Two time Olympian Krystal Weir won Laser Radial gold. / Mathew Belcher and Will Ryan – a perfect ten in the 470s.Australian sailors sweep the medals at Sailing World Cup

Australian sailors have finished the opening round of the ISAF Sailing World Cup, Sail Melbourne, on a high, standing on the podium in every Olympic class, winning seven of the eight gold medals.

Mathew Belcher and Will Ryan became the first 470 crew to win every race at an ISAF Sailing World Cup round, taking the medal race to make it 10 wins from 10 starts. The pair, in their first regatta together of the new campaign, dominated the medal race to lead at every mark, eventually taking the win by more than a minute.

“It’s pretty cool to go through and win them all,” said Belcher. “We’re not really results focused, we said that at the beginning of the week, but as we began to get a few more bullets you have that feeling that it would be pretty cool to get the perfect score.

“This week has been great for us, having limited time in the boat, anything can happen so to get 10 wins from 10 races is pretty cool,” he said.

For Belcher the Sail Melbourne win was his ninth straight regatta win, stretching back to the Australian 470 Championship more than a year ago.

“So far it’s been nine regatta wins, including an Olympic Games, two World Championships and now five World Cups, a great year.”

Tom Burton – convincing Laser win.Tom Burton went into the Laser medal race with an 18 points lead, needing to stay out of trouble during the final hit out to claim the gold.

“I was eighth around the top mark for the first time, it wasn’t a given and I was stressing a little bit there,” said Burton.

Matthew Wearn started the day in fourth position, with the West Australian winning the medal race to jump into second overall, his best ever finish at an ISAF Sailing World Cup round. Ryan Palk was third in the medal race.

Krystal Weir took the same margin as Burton into the Laser Radial medal race but the two-time Olympian had a more straight forward race, winning it and the gold medal.

“Today I had an 18 point buffer which was nice,” said Weir. “I was pretty low risk at the start and on the first beat, catching up to first and getting the win. I’ve enjoyed my time off and it’s good to be back in the boat.”

Brendan Casey finished his regatta as he started it, with a win in the Finn class to take out the regatta. Casey led the medal race from start to finish to win gold by 11 points with Oliver Tweddell finishing second and Jake Lilley third.

Sasha and Jaime Ryan made it a second gold medal for the Ryan family, mirroring their brother Will’s performance with a win in the 470 women’s class. The Ryans won the final race to take the gold medal ahead of Lucy Shephard and Aurora Paterson, with Jacqueline Gurr and Georgie Toner third.

Steven Thomas and Rhys Mara won the 49er class, just one point ahead of Luke Parkinson and Jaspar Warren. Will Phillips and Nick Brownie won the bronze medal.
Luke Baillie won the RS:X men’s title, finishing ahead of Patrick Vos and Sam Treharne.

Craig Heydon

Kiteboarders added colour and enthusiasm wherever they went around the venue.A big day for the Invited Classes at Sail Melbourne

There was lots of racing for the invited classes and big winds to match the big day on Saturday 8 December for the final session of Sail Melbourne.

The Optimists for young children had 42 entries and is always a crowd favourite. Annabelle Davies walked away the victor, with Thomas Cunich next and then Nick Sharman getting third. Max Quirk will no doubt be lamenting an On Course Side (OCS) ruling in Race Three.

He finished just three points outside the medal calculations, so certainly can feature on the scoreboard in the future, as a win, second and third place all testify to.

The OK Dinghy was an all-Australian affair. Roger Blasse dominated and so stood atop the podium from Brent Williams and Bruce Ashton.

The 11-vessel International Cadet fleet had their last big event before their Nationals and World Championships in Hobart from 21 Dec to 4 Jan. Patrick Chipp and Jack Furey won. Equal second were Alice Endersbee with Eliza Davies and Jalina Thompson-Kambas with Starr Thompson. In third was Julian Sasson with Phillip George.

Standing atop the ten Australian crews who sailed the 420 were Xavier Winston-Smith and Joshua Dawson. They won comfortably in the end from Klaus Lorenz and James Scott. In third were Jacqueline Stokes and Olivia Stephens.

