Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Father and son thrash it out at SLAM 12ft Skiff Interdominion

A bit of intensity on the race course. Image copyright Rolf Lunsman.

by Di Pearson

There are a number of father and son combinations sailing at the SLAM 12ft Skiff Interdominion being sailed on upper Sydney Harbour this week, but today a father and son thrashed it out from opposing boats and both came up with the goods.

At the helm of Dimension Polyant (Aus) is Nick Press and at the helm of Gemmell Sails is his father, Murray Press; both sail for Lane Cove 12ft Skiff Sailing Club, host of the Interdominion.

Racking up a third and a win in Races 5 and 6 today, Nick and his crew Brad “Yabba” Yabsley have a commanding 13 point lead in the series.

And following the two races, sailed in a tricky breeze that clocked between east-nor-east and nor-east, with the pressure anywhere between 10 and 20 knots, Gemmell Sails, has moved up to third place overall after scoring third and second places in some of the most exciting racing of the Championship so far.

Murray Press and his crew Ben Gemmell missed out on winning Race 6 by just one second to consistently well-sailed Garde, crewed by Brett Hobson and Alex Johnson from Woollahra Sailing Club, who move into second place overall now that the first drop of the series has come into play.

One of many who have gone swimming during the week. Image copyright Rolf Lunsman.

Murray Press was more than happy with second place – he beat his son home by one place and nearly two minutes. “It happens rarely, so it’s good to beat him,” Murray said with a big smile. “I’m looking forward to giving him a bit of curry around the dinner table tonight.

“Our good results have kept us in the mix. It was a funny sort of day; too much breeze some of the time and not enough some of the time, but the No.2 rig was the right way to go. There was a lot of debate amongst the guys as to whether to go out with the No. 1 or 2. It was a bit hard to pick,” he said.

Nick Press and Yabsley were happy with their day’s work. “We can keep this up if we continue doing the little things right. We just have to keep it ticking along and stay out of trouble,” Yabsley said.

He described the day as: “Full pressure one minute, under pressure the next. Racing was a lot closer in Race 6, the front pack got away from the rest.”

Others were not so lucky today, none more so than veterans Jack Winning and Brett Phillips on Vantage Real Estate (Lane Cove). They broke their rudder pin towards the end of Race 5, but found a replacement in time to hit the course for Race 6, but it was not to be.

“We got hit by a rain squall just before the start (Race 6) and went for a swim. We decided to stay in the water until we were ready to start, but BT Towage came along and wiped out our backstay. Just not our day,” Winning commented.

Maersk Line was looking good before the "incident". Image copyright Rolf Lunsman.

Many others found themselves back on the beach at Hunters Hill SC too. Among them, Maersk Line (Jakub Ronowizc/Craig Nicholson) from Lane Cove had Barking Mad (Martin Debelle/Ian Terley) from Woollahra SC round up into them. Both came ashore minus a fair bit of their rigs.

“It was pretty ugly and it happened so quickly,” Ronowizc said.

One sailor who came ashore smiling was Alison Chapman, who is new to the class. Sailing with various partners this week, she has finished four of the six races sailed, exceptional for a first-timer, and even more so because she only weighs 48 kilos, a big ask in these hard to handle boats.

A champion sailor in the Cherub, Flying 11 and 29er classes, the WSC skipper is taking it in her stride. “I’ve never steered from the wire (trapeze) before, but we’re getting better every day. We had a few kite problems today. We were a bit unlucky, but at least we finished,” Chapman said.

“It’s a fun boat, but it’s a bit heart-stopping going downhill in a bit of breeze,” she said, adding she would continue in the class.

Hosted by Lane Cove 12ft Skiff Sailing Club, with the cooperation of Hunters Hill Sailing Club, the 51st SLAM 12ft Skiff Interdominion continues with two further races tomorrow and finishes on Friday, 14 January.

Positions after 4 of 10 races (top 10):

1 AUS-T Dimension Polyant (Aus) 6pts
2 NZL-T CTech Ltd. 19pts
3 AUS-T Gemmell Sails 21pts
4 AUS-T Andrew Short Marine 22pts
5 AUS-T Garde 23pts
6 NZL-T As Good As It Gets 25pts
7 NZL-T Dimension Polyant 26pts
8 AUS Panadol Rapid 44pts
9 NZL-T Nuplex 47pts
10 NZL-T Frankenskiff 48pts

SLAM 12 foot skiff Interdominions