Jump to content

2012 Sydway Paper Tiger Catamaran Australian Championships


Recommended Posts

yeah pretty much but wouldn't call them Dinosaurs and Fossils as a majority have been at the top at some stage - Veteran is for people over 50 and Super Vet is for people over 60.

I think we will have to make another category, maybe called Superdooper Vet as there's a good percentage in the Vet and Super Vet category :p

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's been an incredibly challenging series, with the wind shifting due to weather changes, oscillating as it increases, and bending around the various hills.

Apart from the mind boggling challenge of tacking at the right times and going the right way, the varying wind, chop and boat wash has required great sail trim.

The starts have been very tricky, with so many boats jamming up the line. It's easy to be left behind in all the dirty air.

The lead boats have had amazing speed, tactical brilliance and uncanny strategies

Trying to write with a phone... full report once back at a keyboard

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2012 Sydway Paper Tiger Catamaran National Championships

Epic, unedited race report by Tony Hastings

38 Paper Tigers lined up under the trees at Mannering Park, to contest the 2012 National Titles. The boats included many immaculate, top-performance boats, and some older, heavier, fun orientated boats. Similarly the list of skippers included many former State, National and International Champions, about 20 of which would be expected to finish in the top ten. There were also rookies competing in their first Nationals who anticipated fun racing rather than collecting trophies.

The series was a true Nationals, with competitors from New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory.

The Invitation Race

A fresh sea-breeze provided 15-20 knots North-East winds, except where there was a big lee shadow behind Summerland Point; a hill on the starboard side of the course. The wind raised about ½ metre of chop on the port side of the course, while it was quite flat on the starboard side.

Bryan Anderson consistently headed to the port side of the course, finding more wind to power away with the win.

I went to the starboard side, looking for flatter water and lifts, and came 19th.

Race 1

A light 5 knot wind increased to 8 at the end of the race. The long course in the morning, felt very hot, with intense sunshine.

After a general recall, the fleet began with all boats on starboard, heading for the port side of the course. Kim Marcovitch, Russell Jolly and I tacked out of the fleet’s dirty air and went to the starboard side of the course. After a few hundred meters, Russell called out, “I think we’ve gone the wrong way Kim!”

Although it seemed the rest of the fleet were going faster, had already tacked reached the layline and were tacking to the buoy far ahead of us, Kim replied, “Stick with it Russell!”. Russell tacked away.

I thought I’d wait until either the wind eased or I got a knock, which took me a little further before I tacked. Kim kept going.

I arrived at the first buoy 5 minutes after the leading boats, and had only 6 boats behind me; 32nd place. Kim was several minutes further behind. Oops!

Bryan, Bruce Rose, Ralph Skea, Ian Marcovitch, Alex Craig and Rohan Nicol looked to be in contention for the race win.

After making a fw overtakes during the race, I moved up to 23rd and was closing on a pack of boats ahead. The course as shortened which eliminated any change of moving further up the field.

1st was Ian Marcovitch, 2nd was Ralph Skea and in 3rd Garry Williams. Ralph later commented, “I can’t say I had any real knowledge of what the wind was doing, I just kept an eye on the boats around me and went with them.”

Race 2

Light north-east winds of 5-10 knots. Short course after lunch.

After another general recall, I stated at the pin end behind Bryan and Mark Wiggins. Despite some dirty air, got away OK to the port side of the course. The past 2 races had demonstrated that this was the way to go. Hadn’t they?

From the start, it seemed the lines we were sailing fanned out, with boats further to starboard pointing higher. Peter Anderson tacked to the starboard side and gained advantage to lead the fleet around the 1st buoy.

I rounded mid-fleet, but not too far behind the leaders. Following close behind Rohan, we both gained ground on the reaches.

After rounding the bottom buoy, I stayed on port a slightly longer before tacking, and it paid off: a resulting lift let me overtake a couple of boats.

On the 2nd windward leg, the same strategy found an even greater lift that had me pointing 30o higher than the fleet and taking 5 more places.

A storm cell formed to the North-West and the wind dropped out. Along the western shore it blew North-West, while over to the east it swung South-East. In between it swung around from all angles. By quickly reacting to the wind-indicator, I gained on Jon Pinkerton, and passed Rohan. However an attempt to tack with inadequate speed allowed Rohan back past, while Jon was tricked into working to the finish while we had a wind change than allowed us to reach there ahead of him.

