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International 14 Victorian Championships

Saturday, 14th March 2020

International 14 Victorian Championships

7-9th March Sandringham Yacht Club

Following the untimely passing of Mark Fox the Victorian 14 foot sailing council in association with the B14’s and Musto Skiffs held their State Championships in his honour at Sandringham YC over the March weekend.

Foxy was a beloved member of SYC and great supporter of all things Skiffs, as well as being a multiple I14 State Champion and class legend.

The fleet of 17 14foot skiffs included no less than 4  Australian champions and multiple state champion winners ,promising and delivering a very close regatta that was not decided till the last race of the weekend.

Foxeys Wife Christine was Race Officer on board their Yacht Vixen 1 and Regatta coordination by Dean Robson off and on the water ensured a smooth and professionally run Championship.

In the end the best results from Sandringham Yacht Club members   were- 1st Place to World and 9 time Australian champion Lindsay Irwin with Roger Blasse 6th,Ben Strong 7th and Stewart Vickery 9th Overall

Saturday’s racing was conducted in 8-12 knots with a large rolling sea state of around 1-1.5m, crews had to be on their toes for the downwind legs.

Race 1 saw a great jump for the boats towards the pin end of the line and Mark Krstic on ‘Sticky Fingers’ made short work of the upwind leg rounding the top mark with a substantial lead to Lindsay Irwin on ‘Ronstan/Irwin Sails’ and Scott Cunningham on ‘Is This Goin’ in or What’ in 2nd and 3rd. The top 8 boats remained in a holding pattern with no one able to make substantial gains, however further back it was on for young and old with the large swell catching a lot of people out.

Race 2 started in a slightly fresher breeze a left hand shift just before the start meant quite a few boats were struggling to lay the pin end of the line, Anthony Anderson on ‘The Joker’ had a flying start right off pin end but couldn’t capitalise with the boats to windward lifting further up, it was déjà vu up the front with Mark Krstic, Lindsay Irwin and Scott Cunningham all vying for that top spot on the podium, Mark Krstic eventually came out on top with two race wins for the day. Anthony Anderson and Ben Strong were having a close battle for 4th when the large swell claimed its next victim; Ben Strong and Daniel Farthing on ‘Too Late to Stop Now’ had a spectacular cart wheel on the way to the finish line – where was the GoPro when we needed it!

Part of what makes the International 14 fleet such a joy to be a part of is, once the racing is done and dusted there is always time for a bbq and drink to reminisce over the day’s events.  There may have been a bit too much ‘reminiscing’ for some with a few weary eyes the next morning and with the breeze up it was looking like hard work for a few boats. 

Racing kicked off in a 15-20knot ESE breeze and picked up throughout the race, once again it was the pin end of the line that seemed to pay off, Scott Cunningham and Anthony Anderson both coming off the line well and heading in shore to the left-hand side of the course where the breeze was lifting but as the boats got closer to the top mark and further from shore the breeze would favour the right hand side and it was Lindsay Irwin rounding in first, Anthony Anderson 2nd and Scott Cunningham 3rd.  Mark Krstic had a fill in crew for the day and couldn’t quite achieve the same results as the previous day in the blustery conditions.  Anthony Anderson had a quick capsize through a gybe dropping him back to 6th place.  It was Lindsay Irwin taking the race win, Scott Cunningham in 2nd and Roger Blasse on ‘Dumb Idea’ taking 3rd place.

Race 4 had a small postponement as the Race committee decided whether to continue the days events with gusts hitting 27 knots, the decision was made and racing resumed.  Once again it was Lindsay Irwin, Anthony Anderson and Scott Cunningham leading the charge up the first leg.  Anthony Anderson dropped out of contention with a broken vang and had to retire.  The next upwind saw a few boats come unstuck as the breeze continued to build, Lindsay Irwin looked like he might chase down the leader but capsized on the bear away around the top mark and Scott Cunningham took full advantage for his first win of the regatta, Chris Vaughan on ‘The Hedgehog’ finishing 2nd and Lindsay Irwin bringing it home in 3rd.

Final day of racing had a few people nervous in the boat park as an unpredicted 20-25knot Southerly came rattling through the rigging in the morning, racing was postponed on shore until 12pm when the breeze started to subside, waves were a major talking point with another 1-1.5m swell ready to cause havoc once again.  Race 5 got underway in 12-15 knots with the breeze shifting between South and South East.  Mark Krstic was back up the front with his full-time crew back on board and took out first place with Lindsay Irwin in 2nd, it was close racing between Anthony Anderson and Scott Cunningham until Scott binned it through a gybe and Anthony Anderson took 3rd place.

Race 6 had the usual suspects leading the charge, Mark Krstic, Lindsay Irwin, Scott Cunningham and Roger Blasse all in close contact with a small gap to a hungry pack consisting of Ben Strong, Chris Vaughan and Anthony Anderson.  Mark Krstic took another victory, followed by Scott Cunningham and Lindsay Irwin.  Roger Blasse was tipped to finish 4th but had an epic cart wheel on the last downwind leg.  The points tally was getting very tight between the top 3 coming into the final race.

The final race would decide who took out the 2020 Victorian Championships and it was Lindsay Irwin and Andrew Perry on ‘Ronstan/Irwin Sails’ leading from the get go followed by Scott Cunningham and Dave Parker on ‘Is This Goin’ in or What’ and Anthony Anderson and Daniel Vaughan on ‘The Joker’.  Lindsay and Andrew were unbothered all race and took the win and championship.

Final results were:

1st Aus 663 Ronstan/Irwin Sails – Lindsay Irwin and Andrew Perry

2nd Aus 646 Is This Goin’ in or What – Scott Cunningham and Dave Parker

3rd Aus 679 Sticky Fingers – Mark Krstic and James Lanati

Well done to all competitors and big thanks to Sandringham Yacht Club and volunteers for making this regatta such a pleasurable experience.

By Dan Vaughan