The 29ers, a proving ground for the Olympic 49er (M) and FX (W) was won by Tess Lloyd and Eliza Solly, who had an exceptional regatta with six wins inside their 14 race series. In second were James McLennan and Thomas Trotman with Harry Price and Ashlen Rooklyn in third.

Viper catamaran sailors James Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin.The Viper catamaran showed what the 2016 Olympic Nacra 17 will be like, with many a mixed crew taking part. Leading the way were husband and wife team, Carolijn Brouwer and Darren Bundock, who lead all the way to finish 15 points clear of James Waterhouse with Lisa Darmanin. James is certainly set for big things, so will be worth watching.

Adding colour and enthusiasm wherever they go around the venue, the Kiteboarders had a repecharge system to work through. Ultimately, Germany’s Florian Gruber won, pretty much as he had done all week, to collect the Gold, with New Zealand’s Bright holding out for the Silver and Canada’s Adam Vance collecting the Bronze.

The Women’s event included a dominant display by France’s Ariane Imbert to collect the Gold. Australia’s Lisa Hickman was second and Astrid Berz of Switzerland collected Bronze.


Not much in it – Grand final match up Steele vs Rooklyn.Steele wins Musto International Youth Match Racing Championship

Chris Steele and his crew of Stewart Dodson and Rawiri Geddes, representing Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron have won the Musto International Youth Match Racing Championship after four days of tough competition, hosted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia and conducted on the Youth Sailing Academy Elliott 6s from the 27-30 November.

Steele faced Ashlen Rooklyn (CYCA) in the grand final having defeated Harry Price in the semi-finals 2-0. It would only take three matches for Steele to be crowned the 2012 Musto International Youth Match Racing Champion.

“I’m very relieved to win – the final was certainly some of the toughest matches of the week,” Steele said. “It felt good going into the final match with the two wins on the board. We got a good start, grabbed the advantage and with no real passing possibilities we fought to keep the lead right up to the last beat.”

“Going into the finals our focus was to keep things simple and stay penalty free. Ash (Rooklyn) was excellent competition – the score line didn’t really reflect how close the racing was,” Steele said.

In the first match of the grand final, Rooklyn was given a penalty early on and couldn’t put enough distance between himself and Steele, leaving his penalty turn until the last moment.

Rooklyn scored another two penalties in the pre-start of the second grand final match, wiping off one penalty shortly after the start and carrying his remaining one throughout the match. In the third and final match, it was all clear in the penalty count and Steele got the jump from the start and never looked back.

Rooklyn and his crew of Jack Breislin and Henry Kernot, progressed into the grand final defeating Sam Gilmour 2-0.

“The grand final was as tough as expected against Steele – he sailed exceptionally well. The result was disappointing as we made some mistakes and we received penalties – making a comeback almost impossible,” Rooklyn said.

“For the second flight of the semi-final, we didn’t change any of our tactics from yesterday and just kept a cool head. We were behind Gilmour at the start, but managed to chip away at his lead up the first beat. We took some ground off him at the top mark and managed to pull away and then maintain our lead,” Rooklyn added.
Sam Gilmour finished third overall in the regatta, beating Harry Price (CYCA) 2-1 in the petit final, losing to Rooklyn (0-2) in the minor semi-final.

Chris Steele and crew win the Musto International Youth Match Racing Championship.“We had some crew issues today in the minor semi-final which we will learn from and look for ways to improve. The petit final against Harry (Price) was a good consolidation of the week – we struggled for the advantage at the start line as we were a bit off weight for the breeze,” Gilmour said.

“The last race in the petit final was very stressful as we were one race each. The toughest race of the day was definitely the second match of the petit final which we lost after receiving a double penalty at the bottom mark and our spinnaker drop wasn’t smooth.”

Race Officer Denis Thompson said there was some very tight close racing.
“Some of the best I’ve seen in a long time. It was very competitive with some great sportsmanship displayed in the acceptance of penalties.”

515 miles in 24 hours515 miles in 24 hours

Flying François Gabart (Macif) stepped up his Vendée Globe challenge with an unprecedented display of lightning fast sailing.

With 515.6 miles in 24 hours, between 9am on December 9 and 9am on December 10, at an average speed of 21.5 knots, the youngest skipper in the race who is a rookie to solo sailing in the Southern Ocean has set a truly electric pace to send the 24 hours solo monohull distance record soaring.

