National Titles 2002-03

31st Mosquito Catamaran Nationals
Jan 2003 at Lake Munmorah, NSW

The 2002-03 National Titles were held at Munmorah YC, NSW from 5 Jan.

Report

The 2002/2003 Mosquito Catamaran National Titles were held at Lake Munmorah over the week from Sunday 5 January 2003 in conjunction with the Maricats. The lake is about 140 km North of Sydney near Lake Macquarie and is on the coast separated from the sea by a few hundred metres. It is non tidal and is about 3 to 4 metres deep with a sandy shallow shore area, minimal wave action and a prevailing sea breeze from the North East.

The winners were everyone who attended. The location, camping, social aspects and particularly the sailing where all excellent. The location was a bit outside of the Mosquito’s usual home states of Victoria and South Australia so numbers were down compared to previous years but for those that made the journey the competition was still excellent. Stuart and Ann Ridge took out the MkII title and Bob Wilson once again won the MkI division (8th year in a row) but he did not have it all his own way and could still have been beaten going into the last heat.

Sailing conditions where typical for Munmorah with a strong NE sea breeze for the first 3 days replaced by a Southerly system that arrived with a bang on Wednesday night taking out a few tents and enforcing a lay day on Thursday. The final two heats on Friday were sailed in a strong southerly.

Most of the Mosquito contingent had arrived by the Saturday night and Sunday morning was spent weighing boats and checking rigs. The invitation race was sailed in a strong NE breeze and Stuart and Ann Ridge (MkII) were home first followed by Gary Maskiell (MkI). In the interests of research one Mosquito flew it’s spinnaker for the invitation race and demonstrated what happens downwind in a strong breeze by leap-frogging most of the fleet during a single downwind leg.

Monday morning was spent finalising the paper work and measuring sails. The first heat was held that afternoon again in a strong NE breeze. Again the Ridges led the way with Gary the first of the MkIs followed by Mick Floyd then Bob Wilson. It was becoming apparent that you needed to leave plenty of room upwind of the marks as there was a sinister orange rope trap there for anyone who strayed too close. Several sailors had already found it and more were to discover the joys of a 360 degree penalty as the series progressed.

Tuesday was our first scheduled early race but luckily for most it was postponed to about 11am when the sea breeze started. Heat 2 saw Gary and Bob get away well from the start and were having a battle for 1st spot until Gary capsized going downwind. Gary's downwind technique was the talk of the series. He works his boat hard all the way doing the "wild thing" (sailing on one hull using the apparent wind angle to sail lower faster). On this occasion it didn't work out but in most races he gained boat lengths on the down wind legs. Bob had his first win with Mick one and a half minutes behind. The Ridges were next and then Tim Shepperd close behind to claim his first placing for the series.

The second race (heat 3) was sailed in strengthening wind with the Ridges again showing the way round the course. In the MkI division it was again Bob, Mick then Gary but there was less than 3 minutes between Bob and Jon Guymer in 7th. Tim, Greg Plum, Andrew Neeson and Jon were all right on the pace and a slight error or slow tack was all that was needed to lose places. Philip Warren-Smith sailing MkII with his son Brenden was also in there starting to hit his straps. Very hard racing physically in 20+ knots and even harder mentally! Special mention should be made here of Cam Lawrence. Cam has started sailing a Mozzie this season at Altona and was out there in the thick of things capsizing, being amazed at how quick the newer boats were but above all he was having a go, also learning a lot along the way.

Wednesday saw the first of the short course, back to back races. We had 4 races over the day, 3 short races back to back, a break then back out for a long format race. A southerly change was forecast and the OOD realised that we may well not be able to sail the next day. He wanted to make sure that the series was completed. In hindsight it was a good idea but bloody hard work.

Mick took out the first race (heat 4) bolting from the start line to lead the whole way. Then it was Tim, Bob and Gary within 40 seconds of each other. Bob got going in heat 5 coming in first followed by the Ridges then Mick, Tim, Jon, Greg and Gary who had been using his foils to test the depth of the water. In heat 6 Bob again showed how it should be done coming in the clear winner. Stuart and Ann demonstrated how not to round a mark and Jon just simply missed rounding the mark altogether. Gary took second place narrowly from Tim.

