Warren Jones 2014 was the first year in the 12 years the regatta has being going that it has been upgraded from a grade 3 to a grade 2 event. The entries included 6 teams inside the top 60 in the word so was always going to be a tough event. Wind conditions were similar to the Little Wheel Regatta the week earlier but because we were starting racing at 9am or 10am the first few flights were generally very light and shifty.
The first day we won 2 races and lost 4. The highlight from the day was convincingly beating Chris Poole who we also beat in the Little Wheel. We also had a good win against Gecko Racing. We had difficulty with time on distance to the line and an error with our start watch saw us over the line in a couple of races. This was disappointing as we stayed within a boat length of our opposition in these races and had we been ahead off the start and not over we would have been in great shape to win the races.
Day two was the lightest of the regatta two flights being sailed before the breeze died out. This was our best day on the water with 4 wins and only 1 loss to Jerwood. Our first match against Will Tiller was in 5-8knots of breeze. He had us all stitched up in pre start and we trailed him across the line. After 3 legs of being right on his tail we managed to pass him on the last upwind and sail away to a good win. The second race of the day was a total lottery with next to no breeze. Some great tactics allowed us to lead around the first mark and extend to a lead by almost a leg by the finish line. After an hour or so on land waiting for breeze, racing commenced in the afternoon with a nice 10-12 knot sea breeze. We won the next two races in the afternoon by controlling the pre start and leading around the course. At the end of round robin 1 we were in 4th place on 6 wins and 5 losses.
Day 3 proved to be the toughest of them all. The race committee decided they were going to try and squeeze in another round robin and if it was incomplete take results out of that. We were surprised as we had thought round robins had to be complete and they would go to a quarter finals. We had 5 flights off and the wind did the same thing as the day before so we had a long wait on the change over boat in the sun till around 1pm. Once we got on the boat we had 9 races in a row and only needed one 1 to secure a spot in the quarter finals. In an Emirates Team NZ style collapse we lost 9 races in a row. We were slow all day, really lacking the boat speed we had in previous days meaning if we were behind it was near impossible to pass. Most of the races were very close with epic battles against Sam Gilmore and Gecko racing with multiple penalties in both. A combination of errors, boat speed and huge pressure to perform in such quick fire racing took their toll and we slipped from 4th to 10th after the second round robin.
All in all in was a fantastic event and as a team we are proud of what we achieved in Perth. We proved we can give the top guys a run for their money and I think if we had even had half of the training they had building up to the event we would have been well inside that top 4. Looking to the future we need more time on the water as a team and I am looking at more events overseas.
Id like to thank RAYC for their AMAZING support in getting us over to Perth and all the people that financially supported us. There is no way we could do these events without you. Akarana has a great reputation over in Perth and I would encourage members to go and visit the clubs over there and build on the relationships we established with members of South of Perth Yacht Club and Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club.