by James Hill
Balmain is top NSW Tiger
The Flying Tiger class again enjoyed a strong and hotly contested NSW State Titles. The event was held this over the recent weekend of February 18-19 on Sydney Harbour with eight boats contesting the regatta.
As in previous years the event was run by the FT-10 Class Association and hosted by the RANSA Sailing Club. The two day event consisted of three Windward Leeward races on Saturday and a passage race as part of the RANSA Regatta on Sunday.
Wind conditions were relatively light and not more than 10 Knots of over the whole weekend. On Saturday the South to South East breeze meant that the Windward Leeward course was set across the Harbour from Taylors Bay to Point Piper. This made for some interesting racing at times as the Tiger fleet had to cross the usual Saturday afternoon fleets that occupy these waters. Add to that the 30 degree breeze swings and the racing became very interesting with the better crews being able to pick the swings and avoid the traffic.
The three boats from the podium at the 2011 FT-10 National Titles, Ophir, Hello Tiger and Balmain Tiger were favourites for the event and didn’t disappoint. Hello Tiger won the first race after a close tussle with Balmain Tiger which misunderstood the finish and gave up second place to Flying Brandy.
The top mark of the second race sealed Hello Tiger’s fate for the weekend, when they picked up the part of the mark apparatus, and proceeded to carry it with them, including anchor for the rest of Race 2 and all of Race 3. This gave Balmain Tiger the opening they needed and they sailed well to take out the next two races easily with Ophir and Shere Khan alternating for second and third places behind them.
Balmain Tiger went into the passage race on Sunday with five point buffer on Ophir and seven points on Shere Khan and Ten8ious, the new Tiger from Middle Harbour Yacht Club.
The light NE sea breeze favoured the boats with harbour racing experience, gained through regular Super 30 racing. Balmain Tiger lead by 2.5 minutes at the top mark, Manly West/Many East, from Hello Tiger who were closely followed by Ophir and Ten8ious. Shere Khan had made a couple of tactical errors along the western shore and found them well out the back of the lead pack.
The long seven mile down wind leg to Robinson’s Point via Shark Island gave the fleet the chance to close on Balmain Tiger who battled to retain their lead under Kite in the light and often tricky conditions. Hello Tiger and Ophir had completely closed the gap by the time the three boats had to make the tricky rounding of a visiting Italian Cruise Liner who decided to drop anchor right on the Robinson’s Point rounding mark.
The battle continued back up to Sow and Pigs and then down to the finish off Point Piper. In sight of the finish line Hello Tiger was able to pass Balmain Tiger to take the gun by 20 seconds with Ophir a further 90 seconds behind. A fitting podium finishes for Hello Tiger who had suffered the indignity of carrying the anchor around on Saturday.
1. Balmain Tiger - BSC - 7 points
2. Ophir - DSC - 13 points
3. Hello Tiger - RANSA - 15 Points
1. Ten8ious - MHYC
2. Shere Khan - RANSA
3. Sabre - RANSA