The 2019 SYC Commodore’s Challenge was blessed with great sailing conditions and a stellar field of Victoria’s best women sailors.
The event, now in its fourth year running, puts club against club onboard Sandy’s One Design Beneteau Yachts.
Given that the boats are all evenly matched, the emphasis is all on crew work and decision-making around the racecourse.
This year’s line-up of competing club included Royal Brighton Yacht Club, Sandringham Yacht Club, Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron, Somers Yacht Club, Black Rock Yacht Club and Sorrento Sailing Couta Boat Club.
Team Brighton was represented by Laura Harding, Kate Jenkins, Laura Thompson, Chloe Fisher and Ella Grimshaw.
All teams only had approximately 1 hour to prepare and understand the complexities of how to best sail the boats in the prevailing conditions.
Team Brighton quickly tested speed and setup under the watchful eye of club coach Adrian. HIs vast experience in boat setup and sail tuning gave the team an early advantage and allowed them to start in the middle of the line under no tactical pressure.
To acquire consistent speed in this style of format, it’s critical to mark the sheet ropes so the team can go to the fast settings straight away; a humble black permanent marker became the best tool on board for speed.
The team started very conservatively as a general game plan, often made comebacks on the downwind run with excellent crew work and superior speed. During the fourth race, the wind started to hit peaks of 20 knots and the 49er background on board was on display as Team Brighton was the only boat to fly the spinnaker on the downwind. Club Coach Adrian Finglas advice for the team in this race was to start conservatively and make sure you get the spinnaker down early. Adrian said it was incredible to work with such a talented team.
In the end, Team Brighton won ALL 6 races!!
Team Brighton had a fan club on arrival back ashore at Sandringham, with Commodore Paul Pascoe and General Committee Member Cath Hurley dockside with champagne in hand to celebrate the team’s victory.
Well done to all involved!
Full results: https://syc.com.au/raceresults/2019/kb/cc/series.htm
Written by Club Coach Adrian Finglas