This Site Last Updated :
05 April, 2015
Augusta Yacht Club Blackwood Challenge '13
The fleet on the beach Morgan, Sebastian and Mary on trapeze The 2013 Blackwood winners
put on a tremendous display
The Australian Trapeze at Work at the Augusta 2013 Blackwood Challenge
The 2012/2013 West Australian sailing season is over but not without a good showing at one of our premier events, the Blackwood Challenge hosted by the Augusta Yacht Club. Now in it's 8th year, this fun, family oriented regatta saw entrants from Perth's Mounts Bay Sailing Club, some 4 hours to the north, Dunsborough Bay Yacht club, an hour to the north (everything's to the north from Augusta!) on the beautiful Geographe Bay, and from Augusta Yacht Club itself. With over 100 competitors and 25 boats from numerous classes, the river was more crowded than usual with many visitors and members enjoying the racing and socialising at one of Australia’s most picturesque yacht clubs on the banks of the Blackwood River in Augusta.
The GP14 contingent were competing for their own magnificent floating trophy comprising a brass bell mounted on a polished piece of the prized local blackwood timber whilst the Junior Challenge comprised a number of youngsters from DBYC and AYC fighting it out in their Minnow, Splash and Mirror dinghies.
Although the regatta was moved from January to April in the hopes of quieter winds, Saturday saw Augusta turn on an afternoon of wind and waves that challenged the best of them. The second race of the day saw some very strong winds and major gusts that were responsible for some gear failures, many capsizes and anxious moments as crews battled to win points in this modified handicap series. The day's racing finished at 5:30pm with the more senior racers agreeing it was fun but very tiring.
Three young sailors who normally sail Flying Ants at DBYC, teamed up in a borrowed GP14 to put on a display that epitomized the use of the Australian trapeze; with lightweight bodies and strong winds the extra leverage provided by the trapeze meant they could also have fun, and have fun they did! Morgan Flower at the helm, Sebastian Roocke on the jib sheet providing additional ballast and Mary Pethick on the trapeze (all 13 years old) performed well in an unfamiliar boat and in strong gusty conditions, exhibiting lessons well learned from their Flying Ant training. They stormed round the course in all races without a single capsize, with broad grins on their faces and singing at the tops of their voices - a tremendous advert for the joys of sailing and camaraderie experienced at events such as these.
Day 2 dawned overcast and windy and as the weary sailors gathered at the club to prepare their boats for the first race there was much discussion on wind strength. After the difficulties of the previous day many felt hesitant but by start time the wind had moderated to around 15 knots and the clouds had disappeared to make conditions ideal for sailing. The final two races for the day were held in near perfect conditions and made for some fierce competition, particularly the last race which was worth double points.
The Teams' Race for the Flying Fish Cup was simultaneously run between three GP14s from DBYC and three from MBSC (Team Big Smoke) producing strong competition and see-sawing place getters with rivalry fierce and dinkum but Team Big Smoke finally taking away the honours.
In the main event La Rousse (MBSC) and Cocktail Cherry (MBSC) as always provided strong opposition with the spinnaker handling of La Rousse giving them the edge but Ragged Edge (DBYC) was up there in the rankings even though they did not fly their spinnaker over the two days. Aeolus ( DBYC) had moments of dizzy speed and challenging promise but came to grief fairly frequently with the sand and mud banks in the unfamiliar river, or gusting winds proving too diverse at the crucial moment.
The 2013 GP 14 Blackwood Challenge Trophy was decided between Ragged Edge, Cocktail Cherry and La Rousse on a count back with third position being only a point behind, everyone having had a great weekend and visitors have already penciled in the date for next year.