German 470 sailors Gerz and Follmann sailing in the storm which hit Sail Melbourne.Exciting finishes and upsets in Sail Melbourne

The opening round of the ISAF Sailing World Cup, Sail Melbourne, has come to an end with close finishes and a number of upsets on the final day of racing.
The best laid plans went astray for the New Zealand 49er crew of Peter Burling and Blair Tuke. They took a three point lead over Delle Nico and Nickolaus Resche into the double-points medal race, meaning the Austrians had to beat them by at least two places to win the gold medal.
The New Zealanders put their rivals into trouble early, forcing them into a pre-start infringement and the consequent 720 penalty turn. This pushed the Austrians to the right hand side of the course and with the wind tracking left, that appeared to be the unfavoured side. If they had any ideas of coming back onto starboard, those hopes were dashed when the Australians, Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen nailed the start and forced them further to the right. Meanwhile, the Kiwis had decided that the extreme left was the place to be.
From nowhere, a big right-hand shift came down the course, the Austrians lifted and the race was effectively over. Outteridge and Jensen came back later in the race to finish 4th, but the Kiwis, furiously “going troppo” in the hope of a favourable shift, finished ninth. Nathan Outteridge reported that the wind shifts were swinging through 55 degrees at various times during the race.
The Kiwis, though obviously disappointed, finished in second place in the regatta.
“We had to play catch up the whole race,” said Peter Burling. “Everything we did didn’t work. We’ll learn from it though.”
The second class away was the Finn, the heavyweight dinghy that features the big men of sailing, and triple Olympic Gold medallist and current World Match Racing champion Ben Ainslie was the one to beat. Ainslie went into the medal race six points ahead of compatriot Giles Scott who in turn was one point clear of Ed Wright.
Wright, the World Champion, took advantage of a big right hand shift to finish second, ahead of Scott and Ainslie. This allowed him to leapfrog Scott in the overall standings, leaving Great Britain with all three podium positions.
The 470 crews were made to work for their medals. Belcher and Page went into the race in third place overall, but only two points off first. Among the top three whoever finished in front would win.
After the restart, it appeared that Belcher and Page were to be dealt a cruel blow. They went right while the Americans went left, and a huge wind shift favoured the left. Belcher and Page were back in sixth and a long way behind.
However, you never write off true champions. Working back up to the fleet, they used superior speed downwind to hit the front and were never headed. Sam Kivell and Will Ryan managed third in the medal race, which put them into third overall.
Belcher and Page in the 470 medal race.On paper, the Laser was going to be the easiest result to pick. Englishman Nick Thompson had a nine point lead over Australian Tom Burton and could win from seventh position. The real battle was going to be between Burton and another Australian, world champion Tom Slingsby. Burton had to finish second to advance from the Australian Development Squad to the Australian Sailing Team, and with only one Olympic place for each country, Slingsby naturally preferred to be the only Laser sailor in the team.
However, wind shifts, re-laid courses and general recalls in other classes meant that by the time the Lasers got onto the course the wind had died and there were holes all over the course. Shortly after the start, it was obvious that Thompson was in trouble. He was back in ninth place and in danger of losing his lead.
Fortunately for him, the two Toms were engaging in their own match race and were also near the back of the fleet. Ultimately, Dutchmen Roelof Bouwmeester and Rutger Schaardenburg were the first two home, ahead of Josh Junior from New Zealand.
Burton finished sixth and Slingsby eighth and the World Champion was philosophical about the defeat. When asked how Burton had been able to beat him, he replied: “Technique. I’ve been out of the boat a bit long and he had the edge in speed.”
By the time the RS:X sailboards hit the course there was almost no wind. They had endured pumping races all week, with only one day when they could get up and plane, and the finals were no different.
In the women’s event, Australian veteran Jessica Crisp took a three point lead into the final and had the chance to break the Asian stranglehold. She finished in second place behind Hualz Zhu of China and thought that this was enough to take the gold medal. In a cruel twist, she was judged to be OCS (over the start line) and dropped to fifth overall.
Roger McMillan

Dimension Polyant crossing to win Race 1.Dimension Polyant wins consecutive Interdominions

