72nd Sharpie Nationals – Form Guide


Down Under Sail’s Marc Ablett and Harry Fisher have put together an enjoyable and comprehensive form guide for the upcoming sharpie national championships, which will be held at the Georges River Sailing Club on the waters of Botany Bay between December 28 and January 5.

With more than 40 boats registered, five states represented and competitors making the journey from vast corners of the country, the regatta should shape up to be one for the ages.

Remember this form guide is just a bit of fun and we hope you’re getting as excited for the regatta as we are…

Sharpies at the top mark at last years Perth nationals Perth. Photographs: Lou Hollis.

New South Wales

N898 Truck – Todd Curry

You can’t go past these guys as they will be exceptionally dangerous in a famous run out tide nor-easter at Georges River. With a win at the last start in Canberra and in the nor-easter at the state titles these guys are proven in a breeze. Braddo has finally gotten over his fear of big breezes, Haydos has finally stopped complaining about his sore shoulders from carrying the team in past years and Todd continues to go about his business. Can’t go past them to have a good performance and could well do the job.

N883 Smoke – Michael Forster

These guys are renown for their consistency. The nine-time NSW sharpie state champ won’t even have to win a race to stay in the hunt as he is always around the mark. Ben “Flipper” Phillips returns to the boat for the regatta, which is important considering the last time this boat had the same combination at a NSW nationals they finished second. If they can have a win early and get their tails up they will be very hard to beat.

N893 Blur – Dean Souter

These guys are going quick and we expect them to seriously challenge for the title. Tim and Micko have been in ripper form off the water in recent times which is great to see and can only enhance their credibility. Micko is also known as the king of social media in New South Wales so expect plenty of selfies floating around during the series. Also, if Dean can handle the pace at the bar then these blokes could be winning in all areas. Look out.

N918 Shazam – Dave Dixon-Hughes

Have drifted a bit in the betting due to lack of match practice and the conditions may not suit if it gets super heavy, however form is temporary and class is permanent so expect these guys to challenge. They are proven performers on the big stage and came within a whisker of the state title last season. JP has been a scratching due to an off-water incident, which will hurt bar sales and leave a hole in the event, however replacements have been made in the form of a former national champion. Has to be a smoky for the title and probably the value bet of the series.

N826 Loaded Dog – Derek Milligan

Has been conspicuous by his absence but is well on track for a good run having drafted in some talent for the series. Still hasn’t found accommodation so he may be sleeping at the bar, but this never hurts the salty veterans chance at success. Derek has won plenty of races at state level so be sure to give these guys every chance. Many are expecting large things from the Loaded Dog at the nationals so keep your eyes peeled.

N831 Deep Sea Racing Prawns – Marc Ablett

This one is a massive unknown. Got caught out by the 5am fever at the ACT Dinghy Titles, clouding the decision making on Sunday and ultimately resulting in a broken stick (which made good TV viewing). After putting the spare in they had a good race at states. Then the new stick arrived, which confused poor Abbers. The end result is they now have a $3000 brand new spar that is giving them pace in the heavy stuff, however these bloke have a slight tendency to lose their marbles from time to time. But if it comes together and the bells are ding dong-ing look out.

Marc Ablett skippered Deep Sea Racing Prawns in Perth last year

N869 Space Monkeys – Ian Richardson

Haven’t seen a lot of these guys recently, so it is a bit hard to judge. They competed well at the ACT Dinghy Titles, pulling out a fifth overall and some decent races. Has all the potential in the world to win heats, but broken gear hasn’t helped their cause this year. Expect big things come race one though. Big game player.

N876 Pleasure and Pain – Nicholas Marzano

Another local product ready to explode, Nick has now finished uni exams and is fully focussed on the campaign while Dylan has been doing his best Bear Grylls impersonation and has the rig to match. These guys will be in sensational condition and form come 2pm on December 29. Probably the number one junior team at this stage, having previously won the title back in Queensland in 2011/12.

N851 The Bear – Mikaela Sparre

Robbie has had the thing trucking at various stages in the last 12 months, especially since strapping on the harness and drafting fresh helm Mikaela into the team. The fleet has been seeing a lot of these guys transom, especially in the light stuff where they are very quick. It’ll be interesting to see how they perform as charismatic sheet hand Mal Rofe definitely provides a certain x-factor.

Rob Tikoft skippered The Bear at the nationals in Perth last year.