The 29-year-old Gabart had already bettered the recent mark of rival Jean-Pierre Dick, set only ten days previously at a yet to be ratified 502.9nm.

This new best 24 hours distance, riding at the front of a generous low in a good-sized, orderly swell surpasses easily the two-handed record of Dick and Loick Peyron at 506.3nm set in the last Barcelona World Race.

For a solo ocean racer on a 60-footer, 30 days into a non-stop, no outside assistance three month race, the distance even compares impressively against the outright crewed monohull record of 596.6 miles set in the 2008-9 Volvo Ocean Race by Ericsson, and is only 21 miles shy of the best 24 hour run on the last Volvo Ocean Race.

Gabart’s attack took him back into the overall lead, ahead of Armel Le Cléac’h by just over one mile after making up more than 54 miles to Le Cléach’s Banque Populaire.

In a 25-to-30-knot wind, François Gabart seems to be flying on a relatively calm sea, but he is not the only one driving the speedometer crazy. With 494.7nm, Jean-Pierre Dick and his Virbac Paprec 3 is getting really close to the 500 miles landmark.

Things may be going fast for the race leaders, but the rest of the fleet are not facing the same conditions. With 131.5nm in 24h, Bertrand de Broc (Votre Nom Autour du Monde avec EDM Projets) is stuck having troubles getting out of an anticyclone.


Radio control model boatRadio control model boats

Boating takes many forms be it for sport, leisure and or work. One form of boating is radio control modelling which replicates normal boating. Radio control sailing is popular throughout Australia and is an international sport with World Championships held internationally.

Whale catcher. / Night run. / Sydney Harbour Showboat. / 1/24 scale working model of Titan Crane (ex Cockatoo Island).Fast boat racing is also popular. Models are still used for TV/Film, production although the use of CGI has reduced this requirement. Leisure models comprise many types of vessels and cover scale and semi scale.

Radio control model boat clubs are located throughout Australia. One of Sydney’s most active clubs is the St George Model Boat Club. Located at Scarborough Park, Monterey (near Sydney Airport), members sail their models every Sunday. Each Sunday is potentially different as the Club never knows which members will attend and with what models as most members have several models.

Besides meeting weekly, the club hosts regular events along with annual regatta. The club also supports other clubs’ events.

This year the club is introducing navigation and skill handling contests. The first contest is to be held on Sunday 27th January. All types of vessels are eligible to compete especially that of ‘Oddballs’. Oddballs cover non-standard vessels and could include crocodiles, ducks, amphibious cars, row boats.
Presently the Club comprises fifty members whose ages range from early forties to early nineties along with varying occupations. This is reflected in the models built and sailed.

Models range from 10cm to 2 metres and are powered either by sail, electric, nitro, or steam motors. The time taken to build a model varies not only with size and quality of the model but also the skill of the modeller.

One club member is known for the quality and detail of his scratch built models built to museum standards. Several members specialise in building plastic model kits and converting them to radio control. Other members build models from plans and kits while some purchase almost ready to run models.

New members regardless of skill level are always welcome. Additional information about the club and the club’s special events can be found at the club’s website

Alternatively you are welcome to visit the club at Scarborough Park (cnr Chuter Avenue and Barton Streets, Monterey) on Sundays between 10am and 1pm.

Bill Wild’s RP55 Wedgetail.Club Marine Pittwater & Coffs Harbour Regatta bar raised by IRC heavyweights

The battle for IRC honours in the Club Marine Pittwater & Coffs Harbour Regatta has moved into a different sphere with a number of well-known grand prix entries raising the handicap bar for Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club’s popular summer ocean race which starts with the 226nm Pittwater to Coffs ocean race at 1pm January 2 off Palm Beach Headland and finishes at Coffs Harbour.

While the largest boat usually sets the fastest time, the real battle among sailors playing on a level field is for the prized handicap trophy.

Darryl Hodgkinson’s Beneteau 45, Victoire, most recently named Class 2 Audi IRC Australian Champion and also the CYCA’s current Blue Water Pointscore Champion, last took part in 2005 with his Sydney 38.

“This year we wanted to give the Hobart race a break, everyone’s a bit tired, but we wanted to keep the boat going,” said the Sydney based plastic surgeon. “Some of my crew will race south then fly back up and join us for the start.