A boat anchored to the east of the gate buoys displayed N over H flags, which means “all races are abandoned, further signals ashore”. A second vessel to starboard of the gate displayed a club flag. Most boats presumed the gate had become the finish line, while I thought we should round a buoy and pass between the buoy and the boat. Others thought they would ignore the gate and simply pass between the buoy and the boat.

1st Bryan Anderson, 2nd Kim Marcovitch, 3rd Peter Anderson, while I finished 11th.

Race 3

A light 5 knot South-West wind blew across the course at the start of the race. Long course, morning race.

My pre-race testing found it more westerly in the bay to starboard, and a fair wind-shadow of the point near the windward buoy. It seemed best to head up the starboard side of the course, to gain an initial lift and avoid the shadow.

The line was very pin-end biased, so logically the best possible start would be the pin end on port tack. I went for it, and was lucky to shoot through a gap between Mark Wiggins and Wayne Eager, with about 1m clearance each side of my boat.

I minimised tacks, only tacking on major lifts or knocks, while avoiding the hill’s windshadow. 4th at the first buoy, possibly Garry Williams, Greg Williams and Peter Anderson ahead, with Bryan Anderson close behind.

Bryan went above me to overtake on the reach, then slowed as he swung to a run to make the buoy. To avoid running up the back of him, I’ve gone wide. Staying close to the layline on the 2nd reach had another 4 boats pass me to the windward side, and then claim buoy room on me. These included Wayne Eager, Bruce Rose and Dave Stumbles. I’m re-thinking my ideas about reaching leg strategies!

On the 2nd windward leg, I followed the same plan and basically tacked up the middle. Greg and Garry both found some great shifts were well in front, then the wind died on the starboard side of the course. While Bryan and Rohan sat on glassy water, I heard Rohan comment, “cold over here, isn’t it Bryan?”

Meanwhile a line of pressure formed near the point, which saw a line of boats shooting up the buoy.

A hole with no wind formed at the buoy, which Peter Anderson was unlucky to be caught in. I tacked onto startboard and kept some momentum to get around the buoy, rounding in about 6th place.

Anticipating more easterly wind once we passed the point, I set a reaching sail and aimed high to starboard. This saw me going faster and passing those on a dead run, while Jason Dunsmore and Bruce Rose gybed to go further to port.

Ralph Skea, Jake McDonald and Luke Stout were following my line, reaching down the right, when we heard a horn blast and saw a shorted course flag displayed on a boat near the bottom buoy.

As this was not the usual finishing boat, and I couldn’t see the flag indicating it, I presumed this boat was notifying us of shortened course ahead; finish at next buoy. Therefore I’ve begun bearing off, to maintain buoy room on the boats behind.

However, this was the finish boat, and those who continued high on a reach arrived there first. Heading to the boat provided a huge advantage over those who headed to the buoy, which was particularly unfair for Peter Anderson who had no opportunity to change strategy and finished in 11th. The time sheet records about 10 boats finishing within 9 seconds of each other, as the pack of reaching boats crossed with the former leaders near the buoy.

1st Greg Williams, 2nd Wayne Eager, 3rd Dave Stumbles, while crossed in 9th.

Race 4

5 knot easterly. Short course after lunch.

My disaster race. Started off line dup nicely for the favoured pin end, but a lot of boats were early and passed me to windwards in order to round the end and start on port. With all the dirty air, I couldn’t get the boat moving and then drifted into the buoy and also had to re-round. Eventually I drifted around the buoy with most of the fleet far ahead.

The wind was variable, with some lifts, knocks, light patches and pressure patches moving across the course. By tacking on knocks and basically sailing up the middle I made up ground and passed the a few boats. Rounding the wind mark on the reach, a pack of boats started a pointing contest to windwards. Luckily this time sailing low along the layline worked for me and I overtook by sailing under them.

Near mid-fleet with a group of about 10 boats just ahead, I was focussed on staying in clear air and making a good approach to the next reach. Steve Halliday had tacked to starboard, and when I saw him I thought it too late to tack: either I could tack in front of him or hopefully pass clear ahead. However I didn’t and at the last moment he luffed up to make a soft collision. By the time we untangled and I’d done a penalty turn, I was at the back of the fleet again. Dammit! Although I’d gone fairly high above the layline to do the penalty, Shane Zoutendyk tacked in front of me, then began luffing to prevent me going above him onto the reach.

Similarly on the 2nd reach, boats pointed ridiculously high to protect their wind, so I’ve gone low again to try and get through. Russell Jolly followed me for a bit, then made a move to pass me to windwards. Sorry Russell for venting some frustration at that! Unfortunately for both of us, the boats that went high caught a gust of wind and took off, while we bobbed along behind.