N819 The Irish Frog – Chris Ablett

These blokes have really stepped it up a gear, with regular top three finishes in Canberra and with a big crew and a big forecast would have to be a chance. They have recruited well and if Jack can get past 9pm in the bar it will be a miracle. But in all seriousness, the wily old fox Chris Ablett always has some tricks up his sleeve. Dark Horse.

N852 Crews Control – Sam Cronin

Sam and the boys have showed some good progress, especially at the Sunday at Georges River where they were pushing into the top group by the end of the day. Home waters and a good boat under them, expectations are high for this series.

N902 Mainiac – John Richardson

Again we haven’t seen a lot of these guys recently so who knows what they’re capable of. Word on the water is they are quick and they will surely be wanting to get one up on their junior rivals. Should be a great battle.

N871 Bling – Mary Tulip

Mary and Eric have put a lot of work in this season and while a touch inconsistent on their day they are going as well as anyone. We all know how much Eric loves a nor-easter and he is already frothing at the mouth about that prospect. Real chance for the Lady Skipper title with new rags and the boat in immaculate condition, it should be a battle for the ages. Mary should also be recognised as the first female Australian Commodore of our great class, a tremendous achievement.

N751 Proud Aussie – Rick Shortridge

Shorty has blown out in the betting purely because no one has absolutely any idea who he is sailing with or what preparation he has been doing. Speculate all you like though about the tea-sipping wind-whisperer from the bush, but he is a former national champion so not much more needs to be said. He could well arrive and win the whole thing.

N851 Chilli Factor – Kip Tanner

Very capable team and starting to hit some form at just the right time. Always a good competitor and keeps the competition very honest. When in the right frame of mind can mix with the best.

N812 Rocket Fuels – Steve Hart

Steve is starting to put together a great campaign. He unfortunately bent his boom at the ACT Dinghy Titles, but has a new one fitted and with champion crew on board, showed good form at Georges River earlier this month. The Rocket hasn’t looked this good since the Ice Age so expect them to shuffle up the leader board without hesitation.

N836 Ma Cherie – Ian Ritchie

Have been out training a lot in December and showed good form at their last start in Canberra. With a very good team developing, expect them to shoot into contention at various stages of the regatta.

N885 Mr Freeze – Blake Molyneux

Have slipped down the list a bit purely because of the quality in the fleet. They definitely have their moments and won a race at the YMCA in Canberra two weeks back so there is no doubt they are more than capable. Expect these guys to train hard and challenge for the junior title against some stiff competition. It is clear they are itching at the bit to get to their first nationals.

N736 Priority Road – Cass Schlimbach

Has to be a chance at the Lady Skipper title. These guys had a great final training session in a 20-knot easterly and will get better and better as the series progresses. A competitor in many divisions and could challenge heavily for handicap honours.

N671 YOT – Kelsey Hanrahan

Another solid chance for the very competitive Lady Skipper division. The boat is looking red hot and with new rags have potential to do anything on their day. They have done a lot of boat handling work and it is noticeably paying off. Nothing wrong with where they point it as long as they keep the stick skywards they will challenge the best.

N781 Sharp as a Tack – Wayne Keavy

No one has seen these guys out yet, but our eagle eyes at Georges River have spotted them out training, so don’t write them off. They could be capable of anything and are without a doubt a dark horse for the series.

South Australia

SA930 Focus – Mal Higgins

Not a lot needs to be said about these guys. Six national titles in the cabinet, including five of the last six they’ve sailed in, simply says it all. These boys head in to yet another regatta as firm favourites and will be likely to set the pace early. Don’t engrave the title just yet though as the national circuit this year looks like one of the most competitive in recent history.

SA920 Fresh Bread – Jason Heritage

Have been training hard but will have to get used to a change in regular crew, with Darren Witty taking off the harness to take place on the sheets. Regardless, Jacko is a three-time runner up at national level and is getting hungrier every year for his maiden title.

Jason Heritage skippering Fresh Bread

SA928 Warpig – Sam McCloud

After many years of overcoming adversity within the pig pen, and still managing to perform superbly at national level, these guys look to be in career best form. The wise man McCloud has always said “if you don’t think you’re capable of winning a nationals, it’s time to give it away”, and he certainly believes more than anyone else he’s capable of his first championship. Keep your eyes out for the bright orange spinnaker, it will be rounding the top can near the front more often than not.

