Inaugural J/70 Victorian Championship

Seven Victorian crews were joined by Australia’s number 1 & 2 ranked teams from NSW to contest the first ever J/70 Victorian State Championships this past weekend at BYS.

Several BYS teams were forced to engage in last-minute ring arounds, hopeful of locking in sailors free of Covid-19 isolation orders & resulting in some interesting new combinations aboard the club’s four entries.  In the end BYS was represented by Daisy Laing with the all-female youth crew of Hannah Danks, Jacqui Lawson, Adita Singh and Sam Batty sailing Javelin, Tony Landgren on Skyhook (joining the pro ranks for this regatta) and Alex Bolton stepping in for Ethan O’Brien to drive another youth team on Spike. With Vice Commodore Martin resigned to watching day 1 from the deck at home, Andy Mac piloted Jumpin’ Jack Flash supported by an eclectic rotating mix of crew members from the BYS keelboat and OTB fleets. Curiously, none of the JJF crew appeared willing to concede Veteran status for the event, despite most being born well before the “cross-fire hurricane” Mick Jagger laments in the iconic track from which the boat draws its name…

SSCBC also fielded a youth entry led by young gun Charlie Dixon sailing the chartered Jo Jo Zip. Despite having little time aboard a J/70 prior to the event, Charlie’s team clicked instantly to put on a fine display across all three days.

The fleet on the start line

Following a brief welcome session led by RO Pete Southwell the fleet was treated to four back-to-back heats on the stadium course.  Conditions tested crews as tide ran hard and upwind strategy proved critical in the southerly that built steadily to 15 knots. Honours were shared by the pro teams from Sydney, current Nat Champ Tim Ryan in Vamos and Sam Haynes in Celestial with Rod Warren’s Joust 70 and Brendan Lee’s multiple J24 champion team aboard Madness nipping at their heels. On Saturday evening Dave and the BYS kitchen put on a spread to satisfy the hungriest of sailors while the youth crews performed team building exercises, displayed their impromptu engineering skills and made certain all moving parts were suitably lubricated for the ensuing heats.

Sunday offered little promise weather wise. Net result was a solitary race, cleverly facilitated by Pete and his on-water volunteers before the breeze gave out completely with boats ghosting to the finish and making for the marina under tow or auxiliary power. Vamos and Celestial retained top spots in the Open fleet with Madness the leading Corinthian as eyes turned to Monday and a forecast that was heralding even lighter conditions.

As it happened, Huey defied the models and OOD Al Singh was able to lower the AP at 1130 after Pete confirmed a stable 6-knot southerly on course.  With long pilgrimages to the marina T heads and an equally long sail to reach Patrol 7, teams scurried towards their awaiting craft with the same spirited clip scrambling WWII Spitfire squadrons became famous for.  Tide was again a major factor in the three races completed – in combination with a breeze clocking to the east it was the left, shallower side of the course yielding better dividends and starts became a contest to secure a clear starboard lane onto the sand bar. Madness ensured the pros weren’t to have it all their way, scoring a fine win in heat 6 – all but sewing up their Corinthian title. Final race spoils were shared by Celestial and Vamos with Alex Bolton’s Spike showing great pace all day, rewarded by a 4th place finish in race 8. Once again, Tim Ryan and his crew of Rob Greenhalgh, Ian McKillop and Will Sargent had overcome southern Port Phillip’s currents and meteorological mysteries to make it a second successive J/70 regatta win for Vamos at the host club with Sam Haynes and Celestial worthy runners up in the Open Division.

Prize giving saw Doc Little and Commodore Matt McCarthy doing the honours, acknowledging not only the successful sailors but the huge band of hardworking volunteers and BYS staff that combined to make the regatta a great success.

Open Division:

1st Vamos (CYCA)  – Tim Ryan

2nd Celestial (CYCA) – Sam Haynes

3rd Joust70 (SYC)  – Rod Warren

Corinthian Division

1st Madness (SYC) – Brendan Lee

2nd Jumpin’ Jack Flash (BYS) – Andy Mac

3rd Spike (BYS) – Alex Bolton

Youth Champion

Spike (BYS) – Alex Bolton

Ladies Champion

Javelin (BYS) – Daisy Laing

1st Handicap

Jo Jo Zip (SSCBC) – Charlie Dixon

1st place in the Open Division, Tim Ryan's Vamos
Ladies Champion Daisy Laing with her all female Javelin crew



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