Stephens claims sharpie sprint series

Boston Bay Sharpie Sprint Series

THE largest fleet of local sharpies seen in many years arrived at the Port Lincoln Yacht Club on Sunday for the inaugural Boston Bay Sharpie Sprint Series.

With a strong 15 to 20-knot south-easterly breeze on offer, all eight local boats enjoyed the fresh conditions, which provided some great spinnaker rides and also some shifty conditions close to shore.

The format was six short-course races with the windward mark located just off the town jetty to give those watching from the beach the best possible view of the racing.

Principal race officer David Bassham was quick to get racing underway and powered through the fast format with not much time to rest between races.

Only one point separated the top three boats at the end of the day but it was Miles Stephens skippering Finger Jam with Wade Gray and Byron Russ who came away with the overall title.

Stephens sailed a consistent series finishing with a win, four seconds and a fifth.

After discarding the fifth place, the Finger Jam team was on nine points, one point ahead of second and third.

Stephens, Gray and Russ were presented with the Tulka Cup, an old sharpie trophy that was once used for a regatta sailed out of a shack at Tulka.

The trophy has now been reallocated as the perpetual trophy for the winner of the sprint series on the Sunday after Tunarama each year.

Ben "Bullet" Kelsey skippering INXS with Alyssa Kelsey and Matt Stephens won three of the six races and with a third and two fourths (one discarded) they finished a point behind the lead.

Kelsey proved the old red boat was no barrier to success.

It was the people's champion on Sunday being very unlucky to win three races and not come away with the honours.

Third on a countback to INXS was Paul Watson skippering Pre-Mature with James Flint and Harry Fisher.

Watson finished with two firsts, a second, two thirds and a fourth (discarded) and lost the countback because INXS had more race wins.

These guys had the boat in the workshop for a few weeks leading up to the regatta and after a bit of polish on the hull prior to racing, they certainly did not have issues with boat speed.

Another standout performance was Bronte Flint skippering The Good, The Bad and The Ugly with Terry Carlson and Phil Kelly.

It was the only boat to improve consistently as the day went on with their results reading 5, 5, 4, 4, 3, 2.

The team of salty veterans finished fourth overall and are probably still icing their wounds today.

Special mention goes to Canberra sailor Steph Johnstone who ventured over to Port Lincoln to race in the sprint series and had a lot of fun sailing with Kym Wright in Murderess.

The sharpie sailors now look ahead to this weekend where some will travel to Wallaroo for the second leg of the state championships and then to the annual Port Lincoln Frostbite regatta over the June long weekend.

Overall results

First: Finger Jam: Miles Stephens, Wade Gray, Byron Russ, 9 points.

Second: INXS: Ben Kelsey, Alyssa Kelsey, Matt Stephens, 10 points.

Third: Pre-Mature: Paul Watson, James Flint, Harry Fisher, 10 points.

Fourth: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: Bronte Flint, Terry Carlson, Phil Kelly, 18 points.

Fifth: Dozenmatter: Mark Barwick, Jade Forbes, Joe Kelly, 26 points.

Sixth: Mark It Zero: Mark Forbes, Zali Forbes, Andrew Puglisi, 27 points;

Seventh: Salted Nuts: Pagan Henley, Paula Wise, Lyndon Henley, 35 points.

Eighth: Murderess: Kym Wright, Steph Johnstone, Cameron Forbes, 35 points.