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2019 Queensland Yachting Championships at Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron

by Brady Lowe 30 Sep 2019 06:38 BST 28-29 September 2019
Envy Scooters - 2019 Queensland Yachting Championships © Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron

The 2019 Queensland Yachting Championships, incorporating the Queensland IRC Championships, were held at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron on the 28th and 29th of September in winds ranging from Light Oscillating through to a powerful 20 to 25 knot Northerly; under the supervision of Principal Race Officer John Obrien.

Saturdays anticipated Northerly filled in well over the forecast, and with one of the largest run out tides of the year the conditions on the course circle east of Green and St Helena Islands produced an aggressive chop around 1m with a short interval, ensuring competitors in the smaller boats had a bone jarring experience; even the bigger boats saw their share of water over the deck. The variation in the fleet size was great, with Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron Commodore Barry Cuneo's Judel Vrolijk design TP52 Envy Scooters, through to the Atkinson 24 "JOG" boat Desperado of Graham Sherring, from the Southport Yacht Club, with a mix of Racer Cruiser designs, Race boats like David Rose's Kerisma, and smaller rating boats like Rea Reynolds Morgan designed Marisa.

With such a field spread the Race Committee worked hard to keep the races fair for all competitors, and this was well evidenced after Race 1, with Envy Scooters winning from Desperado, then the Farr 40 Lambourdini skippered by David Lambourne; with thirty minutes separating the boats on the course, but only three minutes apart on corrected time. Boats featuring on the podium in races included the HH42 Not a Diamond owned and Skippered by RQYS Vice Commodore David Redfern, as well as Jason Ruckerts Mr Magoo, a Thompson 6m Sportsboat, with clean boat handling the key to successful scores.

The day began taking its toll on the fleet, several boats retiring with damage as the day went on. Envy Scooters broke their mainsail gaff batten prior to the start of Race 2, and were sailing under Jib alone while crossing the start line, quickly hoisting the main in a low-speed tack before winding up and going on to take 2nd place behind Desperado in a fine effort of Seamanship from the team who have been notable this season for taking wins in both the Brisbane to Gladstone and Sydney to Gold Coast races, with a 2nd in the Inaugural Brisbane to Hamilton Island Race.

On board Envy were regular crew members from Brisbane including Volvo Ocean Race star Stacey Jackson, boat designer and builder Kevin Costin, and former Australian Sailing Youth Team member Curtis Skinner. Youth were a key feature at this event, with members of RQYouthSquad Keelboat Youth Program Alex Watson, Josh Sloman, and Australian Sailing Team member Tom Needham all racing aboard Envy. Lambourdini's line up including three notable young past and present 29er sailors, Mitch Miller, Carissa and Will Bridge, and Pat Lambourne; and Dodgeball hosted Queensland Academy of Sport sailor Annie Eastgate, and former Queensland Sailing Team sailor Tara Slocombe, both graduates from the RQYouthSquad program. Better yet were the "guest Tactician" spots on Mad Jack for owner Greg Black's son Jackson, aged 11, and Envy Navigator Peter Elkington's Daughter Georgia who found time for a nap during the first passage race on Sunday!

This too and fro between Envy Scooters and Desperado would play out right through the regatta, with Envy taking a convincing win in Race 3 and leading into Sundays first race, a passage race up to Mud Island and down the shore of St Helena. The lighter conditions on Sunday morning saw a win to Desperado, after Lambourdini came out of the blocks firing, going around the first mark hot the heels of Envy but a reach leg giving favourable conditions to those carrying Zero style sails. As the breeze filled the opportunity for Desperado to take another win was capitalised on as the pole came forward down the final run as the Envy team could do nothing but count down far too few minutes, while 2nd in Race 4 went to Dodgeball, RQYS Rear Commodore John Warlow's Beneteau 40.7 which would be the boat of the day with a pair of 2nds, proving the longevity of the Farr design and the hard work of her crew.

Going into the final race it was two victories each to Envy and Desperado, but with the building to a 12 to 15 knot Easterly it was perfect TP52 conditions, and the team on Envy capitalised on the conditions to take a solid win to cap off the regatta and win the Queensland IRC Championships and continue their successful 2019 in the leadup to the 75th Sydney to Hobart that they are targeting.

In the Performance Handicap Envy's varying fortunes of time saw her take the win, with Mr Magoo's efforts being rewarded with a 2nd, and the solid Sunday serving well for Dodgeball in 3rd.

Ultimately the Regatta was a great advertisement for the IRC Rating system, with such a wide spread of boats scattered up and down the order reflecting their varying fortunes and efforts over the weekends event.

Full results are available here.

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