Sunday, 9 January 2011

Aussies win but Kiwis strong at SLAM 12ft Skiff Interdominion

Dimension Polyant (AUS) leads the SLAM 12 foot skiff Interdominions in Sydney. Image copyright Rob Drury.

by Di Pearson

Nick Press and Brad Yabsley have sailed Dimension Polyant to its second win to reclaim the lead in the SLAM 12ft Skiff Interdominion on upper Sydney Harbour today.

Locals from the Lane Cove 12s, host of the 51st Interdominion, Press/Yabsley won the first race yesterday on a short course, and backed up again today on a long east-nor-easterly course, claiming the win from NZ entry Nuplex, skippered by five-time Interdominion champion Alex Vallings and crewed by Australian Cameron McDonald, with Garde from Woollahra SC third.

“We led from the start and made no mistakes today,” said Brad Yabsley “We got off the start midline and had C-Tech and Nuplex (both from New Zealander) hanging on to us till the top mark, but we rounded and did not look back,” he said.

“C-Tech’s ninth place today gives us a bit of a buffer. Bring on more of the top end big rig stuff,” Yabsley said.

Nuplex’s crew were happy with their day’s work. “This is our first race together, I’ve just come back from competing at the I14 nationals,” said crew Cameron McDonald, who finished third at that event.

”We never got close to Yabba (Press/Yabsley), but we had a good tussle early on with four boats including Garde (Brett Hobson/Alex Johnson),” admitted McDonald who was struggling with the fact that his skipper was playing the main and not him. “I find it hard to get used to,” he said.

Although content with second place today, Vallings commented: “It’s hard to beat Yabba Dabba (Brad Yabsley) in this breeze, which was pretty fresh at times.”

After a troublesome first day, one of the SLAM Interdominion favourites, Garde finally came good today with third place. “Everything went wrong yesterday,” Hobson said. “We got caught up in a capsized boat on the start line and it just went downhill from there,” he said.

“The boat was quick, but I don’t know where our heads were; things just went from bad to worse. Today we had our heads screwed on right. We got a good start close to the pin, the ducked one or two boats on our first tack and then we went head-to-head with Ginger,” Hobson said, referring to Vallings on Nuplex.

“We kept exchanging second and third places, then we had a bad last work, but that’s OK, we’re just taking one race at a time and to finish the regatta top five would be good.”

Two on the wire on Nuplex as they chase Dimension Polyant. Image copyright Rob Drury.

It was a bit of a Kiwi slaying today – Aussie boats were first and third, but everyone else up to and including seventh place were New Zealand boats. Perhaps it is because of a Twitter message sent over the airwaves to the Kiwis.

It appears the SLAM 12ft Skiff Interdominion is being followed even by those at sea. Alex Vallings former 12 crew, Andy Meiklejohn, who is co-skipper on Hugo Boss in the double-handed around the globe Barcelona World Race, took time out to send a Twitter message overnight: "Go the Kiwi skiff team at the 12ft Interdominions in Sydney!"

New Zealander, Meiklejohn, is awaiting the return of his fellow skipper, Alex Thomson, who is recovering from an emergency appendix operation. He and last-minute replacement skipper, Wouter Verbraak, are currently making good progress in the Atlantic Ocean. We wish them all the best.

The fleet got away in an east-north-easterly, but not before a general recall and then some OCS’s at the 2.40pm start.

Disappointment for a few on what was otherwise a beautiful day out with 12-15 east-nor-easterly wind under sunny blue skies. First out after crossing the start too early were Alison Chapman/Tim Barraclough (CST Composites) and Martin Debelle/Ian Turley (Barking Mad) both from Woollahra Sailing Club.

A third Woollahra boat, D-Unit (Adam Forbes/Richard Johns) thought they were over too, so returned and re-started, losing them valuable time.

Garde leaps out of the water down the run. Image copyright Rob Drury.

Conditions took their toll on others; Arrogant Frog, sailed by father and son Peter and Steve Hill, was first out after the jib cleat let go on their brand new carbon/foam boat. Easily fixed, but not in time for the Abbotsford sailors to get back in the race.

Next ashore were cousins Heidi and David Winning, who ripped their brand new black kite, then it was the turn of another father and son combination, New Zealanders Billy and Will Wright sailing W2, whose prod broke off the front of the boat when a power boat sped in front of the 12.

This on top of Will doing a ligament injury to his ankle yesterday, which will keep him ashore for a couple of days.

Late in the race, Martin Hughes design’s mast snapped, leaving Sam Marshal/Sam Trethewey from Auckland floundering.

Hosted by Lane Cove 12ft Skiff Sailing Club, with the cooperation of Hunters Hill Sailing Club, Race 4 of the 10 race 51st Interdominion will be held tomorrow, starting from 2.30pm, weather dependent.

Provisional top five after three races:
1. Dimension Polyant (AUS) 1-3-1, 5
2. C-Tech (NZL) 2-1-7, 10
3. Nuplex (NZL) 8-2-2, 12
4. Gemmell Sails (AUS) 3-4-8, 15
5. Andrew Short Marine (AUS) 5-5-9, 19

SLAM 12 foot skiff Interdominions