.
The third and final race for the day was completed in a moderating breeze. Strait4devils just couldn’t get it together and keep their boat flat and powered up despite all attempts to get off the line with speed. Suffering Phantom and Bondi Tram again got through to take out 1st and 2nd respectively in testing conditions from Strait4devils in 3rd and Good question in 4th.
Racing Day 2 was conducted in a similar breeze to the afternoon of the previous day. The breeze however had become slightly more consistent and had a distinct left shift in it. The first race got underway and Strait4devils had got its groove back, high and fast they were able to capitalise on their lightweight combination to take a handy lead in the first lap. Rounding in second was Phantom followed closely behind by Bondi Tram and Smokin’. The breeze continues to strengthen ever slightly as the race went on, this was making it challenging to use the spinnaker downwind for some of the more inexperienced crews. In the end, Srait4devils managed to just hold onto the win from Phantom in 2nd and Bondi Tram in 3rd. Smoking came through close behind with a 4th and Good Question took out 5th position.
The fifth race was sailed again in testing conditions to the point that Strait4devils claimed an early lead on the first upwind and didn’t fly their kite on the downwind. Keeping ahead of Rivals Phantom and Bondi Tram they again repeated this on lap two which proved successful. The third and final lap they managed to find a hole in the breeze big enough to get the kite up and go through the line to claim their second win of the day from Phantom in 2nd and Bondi Tram in 3rd position. Good question managed to keep it upright to take advantage of Smokin’ after a spectacular capsize post granny gybe.
The sixth and final race of the regatta was sailed in ever more trying conditions. The fleet got around the top mark and came down without spinnakers in close to survival conditions. Flying along to the granny point crews were tested by the force of the close to 360 degree spin to get the boat through to the opposite tack. Phantom lost out after capsizing on the first lap and chose to pull their kite to try and make big gains, which paid off as they rounded on the stern of Bondi Tram. After the second lap on the last upwind Bondi Tram decided to head for the shore as it all became too much. Strait4devils snuck through undamaged to take the win from Phantom in second and last position. The fleet all then chose to make a v line for the shore to not compete in any further races.