Day 5: World Championships

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Race 9 – W2

The day was hot with light but building winds and the FD troop were preparing for one final race.  Everyone had calculate their current position in the league ladder and manny different personal targets had been set.  The competition was still fierce whether the target was getting into the top 10, getting ahead of a brother, out performing a close rival or actually completing a tough nine race series.  I board the wonderful yacht Mivera with 16 other keen supporters, inclusive of three FD sailors who were sitting out the race and one 1968 FD Olympian, Jorgen Kolni from Switzerland who raced against our legendary Carl.  The on  board commentary was great.

The course was set similarly to Day 3 and a clean start was achieved promptly at 12.00 pm.  At the top mark the familiar pattern had been set with HUN 70, and NED 26 in first and second place, immediately followed by AUS7 and AUS359 (the battle of the brothers in crew positions). We stayed and waited at the top mark for the second beat, relaxed and actually saw a fairy penguin in Sydney Harbour. The positions were unchanged as they rounded the second top mark but positions were a lot closer than they had been in prior races and the competition was tense.  The pressure in the beat to the finish was on, it appeared that NED 26 may actually get in front of HUN 70.  Nails were bitten, cheers were heard and everyone felt relieved that NED 26 actually caught  HUN 70 in one race.  This did not distract from the impressive performance of our overall competition winners, HUN 70 who came in a close second in this race.  The HUN 70 team first won an FD world championship 20 years ago – an impressive and enduring FD team!  Third across the line were our national champions AUS 7, Closely followed by GER 113,  then AUS 359.
We hovered at the finish line waiting for all boat to cross over, watching exhausted  make post series mistakes like capsizing and being particularly impressed by AUS 338 who finished last but won the resilience and persistence award. All the supporters cheered profusely have watched them battle with ferries and other traffic and yet doggedly and with determination complete the entire series.

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After the race the the awards ceremony was held in doors at RSYS, given Sydney’s legendary strong winds had finally blown in.  The restaurant was jammed packed with sailors and supporters.  Awards were given to the most wins – HUN 70, the oldest boat with the best outcome AUS 359, combined age of skipper and crew greater than 100 -AUS 33, Best female FD sailor – NED 33, Best team under the age of 25 GER 2 , just to name a few.  Overall results were HUN 70 first, NED 26 second, GER 113 third and GER 88 fourth.  Our national champions were 5th.  Congratulations to all on a great regatta  and thanks again to RSYS for being such brilliant hosts.

Over and out – Sally

Day 3: World Championships

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A bit of after sailing fun

Day 3  – 5 January 2015

Sailors were frantic on the hardstand trying to finalise repairs and ensure all boats were ready for the start.  Shiprights were in demand and many were having to make do with temporary fixes, knowing that Tuesday is a lay day which will allow more time for proper repairs.  Unfortunately, NZL 7 was unable to get a new mast fitted in time.

Race 5 – W3 130

Flying Dutchman boats were struggling to actually reach the start line with extremely light winds.  Several boats took advantage of passing ribs and opted for a tow to the start.  There was a delayed AP start waiting for winds to build and the course to be finalised.  The delay allowed for all stragglers to reach the start line.  Our reporters rib had an engine failure just near the start line and had to drift out of the way of many tense sailors.  The 12.30 start was set and we witnessed HUN 70 move from behind the fleet through the boats and pick a clear hole in the fleet.  Unfortunately, this was followed by a rapid double horn, signalling a general recall. At 12.40 the fleet achieved a clean start in light airs and changing conditions.  Local knowledge was tipped to be a major factor in these difficult conditions.  First to return to the bottom mark was AUS 321 – a very different leader in the mix.  By 1.40 pm the lead boats had resumed some predictable order.  HIUN 70 was banging straight into Shark Island, as far a possible before tacking for a final straight run to the finish.  Results were HUN 70, NED 26 and in third place our Australian Champions, AUS 7. A special mention goes to AUS 321 who held their leading position to come in fourth – massive smiles were seen on Colin’s and Andrew’s faces.

