The final day of the Qantas 2013 Raceboard and Techno 293 Championship was abandoned due the extreme weather created by the ex-tropical cyclone Oswald. [more]The effects of this weather system were felt in Queensland and Northern NSW causing extensive flooding and coastal damage. Most Queensland competitors are still awaiting roads to open to allow them to travel back home.
Hawks Nest was largely spared any destructive action however constant rain, large swells and high winds meant that racing in the Oceanic championship was not possible with any measure of safety. In the normally calm Nelson Bay where racing is conducted large swells were seen breaking at various locations.
The final placings in the Raceboard class are as follows;
Oceanic Mens Champion : Leo Sharpe
Oceanic Ladies Champion: Tara McCall
Open Age Champion : James Grunfelder
Masters Age Champion : Leo Sharpe
Australian Lightweight Champion : Martin Thearle
Australian Mediumweight Champion : Leo Sharpe
Australian Heavyweight Champion : James Grunfelder
All in all the 2013 Oceanic regatta was very successful with a pleasing growth in the Raceboard fleet, particularly with the resurgence in Queensland. A great effort by the racecrew, ably lead by Principle Race Officer Nick Nelson, with all delighted by the courses and the general organisation.
On Day two of the Raceboard Oceanics, sailors woke up to a strong and steady downpour a rain that seldom let up throughout the whole day.[more] Nonetheless a windward return course was set once the shifting and light winds had settled and there was enough visibility that the marks could be seen.
In stark contrast to the forecast strong winds, the fleet slowly drifted out to the start line in a light North Easterly wind. Just before the start of the race the breeze started to pick up to be a variable and 8-15 knots with gusts up to 18 knots. The increase in wind suited those who had chosen to register smaller sails, bringing the fleet close together. With the out-flowing tide playing havoc, a general recall was followed by two sailors being marginally called OCS (On Course Side). Unfortunately for James Grunfelder and Leo Sharpe, the tips of their sails crossed the line, robbing them for a first and second respectively. Glen Morrell coming across the line in third took the win by default. Brendan Moore came in next, followed by Ben Morrell.
After tuning gear for the higher winds, sailors went back out for the second race and were met with strong, but still variable winds, with gusts up to and exceeding 20 knots. Martin Thearle showed his skills in being first to the top mark, yet larger sails had the advantage downwind, and he was overtaken. In a tough race James Grunfelder took the win, mastering the conditions, followed by Brendan Moore, similarly coping well with the strong winds. Leo Sharpe overcame being dumped by some powerful gusts to come in third.
After the lunch break the wind had dropped off and changed direction, giving lighter winds, and bringing the course close to some large swell rolling in through Port Stephens heads. With slower speeds, sailors were more congested, and a number of sailors were able to get closer to the front; the lighter winds suiting their sailing. Leo Sharpe, with speed up wind was able to hold his advantage pumping downwind, and took the win. James Grunfelder just took second in a tight tussle with Ben Morrell, requiring hard pumping and manoeuvring from the top mark to the finish line.
The wind dropped slightly more for the last race of the day (averaging near to 8 knots). Richie Reynolds showed how well he can race with attached slot flushers (detached slot flushers hampering his efforts in all previous races) and was first to round the top mark. Bigger sails again prevailed downwind with Leo taking the lead. Shifting and variable winds, and rolling swell made picking lay-lines difficult, with relative successes and failures leading to a close finish, Leo taking the win. There was a close battle between James and Ben again for second place with Ben just able to prevail.
Competitors were able to make the most of an otherwise miserable day, competitors, have racing over a whole range of wind strengths to test to all round sailing abilities of the fleet. The lighter conditions at the end of the day left had many feeling well worked after the day of sailing. With a forecast for more rain and 40+ knot winds on day 3 (the final day), it is unsure whether there will be any more races in the championship. Hopes are that the forecast turns out to be wrong as it did today.