“I see the format has changed a bit, now it’s a long race followed by four short races, which is probably easier. What hasn’t changed is that Victoire’s old adversary, Exile, will be sailing against us. It will be a good match up.”

Rob Reynold’s DK 46 Exile is the defending Pittwater & Coffs Harbour Regatta IRC champion.

At 85, the doyen of Australian ocean racing, Syd Fischer, will join a throng of young professional sailors and those still with an appetite to satiate after the Rolex Sydney Hobart. After campaigning his 100ft super maxi Ragamuffin Loyal in the Sydney-Hobart, Fischer will have his TP52, Ragamuffin, ready and waiting back in Sydney for the first bluewater race of the New Year.

When asked what motivated him to make a return to the northern sprint race he replied in earnest, “Something to do!”

Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club Commodore Phil Arnall and his Corby 43, Anger Management, is one of a number of visiting entries lining up for the regatta.

“The start is pretty easy for us Novocastrians,” Arnall said. “Hopefully it’s just an overnight race; 30 hours of sailing to a good destination. We’ll stay for a couple of days’ recreation then bring the boat home. Unfortunately we can’t stay for the regatta as my son Richie and I have a wedding to get to!”

Anger Management at the start of the 2012 race.Also on the current starters list from up north is Lake Macquarie Yacht Club entrant, Peter Hewson’s Sydney 41, Storage King Wallop, and from across the border Bill Wild has nominated his racy RP55, Wedgetail, from Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron.

Now based on the Gold Coast, Wild’s work pile has kept him buried for the past 15 months and his prized Wedgetail, formerly Geoff Ross’s Yendys, idle. North Sails’ Michael Coxon will join a majority Queensland team as tactician and helmsman on Wedgetail’s crew.

“If we get nor’easters we’ll be pretty competitive, if it’s off the breeze the TP Ragamuffin will be hard to beat,” admits Wild, who last raced in the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club’s premier event in early 2000.

“I had a couple of good placings with my Mumm 36 back in the dark ages, but I’ve never won it.”

Event website at

Lisa Ratcliff

Triple Olympian David Forbes’s Kaiko 52 Merlin.Merlin wins successive doubles

The 1972 Star Olympic gold medallist, David Forbes, has done it again, taking the double in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Ocean Pointscore Series, able to keep ahead of a fading toggling breeze that beset most of the fleet taking part in the Club’s short offshore yacht race on December 1.

Forbes, who represented at three Olympic Games and the America’s Cup, made good work of a race beset by light confusing airs to cross the Rushcutters Bay finish line nearly an hour ahead of rivals, the Grant Dawson/Brent Lawson owned Kerisma, a Ker 11.3, and Imagination, Rob and Annette Hawthorn’s Beneteau 47.7.

Overall, Merlin, a Kaiko 52 representing Middle Harbour Yacht Club, saved enough time to win overall as well, just as he did in the CYCA’s Port Hacking Race two weeks ago. Imagination, which is also entered into the CYCA’s Short Ocean Pointscore, was second overall, with Kerisma third.

Although Principal Race Officer Robyn Morton sent the fleet on its way at 12.00pm in a nice 10-15 knot north/north-easterly wind, conditions waxed and waned, leaving the boats bobbing around offshore on the last leg of the three lap windward leeward course that started on Sydney Harbour.

Robin Hawthorn said he picked a left-hand shift off the Shark Island start and went with it.

“Merlin, Quest and Kerisma did the same, but the rest tacked and went right. We’d done the right thing and stayed in pressure all the way to North Head, putting distance on the rest of the fleet,” he said.

The north/nor-easterly held and Merlin rounded the top mark the first time in front of Kerisma and Imagination. Hawthorn said the breeze was alright, until the yachts headed to the windward mark for the third time.

“Merlin and Quest got around before it got too light, but then the breeze really died and we struggled in 4 knots against a southerly set – it was terrible,” Hawthorn said.

However, Hawthorn and others got the surprise of their life when, re-entering the Harbour to sail up to the finish line, they found a lovely nor’easter waiting for them.

“It got up to around 16 knots, it was really nice. It’s unusual to find more wind in the Harbour than there is offshore,” he said.

