DBSC at Musto Skiff Worlds

Gavin Homer and Ian Renilson were part of a 23-strong British team that  headed  out to do the first non-continental  European Championships  at Black Rock Yacht  Club  south  of Melbourne  Australia.

As seen  in  last  months’  mainsheet  Ian  managed  to  get  out  training in most conditions in December while  Gavin spent   the  time  building  snow men  going to the  panto  and other  family   pre-Christmas  events.    The  Renilsons  headed out  just before  Christmas to  visit  family in Tasmania  before  heading  up to  Queensland  to spend New Year  with  Former member  Jason Beebe  in Brisbane which  at that point  had  not been affected by  the floods.

Meanwhile  Gavin headed  out on the  2nd from Glasgow  to  get in to Melbourne   aiming  to  be  one  of the  first  boats  to   get out on the  water. Due  to customs delays the  containers  turned  up  slightly  later than expected  and the  majority  of the  European competitors had  arrived to help  unload  them on the  5th and rig the  boats whilst watching the  Australian Sharpie class  sailing in 20-25 knots of  sea breeze, typical  conditions  for  the venue  but unfortunately it was the  last  of the  weather  for the next 7  days  as  the  monsoon conditions  further north affected the  weather conditions.

Whilst  Ian  headed over  Gavin was able  to get  3  practise  sessions  over the  next 2 days   with the  first sail  in six  weeks  being in 6-7 knots and 30 C temperature  which built in the afternoon to 15 knots southerly.  Friday  was   hot  with   temperatures  reaching  40C  whilst the wind  was  a  strong northerly  which   died  mid afternoon allowing some more  Europeans  out  to get practise. As Gavin was first to head  out the club balcony filled  with locals to watch how the  Brits would cope  heading out in 20knots onshore  and  a narrow  fairway.  No problems were the answer.

After a good sail it was time for the event briefing and an Aussie bbq. This we  found  out  was  to  be  kangaroo, Sausages  burgers  and steaks  which could  be   washed  down by the sponsors product  Broo lager.

With  the  race  officer  warning the  fleet that  a front was  going to  come through  the  competitors  headed  home  with  the knowledge  that it  could be  a  tricky  weekend  for  the  preworlds  as the  winds  could  get  up to  40 knots.

Saturday  morning everybody was  down bright and early  to meet the  AP  flag due  to 30 knots  breeze  and  40OC temperature  it was like  a fan oven.   At  approximately 14:00  the  breeze  dropped  to  10knots  before  backing  to  the southwest and  increasing  to  25knots  with a   temperature  decrease  of  15 C all  in  the  space  of  15  minutes. The front had come through and as it increased up to 40 knots racing was cancelled and competitors reminded that it was a 9am start next day.

Day  2  and  a 10-12 knot    south westerly  which  built  through the  day  allowed  the fleet  to get  4  races in.    Ian’s training looked like  it  had paid  dividends as he  won the  regatta  with a   1, ocs,1,2   result  against  all  the  top  competitors  to win the  pre-worlds   whilst  Gavin managed  a 16th which  with the pace  of the  fleet and having to go back in 1  start and Gavin was fairly  pleased with.

That evening  they   had   the  pre worlds  prize giving  and  also  an  ominous warning  from the  race officer  that due  to   the weather forecast  the  first  race was planned to start at  9am.   Since the sharpies had 2pm starts for the previous week this was a bad omen for a long trying week for both the race management and competitors.

Tuesday 11 January: Day  one of the world  championships  and   after a long  delay  due  to shifting winds  3 races  in 8-12  knots were held. Along with a  chop  that  made port tack tough,  it  was  a trying  day  with  both of us having  a poor  days  results  but  looking forward  to the forecast breeze on Wednesday.

