What a blast !

J24s downwind during the nationals

The 2011 J24 Nationals are done and dusted, with ‘King of the Dusties’ only managing a 3rd this year – more bottled lube next year Sean !

In what became a shifting ballgame this year, Wallis said to me after the second day “I think we are in trouble” and that proved to be the case, not that it wasn’t hard fought, it was, but it just wasn’t to be, “he, always beats me when I come to Sydney” being the other comment of note from Sean.

‘He’ is Kirj, Kirjo, or more formally Sean Kirkjian and the arch rival of Wallis who interestingly had this to say after last year’s national’s win “And I couldn’t let this one past, congrats to Kirj for his 3rd on h/cap – trophy should look nice on your lounge room wall!!!” – stuff comes back to bite doesn’t it !

Happily the 3rd on Handicap Trophy goes on this authors wall this year.

Still here we have the best of the best of the last few years with Kirj taking out his 4th nationals win – pretty impressive effort in anyone’s books. Wallis has 3 titles and Wittey, has none.

But don’t let that result fool you. Nev Whittey is an awesome skipper and he put the recently used Laser (4th out of 72) away to split the Seans for a second that could have been a first overall bar a couple of things that didn’t go his way, like being a shade to aggressive on the start line under a black flag “that’ll be the drop” was the comment I heard as he had nothing higher than a 5th otherwise and most were 1s and 2s. Hope you get to Adelaide next year Nev !

So after Wallis on 23 points, the results table went west, with 4th place on 52 points being taken out by David West sailing Ace, back from recent medical scares, David put in a sold performance to beat John Crawford’s nephew Robert (a 470 sailor who had never sailed a J) in Innamincka. There is so much talent in the J fleet !

Notice how many local sailors at the pointy end yet. You guessed it, plenty of local talent and local knowledge. Conditions were tricky to ….. well, some of the visitor’s were heard to use other words and we’ll leave it at that, except to say 2m swells and 90deg windshifts with halyard busting bullets, otherwise just your average light and shifty day. That all changed on the last day and jibs replaced the big sails, some even going for poled out jibs downhill !  Not for the brave of course, ask Ron Thomson who decided that to show is all that his keel really was white not green !

Quite a blast really !

Actually that refers to the starters horn and the small liner required to support it. I made the decision not to be too close to the boat when the horn was going off, not only loud, but long !  Guys, turn it off please, I can feel the vibration of it in the rig “are you sure it isn’t a ferry coming!”

Many personal battles as usual, from the Seans to the backmarkers. In a now traditional rivalry Make My Jay has finally beaten Admiral Stevens by more than one place – at last, (and Pete is inviting me over to the SA States – for revenge I think). Sister has had to take humble pie from brother this time as Ron in Kicking Bottom takes out the Thommo Cup from Janette steering for Arthur on Kaotic. And a very nice Graeme Thorburn is apologising to everyone for his growing tally of little hits – at least he doesn’t leave green on your boat when he does it !

So that was the short story of the Nationals in Sydney this year. On behalf of the class I want to thanks the NSW guys for all the hard work they did in getting us organised, the MHYC for hosting the regatta and the Race Committee and all the other volunteers for making it happen. The wind gods need to be thanked for giving us mostly good breezes and Terry for organising a great layday at the Q Station. Thanks also to Nicole Scott for taking the regatta pics, you can see them on her website www.sailingimages.net

Next year the plan is to do a 3 day Nationals in March in Adelaide, but this is only the plan at this stage so stay tuned, keep looking at the website and see how it develops. Sean and his guys will be setting the next one up and will have the details ready for you in the future – but at least you know when you should be thinking about booking holidays.