The big seas of Spring Bay are already coming under the spell of experienced SB20 sailor Nick Rogers (Karabos) in the Spring Bay Mill SB20 Australian Championship. The regatta started in hectic conditions with 19-22 knots of mostly consistent south easterly breeze causing a big swell on the Bay.
The 2017 champion Brett Cooper, sailing with Darren ‘Twirler’ Jones and Nick Corkhill, had a strong start to the day winning the first race in convincing style with a big lead on the rest of the fleet.
Cooper was virtually across the line in the first race when a 50-degree wind shift brought the finishing fleet to a standstill in 8 knots of breeze. Race Officer Ian Ross had all but ordered his team to reset the course when the prevailing conditions set back in and stayed for the full three races.
Unfortunately for Cooper, his fortunes changed when a protest, which was resolved through arbitration, cost him a 30 per cent penalty, dropping the team from first to fourth place overall, and lifting Rogers from second to first.
Victoria’s Chris Dare (Ambition), was also in the protest room after some tension at the bottom mark in Race Two, which resulted in Dare being disqualified.
Paul Burnell (Honey Badger) had a glamour start in Race Two but it was considered too glamorous by the Race Committee with a UFD costing the team the race which was won by Fraser Read (Pinch). Burnell recovered well to take Race Three.
Series standings at the end of Day One has Rogers in first place on 12 points, Brett Cooper in second place on 15 points and Phil Reid (Mind Games) in third place on 18 points.
A highlight of the sailing was the impressive work of the youth teams. In equal fourth place is Will Sargent (Taz Racing Team) and Charlie Goodfellow (Obi Kenobi) who are relishing the intensity of one-design racing in this world class fleet. Felicity Allison (Cook Your Own Dinner) is leading the Women’s Division while Rogers is leading the Masters’ Division. Ross will aim for five races on Sunday to take advantage of similar conditions to the first day of racing.
Words and images: Jane Austin