Imagination had led Kerisma for much of the race, but once the kites were up in the Harbour, Dawson/Lawson’s Ker 11.3 mowed down the Beneteau 47.7 and crossed the line 27 seconds in front of the Hawthorns’ boat. However, it was not enough to beat Imagination overall for second place. 

The fleet gets away in a 12 knot nor’nor’easterly. Ocean Pointscore leader, Julian Farren-Price, sailing his Cookson 12 About Time, finished Race 5 of the OPS in fourth place overall, allowing him to maintain the series lead by five and a half points over Paul Clitheroe’s Beneteau 45, Balance, with a further half point to Darryl Hodgkinson’s Victoire, a sistership to Balance. Merlin is a further eight points behind.

Race 6 of the Ocean Pointscore Series will be held on Australia Day, January 26, starting at 11.00am. Competitors will be racing for the City of Sydney Cup. The Lion Island Race on March 16 brings the nine race OPS to its conclusion.

Di Pearson

Australian Youth Olympic kayaker Charlie Copeland.Youth Olympic Kayakers out to emulate their heroes

The Australian Youth Olympic Team has been bolstered by the selection of 16 canoe/kayak sprint athletes for the Australian Youth Olympic Festival (AYOF) to be held in Sydney from January 16-20. The free 5-day event will feature 1,700 athletes from 30 countries competing in 17 sports.

The announcement comes as London 2012 K4 gold medallist David Smith declared a new era in canoeing is upon us.

“We believe canoeing is the next biggest thing in sport,” said Smith at a paddling clinic in Manly. “We want to change the middle-age market. Instead of going and buying a $5,000-$10,000 road bike … go get a kayak or ocean ski and enjoy the water.”

The ripple effect of Smith and the K4 men taking gold in London can be seen in the new crop of paddlers named for the AYOF.

“Australia’s success at the London Olympics was inspirational,” 18-year-old Queenslander Charlie Copeland said after his selection.

“I remember Ken Wallace winning gold in Beijing. Then the K4 team beating Hungary and the Czech Republic in London and even Ken getting fourth place in London was great. I’ve always looked up to Ken Wallace who is a Queenslander like me.”

Copeland, who collected four gold medals, three silvers and a bronze in July during the Australian Junior Kayak Team’s three-week tour of North America and Canada, is one of the frontrunners with fellow Sunshine Coast Kayak Club team-mate Bill Bain for AYOF stardom.

“It was pretty tough and there is such great depth in Australian junior kayaking at the moment,” Bain said.

The talented teenager had a breakthrough year in 2011, winning the non-Olympic K1 Junior World Marathon Championship (in a borrowed boat). He also finished fifth in the K1 1000m at the Junior World Championships.

West Australian Shannon Reynolds topped the female rankings after athletes were challenged in both crew and individual events.

National Performance Director Richard Fox is thrilled to introduce Australia’s next generation of stars to the world stage ahead of a big year for juniors. Trials for the coveted U23 World Championship Team will take place just a month after the AYOF.
“It will be a great experience for our team of athletes at the start of a big year with junior and Under 23 World Championships to follow in July.”

For Copeland, who will work closely with coaching staff to perfect his preparation for the events, “every year is bigger than the last. We are stepping up every year.”

National Elite Development Manager and AYOF Chairman of Selectors, Dave Foureur, was impressed with the calibre of athletes chosen to represent Australia in Penrith in 2013.

“There were some very good performances over the weekend and some close finishes as athletes stepped up to the mark for selection and there is no doubt we have selected a strong team,” Foureur said.

As Jessica Fox and the many other successful Olympians have proven, the AYOF is a pathway to the Olympic Games for aspiring athletes and to provide them with a rare Olympic experience.

At the 2012 London Olympic Games over a quarter of the Australian Olympic Team had come through the AYOF, with a total of 106 athletes. Between them, out of a total of 35 medals, they won 19 – 3 gold, 8 silver and 8 bronze.

The AYOF is a unique experience that provides young athletes from all over the world the opportunity to compete in Olympic venues, under Olympic conditions and to learn the Olympic values of fair play, sportsmanship, respect for teammates and opponents, friendship, national pride, honesty and humility.

“The AYOF prepares and nurtures athletes who are bound for the elite ranks,” AOC President John Coates said.

