Sunday 27th September 2009.
With an intense low pressure system forming in Bass Straight it looked like a big opening for the Annual Speed Fortnight at Sandy Point near Wilsons Promontory in Victoria. Sailors were greeted with a very high tide due to the storm surge and a very angry looking inlet with the “Prom” lighthouse regularly recording gusts in excess of 70 knots.
After waiting an hour to access the inlet around a dozen sailors rigged and prepared to battle the windiest conditions seen at the “PiT” for years. The currents GPSSS Record holder Chris Lockwood had flown in from Perth and most of the nation’s top speed sailors were present. The stage was set.
As the first few sailors returned from the speed run the story was really similar. “That was wild”, “Couldn’t sheet in”, “totally out of control” being the general mood. KA Sail Team riders Craig “Spotty” Spottiswood and Tony Wynhoven being the only 2 sailors with any degree of comfort in the conditions. Chris Lockwood appeared to be struggling with too much power.
At the end of the day it was the two KA Sailors dominating. Both Craig and Tony had completed enough runs to get a 5X10 second average and the “fist pumping” Spotty had a huge tale to tell. With a 50.01 peak speed on his GT31 he couldn’t stop grinning. But there was more.
His 49.869 2 second, 48.709 500 meter and a 47.775 5×10 second Doppler speeds are simply amazing, the 5X10 being a new GPSSS record. Equally amazing is the fact that Spotty was riding all production gear. Carbon Art Speed 44, KA Koncept 09 5.0 and KA Lockwood<>McDougall 21.5 Asymmetrical Speed Fin.
Tony had an equally big day. After rigging his 08 KA Koncept 4.4 for the first ever time he finished with a 49.11 2 second and a 46.19 5X10 second. Tony was also riding stock production equipment, FS Missile S and XS, KA Koncept 4.4, and KA Lockwood<>McDougall 21.5 Asymmetrical Speed fin. No custom gear, no man made speed strip.
Other sailors recording PB’s for single runs over 45 knots were Andrew Daff, Adrian Bonomi and Mat Robertson, all with stock KA 4.4 Koncepts and KA 20 Speed Fins.
To do 5 runs in these conditions was gruelling, with the trip back taking up to 45 minutes. All but a handful of sailors settled for just 2 or 3 runs, with more than half the fleet staying ashore.
Congratulations guys and a huge well done for all the sailors that gave it a go. The spirit of adventure is truly alive and well.