SA929 Beer Nuts – Dave Snoad
The SA Association president is no stranger to the front of the fleet and after scouting a brand new, young and enthusiastic sheet hand in Josh Thomas, these guys are rocketing. Have been training at least twice a week and have constructed a very well-managed campaign. Let’s just hope Snoady can keep Kymbo in line as he is known to struggle the morning after a few too many lemonades.

SA905 AREA Construction – Chris Went
With a third place at the Brighton nationals under his belt, and the young and charismatic Simon Hill joining the team on the wire, these guys are in good shape to impress. Wenty doesn’t mind it in a breeze but has also proven himself in the light stuff. These guys will be good value off the water as well, as they are known to get a head start on the water from the boat’s infamous hip flask. They don’t muck around at the bar either, no beers, just bundys.

SA926 Nude – Ryan Kelly
A young and exciting team that is new to the national circuit and set to take the event by storm. These guys took a state heat win in South Australia earlier this season against some of the best competition the class has to offer so we know they mean business. It has been a very well-structured campaign for these lads and they could quite easily shake things up with the best. Rhino misses out on contention for the junior title by less than a year but that wouldn’t bother him as his sights are set on much greater honours.

SA921 Venera – Angus Hughes
This regatta will mark the completion of a full sharpie circuit for Gus and as he gains more experience he continues to become more of a threat. The boys are training, the boat is trucking and they have welcomed veteran sheet hand James Davis to the boat, who is known for being a part of the three runner up results with Heritage from Fresh Bread. Guys like Jimmy Davis don’t just roll up on a boat if they don’t see big things on the horizon. This year could be a breakthrough. Watch this space.

Angus Hughes sailing Venera at the nationals in Perth last year.

SA817 Nightmare – Steve Luders
A veteran of the class from Largs Bay who always points it in the right direction. Steve welcomes a brand new front man to the boat for this regatta and always improves as the regatta goes on. Good money for handicap honours.

SA931 Ferocious White Hunting Rabbits – Chris Todd
The newest boat to the class that was lucky to be out of the mould and fitted out in time. Toddy knows how to get a long boat moving but the question is; has he had enough time to tune up in the new vessel? Nonetheless, he’s a seasoned sharpie man in the newest boat in the fleet so watch out. Also keep your eye on Webby at the bar, doesn’t mind a heave ho or two and is a veteran of his own on the nude bar slides.

SA919 Spank – John Weigand
These guys are often mistaken as one of the happy-go-lucky types that aren’t serious about their campaign. They’ve been caught out rolling up late to club race starts on regular occasions but don’t be fooled, because everyone knows what Weigs is capable of when it comes to the big races. He pulled together a makeshift crew in Hobart back in 2009/10 and finished sixth overall so he is surely a big game player. Young bucks Tom Alder and Joe Kelly join in for their first nationals away from home and will be brilliant value both on the water and off it.

SA808 You Can’t Get Fritz in Sydney – Sean Hackett
We haven’t seen a great deal of this boat but our eyes on the Largs Bay jetty say they’ve been moving quick and winning some races. Let’s hope for their sake they don’t live up to the name of the boat and everyone gets some Fritz in Sydney this year.

SA865 Erk’s Boat – Barry O’Toole
The salty old dog Tooly has been around the tracks for long enough to know how to put a sharpie through the water. He also boasts the same crew he’s had for many years so these guys are definitely going to get in-sync and find some consistency on the bay. They do, however, know how to have a great time off the water and it’ll be interesting to see if that gets the better of them and their on-water performance.

SA895 Foam 3 – Bob Anesbury
Has always been around the state circuit for many years and after upgrading to a newer boat this season, the Foam 3 team could be capable of bigger things. They’ve recruited Canberra-based front man and regatta rock star Andrew “Rocko” Breen, who is famously known to sharpie sailors for sailing more national titles than club races in his life; he just loves the atmosphere. Looking forward to seeing what they’re capable of.


V835 Psycho Therapy – Grant Nichols

The old veteran and Team Vic dad, Nicho, is a quality sharpie sailor and has previously finished second at a nationals with regular top 10 finishes over the years. With his middle son and middle man Jakey Nichols stoking the sheets expect these guys to be the powerhouse Victorian team. They certainly don’t mind a frothy either.