During the break, all were wishing for stronger winds and a shorter course – neither of which eventuated. While handing over Arnott’s Cream biscuits to the oldest man in the fleet, we learnt that he was working with a broken traveller. Red Bulls were consumed and the Bausele sponsors were spotted looking very relaxed on the beautiful wooden motor boat, Illywhacker II.  HUN 78 was spotted out sailing for extra practice during the delay and AUS 7 spent some time with their coach. The wind was still south easterly and holding.

Race 6: W4 135

The 2.20 pm five minute warning, flagged a long race course with 4 sausages and a beat to finish.  The general tactic appeared to be to start starboard, flip onto port, run for Shark  Island and then the top mark.  That plan was thwarted by 2 general recalls, allowing the overheated press boat to finally get going and see the actual start at 2:42pm.  At the first top mark it was HUN 70, NED 26 and GER 88 and it seemed that the result was favouring the right hand side of the course. AUS 7 were the first Aussie boat to the mark. Heading to the bottom mark demanded many jibes with spinakers flapping.  On the second beat the breeze was freshening up and HUN 70 had opened up the lead to 35 seconds. GER 88, NED 26 and HUN 78 were all in the mix at the top mark.  In lumpy seas HUN 70 lead at the bottom and shortened tacks as they ran to the third top mark by 3.39 pm – they has gained a 90 second lead on GER 88, closely followed by NED 26. AUS 9 had moved through the fleet and rounded the mark in 7th position.  By the fourth top mark HUN 70 had opened up an even greater lead to 2 full minutes, followed by GER 88, NED 26.  With the beat to finish day three, the winds dropped off HUN 70 eased back a little and won the race with only a 1 minute 44 second lead!  Followed rapidly by GER 88, NED 26 HUN78, GER 100.  We then had the first AUS boat across the line in position six,  AUS 7.

Overall, it is now a truly international leading fleet this the first four places held by different countries – HUN 70, NED 26, GER 88 and AUS 7.

Sally Freeman

Day 2: World Championships

FD Worlds Day 2

The day began serenely with a competitors meeting on the lawn under the shade of two massive Australian snow gums.  With a touching speech from our immediate past president Alberto Barenghi, we were reminded how the annual world meeting of the Flying Dutchman society is so important, he likened it to a family gathering.  Alberto’s 14 years as president will be remembered for his promotion of the class  and his passion for FD’s.  Congratulations to Tony Lyall who was elected as new world president of the Flying Dutchman.  Dressed appropriately in Australian colours, he acknowledged that he has big shoes to fill.

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Discussions then rapidly moved to where FD sailors may wish to holiday, inclusive of 2018 options with classic words like “Kiwi swell” and “jobbled”.  Technical options or changes to the class were also discussed in detail.

Race 3 – W3 040

As we set off for race 3, it was a day full of promise, with clear sky and  a light nor-easterly wind. The course was set for W3 (three sausages and a finish) 040 degree focussed finish.  Discussions were varied however I kept hearing that the ” middle might pay”.  At 12.07 the starting gun went on a very close start.  So close in fact that it was immediately followed by a general recall.  The second start of race 3 occurred at 12.15 under black flag conditions but everyone got away cleanly with a building breeze.  First around the top mark were yesterdays winners HUN 70 and NED 26 and in third place we had an Aussie boat AUS377. Each race is at least 90 minutes long and so there still many opportunities for change to follow.  One FD in the drink after a close ferry episode, another retired with a cracked mast  and others switching places regularly.  By the second beat the first three boats separated the fleet with daylight behind them. At the third top mark the German boats had caught the top three.  Again HUN 70 had an impressive win, they cleared the bottom mark at 1.30pm and officials were calling for the finish line to be set while some FD’s were still setting kites.  They raced to the finish line while other FD’s were still rounding the top mark. Congratulations to HUN 70 (finishing first at 1.40 pm), NED 26 and GER 88 on being the first three across the line and to AUS 7 and AUS377 on being the first 2 Aussie boats to finish.