Nick Press and Brad Yabsley from Lane Cove 12ft Skiff SC have successfully defended their 2010 Interdominion title, sailing Dimension Polyant to a convincing win in the final race win at the 2011 SLAM 12ft Skiff Interdominions.
Thirty-four skiffs from Australia and New Zealand contested the January event, hosted by Lane Cove 12ft Skiff SC, with the cooperation of Hunters Hill SC.
It was all over at the end of Race 9, when Dimension Polyant came home second behind New Zealand entry Frankenskiff (Tim Bartlett/Adam Miller), with their nemesis, Brett Hobson and Alex Johnson on Garde, third.
Press and ‘Yabba’, who led the series from day one, knew their finish in front of Garde guaranteed them their second title in succession. They were then able to leave the pressure of winning behind them to enjoy the final Race 10, which they won by a massive 2:20 from Frankenskiff, having a cracker of a day.
Five-time Interdominion champion Alex Vallings (NZL) with Fraser Brown and Cameron McDonald filling in variously as crew, finished the series third overall.
“It’s a really good feeling,” a smiling Nick Press said. “In the second race (Race 10) we really let go, because it was already all over.”
A few boats spent a bit of time in the tide.Press could not differentiate as to which was more difficult to win, the 2010 title, or this year.
“Both were as hard as each other. We worked really hard. Dimension Polyant gave us new spinnakers and were really supportive,” said Press, who is thrilled to see his and Yabsley’s name engraved on the Silasec trophy for a second time.
Of second placed Garde, the current national champion, Press said Brett (Hobson) is always hard to beat – and Dad too (Murray Press, skipper of Gemmell Sails which finished fourth on countback to Kiwi entry Nuplex).
Yabsley was especially pleased with their big win in Race 10. “It’s amazing what you can do when you’re not feeling the pressure anymore,” he said. “Hanging onto the title is a feeling more than anyone would ever believe – I can’t explain it.”
Press will now move to 18ft skiff sailing. “I usually race 12s on Saturday and the 18s on Sunday. The 12 is like a sports car and the 18 is more like driving a bus,” he reckoned.
Like most other Aussie entries, Hobson and Johnson will next contest the Garde Sprint Series in February and the Port Jackson Championship in March.
Di Pearson

Lawrie Smith takes out Dragon Worlds
The last day of racing in the 2011 International Dragon World Championship hosted by Royal Brighton Yacht Club on Melbourne’s Port Phillip started with a general recall. A great proportion of the fleet was over, with the ones in the middle pushing out around 50 metres.
The second start, with the now mandatory Black Flag, kept everybody tidy. The left got the best of it, but by halfway, the massive separation we have become used to meant there were vessels near Brighton beach and out near the main shipping channel. Left of centre was the place to be as they got to the top.
Taking out the overall win, by the narrowest of margins at around just a few metres, was the British crew aboard Alfie.
Multi-Olympic medallist, Lawrie Smith, who has not been sailing since his last Volvo Ocean Race campaign in 1999, was pretty happy to get a win in his comeback regatta.
“Four young kids took care of sailing for a while,” said Lawrie at the clubhouse. “The twins are now 13 years old, so it makes doing something like this possible. It really is such a joyous way to come back. I honestly did not think we’d get the win. Then again, I also thought it was going to blow 25 knots each day!”
Crewmember, Tim Tavinor and owner of the boat builder, Petticrows, was also on board Alfie.
“I’m exhausted is all I can say. It is my first Dragon Worlds win, too. Also, first and second overall were brand new boats delivered directly to the regatta. We had a really great time here and the on-water team were very, very professional.”
The gybe set became very popular at the top mark, as there were large numbers of Dragons coming in from the beach. Some did not do so well out of it, the crew from the Dutch entry, Wolly, certainly faired the worst in this exchange.
First at the top mark was the Russian entry of Mikhail Mouratov on Murka 12, with the now-always-there Danish crew on My Way taking second. Nick Rogers and crew on Karabos IX were third and the first of the Australian crews aiming to make a final charge at the scoreboard. In fourth place was the first of the Ukrainian Trans Bunker team in Bunker Prince.
Returning the bottom mark, a new course of 185 degrees was set, in a very civilised rounding.
At the bottom mark for the last time in the regatta, Corinthian Frank Berg on My Way had done more than enough to secure third place overall with eventual overall winner, Alfie, in seventh and looking to get home well ahead of Ukrainian rival Markus Wieser on Bunker Queen, who had not been having a great day out on the track, securing second overall.
In the gala reception for the awarding of trophies, nearly $5,000 was raised with the silent auction of the regatta flags to benefit the recent Queensland flood victims.

