Pacemaker wins 2009 Victorian State Championships in a sensational result

startj24s38-561The 2009 Victorian State Championships were held this weekend in typically light Melbourne autumn weather. Breezes of less of than 10 knots made for challenging, but close racing. In fact the racing was so close that the regatta result was not determined until the last race and then only after multiple count backs as both Pacemaker (Herschel Landes) and Make My Jay (Simon Grain) finished with identical results (2 firsts, 3 seconds and a third). In the end, Pacemaker’s win in the final race gave them a second consecutive Victorian State Championship. In another close battle, Hyperactive (Robyn Coombs) edged out the South Australian visitor Hi (Peter Stevens) to take third place for the second year running.

Make My Jay got off to flying start, winning the first two races. In both races they sailed the wind shifts perfectly to beat Pacemaker and Hyperactive in Race 1 and then Pacemaker and Hi in Race 2. Race 3 placegetters were the same as Race 2, but this time Pacemaker finished stronger to defeat Make My Jay and Hi. Race 4 was sailed in the lightest breezes of the day and Vertigo (Andrew Hely) sailed a great race to claim victory from Make My Jay and Pacemaker. At the end of Day 1 Make My Jay held a two point lead, and with two wins, it looked like Pacemaker would need to win both races on Day 2 to reclaim their title.

aus171j24s38-089Day 2 delivered a consistent breeze of 5-10 knots from the SE and everyone was looking to get to the pin end and sail inshore in the hope of picking up lifts. The girls from Hyperactive love these conditions and sailed a great race to record a win that would ultimately secure them their third place. Pacemaker and Make My Jay slugged it out and in their tightest finish Pacemaker picked up second by a mere 8 seconds. The final race was to decide the championship.

Pacemaker knew they had to secure a second victory and hope that Make My Jay finished third or worse. Pacemaker got away to a flying start and with Make My Jay back a little in the pack it looked like they were headed for the result they needed. But not to be outdone Make My Jay worked their way through the field to pick up the second place they needed to tie up the series. With identical results no-one was sure who would be declared the winner. Whilst both Pacemaker and Make My Jay would have been happy to finish equal first the rulebook stated that in such a tie, the result of the last race would determine the winner. Pacemakers win in Race 6 not only leveled the series on points it was to win them the State Championship.

aus168j24s38-154Of great interest to the racing was the provision of GPS trackers to all boats so that the entire regatta and fleet tracks can be analysed after the racing and individually on PCs in the future.

Thanks also to Steb Fisher for supplying the pictures of the regatta on this site. You can check out more on the album page.

The result indicates a rise for the Victorian J24 group based out of Sandringham YC, with a number of new people entering the class the standard is improving dramatically and Pacemaker who finished 22nd in the last worlds in Italy now has serious competition for Victoria’s top spot. The J24 class is once again coming into its own as the alternative keelboat class to the Etchells in Australia. With around 6000 in the world the class has enourmous depth and world level competition.

The next big J24 regatta is the Asia Pacific Mid Winter regatta in Adelaide over the Queens Birthday weekend, with over 24 entries including 3 overseas entries, it promises to provide an important step into the building of the future Asia Pacific series and also as a lead up to the next Nationals to be held at Sandringham in Victoria in Jan 2 – 8, 2010.

Full results can be found at