1st Garry Williams, 2nd Ian Marcovitch, 3rd Greg Williams. I came 25th.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Race 5

5-10knots North-Easterly. Short course, held straight after Race 4.

As the wind had continued swinging, from the morning’s south-westerly to the east and now to the North-east, a new course was set. This was past ‘Frying Pan Point”, and beyond the area marked in the sailing instructions. It was a good thing, as we avoided that horrible wind shadow behind Summerland Point. There were still shifts and gusts, generally the lighter winds being more northerly and the gusts being more easterly.

I was so frustrated and disappointed with the previous race, so I asked Dave Stumbles, “tell me a funny story to make me feel better!” Dave replies, “did I see you flying the hull in the last race?” Which was good, I could see the positive side that at least I did have great speed to compensate for my tactical idiocy.

The pin end was favoured, and after a general recall I was lining it up when a northerly shift hit the fleet just seconds before the start. Many of us were unable to cross the line. I became stuck behind Bruce Proctor in dirty air, and eventually tacked across for a late start. Shortly after the wind swung back to the east, which consolidated the big gain for those who started well.

Jason Dunsmore said his approach was to park in the middle of the line, and found he had lots of clear space. He wasn’t aware of the black flag which made others more cautious. The shift at the start had Jason hiking out and accelerating away, immediately putting a gap on the fleet.

Rick Stout explained that had been with a group near the boat end, and found he couldn’t make it across the line and tacked. When the wind shifted back, he couldn’t make it to the boat end either, so had to tack twice more before starting.

Ian Marcovitch also started at the boat end and was well behind after the start.

My strategy was to try and stay in clear air and keep my speed up. This went well, and I was in the mid-tail of the fleet between David and Trent Godfrey at the 1st mark.

I went high to pass Ron Wiggins and catch boats ahead on the first reach, then went low to pass David Godfrey and make more ground on the seconds reach.

Heading downwind, I stayed left to maintain clear air, and the rounded the left gate mark. Luckily this lead to a great lift, and by sitting inboard was able to get the hull flying, zooming up through the fleet.

At the start of the last lap Ian and I had caught the leading group of boats, and had a comfortable gap to the fleet behind. I didn’t quite get the windshifts right and made no further ground to finish 13th, while Ian continued his charge to finish 8th.

1st Garry Williams, 2nd Peter Anderson, 3rd Bryan Anderson.

Lay Day

On the lay-day a few of us went to the Wangi Amateur RSL Sailing Club, to watch the A-class Nationals. We were lucky enough to be offered viewing on a big catamaran, and saw the world’s best sailors battling in out in tricky 15-20knot winds.

We saw Glenn Ashby extend a massive lead by powering off downwind, the only one out on trapeze and keeping up with the gusts. Then he cartwheeled! Despite dropping to about 10th, he was back to 4th by the end of lap 2, and went on to win the race.

I noticed that he tested the course prior to the start, then gybed around the start boat with 2 minutes to go, and claimed his spot at the end of the line. The boats hung back from the line about 10m, and all sheeted in with 10 seconds to go. As the flags went down the crossed the line at full speed, out on trapeze.

At the end of the second race, Laser champ Tom Slingsby was about equal with Moth and 460 champ Nathan Outteridge, both flying downwind. A gust hit, planting the nose of Tom’s boat. While he balanced and tried to bring it back down, the gust hit Nathan, flipping him over. Tom spun on the nose and slashed back down, sailing off to win the race. Nathan quickly got on the righting ropes, and recovered to finish just ahead of Glenn in 3rd.

It just goes to show that even the world’s best capsize their boats and make mistakes!

Race 6

5-10 knot winds from the east / north-east. A short-course race in the morning.

I resolved that I simply MUST learn to park on the line, and claim a spot in order to achieve better starts. Trying to run at the line from 20m away simply was not working. After making a good start at the pin-end, I changed my mind and decided there was advantage on the starboard side of the course, with the wind increasing and swinging more east.

Looking to tack, I tried to pick a line between Jason Dunsmore and Jeff Helps, but the gap closed, and other boats were following along behind. Rather than go behind all of them, I tacked back, into their dirty air. Crap! Then I tacked again, losing even more time.

At the first mark I was about 25th, just behind Trent Godfrey. By now I’d come to think of the starboard side of the course as a game of Snakes and Ladders; you might climb the ladder with a great lift, or you might lose out with less wind.