George 1st on the wind out in front.International 14 National Championship

Defending champions and current world champions in the International 14 class Archie Massey and Dan Wilsdon won the final race of the series to secure the 2010/11 Australian championship sailed last month in Gulf St Vincent, South Australia.
Massey who hails from England but has resided in Sydney for several years has formed an impressive team with Sydney for’ard hand Wilsdon and defended the Australian title they first won in Sydney last summer.
Massey sailed his modified Bieker 5 hull George 1st with Wilsdon in a near faultless display all series to finish with four firsts and two second placings over a generally light series. So with a second place being their ‘drop’, the George 1st crew simply tightened their stranglehold on the series with a clear win in the final race.
The easy-going Massey said their domination was partly attributable to clean starts.
“Our starts have been good all week,” he said. “We also put in so much work before the world championship in Sydney (last summer) and that helps (with crew work and tuning).”
Massey said George 1st was basically the same boat and set up as used on Sydney Harbour for the worlds but with a slightly stiffer mast. He said they were using a CST Composites HM2 carbon spar and had stiffened it up a bit which appeared to have paid off for what was a generally light series in Adelaide.
George 1st certainly seemed to be in a slightly different class to the rest of the fleet in terms of performance across the wind ranges. The closest challenger and one of the slickest combinations in the fleet was Ronstan/Irwin Sails (Lindsay Irwin/ Andrew Perry) of Victoria.
Ronstan/Irwin Sails finished with one first placing and several minor placings. Irwin said it was the same boat and set up as last season but he had made a number of changes that had resulted in better performance all round.
Adelaide sailor and sail maker Dave Alexander teamed up with Sydney sailor Cam McDonald in Touring Wombat to finish third overall. Although they live in different State capitals and sail only occasionally together, these two sailors obviously make a good team and proved the best of the local boats and challenged the front runners all series.
The I14 fleet seemed to consolidate this year in terms of design innovations. The fleet of 32 boats was mainly made up of Bieker 5 designs, all sported hydrofoiling rudders of various shapes and the sails were predominately a mix of Irwin and Alexander. The States represented included South Australia, Western Australia, Victoria and New South Wales.
Adelaide Sailing Club was an excellent venue with its expanse of rigging lawns, facilities, small boat harbour and a band of willing and friendly volunteers.
The next major event on the I14 horizon will be the world championship later this year in Weymouth, UK, and then the 2011/12 Australian championship to be hosted by Perth Dinghy Sailing Club, Perth.
Neil Patchett

Paul Darmanin and Aleks Vucic completely dominated the Hobie 16 class, winning all 10 races.Australian Youth Championships

Close finishes, fight-backs and continued domination were the flavours of the day as the 2011 OAMPS Insurance Brokers Australian Youth Championships came to an end at Georges River 16ft Sailing Club in Sydney.
The 160 crews from nine countries completed their final two races on Botany Bay with a number of classes coming right down to the final race to decide the winners.
In the Laser Radial class West Australian Matthew Wearn overcame a slow start to the week to win the regatta, ahead of fellow Australian Mitchell Kennedy with Great Britain’s Elliot Hansen third.
Wearn had an amazing finish to the regatta, winning the final five races to overhaul the leaders and gain a place on the Australian Youth Sailing Team.
Ashley Stoddart was the top female Laser Radial sailor, overtaking Alex South on the final race of the regatta to qualify for her second Australian team in three years.
“After not being in the Australian team last year it’s good to be back, my back is much better and I got through school, which was another hurdle, so I’m feeling really good,” she said. “I had a good little break and now ready and raring to go.”
New Caledonia’s Antoine Aubert won the overall Techno 293 class but the fight for first Australian, and a position on the Australian Youth Sailing Team, went right down to the wire with a count-back required to split eventual winner Eamon Robertshaw from Sam Treharne.
New South Wales’ Annalise Gilbert was the leading Techno 293 female sailor and will join Robertshaw as Australia’s windsurfing representatives for the ISAF World Youth Sailing Championship.  
Paul Darmanin and Aleks Vucic completely dominated the Hobie 16 class, winning all 10 races with Darmanin set to head to his second consecutive ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship after winning Gold with Chase Lurati in 2010.
Lucas Price and Joshua Singh were the second placed Hobie 16 crew, ahead of Bryce Haffner and Caleb White.
The 29er class was another which wasn’t decided until the finish of the final race with Josh Franklin and Lewis Brake coming back to take the regatta win from James Sly and Thomas Dwyer by just a single point.
George Davies and Jack Lloyd were third overall, with Tess Lloyd and Andrew Gillies the leading mixed crew in fourth overall and Philippa and Eliza Solly the first female crew in eighth.
Queenslanders Angus Galloway and Andrew Gough had a great regatta in the 420 class, winning six of the 10 races to finish 13 points clear of Carrie Smith and Ella Clark with Elloise Brake and Jaime Ryan in third.
Japan’s Yuichiro Kitamura held onto the lead in the Laser 4.7 class to finish ahead of West Australian Ben Walkemeyer with Madison Kennedy close behind in third. Walkemeyer fought back from a black flag in the opening race of the regatta to become the Australian champion.
Craig Heydon

