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Australia Victorian Inland Waters Championship 2002
Albury - Wodonga Yacht Club
13 Boats made the journey to Lake Hume, 9 travelling north from Melbourne and Ballarat, and 4 coming down from the Sydney/Lake Macquarie region.
The sight that greeted the sailors upon arrival wasn't pleasant. The lake was at 24% capacity, in the grip of drought, requiring a 300 metre drive from the "normal" edge of the lake down 30 or so metres to the water's edge.
The breeze, in which some had confidently predicted would blow reasonably from the North East for the duration typically died away to a 2 - 5 knot gale in time for the start of the 2 Saturday back to back races.
Bruce Ashton, 60-something veteran and wily old fox appeared to have both a boat speed and brain speed advantage over the rest of the muddling throng on the first day, and easy won both races in the light breezes, Nick Gray, a specialist of creampuff breezes showed glimpses of form with a 2nd and 4th for the day. Andre Blasse, he of a somewhat reduced girth showing that you don't need to be 65kg to do well in light breezes with a 5th and a 2nd and Phil Taylor, inland waters specialist with a 4th and 6th both showed ability to hang in there with Bruce.
All OK sailors opted out of the AWYC "dash for cash" after the 2nd race, preferring to concentrate on rehydration via the preferred "green can method" rather than more of the same drift around the course.
The Saturday night "Barbeque" saw Mark and Peter Jackson cunningly trying to lure Bruce into a "marathon rehydration session". Choc backed this effort up by purposely snoring loudly all night while bunked down with Bruce on cushions in the club storeroom.
It may have worked marginally
The next morning dawn clear and sunny with the wind rushing out of the north at about 3 knots, with 3 back-to-back races scheduled. This was gonna be fun.
Bruce Ashton cleared out early to his customary position at the head of the fleet, flowed some 50 metres astern by Nick Gray and Peter Jackson. Bruce however, his brain seemingly confused from the night before sailed way past the windward mark the 2nd time around, thinking maybe he was competing in the Albury Classic, the floating caravan extravaganza happening concurrently at the Club. Nick and Choc kept quiet and rounded the mark to go on to first and second, Bruce, although sailing perhaps 500 metres further than all other competitors still managing a 5th.
Peter "the country member" Yates followed up with another 3rd.
The next race got underway soon after with Bruce again clearing out with Yatesy, Phil and Andre. It remained that way, despite some minor jousting down back between Nick, Bill Bell, Tim Davies and Choc.
Race 5 was thankfully cancelled as what was left of the breeze dropped even more (can you have negative windspeed?). Bruce was duly declared Inland Waters Meister, putting on a clinic of light air sailing. Nick finished 2nd overall, from Peter Yates 3rd.
Thanks to the NSW competitors for making the journey down, although technically still sailing in NSW water. Apart from Nick's creampuff heroics, Mick McQueen was consistent mid fleet and Tim Davies and Peter Burton certainly couldn't get the NZ Norths moving in the light stuff.
It was also good to see Bill Bell back in the FNQ Delfs, although Bill, like most of us probably could have benefited with a bit more breeze.
|1||AUS 628||Bruce Ashton||Baker Street||1||1||5||1||3|
|2||AUS 680||Nick Gray||Return of the Jabba||2||4||1||9||7|
|3||AUS 695||Peter Yates||The Wife||9||3||3||2||8|
|4||AUS 698||Andre Blasse||The Beast||5||2||4||3||9|
|5||AUS 709||Phil Taylor||Big Girls Blouse||4||6||12||4||14|
|6||AUS 666||Peter Jackson||Chock Dog||6||10||2||8||16|
|7||AUS 7||Mark Jackson||On Loan||3||8||8||5||16|
|8||AUS 703||Mick McQueen||San Jose||8||5||6||6||17|
|9||AUS 676||Tim Davies||So long & thanks...||7||11||9||7||23|
|10||AUS 610||Peter Burton||Corsair||10||6||11||13||27|
|11||AUS 714||Bill Bell||Slante||11||9||7||11||27|
|12||AUS 643||Ben Kersten||Blue Genes||13||13||10||10||33|
|13||AUS 615||Richard Furneaux||Token Gesture||12||12||13||12||36|