Australian Flying 11 National Championship - Race 10 and Wrap

Gill® 2011 Australian Flying 11 National Championship
David Price
The final day of the Gill® 2011 Australian Flying 11 National Championship with over two hundred competitors and the last race #10 had finally arrived. The boat park melee wandered about rather casually after a long week of mostly fickle easterlies had taunted the fleet, the tension building slowly as the time for the first warning signal drew near at 1100hrs.

Saturday 22nd January 2011

The final day of the Gill® 2011 Australian Flying 11 National Championship with over two hundred competitors and the last race #10 had finally arrived. The boat park melee wandered about rather casually after a long week of mostly fickle easterlies had taunted the fleet, the tension building slowly as the time for the first warning signal drew near at 1100hrs.

With enough breeze already covering the race area of approximately 8kts from the east the fleet was given the green light to line up on the 400m start line for race 10, and the decider of who would be crowned the new F11 Champions for 2011.

1352 Boris Felix Grech and Adam Bloomfield M16SSC still held a slender lead of 4pts over 1276 Predator Paddy & Finn Gilbert HHSC with 1373 Hammer Time Jack Buchan and Tom Grimes B16SC next but distanced from these two by 29pts and unable to jump up into the top two after only one drop. The rest of the top ten placings was anyone’s guess as a slip-up in this race could leave a telephone number on their scorecard and alter the list considerably.

The fleet jumped the first attempt with the Avalon Support boat rounding them all up with a general recall, and another for attempt number two with an I flag but the black flag tidied up the mess and the start of the final race got underway at 1145hrs with only 1274 In Good Nick Samuel Yendell and Jamie Hargrave MH16SSC suffering a BFD next to their tally.

Again the centre played the advantage and 1352 Boris befittingly led the fleet away from the top mark ahead of 1356 Pure Blonde Kaiser Doyle and Nathan Lilley M16SSC, 1382 MWD Ash and Dan Heyworth M16SSC, 1310 Twisted Harry Morton and Anita McCallum B16SSC and 1355 Ninja Nina Long and Caleb Agosino-Morrow B16SC .

The breeze had looked like it might build before the race but failed to deliver and the march around the first triangle was almost uneventful for the majority of the fleet. 1352 Boris nicely covered any suitors up the next work to lead once again with a margin over 50secs around the top mark on the square run to leeward followed by 1382 MWD, 1379 Firefly Ravi Raj and Emma Jones HHSC, 1393 Wave Runner ASC Malcolm Parker Harry Parker and 1394 Whomp Nick and Shaun Connor M16SSC.

With little to work with, 1276 Predator rounded in eighth place some distance behind but with such a changeable breeze it was still in contention should the leader fall into a black hole.

1356 Boris again cruised up the third beat to round a comfortable minute ahead of 1382 MWD, another 30secs back to 1379 Fire Fly, 1276 Predator and 1392 Oh Ryan Ryan Wilmot and Tristan Bongolan M16SSC.

By the last beat to windward and the completion of the series, 1382 MWD had clawed back a great deal from the leaders but 1352 Boris nonetheless crossed the line 15secs ahead of 1382 MWD to confirm their new title of F11 National Champions in 2011. Third place over the line went to 1379 Fire Fly and 1276 Predator crossed over in fourth and subsequently became the runner up for the series with 1373 Hammer Time Jack Buchan and Tom Grimes B16SC collecting the bronze.

1380 Missleading Kanya Raj and Sarah Jones HHSC scored the coveted All-Girls competition win and 1392 Oh Ryan Ryan Wilmot and Tristan Bongolan M16SSC secured the Junior competition where almost half the competitors were involved this year. Perhaps the biggest smiles and a dream outcome went to the Tasmanian crew 1363 Party Trap Clare Cromarty and Isobel Cameron TYC who continued to improve on each and every day throughout the regatta, never being headed to finish the series as 2011 F11 National handicap winners. The manner in which they lifted their performance each day was truly remarkable and a real credit to them.

Back at the beach, all crews gathered to congratulate each other and pack up for Presentation Dinner and Party, which just happened to be the biggest sit down event the B16SC had ever had with over 400 guests dining in their auditorium, just another record for the Flying 11 this week.

The girls did a fantastic job dressing up the 'Spinnaker Room' auditorium for the presentation dinner and party with their silver and green starred walls and balloons an absolute vision. The Gill® flags adorned the front of the stage and the three winner’s main sails were hung as a backdrop on the main stage with an impressive array of trophies at the ready.

Gill® 2011 Australian Flying 11 National Championship
David Price

Mark Long and Pricey had a few words to say on just how wonderful that the Flying 11 class sailors had all become true friends without the club clannishness of the past, a testament to the seeds sown over the recent years by the likes of F11 stalwarts Andrew Kendall, Lionel McFadyen and James Ellis.

The presentation ensued with Lloyd Mullholland Club Captain from the B16s presenting the handicap trophies and our major supporter Paul Shultz of GILL® accepting the honour of presenting the overall scratch trophies to the top ten place-getters and the Junior and All-Girls competition winners.

Then a brief 'out of the blue' tribute to Pricey for his contribution and dedication to the class over many years led seamlessly into a hilarious rap song written and performed by immediate past NSW F11 President James Ellis. James got down and funky with a magnificent recital from the stage; the work of art included almost every boat name in this year’s regatta and it had the audience rolling in the isles. At the conclusion of his routine, James and Mark Long brought out a hand painted characteristic impression of Pricey with a bullseye level of accuracy that will be cherished forevermore.

The party at the conclusion of the presentation was highlighted by a great DJ drawing young and old out of their seats onto the dance floor for a group hug, the kids mosh-pit just a fabulous sight from the raised levels back from the stage and dance areas. Many expressed the view that this was the best Flying 11 regatta of modern times, certainly the biggest and friendliest.

The event this year introduced a live coverage coordinated by our young results specialist Nick Ward who had many glued to their screens from all over the world with his metaphysical competitions and spelling errors - a nice human touch to the proceedings. In fact, he managed to run it for 5 days, 3 hours and 47 minutes, entertain 1678 readers with an average reader duration of 1h 58mins, and total comments made totalling 239. We found this facility a great tool and will continue to develop this and more live interaction in our events in the future.

From Pricey: Congratulations to all who participated in the event, to the volunteers who inspired and created the indisputable success that it was and to the parents who are always in the background supporting their kids in this tremendous sport. I found it a privilege to work with you all and am very proud of all the Flying 11 sailors who are more than worthy ambassadors of the Flying 11 class and the sport.

Event website

Gill® 2011 Australian Flying 11 National Championship
David Price

Gill® 2011 Australian Flying 11 National Championship
David Price