Father and daughter win tough Tasar NationalsFather and daughter win tough Tasar Nationals

Rob and Nicole Douglass (pictured) successfully gained their fifth Tasar Nationals after a week-long regatta in January at the Woollahra Sailing Club. The Coollit team, who are the current World Champions in the class, sailed with exceptional consistency in the prevailing variable south-easterly conditions.
The regatta consisted of ten heats, with competitors dropping their two worst results. There were seven different heat winners over the regatta, with only Rob and Nicole Douglass on Coollit and Aaron Linton and Jamie Jocheim on AA Team, who were the runners up, winning multiple heats.
Aaron and Jamie, from Townsville in North Queensland, drove through the floods to compete at the 38th Australian National Championships, which drew a total fleet of 73 boats from all mainland states.
The husband and wife team of Paul and Bronwyn Ridgway finished third sailing Ridgididge, also taking the Grand Masters prize. Nev Wittey and J-C Strong sailing Stunner slid into fourth and Rick Longbottom and Candace Cushway on Navy Sailing took out the Masters finishing in fifth.
First junior was Chris Eddes sailing Hellfire, Lady Helm was won by Fiona McManus sailing Eagle Eye, and the Super Grand Masters division was won by Gwen and Derek Warne on Oki Doki.
The next Tasar Nationals will be held in Darwin in July 2012, with the Worlds to be sailed in the UK this year.

Daniel Henderson (GBR), has won the Skiff World Championship.British sailor takes Skiff World title

Twenty one year-old Youth sailor, Daniel Henderson (GBR), has won the Skiff World Championship from another British sailor, Bruce Keen, and Australia’s Marcus Hamilton.
Forty two sailors contested the Broo Premium Lager Musto Performance Skiff World Championship hosted by Black Rock Yacht Club on Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne.
Following a brief postponement on the final day, the AP flag was lowered and the competitors launched into an eight knot southerly breeze.
Race 10 was general recalled with the wind at 190 degrees and 5-6 knots. The second time around, the start went off without a hitch in 8 knots from 180 degrees.
Marcus Hamilton AUS (bronze) Daniel Henderson GBR (gold) Bruce Keen GBR (silver).The majority of sailors chose the pin end of the line and headed left. This proved to be a winning formula for Jono Neate AUS 440, who stormed into a one minute lead at the windward mark and extended to win by two minutes from Aussie team mate Jonathon Newman AUS 425.
Racing, especially at the front end, was very close. Newman had Dan Ward GBR 286 and Tom Wright GBR 432 in close company, but held them both off to the finish for a well deserved second position.
Further back, event leader Daniel Henderson and his closest rival, Australia’s Marcus Hamilton AUS 453, were fighting their way back up the fleet after both had conservative starts. Hamilton finished ninth and Henderson sixth, handing Henderson the Championship title with a race in hand.
With the breeze freshening to 12 knots at 170 degrees, the final race started at 2:35pm. Bruce Keen GBR 441 copied Jono Neate’s moves from Race 10, by pulling clear to lead all the way and take the win by some two minutes from Julian Ramm GER 443.
Marcus Hamilton pulled through to take third place, dropping him from an overnight second overall to third by tie break with race winner Bruce Keen.
Overall winner, Henderson, started sailing in the Optimist class, but grew out of it and moved into the highly competitive 29er class. The 21-year-old got too big for the 29er too, so moved into the Musto Performance Skiff at age 17, along with his 29er mates Tom Wright and Matt and Nick Hollis.
Like many kids his age, Henderson hopes to sail in the Olympics, but with a degree course on the go and other things to occupy him, that plan will have to go on hold for a while.
Paul Manning

