News from Queensland, Australia
The morning after the 505 Nationals presentation night, I had a red eye flight to Queensland’s Sunshine Coast for a bit of business and some more sailing…. Whilst up there, I crashed at Phil Gray’s place. Phil is a guy I have raced against a bit in 5oh’s and had a lot of laughs with. Phil’s idea of fixing a hangover is to make rum punch’s. As a result, there were some interesting conversations that night, especially when he said he had just brought an SB3 and there was a regatta in a few weeks.
“Do you want to do it”? “Yep”! “Who else should we get”? “Fritz”! “Lets do it”! A quick phone call to Fritz (Rob Duessen, the bloke I spend most of my time sailing with), a quick phone call to our sponsors, the Commonwealth Bank for some airfares and we were on.
The week before the regatta, I am on the phone to Michael Quirk (Quirkles) about the San Francisco 505 Worlds and I am scanning the internet for SB3 info as we are chatting, (I didn’t know anything about how to sail them) turns out Quirkles had just won a regatta in Sydney in SB3’s.
“Hey Quirkles, looks like you are the man in SB3’s here in Oz”! “Oh yea, hey they were fun”. “You know me and Fritz are off to Ugly Phils place to do a regatta in them, grab a boat and come up”. “Cool”!
So we rock up to the Sunshine Coast, (the home of SB3’s in Oz, Oceanburo is based there) and it’s gray and rainy, but it’s wind on. We got there on the Friday and went for a practice in about 15kn and some big swell. Managed to trawl the kite on each set, but had some hooting rides. We loved it. They are simple little boats, 650kg all up, 350kg in the bulb. Everything is laid out right and it mostly works, There are a few cleats I would like to change and the jib sets up funny, (the leech hangs well open, so you need to keep them up the wire), but they are great to sail. Uphill, they feel a little like an Etchell, but with a rudder that works and is light and downhill, they feel like a big stable dinghy. There is plenty of kite, a lot for this size boat, so when the pressure is on, if you are not balanced and quick on the trim and helm, you will broach.
Day 1 was four races in 20k+kn with some big swells. There were some good teams out. Quirkles and his boys, Mike and Loch McLean, and a couple of boats who had been campaigning for a while including Kai Timm and his team, and the Sunshine Coast Girls who had added big Sam Heritage to their foursome (Sam was placed second at the 505 Nat’s).
We had been told you didn’t use traveller much on these as the sheet was quicker to respond. We decided to setup with a low drag shape and keep it simple and just play traveller and backstay. We pulled the jib cars out a little and went up the wire with the jib util we got a shape we were happy with, without too much blow back on the main. Off the start, we seemed ok, the chicks were on it, as was Quirkles and Kai Timms team. There was bugger all in it uphill and it became all about shifts and positioning. We laid in just in front of the chicks at the top mark, nailed the hoist, (I had worked out the process to prevent trawling by now) and shot off at full plane with spray going everywhere. We had a blast. We zoomed back uphill and downhill again to the finish for the win, holding out the chicks (who sailed the wotsit out of their boat) and Kai.
The second race, we tried sailing like we were told to and came fourth. Quirkles smoked it taking the win, as did the chicks with another second. The third race, we went back to the setip we thought worked and had another win in front of the chicks, (again). The final race, Quirkles was flying. We threw plenty at him, but couldn’t get him. At the end of the day, we lead with 9 points, from Quirkles and the chicks on 11 points and Kai with 12 points.
Day 2 was windier20-25kn+, but it looked like 50kn on the water. A ship had dropped a lot of fuel oil in the water the week before and the whole coast was being cleaned up from the contamination. So with the wind, we were getting lots of trails of oily spume on the water, like you get when the wind goes over 50kn. So they set us closer to shore, in flatter water, but still with plenty of swell.
Race 5 we had a nice plan, get right early. We stuffed our start and with everyone having the same plan as us, we were pretty quickly the left most boat. We took a big knock, rolled onto port and it stayed left. We crossed the fleet and kept going. Kai was next boat left and came second from the chicks. Quirkles executed our plan perfectly and ended fourth.
The next race the chicks took the lead with a great start and great tactics and we were second till the last set on the run, when we broached. Kai got in front of us, but we went back over the top of him and gybed off. Coming into the line, he hooked a monster swell and slid over the top of us for second.
The final race, we had another poor start. Quikles lead and we rounded fourth or fifth or sixth??? We gybed early into a line and pushed it hard downhill. Coming into the bottom mark, we got inside position on Quirkles and rounded into the lead. It was close, it was messy. There were half packed kites and boats everywhere. We cleaned up and cleared out and looked back to see Quirkles and the boys wrapped in the committee boats anchor line, with Kai and his team wedged up between him and the committee boat, with Kai’s still extended bowsprit swinging through Quirkles cockpit taking people out. Disaster. From there it was a cruise to the finish.
By then the committee had, had enough and we were done. We had an absolute ball, hanging with mates, some good sailing and plenty of stories. They may not be the fastest sport boat around, but being one design, the racing is close and exciting and the size of the kite keeps you on your toes in the pressure. It’s hard to make gains on these things, so the starts are crucial as is crew work. A good kite set can make you 100m. I will be back.
A big thanks to the boys at Dulon Polish for providing the boat and the Commonwealth bank for making it happen.
1st AUS 3387 Dulon Gray/Deussen/Spencer 13pts
2nd AUS3384 Audi Sunshine Girls Calder/Hacker/Heritage/Stanton 17pts
3rd AUS3383 Oceanburo Timm/Bird/Annear 19 pts
4th AUS 3357 Wagop Quirk/Mclean/Mclean 24 pts
5th AUS 3381 Dulon B Wilson/Dunshea/Muyt
6th AUS TT Audi TT / McAllansmith/Black/McAllansmith
7th AUS 3380 White/Calder/Young