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Lancelin Ocean Classic 2010 - Tim Woods account

As it was the 25th aniversary of the Lancelin Ocean Classic I decided it would the a great year to enter this event and living in New Zealand now it was a little easier to get there as it would have been a really long flight from the UK. Thomas Davies and Jebbe Unthank also decided that it would be a good experience. I arrived in Perth on New Years Eve and spent a few days there before collecting the motorhome that we had hired and travelled to Lancelin. I sailed a couple of times in the bay at Lancelin prior to the event, but that still didn’t prepare me for what was to come ...

The event got underway on the first day with the wave event. The open men were first, but they only got a couple of heats completed before it was decided to cancel until the following day due to lack of both wind and waves. Day two got underway with more wind and better waves so the open men completed their heats, but unfortunatelly both Thomas and Jebbe were knocked out of their heats so we were propping the bar up whilst watching the final, which was eventually won by Pete Tomsett.

The womens heats were next with Laure Treboux taking the honours. Then finally it was the event that the spectators were waiting for, the elite men. After several elimination rounds it was down to the final four. Peter Volwater and Ben Severne were fighting it out for 1st and 2nd and Glenn Alexander and Robby Swift were dueling for 3rd and 4th. After what the judges said were two split decisions the final results were in, but they would make everybody wait until the final prize giving to find out who had got what placing.

Finally it was Saturday morning and the day of the major event, the Marathon. Everybody made there way to Ledge Point to register themselves, and for the committee to ensure that all sailors had lifevests and flares which are compulsory whilst competing in this event. We were given our starting positions numbered by your entry date. The earlier you entered, the better your starting position. They then had a skippers meeting in which Bjorn Dunkerbeck and Karin Jaggi and past winner of the event all said that there is always more wind on the beach than at the first mark (the first mark being a 40ft cray boat being a speck on the horizon), so you would need big kit, or in the words of Bjorn, the bigger the better. Everybody rigged their kit and put it on the beach ready for the start, all apart from Peter Volwater who only brought his kit down 5 minutes before the start which was a 95lt board (Fanatic) and 7m sail (Maui), which was decidedly smaller than what everybody else had rigged, did he know something the rest of us didn’t ???? Oh well, too late now.

So the starter siren went and everybody ran to try to be first to the water, but unfortunately the person who was on the line in front of me was having problems getting on his board which in turn delayed me getting on my board as I didn’t have any room to get past him. When I eventually got on my board I didn’t really have any wind because of all of the people who had already set off. I eventually found some wind and set off for the first mark and when I got there, I found that the people who at the skippers meeting had said that the wind usually got weaker once you reached the first mark were wrong. This year the wind got stronger once you reached the first mark, so it looked like Peter did know something the rest of us didn’t as we were all now on kit that was too big. At that point a lot of people decided that they weren’t going to be able to complete the course and turned back, but the dedicated sailors (or should that be crazy sailors) carried on with the kit that we had and struggled to the finish.

I crossed the line in 44th Place overall only to find that both Thomas and Jebbe had both already finished (31st and 36th respectively). Once I was on the beach I spoke to Bjorn Dunkerbeck and asked how he had gone and was amused by his reply of "BOARD TOO BIG, SAIL TOO BIG, BALLS TOO SMALL...". I wasn’t really surprised to hear that Peter Volwater was the first to finish. Looks like I’ll have to go back next year and try again……….

The prize giving took place down on the beach with Peter Volwater receiving a nice cheque for $6000 for finishing 1st, 2nd Patrik Diethelm, 3rd Steve Allen, 4th Dan Engdahl, 5th Bjorn Dunkerbeck, 6th Robby Swift and Karin Jaggi was the 1st woman to finish in 19th place overall.

Wave results were, 1st Ben Severne, 2nd Peter Volwater, 3rd Glenn Alexander, 4th Robby Swift.

Sunday brought even more wind for the Slalom racing. The format was to be three heats then a final and this was to be repeated about 6 times. After the marathon on the Saturday, that was about the most that people could manage as your legs felt like they didn’t belong to you, but luckily I did better in the slalom gaining a bit of my self respect back with 4 finals and finishing 2nd Grand Master. All in all, the whole event was a great, well run event and a credit to the sport and the people who organised it.

Tim Wood

Spectacular pictures http://www.lancelinoceanclassic.com.au/gallery.asp
Web site with full results http://www.lancelinoceanclassic.com.au
Tims photos http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?v=photos&id=1065318138

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