Congratulations to Geoff Bishop and his crew on his King 40 CHECKMATE for being crowned the 2019 Western Australian IRC State Champ. After sailing the first year mostly with the sails that came with the boat, CHECKMATE added a new mainsail, Code 1 and Code 2 jib. “These three new Titanium sails have us sailing higher and faster,” said skipper Geoff Bishop. “The new jib designs allow us to inhaul closer (trim at tighter sheeting angles) without losing any boatspeed.” These improvements came about from looking at UK Sailmakers Ireland’s design study for the J/109. After comparing designs with Pat Considine, UK Sailmakers Chief Designer, UK Fremantle made small adjustments to their standard designs and the improvement has been really noticeable.
A fantastic fleet of 40 footers lined up for the first race led by ENTERPRISE, OBSESSION a MAT 1245, WEAPON OF CHOICE a FB35, CHECKMATE, JOSS a J/122 and the Elan 395 WASABI. CHECKMATE took the fight to ENTERPRISE right away, getting the win over ENTERPRISE by 28 seconds in the first race of the series.
Race 2 and 3 where sailed two weeks later. CHECKMATE and ENTERPRISE sailed clear with CHECKMATE winning both races by 40 and 30 seconds over ENTERPRISE with WASABI coming in third 4 minutes behind in race 2 and OBSESSION finishing third, 6 minutes behind in race 3.
The last day of the series was forecast for another windy day; however, the crews woke to only 7 knots of wind. Sails where swapped out for light air sails but only three boats showed up to race the first race of the day. CHECKMATE got off to a great start and led at the first mark, but at the second mark ENTERPRISE was in the lead and sailed away to win by over 47 seconds over CHECKMATE.
The second race of the day saw WASABI join the fleet and the wind picked up to 15 knots. The four boats mixed it up at the prestart with ENTERPRISE and CHECKMATE trying to get the better of each other. CHECKMATE gained control 30 seconds before the start and sailed away with a large lead at the first mark, WEAPON OF CHOICE rounded in second and ENTERPRISE was third. During the downwind leg a strong cold gust of wind passed over the fleet causing all boats to lose control at some point. ENTERPRISE gybe-broached and lost a crewman over the side and retired from the race (the crewmember was recovered unharmed). CHECKMATE retrieved a torn spinnaker from the water, while WEAPON OF CHOICE survived better than the others and took the lead crossing the finish line in first with CHECKMATE second.
With three firsts and three seconds, CHECKMATE won the series and was crowned the 2019 IRC State Champion for Division 0.
Back at Fremantle Sailing Club after sailing, Geoff Bishop thanked his crew, plus his and their families for letting them all do what they love and of course UK Sailmakers. Amongst his crew for the last day of the series was the State Optimist Champion, James Ferguson, who joined the team to learn about offshore sailing. It was great to see his smile from enjoying his day.
The new jib designs are flatter and straighter in the foot and leech region. The twist is a little more than used for the J/109. The King 40 is now sailing above her polars in both boat speed and true wind angles.