Wednesday 12 January: After a  short  postponement  the fleet   the  fleet headed  out to  what turned  out to be  the    windiest race of the  regatta. Ian was  in the  leading  pack  at the first mark  and  was  able to  finish third  meanwhile  after having a poor first beat Gavin  had  got  back  into the  top ten  before  disaster struck as he was preparing to  make  my  final gybe  to the finish. Gavin pitch poled  and during the pitch pole I dislocated my  right shoulder ( to  go  along with the left  that  he had dislocated  several times and  had  surgery on).    The regatta was over for Gavin. After  being  take  to  hospital he was   eventually   given sedative  so he was  out  whilst  they reset it.    Four  hours  later  Gavin was discharged  by  a  efficient medical team  who   have  to  deal  with  the incident  fairly  frequently  due  to  the  local  kite surfers.

On returning to the  club Gavin  learned that  it  was  the only  race of the  day  due  to  various  squalls coming through  and  making it difficult to  start another race.

Thursday 13 January: A long  day  on the  water  for the sailors  whilst Gavin spent  the morning  recovering  from the  sedative  and painkillers  Ian  had  a frustrating  afternoon on the  water   with  the  wind shifting  throughout the  day  although   by race 7  he  had  got back into gear  and  got  a second.

Following  the racing  the  club  hosted  a  seafood  night  which  was  going  very  well    due  to  a  large  amount of  sponsors  product  and  a good  range  of  seafood  everything  from  oysters , calamari  to deep  fried   fishtails.    Unfortunately  it  all came  to an abrupt  end  due  to a  power cut which for  some  was quite  lucky  while a  few  headed  to the bars of  St Kilda  a  popular  bar  and  night club area  approximately  10 km  north.

Friday 14th January: Lay day. Whilst  Ian  and Jane  were  taking  Gillian  back to the airport and  moving  accommodation, the  majority  of foreign  competitors   took an  organised   bus  tour  to Healsville  wild life  sanctuary unfortunately  the   weather  was near monsoon  conditions  so  most  of the  animals  were trying to  hide  out of the rain .  This was followed by wine tasting at Domain Chandon   (Moet and chandon’s   Australian headquarters)  and lunch.   As  the  weather  cleared  up   they were able  to  visit  one  more  vineyard  before  being   dropped  off in  central  Melbourne  to  watch  the  20/20  cricket.

Saturday 15th January: With  the  sun  out  the  conditions  looked  promising  but  the  wind  did  not  settle until mid  afternoon. Race  8  and  Ian  had  found  his  boat  speed  and  strategy  to lead through the finish, only to touch the committee boat and have to return to the course-side and complete a penalty-turn, which dropped him to 3rd. Following another  delay as  the  sea breeze  swung  Ian  was  unable  to  capitalize  on the  shifts  and  ended up  11th.

As  racing  finished  and  the  sun was  out the  breeze  swung to the  south west  and  slowly  built. The typical Melbourne weather had at last decided to come out to play.  While  the  rest  of the  competitors  relaxed  on the  club balcony Ian stayed  out  to  let  some Contender  sailors  he  knew  have  a  go of the boat  and  also  to  enjoy  some sailing in the  conditions  we  had  expected  to meet.

Sunday 16th January: Final  days  racing  and  with  the  outcome  of the  championship in the balance  I  decided  to  go out  and  watch  the   sailing  so  after another  postponement we   headed  out  to  see  the last 2  races. Race  10   and  Ian  was  in the  lead  group  ending  up  5th although the  race winner  had  the  biggest  lead  of the  event  winning the  race  by  over  2  minutes.

Race  11: Ian  was  individually recalled  so  ended  up  with  an ocs  but  with  various  wind shifts  and   the  short  chop  coming  in he  came  off the  water  feeling    he  had  a  poor race.  Following racing it was time to pack up.

Monday 17th. Home  Time; With  an  early  start  to  finish  packing  the  container    and  an early   a  late night  for  several    competitors  it  was  a  rather  subdued  group  who    packed  up the  container before  either  catching  flights  home  to    get  pack to  the  realities  of  work  or  for a  lucky  few  another  week  touring  round  Australia  before  heading  home.

Overall results: Ian Renilson: 9th overall/ 1st Grand Master


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