In a widely diverse range of weather conditions, the husband and wife combination of Nick and Janet Jerwood added another title to their CV when they won the Western Australian Flying Fifteen championship on the Swan River over the Easter weekend. Jerwood, who last month won the World Viper 640 championship at the same venue, acted quickly to scotch rumours of a jump to the Viper class, declaring his allegiance to the Flying 15, the people who sail them and the closeness of competition.
The Western Australian Flying Fifteen has defied its critics by remaining numerically one of the strongest fleets in the world, with boats competing in Esperance, Albany, Perth and Geraldton.
(Championship runners-up, John Wilson and Matt Summers)
John Wilson teamed up with Matt Summers to finish second on a count back with David Yu and Chris Nelson, finishing the final day with a curious mixture of results – a first in the penultimate race and a 17th in the last, which became his drop. David Yu and Chris Nelson had a strong showing up to the last day, with a run of seconds and thirds, but would have been disappointed in their last two races, recording 20th and 12th placings.
Still, in this company, any podium position is hard earned. Jerwood is a past world champion, as is Grant Alderson, who finished fourth.
(Carl and Christine Pettersson, one of many husband and wife combinations in the 34-boat fleet.)
One of the ways in which the class keeps itself vibrant is the introduction of new ideas. There are several husband and wife combinations within the group, and in an effort to encourage and recognise the importance of women to the future of the class, awards for the best female skipper and best female crew were introduced.
(Consistency winners, Albany’s Simon and Aileen Lucas.)
In conjunction with the championship was a handicap-based consistency competition, which was won by Simon and Aileen Lucas, with the minor placings going to veterans Ron Packer and Steve Ward, who in turn just pipped third placegetters Tim Walker and Alan Sharpe.
(Third place went to David Yu and Chris Nelson)
A special presentation was made to the regatta’s principal organiser, John Hassen, to recognise his contribution.
Nick Jerwood was effusive in his praise for the South of Perth Yacht Club, which hosted the championship and the efforts of race officer Les Swinton, who coped remarkably well with conditions ranging from south westerlies gusting well over 25 knots to shifty easterlies on the final morning to ensure that the full program of races was delivered while keeping competitors safe.
For full results, go to: http://www.topyacht.net.au/results/sopyc/2018/f15states/f15states/series.htm