EC12’s v Canterbury J’ Bragging Match
All of CMYC members will be aware of the elitist position the EC12 sailors have taken concerning their class. Proof of this is obvious from their self-styled title of “the Rolls Royce of yachts”. Undaunted and supremely confident the Canterbury J class challenged the EC12’s to a match race regatta which would lay to rest this myth of EC12 grandeur.
The scheduled date (July 7) for this much flaunted Bragging Match dawned clear and unusually warm with just the gentlest zephyrs of breeze. Lake Victoria shimmered in morning sun and the course was laid. The sailors started arriving and registrations were still underway when the first stirrings of disquiet among the J camp surfaced. The EC12 fleet had 95% turnout at 7 and the J fleet could only field 5 (about 12%). Surely the EC12 pre-race intimidation and verbal nonsense dissemination could not be the reason? After a hurried consultation one of the race 3 officers (Evan Paterson) was press ganged into sailing J 146 which was spare.
It should be noted that the 3 designated ROs and protest panel were all members of the Canterbury J Assoc so if Americas Cup administration shenanigans were followed it would be extremely difficult for the EC12’s to have any hope of winning, however, as the integrity of the J sailors was beyond question no such fears were harboured by the opposition. Indeed to reinforce this claim it should further be noted that the J fleet graciously volunteered to take all the port entry starts, the fact that they lost the coin toss is but a minor and irrelevant detail.
No sooner had the briefing been completed than the forecasted gusty nor’ wester descended. Instantly the millpond was transformed to dark angry wind patches and boats were blown off their cradles. The course was re-laid to an area under protective trees and racing duly started. After 2 flights further misgivings beset the J camp, they were trailing on points. This was not going according to our strategy. It was time for lunch break, licking of wounds and regrouping. Throughout the day the conditions remained the same, alternating periods of calm or gusts giving spectacular nosedives and broaches. These conditions made it difficult to engage in pre-start tactics as one was liable to be propelled into the opposition without warning, but I think EC12 skipper Bruce Edgar was the master tactician in this area having perfected his st’bd hand ramming technique which demoralised the lightweight J’s. I urge my fellow J owners to remember the battle between David and Goliath, we can do the same.
Gradually the conditions took their attrition, J 177 broke her mast while leading her match, I will just repeat those words in case they were missed “WHILE LEADING HER MATCH”, EC12 33 and J 193 were forced to retire permanently while others made hasty repairs and continued sailing. Of course the withdrawals hastened the round robin considerably (plus tipping the balance against the J’s) so we were able to finish by about 2pm. This event attracted more attention than we had anticipated. EC12 skipper Peter Crofts, was vainly trying to resurrect a drowned receiver in the clubhouse when local National Party MP Nicky Wagner enquired as to what was taking place on the lake. Peter informed her and jokingly asked if she had brought any cream cakes. Shortly thereafter Nicky returned with several packets of chocolate éclairs which were eagerly consumed at lunch time, even by staunch Labour Party supporter Ian Scott which earned him some ribbing. Nicky is now our favourite MP.
Finally the round robin was completed and within 15minutes of finishing the wind abated to a beautiful sailing breeze in which the J’s would have revelled in. Our efficient race official Graeme Hore, was in charge of scoring and had the results tallied within minutes. Tension mounted as we waited for the revelation of this close fought encounter. No one was willing to predict the winner, surely it was too close to call. Finally Graeme made the announcement - EC12’s were 47 and the J’s were a very close 17. Unfortunately for the J’s, in match racing the highest score wins.
The very next day I received a disturbing email from the EC 12 spokesman Rod Liddy. “ 47-17 We rest our case. Say no more, but it was 47-17”. Surely us J sailors won’t take this sort of provocation lying down, next year we will turn the tables but meanwhile magnanimously concede a marginal defeat and advise our EC12 comrades to make the most of their victory while they can.
Now, let’s look at the teams. For the EC12’s there were: EC 146 Chris Koskela, EC 141 Rod Liddy, EC 150 Daniel Cross, EC 33 Peter Crofts, EC 134 Bob Torrie, EC 131 Vern Guy, EC 115 David Patterson and EC 143 Bruce Edgar.
The J team was: J 193 Ian Scott, J 177 Robin Brooker, J 158 Wes Purves, J 241 Lloyd Harman, J 121 Glen Church, J 205 Jim Paterson and J 146 Evan Paterson.
The top scorer was Rod Liddy winning all 8 matches. Next was, David Paterson, Bruce Edgar, Daniel Cross (all EC skippers) winning 7 matches. Top scorer for the J team was our press ganged race official Evan Paterson sailing J 146, winning 5 matches, next was Lloyd Harman winning 4 matches.
There are many varied, convoluted, valid, practical, significant, obscure and imaginary reasons why the J’s lost at all, but lest we be accused of Americas Cup tactics we will not even deign to mention them and hail a hearty “CONGRATULATIONS” to the EC 12 skippers on their narrow victory.
Big thank you’s to the Race officials Graeme Hore and to Evan Paterson who laid aside his race officials mantle to become our sailing star. Also to the J racing team who I feel comprehensively and publicly debunked this grandiose Rolls Royce myth.
Unbiased Race Officer
Standing from left to right: Wes Purves J, Daniel Cross EC, David Paterson EC, Bob Torrie EC, Chris Koskela EC, Glen Church J, Evan Paterson J, Peter Crofts EC, Bruce Edgar EC, Vern Guy EC, Robin Brooker J.
Kneeling from left to right: Rod Liddy EC, Lloyd Harman J, Ian Scott J, Jim Paterson J.