Grant Nichols sailing Psycho Therapy in Perth last year

V694 Z – Nick Major

These blokes probably run the most economical campaign known to man. They got the boat for free and at their last start in race seven last year were sixth to the top mark. I reckon these guys are a smoky for the handicap, and will no doubt dominate at the bar.

V777 FIGJAM – John Radnell

Another young team from Victoria however are a bit of an unknown. They went well at the Vic states earlier in the year and again will challenge the best of them at the bar. Don’t underestimate the Victorian teams, these guys can seriously sail and could be a real surprise packet.

Western Australia

WA909 All Scoobed Out – Jack Swallow

These guys have shown good form over in the west and look like a light air flyer. They won a race at Mounts Bay recently against some top quality competition and seem race hardened. They will be training hard at the venue well before the title so expect them to be a real chance for the overall and junior titles, which will both be hotly contested.

WA923 Mona – Nick Heggart

Word around is these guys are in the form of their life and have put together a well-structured campaign. It will be interesting to see if they can get the job done, but one thing’s for sure is that if they’re from the west, they will always be dangerous in a blow.

Nick Heggart’s Mona at the Perth nationals last year


Q903 Silent Butt Deadly – Rick Outhred

Ricko returns to where it all began, at a nationals in New South Wales on Botany Bay. He tried for years to get a sharpie fleet up and running on the bay and absolutely loves the joint and the sailing it has on offer. He’s got experience in the middle with the veteran Bruce Rankine and youthful exuberance on the wire in Harry Fisher making the trip up from Port Lincoln, South Australia. Our opinion is if Ricko gets on the fine red wines look out, as he seems to share the same characteristic of getting better with age. Will definitely enjoy tussling with old sparring partners Rick Shortridge and Chris Ablett who he’s had so many battles with over the years with this to be no exception. Hopefully a good showing from Ricko also breathes some life into the Queensland fleet.


Unfortunately no boats will make it up from the deep south but we wish the Tasmanian Sharpie Association the best of luck hosting the next nationals at the Sandy Bay Sailing Club.

For more information about the 72nd sharpie nationals visit the regatta website.

For more information about Down Under Sail contact Marc Ablett or Harry Fisher atdownundersail@gmail.com

If you’re looking to sell a boat you no longer need, contact Brett Yardley from Quin’s Yacht Brokerage and have your boat advertised on the Adelaide Boat Sales website.

Also visit the website to see what’s around if you’re looking to buy.

Brett Yardley: 0438 800 501
Send an email

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40-plus entries for sharpie nationals


THE New South Wales Sharpie Association has welcomed its 42nd entry for this years nationals to be held at the Georges River Sailing Club on the waters of Botany Bay.

The start line at the 2013/14 sharpie nationals held at the Mounts Bay Sailing Club in Perth

With a large contingent from South Australia combined with smaller fleets from Western Australia, Queensland and Victoria, there will be a strong group of travellers trying to take the crown away from the strong local contingent.

The New South Wales fleet, which includes Canberra-based sharpies, has exploded in recent years and will have 23 of their own boats in this year’s regatta.

New South Wales has traditionally been one of the smaller sharpie states however their recent growth bodes well for the class at a national level, which already includes 30-plus boat fleets in Western Australia and South Australia.

The regatta is set to be one of the most anticipated in the proud 72-year history of the sharpie class and will be held on the waters of Botany Bay for the first time.

The Georges River Sailing Club and the New South Wales Sharpie Association have been working hard to ensure a memorable regatta both on and off the water.

The social program includes the legends and supporters day on December 29 in the Georges River Sailing Club from 1pm with live entertainment and the launch of an historic pictorial book displaying the sharpie class’ history thus far.

Two invitation races will also be sailed right in front of the club to give old and new supporters and class legends an insight into the modern day fleet and its current pacesetters.

Already confirmed to be attending the day will be class patron and seven time sharpie national champion John Cuneo and the America’s Cup famed Grant Simmer.

The legends and supporters day is expected to provide a great spectacle overlooking the quality racing so be sure to get down to have a look.

The New South Wales sharpie division has also hosted several well attended warm up sessions on the bay and in front of the club to give the state’s sailors the best chance for preparation.

The most recent of these events was last weekend with the first five boats separated by only seven seconds at the finish of the final race, which is a credit to the evenness of racing in the one-design sharpie class.

Michael Forster’s team on Smoke won the day, finishing two points ahead of three boats tied for second place.

The top end of the fleet for the nationals is expected to be top quality with a plethora of experienced sailors vying for the title.

