A 5 boat fleet of Vipers rolled up to the contest. It was the usual suspects with a new addition to the fray Gary Tuck.
We were thrown into the start with a trio of Tornados, a Taipan 5.7 Spinnaker bomber, a savage FCS N17 piloted by World Champ Steve Brewin, 4 upwind N5.8 carving knives, a snakepit of 4 Taipan cat rigs, an eye wateringly fast upwind Taipan 4.9 Sloop and just to keep it entertaining a mosquito and an A class. The 20 boat startline made for some great mixed fleet action.
2019 is the year that Wildcat shrugged off the reputation of vicious South Westerlies and rainy prize givings. Saturday was a glorious South Easter and Sunday a firm North easterly puffer.
Front end duels with our 16ft Skiff stand in crew of Evan Darmanin and Skiffie Mike on the Demo/Association boat became more common as each race went on. A rag of a spinnaker could not hold them back. They became faster every race until they were challenging the dominant Viper II of Tristan and Beau White for the lead, with position swaps on each tack.
The F16s bopped and weaved throwing punches and cover tacks on the dragster Tornadoes and N17. A good start was a balancing act of pinching to stay out of the washing machine jet wash of the 5.8s and the charging Tornadoes trying to roll over us from behind. Our little Vipers competed with the N17 to the top mark but were gapped by the maestro of foiling Stevie B on the downwind sled rides. That N17 climbed up on its daddy long legs like foils and scurried off to the bottom mark like a scalded cat -arrrgggh after all that hard work! #@*!
Stephen Medwells blue Tornado footed off the line and tore around the course in Sundays big breeze. The blue bulldozer proved too tough to catch even putting a line honours win over the N17 in one race. Cookies green flame machine hassled the Vipers and much close racing was had. The harder it blew the faster they went.
James “crews are for sissies” Butler sailed solo and ripped the fleet in Saturdays moderate conditions, but was (in his own words) doing the Octopus at the mark roundings in the heavier breeze and chop of Sunday. The 9 tasks in three seconds often proving too much with him sending the petulant swerving Viper for a little aquanap.
Youth rising star Billy Gargett showed dad Arthur how quick you can get downwind with a kite, even throwing in a mid spinnaker hoist gybe to keep Arthur on his toes and giving the sails a Wallis lake bathing.
The boat park was its customary hospitable self with a somewhat boozy celebration of the start of the sailing season on Friday evening. Somewhere in the evening the wind came up and there was a bit of wobbling about and anchoring down of boats after Jeff’s Nacra 5.8 blew over.
Monday saw race organisers call off racing before a champion southerly arrived. James “crews are for sissies” and Gee Tuck went for a burn in the building southerly while Gargett – Darmanin and White accepted their very nice prizes for their efforts.
Key take-aways from the regatta.
1. Never trust the forecast
2. A well sailed new Viper can hold a $1500 Tornado at bay
3. A Tornado can beat up on a N17 if it sails 10 degrees below the rest of the fleet
4. Sail Monday, travel Tuesday – the traffic from Wildcat is diabolical.
Thanks to Brett at Goodall Design for keeping the Demo/Association boat running, some bits were changed after Coffs and the boat was faultless.
We look forward to 2-3 Nov for Top Gun at Kurnell in NSW where we will join our big brothers the F18s on the water again. On the same weekend there will be the Lake Cootharaba cat challenge regatta in Queensland.