Chris Charlwood C Dog on left in a downwind duel on his way to victory in the 2011 Opti Nationals.WA’s Chris Charlwood wins Optimist Nationals

Fourteen-year-old West Australian Chris Charlwood has been crowned 2011 Optimist National Open fleet Champion with a victory in the final race to claim a narrow one point victory over defending champion Nia Jerwood.
Going into the final day with eight races already completed, Jerwood led by three points but with Charlwood scoring a bullet in his flight and Jerwood managing a fifth in the opposite flight of Race 9, Charlwood leap-frogged Jerwood on the leader board to claim the win in the 2011 International Optimist Australian Championships, hosted by the RPAYC at Pittwater on Sydney’s northern beaches.
This was Charlwood’s third Optimist Nationals and was naturally elated with the victory.
“Yeah, really happy, stoked!” said Charlwood who represents the Royal Perth and Fremantle sailing clubs.
Chris Charlwood celebrates his win.“I am just thrilled to get the opportunity to go to the Worlds later this year, that was my goal but to win the Nationals, it’s just awesome. That was a tough race out there today and I just tried to play the shifts, I got lucky I guess. But I’ve enjoyed sailing on Pittwater, I’ve learnt a lot this week.”
Klaus Lorenz from the Whitsunday Sailing Club in Queensland took the final podium spot on a countback from James McLennan Slam (Sandringham YC in Victoria) after Lorenz took four bullets over the regatta. They both finished on 30 points. The highest placed sailor from NSW was Xavier Winston Smith, an RPAYC junior who finished in ninth spot.
The first and only race of the day for the first flight of the yellow and pink groups saw Leonard Takahashi from NZ hang in to take the win in a very close finish over Tyrone Gowan’s Tyrone’s Tub in second with Patrick Dean Hornet in third.
In the opposing flight, it was victory to Chris Charlwood from Carolina Townsend Miss Mercury and Andrew Fowlie Be Warned in third.
Results for the Green Fleet saw two Victorians take the honours with Lachlan Dare Flirt from the Sandringham YC winning comfortably by 14 points over fellow club mate Finn Hartnett Coyote. Fremantle SC’s Callum Green Voracious finished third.
Margot Mason The Pod from Avalon SC, was the highest placed female finishing in sixth position.
Damian Devine

Lee Knapton, Peter Mackie and Ricky Bridge sailing Brydens Compensation Lawyers from Georges River Club in Sydney are the new Australian 16ft Skiff Champions.

Australian 16ft skiff championships

Lee Knapton, Peter Mackie and Ricky Bridge sailing Brydens Compensation Lawyers from Georges River Club in Sydney are the new Australian 16ft Skiff Champions.
The 2010-11 Championships was sailed on Waterloo Bay at Manly in Brisbane between 2-9 January.
The win was the narrowest margin for a number of years. Close point scores and consistent racing between Brydens Compensation Lawyers and Fluid Building Services saw the championship come down to the final race.
Waterloo Bay dished out some of the harshest weather conditions experienced during more recent regattas with 25 knot winds, big swells, poor visibility and heavy rain making the last race a nail biter for spectators, as each work became a battle for survival.
The national title win was a first for sheethand Peter Mackie and for bowman Ricky Bridge and the fourth for skipper Lee Knapton.
Brydens Compensation Lawyers finished on 13 points, with defending champions, Fluid Building Services, sailed by Clint Bowen, Anthony King and Brent Dennis from the Manly Club in Sydney and the current NSW State Champion, finishing as runner up on 14 points.
Third place went to Fire Stopping sailed by James Dorron also from the Manly Club. Fourth was Beijing 2008 Olympian Nathan Wilmont from Middle Harbour on Hubble Cleaning Products.
Megan Bridge

Hood 23 Intergalactics

Royal Prince Edward Yacht Club will be running the Hood 23 State Championship on Sundays 6th and 13th February 2011.  
No entry fee and all are welcome. Skippers must be financial members of the Hood 23 Association and each entry must have a current Cat 7 Safety Audit.
Contact: Col Hubbard, President colmarghub@ozemail.com.au; Sinead Rigg jackrigg@bigpond.net.au or 0405 423 834.

