Friday, 14 January 2011

Dimension Polyant (AUS) wins consecutive SLAM 12ft Skiff Interdominions

Frankenskiff had a great day out. Image copyright Rolf Lunsman.

by Di Pearson

Nick Press and Brad Yabsley from Lane Cove 12ft Skiff Sailing Club have successfully defended their 2010 Interdominion title, sailing Dimension Polyant to a convincing win in the final race win at the 2011 SLAM 12ft Skiff Interdominion hosted by Lane Cove 12ft Skiff Sailing Club this afternoon.

It was all over at the end of Race 9, when Dimension Polyant came home second behind New Zealand entry Frankenskiff (Tim Bartlett/Adam) Miller in Race 9 this afternoon, with their nemesis, Brett Hobson and Alex Johnson on Garde, third.

Press and ‘Yabba’, who have led the series since day one, knew their finish in front of Garde guaranteed them their second title in succession. They were then able to leave the pressure of winning behind them to enjoy the final Race 10, which they won by a massive 2 minutes 20 seconds from Frankenskiff, which had a cracker of a day.

Five-time Interdominion champion Alex Vallings (NZL) with Fraser Brown and Cameron McDonald filling in variously as crew, finished the series third overall.

“It’s a really good feeling,” a smiling Nick Press commented this afternoon. In the second race (Race 10) we really let go, because it was already all over,” he said.

Press could not differentiate as to which was more difficult to win, the 2010 title, or this year. “Both were as hard as each other. We worked really hard. Dimension Polyant gave us new spinnakers and were really supportive,” said Press, who is thrilled to see his and Yabsley’s name engraved on the Silasec trophy for a second time.

Garde finished second overall. Image copyright Rolf Lunsman.

Of second placed Garde, the current national champion, Press said: Brett (Hobson) is always hard to beat – and Dad too (Murray, skipper of Gemmell Sails which finished fourth on countback to Kiwi entry Nuplex).

Murray, in turn, is very proud of his son’s win. “They deserved it, they sailed well all week,” he said of Nick and Yabba.

Yabsley was especially pleased with their big win in Race 10. “It’s amazing what you can do when you’re not feeling the pressure anymore,” he said, adding: “Hanging onto the title is a feeling more than anyone would ever believe – I can’t explain it.”

Like one or two others in the fleet, Press will now move to 18ft skiff sailing this Sunday. “I usually race 12s on Saturday and the 18 on Sunday.”The 12 is like a sports car and the 18 is more like driving a bus,” he reckoned.

Of their second place overall, skipper Brett Hobson was pragmatic. “Obviously we would have preferred to win, but we had a great regatta. We always new it would be hard to come back from our first day results (10th and sixth places),” he said.

“We preferred the big breeze of Wednesday though,” said Hobson, who took out both races that day in a big eas-nor-easter. Today’s conditions did not live up to the forecast of up to 30 knots from the north-east, instead the fleet raced in an up to 20 knot nor’ easter, which most others preferred to the carnage-causing Wednesday conditions.

“We’ve got a new boat and we spent months and months building it, so it’s good to know it all works,” said Hobson who explained: “We were well-placed in the last race, but we got the gust from hell on the last run; it drove us right off the course and we couldn’t get back,” he said.

Brett Hobson and Alex Johnson with their "Garde". Image copyright Di Pearson.

However, the Silasec trophy hasn’t completely left Hobson's hands – it will stay in the family, as his younger brother Scott is to marry Nick Press’ sister, Emma, this year.

Best placed of the Kiwi entries, Alex Vallings’ fourth and third places today was enough to knock Gemmell Sails out of third place on countback, the two finishing on 29 points each.

Vallings cited “lack of preparation and maybe I’m too experimental,” as to why he did not finish in the top spot. I haven’t used my number 2 rig and I’ve only sailed with my big rig twice – but I haven’t used it for racing yet. I might have been better using my old rig.”

But the fact he did not come with a regular crew and sailed with two different crew members he would never usually sail with, says a lot for Vallings’ sailing ability. “I need to do more sailing and with a regular crew,” he said.

On the venue, Sydney’s Parramatta River on the upper Harbour, Vallings mused: “Conditions were super tough.” To win, he said, “You have to have a good crew

Like most the other Aussie entries, Hobson and Johnson will next contest the Garde Sprint Series in February and the Port Jackson Championship in March.

Top Kiwi skippers Tim Bartlett and Alex Vallings. Image copyright Di Pearson.

Competitors were told to expect a big nor-easter, but in its place was a lovely nor-east of up to 20 knots, described by competitors as “the best day of the regatta.”

Today’s racing was close in Race 9. The top 10 changed places, particularly on the works where most hit the corners, zig-zagging their way up past the start area in the narrow body of water near the Hunters Hill Sailing Club.

In Race 10, down the run the first time, Dimension Poylant led by a country mile from Nuplex, Frankenskiff, Gemmell Sails, As Good As It Gets, Garde, C-Tech and Andrew Short Marine, which constantly swapped places throughout the race.

On the second downwind, which took the fleet the other side of Cockatoo Island, Dimension Polyant’s lead was around one minute 40 seconds from Nuplex with a second Kiwi entry, Frankenskiff, hot on her tail.

Andrew Short Marine (Michael Spies/Damian Vlotman) from Lane Cove 12s won the handicap event from Gemmell Sails (Murray Press/Ben Gemmell) also from Lane Cove 12s, with the Lachie Paramor/Morgan White sailed Cunning Stunts (Woollahra Sailing Club) third.

Australia won the Teams Event for the John Brooke Trophy. Other winners will be announced at the prize giving at Hunters Hill Sailing Club this evening.

Thirty-four skiffs from Australia and New Zealand contested the SLAM 12ft Skiff Interdominion, hosted by Lane Cove 12ft Skiff Sailing Club, with the cooperation of Hunters Hill Sailing Club.

The 51st edition of the annual Australia versus New Zealand competition, finished this afternoon.

Winners Nick Press and Brad Yabsley with Dimension Polyant (AUS). Image copyright Di Pearson.

Top 10 overall after ten races and two drops:
1 Dimension Polyant (Nick Press/Brad Yabsley LC 12s), 12 points
2 Garde (Brett Hobson/Alex Johnson, WSC), 20
3 Nuplex (Alex Vallings/Cameron McDonald, ASC, NZ), 29
4 Gemmell Sails (Murray Press/Ben Gemmell, LC 12s), 29
5 Frankenskiff (Tim Bartlett/Adam Miller, ASC, NZ), 34
6 C-Tech (Chris Reid/Ben du Fluiter, ASC, NZ), 37
7 Andrew Short Marine (Michael Spies/Damian Vlotman, LC 12s), 46
8 As Good As It Gets (Glenn Armstrong/John Shultz (Well, NZ), 51
9 Dimension Polyant (NZ) (Simon Ganley/Craig Anderson, ASC), 81
10 Cunning Stunts (Lachie Paramor/Morgan White, WSC), 83

SLAM 12 foot skiff Interdominions