By Doug MacGregor, President J24 Association Victoria
The title of this could be “Crackerjack for Sale”. It’s not. And, she’s not. In this report I am going to be a bit self indulgent but more of that later. We really couldn’t have a had a better regatta. First off…a fantastic sponsor!!! Brilliant and challenging winds on day one. Four different winners of the first four heats. And, I think it was Dave Suda that said “very much improved starting techniques of the whole fleet” gave all of the top guns a surprise and here and there even pinged a couple of them out the back. Clear air was the only currency worth bothering about on a start line that felt a combination of a scrum and an orgy. I certainly heard the F word a lot. Truth be told, I used it a lot. Someone also threatened to shove my boat up my arse. (Charming). The way I sailed in this championship, if you have seen the results, was as if it was already well up there. But, hats off to the trophy winners. Just the most brilliant effort in that fleet and in those ever changing conditions.
In no particular order my memories of the weekend come at me … if you’re left out I apologise … and most of my recollections involve the back end of the fleet for obvious reasons .… But first, those who gave of their time, that most precious commodity. We are all in their debt. Volunteers, J folk volunteers … are just the best people I have ever met in sport. Full stop. Thank you all very, very much.
To the championship …. Hugo, AKA The Maestro, coming forth by one point having stitched a crew together that hardly knew each other. (his name is Shane not Sean mate). What could that man be capable of with a consistent and dedicated team? Pacemaker … words fail me. I saw them get fired out the back of a start and they were still second to the top mark. Good for them and for the class, to see them challenged every inch of the way, even if it was mostly by our cousins from NSW in Convicts. WTF are those blokes? Going to windward in the last race I bloody well had them … and they just sailed right over me. I shrugged my shoulders and thought “National Champion” whatreyegonnydo? I saw Hyper fly around the race track like their homes were on fire and again we all were in awe of what those girls are capable of. They hardly sail compared to the rest of the J folk…yet there they go, first in a ‘tougher than the nationals’ state championship heat.
Unasked for advice….Get off those big boats, stop fannying about folding sails for rich guys and come back. (preaching over, I promise).
Question; Did Warren put an engine in that thing … no matter what I did, there J Force f’ing well was. In front of me. In every race. Well done mate! John Neville? Astonishing speed. And, apparently, he sails by his balls … they tell me that’s why he shouts so much .… it’s not pretty, so never look too closely. Moulang? Yes, Peter “I’ll bring the Sheilas” Moulang. Has sailed four times this side of new year and his boatspeed made me wonder if I was racing with my anchor over the side. ‘Magnificent’ is one of Pete’s favourite words. It’s the only one applicable. And then there was Kicking Bottom. KB is the J24s answer to that mad boy in your class at school. The one that ran about like a looney, breaking everyone’s pencils, spilling paint, hiding all the jackets in the bin and making the teacher cry. Yet somehow, he gets a report card that says “the boy is a genius … just needs to focus”. Isn’t green just such an annoying colour. Hand on heart it was good to see Martin Hall sail Fly Away Jay so well … it was fantastic to see the young women on ‘Jive’ the Sidetracked sponsored boat throw that boat about like it was part of their very selves …. and, I’ll be honest I have no idea who the young blokes on Gatsby were, but one of my favourite memories will be them laughing their nutsacks off as the Sidetracked girls almost broached. Playground jeering but fantastic fun.
Finally, one abiding but crucifying memory; we probably came out of the final start in 4/5 position. We couldn’t have been happier. Three tacks later we make our final tack on to the lay line for the top mark …. Lovin’ every second. Over we go. Last place. We invented a new word; absolfu**inguetlyfu**ingbefu**ingmusing. Seemed to be the story of our states … though in one heat we were 7th to the first top mark. A glimpse of out true potential I said to my crew. My Crew. My lovely crew. My patient, dedicated, kind and hard working crew. It’s a wonder they didn’t throw me overboard. I am so grateful to them for sailing with me and sticking by the boat through thin and thinner. The silence on our boat as we sailed in after the last race was deafening. But it’s ok crew. I get it. Thanks you Robbie, Priscilla, James and Geoff. You all deserve better.