Race 4 –  W3 – 025

The race lead boat Mischief called for an extended start line at 2.25 pm.  All had rested, consumed copious water and increased their engergy levels with sugar of some form or another. The breeze had strengthened into a true nor east and was even stronger than at the end of the last race.  At the eastern end of the start line gathered the German’s, Kiwi’s and Hungarian’s.  It was a clean start, with a very close ferry adding significant interest at that end.  With stronger breezes and tired sailors there were a few more dramatic events.  Many took a swim and words like turtled were exchange.  At the first mark it was HUN 70, NED 26, GER 113 and the Australian Champion in fourth place, AUS 7. The order was unchanged for the first three boats at the top mark for the second and third beat, however much was happening beyond the first three positions.  There were more capsizes, a few crew getting tea-bagged and some kites went prawning (lunch tomorrowapparently).  AUS 66 retired early after a few swims and NZL 7 called for a rescue boat from shark island, as they had unfortunately broken a mast. At 4.00 pm HUN 70 raced across the finish line and about one minute later NED 26 followed in second place.  Third was GER 113, closely chased by GER 88.  It  was then time for the Aussies 5th – AUS 7, 6th – AUS 359 and 7th AUS 21 (apologies if extending results to number 7, shows the bias of the the reporter).

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At the hard stand many tired sailors were focussed on repairs after two solid days of sailing.  All were helping each other with sport-manlike support and a focus on fulsome competition tomorrow.  While eating well deserved sausages the trials and tribulations of the day were dissected.  With the weekend over, all are looking forwarded to less interruptions tomorrow.

Reporter Sally Freeman

Day 1: World Championships

Day 1: 2015 Flying Dutchman Worlds:

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Race One – course W4

In light to moderate airs, with a east nor-east wind, 48 enthusiastic world competitive Flying Dutchman sailors, set sail.  The race commenced promptly at 12.00 after a fulsome briefing inclusive of many warnings about ferries and general Sydney Harbour traffic.  The course was set at W4, which in layman’s terms is four sausages.  AUS 377 had a blinder of a first beat and was the first yacht to the top mark, while the Australian champion was fourth to the top mark, but it was early in the race and there were many changes to come.  In shifty conditions of around 5-10 knots with lots of wash the German and Hungarian boats again began to lead the fleet. HUN 70 won the race coming impressively through the fleet from around 10th at one stage. GER 113  followed in second place with fellow German boat GER 219 not far behind. Then it was NED 26 and an impressive first Australian boat across the line being AUS 377 – Go Dougie -, one of our more mature Aussie FD sailors.

Race Two – course 4T
With a minimum break after a long first race, the fleet were back on course with finally a triangle in the mix. The breeze had increased to a stronger and steadier pace but the sun was fierce and all were reaching for extra water and sunscreen. At the first mark there were many in the mix including AUS 33, HUN 70, GER 113, closely followed by AUS 7.  However the long course had just begun and many boats faced additional challenges in the stronger breeze.  One team had a swim, another learnt that it was better if your sails were actually tied up and unfortunately NZL 7 retired early – for reasons unknown at this stage.  HUN 70 led all the way by at least 500m or at least half a leg in front.  Their style, poise and ability to pick the breeze was impressing all of the spectator fleet and giving other sailors a lesson. Of course they won, followed, not so closely by NED 26, GER 113.  Then fourth was AUS 359 with HUN 11 not far behind. Overall, it was a long hot day of racing in stunning Sydney sunshine.  Many of the boats shall have amazing pictures with the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge in the background.  The sailors are tired but the fleet is highly competitive and the excitement is building.
Reporter Sally Freeman