Dramatic conclusion to the 2009 SunSmart School Team Racing
The 2009 event ended with drama and fantastic sailing as the fairytale run of Shenton College continued in true West Australian style.
Christ Church Grammar School have for a long time been the powerhouse school when it comes to team racing, but this year many felt Scotch College wasthe favourite. After day one's racing these two teams stood undefeated at the top of the rankings and the pesimists were saying "here we go again". Last year's dark horse Rossmoyne was right in the mix and was trying hard to slip below the radar. The surprise packet of this year to day one was St Hilda's, however those who had done their research were expecting this as the team contained many good sailors with considerable team racing experience.
Day 2 saw similar conditions to day 1 with racing being delayed until 1230 but when the wind did arrive another impressice 65 races were sailed. At the end of day 2 the scorecard showed a couple of upsets and a condesing of the leading pack.
Scotch and Christ Church were still up there as were St Hilda's and Rossmoyne but joining them as emerging threats were Shenton College and John XXIII College.
Day 3 was going to test everyone with an opposite forecast - winds to 30knots. The promised wind did arrive and the strong gusts would sort out the good from the excellent. The race team pushed hard and completed race 180 before lunch and the boats (and the sailors) held together well in the stronger conditions. Round Robin 1 was nearly completed and the teams tried every trick to have the numbers to fall their way inlcuding a large number of redress requests and protests but in the end the top ranked were as follows:
1 Scotch College
2 Rossmoyne SHS
4 Shenton College
4 John XXIII
6 St Hilda's
The finals were a 1v4 and 2v3 scenario in a best of three and it was Shenton College who sneaked into the top 4 on a count back. Rossmoyne looked composed on the course as they defeated CCGS 2-0 to advance the grand final. Scotch and Shenton split it one all and it came to the third race. Shenton in their first year in the event showed great passion and clinched the third race to advance to the grand final.
The petit final between CCGS and Scotch was a very feisty series with excellent tactical work by both teams and in the end CCGS shrugged off their dissappointment to claim the third place on the podium 2-0.
In a dream come true for the new event supporter School Sport WA, an all government school grand final ensued. Shenton in their first ever event and Rossmoyne in their second having already improved on last year's fourth place.
Rossmoyne quickly took control of the first race to be on the board early and were clinical in the second and it looked like Shenton's fairytale was coming to a close. The third race was even tighter and very tough to call all the way up the final leg and as the boats crossed the line Rossmoyne thought they had it but a red flag from the umpires who were right on the spot saw them do some late spins and Shenton stole the win to stay alive. It was 2-1 to Rossymone in a best of five, but Shenton quickly levelled it all up at 2-2 using the momentum from the previous race.
So it all came down the the final race and as they jostled for position in the prestart the umpires were right there, unobtrusive but close enough to see it all. With a couple of boats OCS it was fairly even at the start with one pair each in control so at the top of the course right in front fo the cheering spectators the mark blocks were set and the lead changed faster than the nails were disappearing. On the run Rossmoyne might have been in front but they knew they were not secure and Shenton attacked hard. As they rounded the last mark, it was still anybody's race with blocks, covers and attacks coming from all sides.
It wasn't until the final metres that Shenton College edged ahead to claim the race win, series win and State Championship completing the dream come back Australia II style in their first crack at the title.
A huge team of volunteers and officials did an amazing job keeping the racing flowing (nearly 200 races in 3 days!!!) and boats fully serviced - THANK YOU.
A full set of results is linked below.