The 2013 AYOF is the largest yet with 17 sports. Additions in 2013 are Golf and Rugby Sevens which are Olympic sports for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
AYOF website:

Ashley ChapmanPast master of dinghy sailing who touched history

Ashley Chapman 1913-2012

Sailing Master Ashley Chapman, one of Australia’s great dinghy sailing enthusiasts who died on 4 October aged 99, was honoured at a memorial regatta late last year by the club he co-founded 40 years ago, Budgewoi Sailing Club on the NSW Central Coast.

He had been actively racing at the club until just 18 months before his death.

On the beach before the first race, former Corsair Class national champion George Watt spoke movingly of Ashley’s life and achievements and a minute’s silence was observed, to the fitting background rustle of the fleet’s sails.

At a boisterous and good hearted trophy ceremony after the last race on Sunday, Mark Vandersteen – whom Ashley taught to sail as a boy, and who has now taken over as club senior instructor – said: “There are not many places where a 10-year-old might think of an 80-year-old as his or her best friend, but that is how it was here for so many of us.”

Ashley Leonard Chapman was born on July 29 1913 at Hounslow, London. Ashley’s sailing career started early in the last century during his family’s annual holiday at an English Channel seaside village in Kent. The local fishing fleet was all sail-powered and Ashley frequently was invited on board the smacks by friendly fisherman.

Immigrating to Australia in 1930, just as the Great Depression bit, he learned shorthand and parlayed this skill into a stenographer/clerk’s job at Burns Philp’s trading post in Salamaua on the north coast of the then-Mandated Territory of New Guinea. Then, at just 22, he became manager of the fast-growing Shell fuel depot at Salamaua. His new responsibilities still left time to develop his sailing interest in native outriggers on the waters of the Huon Gulf.

Ashley sailing Sadie Too.He was probably the last living person to have met and talked to legendary US aviator Amelia Earhart when she passed through the nearby settlement of Lae on her fateful final attempted record circumnavigation of the world.

He met Earhart at the hotel where she was staying, attended a dinner party in her honour that night, and spoke to her again late in the evening. He was in the small crowd that gathered on July 2 1937 to watch her nurse her heavily-laden Lockheed into the air, headed for tiny Howland Island in mid-Pacific. She was never seen again.

Ashley met and fell in love with Sadie a Russian-born secretary in Wau, the daughter of a Romanov whose family had fled the Bolshevic revolution through China. He and Sadie married in July 1938 in Salamaua.

After the Pacific War broke out in December 1941, Sadie caught one of the last trading ships to Australia, but Ashley remained to refuel RAAF aircraft stationed at Salamaua airstrip until the RAAF pulled out. He then destroyed his depot and fled inland, the last civilian to leave, on January 25 1942.

He watched the Japanese forces land from a coast watcher’s camp in the hills above Salamaua, before striking out on one of the epic escapes of the Pacific war – a six-week trek across the rugged Bismarck Ranges and an open canoe voyage across the marshes of the Gulf of Papua to Port Moresby.

After repatriation to Australia he enlisted in the RAAF. Because of his experience and fluent Pidgin he was sent back to New Guinea as a coastwatcher and intelligence/propaganda operative in the Milne Bay and Bougainville theatres. He served with distinction and continued to add to the catalogue of tropical diseases he suffered and survived – brushes with mortality which some later suspected gave him a steel-clad immune system.

Ashley and Sadie in 1944.Ashley and Sadie, who died in 1997, developed a pioneering self-serve general store at Malabar after the war and prospered, retiring early to the Central Coast where he co-founded Budgewoi Sailing Club in 1972, devoting the rest of his long life to imparting his deep-held belief that the pleasures and challenges of sailing offer a unique opportunity to discover and develop all that is best within oneself.

“As was powerfully illustrated in the book Lord of the Flies, social self-discipline is not natural to the young,” he observed in a speech in 1990. “It is evident then, that unless age initiates and maintains an intelligent and tolerant contact with youth, we eventually will have a very uncomfortable society to live in. Hundreds of youngsters have gone through my sailing classes over the years. I cannot recall one who became a social liability. That, to my mind, is success.”

Ashley was awarded the Australian Sports Medal in 2000.

Kathryn Bourke and Tony Maiden