The 2017 PDYC Blockbuster got underway today in a superb 15 to 22 knot breeze North Westerly breeze. A spread of classes have attended the regatta with Sabot, Laser, NS14 and B14 classes attending.

A fleet of 8 B14’s racked up for the racing today, an improvement on last year’s 4 boats. The fleet was put to the test with strong gusts as they made their way out to the start line. With the tide down low, the race committee was forced to lay the course close to inspection head wharf.

Rockstar Crew, David Cunningham flew in from Melbourne this morning to pair up with local Laser sailor, Ryan Moreton to make the switch across to his Dad Rob’s B14 The Cunning Plan for the weekend. David brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience and their results thus far show some serious improvement just after a days racing.

The first race got underway with a clean start, the fleet racing two laps to the finish. Rocketship got a clean start close to the boat end of the line with Epic starting off quick from down on the pin end of the line. The fleet split with a clear left hand side lift favouring the boats heading towards the wharf. Rocketship rounded in first position closely followed by Epic, Phantom and GetNicked. Two new comers to the class, both father and son combinations, Sam and Bailey Edmunds who have jumped into Just n Time (Currently for sale if anyone is interested) and Andrew and Josh Jones sailing Misunderstood showed great form early before rounding the top mark and making the most of fresh breeze with a spinnaker hoist. By the Gybe mark, Just n Time managed to undertake an acrobatic exit into the water resulting in their retirement from the race and a gaping hole in the mainsail thanks to the Sam who fell straight through it on the gybe, later in the day the Edmunds combination reappeared with the same sail for race 3 thanks to a roll of Duct Tape. Misunderstood managed to hold it together to finish 5th overall, a great result for their first state regatta.

The Cunning plan, with the Gunn crew, Dave Cunningham and top laser sailor Ryan Moreton got off to a cautious start sailing the entire first race without their spinnaker. As the third best crew in Australia, the reporter is unaware who made the decision not to hoist the spinnaker, but its recommended that the Crew’s Union undertakes a formal investigation into the Skippers conduct of his decision making on the boat. Despite this and with a number of other boats capsizing, they managed to finish 6th in front of Ulverstone youth crew Fyn Harding and Isaac Shipp sailing the Cripps Project boat, The Turtle who finished 7th following a tough race with a number capsizes. With solid pressure for the remainder of the race, positions didn’t change with Rocketship getting the win from Epic, Phantom and GetNicked.

In the second race the conditions were similar and stable throughout the course,  with this in mind the fleet replicated the finishing positions with Rocketship again taking the win from Epic, Phantom and GetNicked. Misunderstood held off the Cunning Plan to stay in 5th position despite Cunningham’s efforts to get the boat going faster after hoisting the spinnaker.

In the third race, the winds appeared to moderate but by the start of the race, had filled back in. Whilst not paying attention the Rocketship crew were too busy comparing child stories and missed the start by nearly 30 seconds. Epic again smashed the start closely followed by GetNicked which made Rocketship’s task of closing the gap additionally hard. Just n Time made it back out to the start for the third race with their duct tape repair job on the mainsail. By the top mark, Epic rounded in first well clear of the second boat Phantom. Rocketship had made up significant ground right on Phantoms tail after playing the hard left and getting a great lift to the top mark.  On the downwind, Epic made an early play for the right side of the course and Gybed early with the hope of chasing the breeze and staying in the main channel. Phantom and Rocketship headed out to the wing mark mowing down numerous NS14 and Laser sailors before making a gybe just past the wing mark. On the Gybe, Rocketship got the inside lane from Phantom and got through in pressure.  To stay clear of the slower boats, both Phantom and Rocketship took the outside lane and continued to mow down the Lasers. In the interests of class promotion, International B14 Class Chairman, Adrian Beswick was making sure all the laser sailors were made aware of the speed they were missing out on whilst “smoking” past them to the bottom mark. GetNicked was continuing their consistent form racing the entire course in 4th position. Despite the consistency, their race was full of eventful  action including a moment where they threaded the needle on the first downwind managing to squeeze in a hole little bigger than the width of the boat. Thanks to the laser not having side stays, they managed to pull it off.

Misunderstood, the Jones combination fell over resulting in a choc top thanks to the muddy depths of Bell Bay and as a result the main sail tore off at the head under the “load” of the mud. This was the end of their race but not the end of their day.

Despite Rocketship making big gains on the first downwind, Epic remained around 100 metres clear from Rocketship and Phantom who rounded within metres of each other at the bottom mark. Knowing the left paid, Rocketship tacked off early to try and gain what little advantage they could over Epic to try and tighten up the gap. Epic followed soon after and Phantom followed on Epic’s Line.

By the left hand side lay line Rocketship tacked and Epic followed soon after with a messy tack. By the top mark only 50 metres separated the boats, knowing following Epic downwind wouldn’t work, Rocketship Gybed off to try for pressure and depth on the right side of the course. In pressure Rocketship found the groove they needed and headed for the Right lay. Epic picked up pressure on their gybe and was also coming in with speed. With the right of way, Rocketship got the inside lane to the finish line and managed to steal the win with 100 metres to go.  Finishers were consistent again, with Rocketship winning from Epic in second, Phantom holding off GetNicked for third and The Cunning Plan 5th. Making a comeback with their top repair main, The Edmunds combination came through for 6th and The Turtle 7th.

The Final Race,  Rocketship sailed a solid race to win from Epic after another tight tussle. The Cunning Plan strung together a race to score a third and show great improvement in the final race of the day from GetNicked who scored their 4th 4th of the day.  After prawning their spinnaker twice on the first hoist, Phantom got taken back to 5th position and had no way of recovery.  Turtle snuck through for 6th ahead of Just in Time who finished 7th. After putting another mainsail on Misunderstood the Jones combination got out for the last race but after a capsize their rudder fell off and afterwards they decided to pull the pin for the day.

Racing tomorrow starts at 12 noon, similar winds are expected. See you then.