Environmental survey for NSW coastal boaters and fishers

The NSW Coastal Catchment Management Authorities (CCMA) are seeking information from boaters and fishers via a seven-minute on-line survey.
The opinions and ideas collected from the survey will be used to develop a new coastal NSW environmental education strategy for boaters and fishers.  
Whether you waterski, wakeboard, sail or cruise offshore, throw a line from your tinnie, fish from the shore or gamefish on the open ocean, boaters and fishers all have one thing in common – sharing our waterways.
The five NSW CCMA are partnering with NSW Maritime, Industry and Investment NSW (Fisheries), the Boat Owners’ Association of NSW, the Boating Industry Association of NSW, Recreational Fishing Alliance of NSW and Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water to undertake an Environmental Education Strategy for Coastal Boaters and Fishers 2010-2012, funded by the Australian Government’s Caring For Our Country and the NSW Government.
“What we are doing in the first stage is basic market research to determine current knowledge, what encourages people to protect our waterways and how boaters and fishers would like to receive information,” said Authority chairman, Philip Sansom.
The survey can be found at www.surveymonkey.com/s/MTTKMDC and the closing date is February 16, 2011. You could even win a voucher for your favourite boating or fishing tackle store!

Triad crew (L to R) Grant Simmer, Andrew Palfrey and John Bertrand.Bertrand wins Australian Etchells title

John Bertrand, current Etchells World Champion, successfully defended his Australian title with the help of crew, Grant Simmer (bow) and Andrew ‘Dog’ Palfrey (mid boat).
After days of rain, brilliant sunshine and light breezes greeted competitors on the final day of the Rex Gorell Prestige Etchells Australian Championship being sailed from the Royal Geelong Yacht Club.
Bertrand and his Triad team led but, with the big one design fleet set to sail at least one further race, the Championship was still in play.
The breeze was at eight knots and lifting as the fleet started their run to bottom mark. Towards the bottom mark Bertrand looked to have lost considerable ground against title rival Bulka, who was at least six to eight places ahead of him.
The championship appeared wide open.
Jervis Tilly (Bushfire) drifted across the finish line in the old breeze while Mark Thornburrow (Racer X 923) brought up the new pressure.
Third across was Graeme Taylor (Magpie), then Cameron Miles (Are We There Yet?), Mark Bulka (Perfect Balance) while Bertrand finished 12th.
Bertrand who won the America’s Cup for Australia in 1983, has been sailing Etchells since 1990 after joining the One Design class which had been his America’s Cup arch-rival Denis Connor’s favourite class for a long time.
“After we won the Cup in 1983, I did not really go near a sail boat for seven years. Then two good friends of mine, Ernie Lawrence and Bill Browne got me into Etchells in 1990 and we raced in the Etchells Worlds of 1993 in Perth and I’ve been in the class ever since,” said John Bertrand dockside.
“Although this is my fifth Australian Championship win, it’s only in the last three years that I’ve gotten serious about getting organised. To sail again with Grant Simmer (Australia II navigator 1983) was terrific because he’s been in sailing management roles for quite a while.
“I’m in the fortunate position of being able to ask some pretty good sailors if they’d like to sail with me. Andrew Palfrey has joined me and we’ve had Ben Ainslie, (Triple Olympic Gold Medallist) and then for the last year Tom Slingsby (2010 ISAF Sailor of the Year and triple Laser World Champion) sailing with us. We won the last Australian Championships, then the World titles in Ireland.”
Now it remains to be seen if good mates Tom Slingsby and Glenn Ashby can persuade Nathan Outteridge (the new Moth World Champion and 49er World Champion) that he needs to sail an Etchells at the 2012 Worlds in Sydney!