The last race for the day (heat 7) was supposed to be a short version of the long format course but it still took about an hour and a half to complete. Again Bob won with the rest of us battling out the minor placings.

After sailing 4 hard races we were looking forward to a quiet evening. An RSL dinner up the road at Doyalson was the plan. About 5pm we were warned that a severe southerly change that had hit Sydney was on its way. Boats were pegged down, masts lowered and all lose gear around the camp was packed into trailers and cars. The RSL bus was booked for 6pm but as the bus arrived the front hit. The wind was at least 40 knots straight down the lake and through our camp site. Some tents offered no resistance at all, just laying down where they were, others survived by being tied to cars strategically placed to windward. The coolness was refreshing but it was all a bit hectic. By about 7:30pm all that could be done was done, and the RSL courtesy bus was recalled. A pleasant evening was had sitting in the club watching palm trees being blown to pieces outside the windows.

Luckily for those that had no tent left standing we had the keys to the community hall that was attached to the yacht club. It looked a bit like a disaster shelter but was apparently quite comfortable apart from the loud snoring, squeaky stretchers and rampaging cockroaches. One brave Mosquito sailor was seen to retreat to his car for the night after the second cockroach encounter.

Next day was declared a lay day because we couldn't stand up in the wind!

Friday the southerly was still blowing bringing intermittent showers of rain with it. It was OK for sailing though and two races were scheduled. The first saw an incident on the start line when Bob dropped his main sheet and got tangled with Gary. This resulted in a late start for Gary and an even later one for Bob after doing his penalty. This gave Mick and Tim a break and they didn't look back. Gary fought back well catching Tim but wasn't able to get past. Stuart and Ann were well in front (nearly 5 minutes) of the cat rigged boats. Philip with Sandra taking over the crew position from Brenden was right on their tail until he (Philip) fell off the boat. This combined with a broken diamond wire just before the finish put them out of contention.

The last race (heat 9) started in a heavy squall but towards the end was getting much lighter with some rain blocking the view for spectators on the shore. For a change, Bob was not the clear cut winner going into the last race but he was by the end leading from start to finish in difficult conditions. Tim and Gary had a good battle for second place with Tim prevailing in the end.

Other awards made were Spirit of the Nationals to Greg Plum for his long support of the class and the Nationals, Encouragement award to Brenden Warren-Smith sailing his first series with father Phil and a Battered Body award for Jon Guymer who managed to knock himself around a fair bit.

The other interesting point is that although we had no entries from NSW we did have at least 3 people from up that way call in and have a look at the boats and a chat. They all had older boats at home that they are keen to get out sailing again. It shows the value of making the effort to travel away from our normal haunts.

The above report was also published in the Multihull World magazine, July 2003.

Results

Mosquito Mk I

Pos.StateSail #Boat NameSkipperHeat 1Heat 2Heat 3Heat 4Heat 5Heat 6Heat 7Heat 8Heat 9Heat 10Points
1 Vic 1781 Voodoo Bob Wilson 3 1 1 3 1 1 1 4 1 - 7.50
2 Vic 1745 Obsession Mick Floyd 2 2 2 1 2 4 2 1 4 - 11.50
3 Vic 1768 Twice Bitten Gary Maskiell 1 5 3 4 6 2 3 3 3 - 18.75
4 Vic 1775 Karma Chris Tim Shepperd 4 3 4 2 3 3 4 2 2 - 19.00
5 Vic 1751 P off Greg Plum 6 6 5 7 4 5 6 5 DNS - 37.00
6 Vic 1755 Prestissmo Jon Guymer 5 4 7 5 5 DNF 5 DNS DNS - 40.00
7 Vic 1707 Natural Progression Andrew Neeson 7 7 6 6 7 6 7 DNF DNS - 46.00
8 Vic 1259 Gump Cam Lawrence 8 8 8 8 8 7 8 DNS DNS - 55.00

Mosquito Mk II

Pos.StateSail #Boat NameSkipperHeat 1Heat 2Heat 3Heat 4Heat 5Heat 6Heat 7Heat 8Heat 9Heat 10Points
1 Vic 1752 Nautical Nuts Stuart Ridge 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 - 5.25
2 Vic 1744 Splashes of Brilliance Philip
Warren-Smith
2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 DNS - 14.00