South Australia has a number of champion teams who are all capable of coming away with the title, headed by six-time national champion Mal Higgins in Focus who is looking to equal class legend John Cuneo as the most successful sharpie champion in history with seven titles in either of the heavyweight or lightweight models.

In the seven years between 2006 and 2013, Higgins won five out of his six titles, having only lost once to Wade Henson in East Fremantle in 2007/08 and absent at the Black Rock nationals of 2010/11 won by Drew Latham.

Geoff “Sam” McCloud in Warpig and Jason Heritage in Fresh Bread are also going to be serious contenders as the South Australian pair share a total of four runner up honours between them and are both looking for their maiden title.

Chris Went on AREA Construction will be around the mark and has proven his ability in a big fleet after a third place at the 2012/13 nationals in Adelaide, which featured a fleet of 66.

Ryan Kelly heads up a young South Australian team on board Nude and looks likely to challenge the top end of the fleet having won a state heat in Adelaide earlier in the year against the aforementioned South Australian veterans.

Michael Forster on Smoke leads the list of strong home state sailors having won the last nine New South Wales State Championships in a row.

The last time Forster sailed the nationals in his home state he finished second overall to Higgins and will be looking to go one better this year.

Todd Curry from Wollongong on Truck as well as Dean Souter on Blur will both challenge, with Curry especially good when the wind is up.

David Dixon-Hughes in Shazam has also shown fantastic form over the last 12 months having finished runner up in the state titles taking several heats away from Forster.

The junior title will be hotly contested with seven eligible crews looking to do battle for the famed Tomlinson Trophy.

Western Australian Jack Swallow on All Scoobed Out is in good form in the west but will be heavily challenged by home state skippers Nick Marzano on Pleasure & Pain and John Richardson on Mainiac both sailing out of Wollongong.

Kelsy Hanrahan from Canberra will also challenge depending on the conditions.

In the lady skipper division, New South Wales’ Mikeala Sparre on The Bear has been sailing in to some unreal form, with a number of second places at state level in recent weeks and will head in to the regatta as the division favourite.

Hanrahan will be pushed against tough competition from the first ever female Australian Commodore Mary Tulip in Bling, Kelsy Hanrahan in YOT and Cassandra Schlimbach inPriority Road.

In the off-water events, the strong Victorian Men’s and Women’s chug-a-lug teams will be hard to beat and look likely to go back-to-back in both divisions on the sharpies famous States Night.

Their main competition at this stage looks likely to come from South Australia and New South Wales.

The States Night event further highlights the importance of having fun while at a regatta and while the competition on the water is extremely fierce and no quarter given, sharpies truly put the fun back into sailing.

With so many contests within the open championship this is a regatta not to be missed.

Entries are still open so if you have a sharpie in the shed, grab a couple of mates and get down to Georges River Sailing Club from December 28 through to January 5 and join in on the action.

For more information about the 72nd Sharpie National Championships visit the regatta website.

For more information about Down Under Sail contact Marc Ablett or Harry Fisher atdownundersail@gmail.com

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Consistency the key at round one of SA Cherub states

GLEN Emery and Simon How showed the way in light conditions on Saturday to walk away as leaders after round one of the Daronmont Technologies Cherub State Championship at Victor Harbor Yacht Club.

Three races were sailed in the challenging conditions, which featured 12 boats from across South Australia.

Emery and his crew Michael Tozer in Cunning Linguist set the pace early, posting two bullets from the first two races with How and his crew Steve Knights in Boobs R Us hot on their heels in second place.

Cherubs off the start line at round one of the SA state championships. Photograph: Haydn Trenorden.

Consistency was noticeably the key as Cunning Linguist finished the final race in fifth allowing Boobs R Us to capitalise and pinch a one-point lead overall; their success a result of three second-places from as many races.

The 12 boat fleet got underway with a clean start in an oscillating five to eight knot breeze.

Those who hit the right-hand corner of the course came out on top at the first mark where Cunning Linguist fought off Boobs R Us and Tom Crease and Colin Liddle inAFK, while the preceding boats battled for space.

The breeze continued to oscillate throughout the race, favouring Ashleigh Emery and Alex Bath in Quick Spoon who capitalised on the downwind shifts and crawled back from a disappointing first leg to eventually slip past AFK for a third.

Cherubs competing in round one of the SA state championships. Photograph: Haydn Trenorden.

