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05 April, 2015




Augusta Yacht Club Annual Blackwood Challenge '09

B. Quail and S. Heywood power La Rousse to a resounding win

Ragged Edge, La Rousse and Cocktail Cherry fight for the lead

Rigging on the edge of the Blackwood

Australia Day long weekend (26th January 2009) saw the 4th running of the annual GP14 Blackwood Challenge at the Augusta Yacht Club, this year sponsored by the Augusta branch of the Bendigo Bank. With boats from Dunsborough Yacht Club, Mounts Bay Sailing Club in Perth and Augusta Yacht Club, the racing was competitive.

Saturday’s racing got off in very light and flukey conditions with a great three-way tussle for the lead between DYC’s Ragged Edge and MBSC’s Cocktail Cherry and La Rousse. A combination of accurate reading of winds and a bit of luck saw La Rousse finish ahead of Ragged Edge and Cocktail Cherry for the first short race. The second race was called as a long one in the hopes the wind would increase but it continued to be sporadic and constantly flicking through 180 degrees, keeping the skipper’s concentration at a peak. La Rousse secured an early lead again with Cocktail Cherry chasing hard but dropping into a dead hole at the top mark and Ragged Edge’s Peter Wagner with young son Rick putting up a great showing to sneak through the gap and hold off previous winner Cocktail Cherry into third place. Tamzine and Redback from DYC and local boat Niord had their own entertaining tussle at the back of the fleet.

Sunday’s fresh and blustery conditions made a total contrast to the previous day’s racing and really tested both skippers and crew’s all-round handling skills. The first long race for the day saw Louis Proksch and Stephen Dickinson in Cocktail Cherry secure an early lead ahead of Ragged Edge but La Rousse’s Bruce Quail and crew Steve Heywood managed to clinch a very close fought finish from Cocktail Cherry through an exhilarating display of high wind spinnaker reaching and throwing caution to the wind. Ragged Edge managed a very credible third, given the fairly strong winds and very light crew. The winds built even stronger for the fourth race, which comprised 6 laps of a short triangle course. Despite starting from the back after a sandbar mishap, La Rousse once more stamped her authority on the river by achieving her fourth straight win ahead of Cocktail Cherry and Ragged Edge. It is said the wake from a high speed La Rousse lapping Tamzine inside the bottom mark caused the only capsize of the weekend!

So it is clear that Bruce Quail skippered La Rousse to a resounding win for the second year running, whilst second place was a dead heat between The Ragged Edge skippered by Peter Wagner and Cocktail Cherry with skipper Louis Proksch. Third place went to Tamzine skippered by Joan Embry. An encouragement award was made to the skipper and crew of Redback, Anne and Mark, with acknowledgement made of Peter and Rick Wagner’s fine display of sailing in trying conditions. The weekend was an excellent event and was rounded off with a barbecue attended by competitors, club members and a number of visitors, all of whom contributed to a party atmosphere in a wonderful setting.

The 2008 diary entry can be found here