SB20 Victorian Championship – Britain’s Shelley and crew triumphant
Jono Shelley and his crew of Clare and Chris Molloy have won the SB3 William Angliss Victorian Championship at Audi Victoria Week after another strong performance in this morning’s final race.
Two years ago the British team raced this event in the one-design SB3 keelboat class at Royal Geelong Yacht Club and had to be content with third place overall. This time around Shelley and his crew signalled their intentions to win from early in the series and went into today’s final racing with a handy eight point lead.In this morning’s very light and variable conditions, Shelley’s Credo-Group.com placed third in Race 8, enough to clinch the title without having to sail the final scheduled race. In the event, the race committee decided to cancel Race 9, leaving Credo-Group.com six points clear of the Tasmanian entry Wedgewood, skippered by Andrew Crisp.
Crisp is new to SB3s, taking delivery of his boat just in time for the first race of this series, but the former 14ft skiff world champion must be a fast learner as he won two races of this series, including this morning’s tricky light air affair.
Shortly after the start, the breeze swung significantly to the south, turning the first beat into a port-tack fetch and the first run into a close reach. Wedgewood looked buried well back in the fleet, but managed to wriggle through on the second lap to a repositioned windward mark, while the breeze became even trickier with large lulls between new bands of pressure.
Credo-Group.com held third place throughout the race and was only narrowly pipped for second by Club Marine Blue, the third placegetter overall skippered by Rod Jones of Mooloolaba YC.
‘We worked out we only needed to finish in the top five to win the series,’ Jon Shelley said after crossing the line. Referring to the very light and shifty conditions, Shelley continued, ‘It was hard work though; was that a race?’
‘It’s great to win, especially on Australia Day,’ joked for’ardhand Clare Molloy, who like the rest of the crew, is British. She and her husband Chris now live in London, but Jono Shelley is currently living in Wellington, New Zealand for a work contract.
Racing in the 15-boat fleet was extremely close throughout the series. Fifth overall was Club Marine White skippered by Kai Timms of Noosa Yacht & Rowing Club (Qld), who runs the Australian Dart SB3 distributorship Oceanburo in partnership with Rod Jones.
‘The class is growing well now,’ Timms said while packing up the boats for transport to the next regatta on the class circuit, the Audi Sydney Harbour Regatta at the start of March.
‘It has taken three years to get up to critical mass; we have 16 boats all going to the next regatta, and whoever steps in likes the boat enough to say they’ll buy a boat or charter one.
‘We’re getting more and more enquiries and we have some permanent charterers; we have a limited number of boats that can be chartered and we look after the transport between regattas.’
Timms said that part of the attraction is the world SB3 championship scheduled to be held in Geelong in early 2012.
The 2012 Worlds are definitely on the radar for this year’s SB3 William Angliss Victorian Championship winners, Jono Shelley and Clare and Chris Molloy. ‘We’re hoping to be back next year to defend the title,’ Clare Molloy said. ‘And we really want to be here in 2012 when the Worlds are in Geelong; that will be a great series.’