Tight finishes were aplenty, with the top 10 finishing within a five minute window.

For the second time of the day the breeze picked up before the race got underway, giving sailors a false sense of hope, before dying again as the second race was started.

A majority went right off the start line after seeing its benefits in race one, but Liam McMahon and Jessie Jones in Back In Black bucked the trend and reached the windward mark first after hitting the left corner from a pin end start.

A layline misjudgement then allowed Cunning Linguist and Boobs R Us to slip through and maintain first and second place respectively.

Jack Ramsey and Spencer McTavish in Block Party sailed a slick race to make up for a disappointing seventh in race one and achieved what would be the first of two third places.

Tight racing in the middle pack gave Back In Black no opportunities to recover from their mistake, being one of three boats to finish within 30 seconds.

The breeze once again teased sailors between races but this time held for the pre-start sequence before dropping off once and for all.

Several boats got caught far from the line as the wind died, leaving many with no choice but to bail out of unfavourable positions.

Quick Spoon sailed smart throughout and held on to beat Boobs R Us by 11 seconds.

These two boats shot away from the fleet and left the remainder of the competitors behind.

Five minutes behind them in third and fourth was a tight tussle between Ramsey’s Block Party and Lynton Trenorden and Jacob Keough in Boogie Nights, who both looked determined in their best race of the day.

It was an unforgiving final race which left three boats outside of the time limit and with a DNF result.

With two more races left to sail in February the championship remains wide open and only three points separates the podium.

Consistency will be the key to victory in the remaining races as sailors will be treated to one discard upon completing five races.

Round two of the Daronmont Technologies State Championship will be held on February 7 at the Brighton and Seacliff Yacht Club.

By Michael Tozer

Progressive results

For more information about Down Under Sail contact Marc Ablett or Harry Fisher atdownundersail@gmail.com

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Cherubs head to Victor for first leg of South Australian states

Ashleigh Emery and Alex Bath in Quick Spoon

With the racing season now well underway the South Australian Cherub fleet is gearing up for what promises to be one of the most competitive State Championship in recent memory.

More than 10 boats are expected to make the trek to Victor Harbor this weekend for round one of the Daronmont Technologies State Championship.

Three back-to-back races are set to test the endurance of competitors and reward consistency.

Victor Harbor Yacht Club has been awarded its first Cherub states since the reinvigoration of the class in South Australia and its fleet of five are expected to push for podium finishes.

The fleet has already met once this season at the Alexander Sails Sprint Series back in October where Ashleigh Emery and Alex Bath in Quick Spoon mastered difficult conditions to win their first Duncan Groome Trophy.

Currently showing some hot form in club racing, the defending champions on board Quick Spoon will head into round one as clear favourites.

Alex Blacker and Jacob Bainger in Raw

Local boat Raw, sailed by Alex Blacker and Jacob Bainger, has a history of seriously challenging Quick Spoon to the line, sharing time at the head of the fleet in both the Sprint Series and last year’s Victor Harbor fleet race.

However it is the sibling rivalry of Glen Emery in Cunning Linguist that seems most likely to poach round one victory, if blessed with a good breeze.

Cunning Linguist is a proven pacesetter in a breeze and if conditions are favourable could walk away from Victor with a few bullets and into round two at Brighton with some breathing space.

Jack Ramsey and Spencer McTavish in Block Party are not to be ruled out of victory, boasting consistently good results and a proven ability to lead the fleet.

Throw in Simon How and Steve Knights in Boobs R Us into the mix and suddenly the series is thrown right open.

Jack Ramsey and Spencer McTavish sailing Block Party

These five boats have raced as a tight pack on many occasions and have displayed mixed results.

About six sailors will make their Cherub States debut this week as the class continues to grow around the state.

This year will be the first State Championship under the sail rules, allowing square top mainsails and taller, narrower jibs.

Expect the first users of the new sails to be parading smug smiles if light conditions are on the menu.

The series also stands as an ideal warm up for sailors as they begin their preparation for the Wolf Blass 52nd Cherub Nationals at Wallaroo this summer.

The South Australian Cherub fleet is now bigger than ever, which should give competitors and spectators alike a taste of what’s to come.