At the gate I went left; to the startboard side, and found some shifts to climb to about 16th. On subsequent windward legs, gains and losses balanced out, as I tried to decipher the pattern of the shifts. I timed 90 seconds between major shifts, with lighter winds from the north and stronger gusts from the east. Then of course the pattern changed… it was difficult to decide whether to try and tack on the shifts, as tacking too often lost a lot of ground.

1st Garry Williams, 2nd Mike Wold, 3rd Bryan Anderson. I finished 16th.

Race 7

10-15 knots, oscillating North-easterly, a long race after lunch.

After starting OK at the boat end, I tacked on the major shifts and mostly went well. Story of the race was Greg Williams, who had a stay wire come loose while leading the race. He managed to tie it back in place, but the chainplate cut through the rope and let it loose again. He finished a disappointing 10th place. Later he said there was no point trying to blame the boat, or bad luck, as after all it is the skipper who must rig the boat and check the shackles.

Race 8

Shifty, gusty 10-20 knot winds, another long race directly after Race 7.

The conditions were very difficult, with variable lifts and pressure spots forming around various landforms.

I felt my first lap was OK, but lost ground all over the place on the 2nd windward leg; dropping from 12th to 20th. The final windward leg was equally bad, where I found knocks, holes or tacked too often. It was frustrating to have no idea what he wind was doing. I had thought picking tricky winds and strategising was one of my strengths, but on this occasion I had no clues and was soundly defeated.

Race 9

5 – 10 knots north-easterly, long course morning race.

Garry Williams had won the series with a race to spare. This race would determine whether Bryan Anderson, Greg Williams or Ian Marcovitch could claim 2nd place. There were close contests for placings from there throughout the field.

I started at the pin end between Mark Wiggins and Mike Wold, and was going along OK as we headed to the port side of the course. While I hiked out, Ron Wiggins followed along at the same speed, sitting inboard. He asked “what are you hiking for Tony? There’s no wind!”

While Greg and Bryan led just ahead of us, Ian, Kim and Garry others had gone to the starboard side of the course. About 2/3rds the way to the layline, I was started getting dirty air from Mike Wold, who was passing to windwards. I thought it a good time to tack, to possible gain advantage of starboard tack as we approached the buoy later. Rohan and someone else also tacked with me.

We met with the leaders of those who had gone to the starboard side of the course, but all of us dismayed to see those who had stayed on port longer were now far ahead.

Although it should have been obvious by now that the port side was favoured, I tried to go up the middle, tacking on wind shifts. Losing around 16 places and hundreds of meters on one windward leg was not pretty.

Rounding the bottom mark for the last time, I was side by side with Queenslander Chris Shannon, with a line of boats all on the same heading in front of us. Oddly, I found myself pointing about 15 degrees higher than everyone else, while going at the same speed. This unique fluke of wind held, as I gained good ground. A knock occurred, putting me back onto the same heading as the other boats. I tacked, went a few hundreds meters until knocked again, then tacked back to a fantastic lift that took me all the way to the finish line, in 19th place

Mid-race, Garry Williams said he had been watching his son Greg’s battle with Bryan so closely, he forgot about his own race. Perhaps responding to my comment on how bad the starboard side had been all week, Garry went exploring out there on his last windward leg. Amusingly, a bunch of other boats went with him, and all of them lost massive amounts of ground. Garry finished 27th that race.

1st Bryan Anderson, 2nd Jon Pinkerton, 3rd Bruce Rose.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


The series was held in mainly light, shifty winds, which were difficult to predict. To achieve a good result required outstanding abilities in reading the winds, top boat speed and great fleet tactics. Garry Williams proved himself a true master sailor, winning races in a broad range of conditions.

The results sheet shows that everyone had at least one bad race, where they were caught on the wrong side of the course or left behind a wall of sails on the start line.

The list of people who achieved a top-ten finish is remarkable for a couple of reasons; there is an amazing range in their physiology, with very diverse body shapes, weights and ages amongst the skippers. This showed that it was the mental, decision making and sailing skills that determined that result above all else. The other thing is that the top-ten includes 3 father & son pairs; Garry & Greg Williams, Peter and Bryan Anderson, and Ian and Kim Marcovitch. Also in the fleet were the father and son teams of Rick and Luke Stout, David and Trent Godfrey, plus Brenton and Jacob McDonald.

Personally I came 19th out of 38, exactly in the middle of the fleet. I feel frustrated and disappointed at this, particularly as the result was produced by poor starts and tactical blunders. You have to laugh though; in the end there can only be one winner, and as we saw in the A-class fleet, even World Champions make mistakes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...