By Michael Tozer

For more information about Down Under Sail contact Harry Fisher or Marc Ablett atdownundersail@gmail.com

Premiers Cup postponed until 2015

2013 Premiers Cup winner Jason Ward’s Concubine sailing in the rain. Photograph: Harry Fisher, Down Under Sail

INCONSISTENT winds on Saturday afternoon forced the race committee to postpone the 2014 Premiers Cup Regatta until next year after principal race officer John Gibson cancelled the first three scheduled races.

Cruising Yacht Club of South Australia flag officers and race officials met ashore after racing was cancelled and decided to reschedule the event until later in the  2014/15 season rather than decide the Premiers Cup out of two scheduled races on Sunday.

The officials determined it would not be fair to the event and to the competitors to decide the winner after two or three races.

The Secret Men’s Business Crew chartered Sydney 38 Hold On. Photograph: Harry Fisher, Down Under Sail

The revised Premiers Cup weekend is still to be decided.

Racing was originally postponed at around 11am due to a potential 50-knot line squall partnered with thunderstorms and heavy rainfall however the boats were eventually sent out in a light northeasterly breeze.

Although light, the wind looked promising for the race committee and a strong fleet of keel boats took to the water for their three scheduled races in the Premiers Cup.

Paul Bull’s Peer Gynt before racing was cancelled at the 2014 Premiers Cup. Photograph: Harry Fisher, Down Under Sail

Mr Gibson had the boats inside a start sequence however they re-entered postponement when southwesterly winds pushed their way up the coast.

Eventually the weather was deemed too variable and with thunderstorms still present around Adelaide, the racing was cancelled for the day.

Sunday’s scheduled Premiers Cup racing still took place under the new name of the Canegrass Regatta and was counted towards the 2014/15 South Australian IRC and AMS championships but not the Premiers Cup.

Caillin Howard’s Aikin took out division one in the Canegrass Regatta ahead of Andrew Corletto’s Shining Sea and Two True skippered by Andrew Saies.

Caillin Howard, David Oliver (front) and crew on board Aikin accepting the Sheep Station trophy after winning the 2014 Canegrass Regatta, which replaced Sunday’s Premiers Cup racing. Photograph: Cruising Yacht Club of South Australia

Full results:

IRC division one
First: Aikin
Second: Shining Sea
Third: Two True

AMS division one
First: Aikin
Second: Hold On
Third: Shining Sea

PHS division one
First: Hold On
Second: Horopito
Third: White Knight

J24 one design
First: No Eye Deer
Second: Good Company
Third: Witch’s Thimble

AMS division two
First: Young Einstein
Second: Doctor Feelgood
Third: Julia

PHS division two
First: Rival
Second: Vostok-Europe
Third: Sea Snake II

For more information about the Premiers Cup regatta and the revised date visit theCruising Yacht Club of South Australia website.

By Harry Fisher

For more information about Down Under Sail contact Marc Ablett or Harry Fisher atdownundersail@gmail.com

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Premiers Cup 2014 – Commodore’s Form Guide

IN a unique first for Down Under Sail, Cruising Yacht Club of South Australia Commodore Geoff Boettcher presents the Commodore’s Form Guide for the 2014 Premiers Cup Regatta.

The regatta will be held this weekend on Saturday and Sunday the 22nd and 23rd of November at the Cruising Yacht Club of South Australia and will feature competition in division one and division two as well as racing for the J24 and Melges 24 fleets.

In last year’s regatta, Jason Ward’s Concubine was lucky enough to come away with the victory but it wasn’t without some controversy as winning yacht Shining Seaskippered by Andrew Corletto was disqualified for an incident on the start line.

Check out the results form the 2013 Premiers Cup Regatta below and then it’s over to Boettch.

Cheers, Harry Fisher

2013 Premiers Cup results

Premiers Cup winner: Concubine, Jason Ward

IRC Div 1

  • First: Concubine, Jason Ward
  • Second: Aikin, Cailin Howard
  • Third: Two True, Andrew Saies

AMS Div 1

  • First: Aikin, Caillin Howard
  • Second: Concubine, Jason Ward
  • Third: Shining Sea, Andrew Corletto

IRC Div 2

  • First: Young Einstein, Rob Sellick
  • Second: Peer Gynt, Paul Bull
  • Third: Locomotion, Peter Hall

Commodore’s Form Guide

Division one IRC was the main event last year and caused some havoc while awaiting the presentation with certain dignitaries being subject to a protest. The protest placed against winning yacht Shining Sea skippered by Andrew Corletto resulted in a disqualification after an incident occurred at the start line. This will without a doubt be where the action is this year.

The winning boat on IRC from all regatta entrants will claim the Premiers Cup. Division one results are presented on IRC, as well as AMS (Australian handicap system) and PHS (mickey mouse handicap to encourage).

At this stage I think division two is only AMS, but more information on that come race day.

Shining Sea, Andrew Corletto

Shining Sea is leading the inshore point score for the season thus far, which has to put skipper Andrew Corletto atop the list of favourites for now. I think the boat was seen last Saturday sporting new sails with an interstate sail maker on board training the team on sail trim. Shining Sea has been out training a lot in the lead up to this season.

Corletto will be trying to avenge the protest that cost them dearly last year. Shining Seasupporters can blame Chris Tillett for that costly mistake if they want to stir the pot after being responsible for positioning them at that particular start line last year.

With that being said they are currently leading the inshore series and remain a strong favourite.

Concubine, Jason Ward

Concubine is the only yacht from the CYCSA doing the Sydney to Hobart this year. Jason Ward has had a serious approach to sailing this boat over last 12 months and is keen for a good result.

Concubine has been sailing in to some stellar form recently and considering the plethora of quality young sailors on board as well as their recent results, they will be a firm chance to go back to back this year.

Aikin, Caillin Howard

Caillin Howard’s Aikin is now being considered as a late tip for a podium finish.

The Premiers Cup runner up from last year’s regatta is sporting new Doyle headsails that have only recently arrived and should give them that added chance.

Slipknot, Seb Bohm

Seb Bohm’s Sydney 38 has certainly had an exceptional last 12 months. The IRC rating system does not favour the Sydney 38s like the two Beneteaus (caravans) above however they could be an outside chance.

Vertigo, Jamie Goode

Currently running second overall this years series, Jamie Goode and the team on boardVertigo are sailing very well and are likely to excel if provided with light conditions. They look like a chance due to their recent form in the inshore series, but keep an eye on the forecast.

White Knight, David Knights

White Knight had good and consistent results on Saturday and is definitely capable of claiming a place on the podium if David Knights and his crew are able to continue their good form. A bit of a smoky, but don’t be surprised if it comes through.

Outside chances

Lucette and Horopito from the Royal SA Yacht Squadron could sneak their way on the podium as both are proven performers. We will be able to tell a lot more come race day on how they’re shaping up.

Hold On, the black Sydney 38 skippered by myself and ably assisted by the SMB crew could put a cat amongst the pigeons going on last Saturday’s result. We have recently been brought out of retirement and with a few new sails added to the inventory we may again be considered competitive.

As yachtsmen, we usually steer away from racing solely for AMS honours as most results are similar to IRC but unfortunately some yacht owners are too mean to pay the IRC fees so we’re opting for a crack at the AMS title this year.

Division two

At this stage I don’t think there are any boats competing for IRC honours in division two this year and only those nominated for AMS however the fleet still looks like a competitive one and should guarantee some great racing.

El Fideldo, skippered by Doug Watson is currently running first in division two for this season’s inshore series followed by Locomotion, Young Einstein and then Doctor Feelgood.

Not a lot of goss here at this stage but as I said before should still shape up for some competitive racing.


El Fideldo seems to be the boat to beat but also in with a chance is Dave Nicholson’sSuch is Life. Also look out for Cookie Monster and No Idea who look likely to be competitive.

We’re looking forward to what is expected to be an enjoyable weekend of racing, make sure you stick around afterwards and check out the footage from Saturday’s racing on the television courtesy of Harry Fisher from Down Under Sail.

Geoff Boettcher, Commodore, Cruising Yacht Club of South Australia.

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Sharpies set to “bring the bay to life”

IN one of the most anticipated national championships held in New South Wales in the history of the class, a great fleet of sharpies are set to descend on Botany Bay for the 72nd instalment of the event held at the Georges River Sailing Club.

Preparations for this regatta started well over two years ago and NSW is welcoming top class sailors from around the country in what will be an event to savour.

NSW team Blur finished with a win in race one at Sunday’s Botany Bay warm up day.

It all kicks off on December 29 when old meets new with legends and supporters of the class getting together for the legends day and launch of a great pictorial history of this class so far.

Legends from the halcyon days in NSW like Grant Simmer, Alex Dey, Stuart Fahey as well as a host of interstate sailors will be in attendance including class patron John Cuneo from Queensland.

This will be coupled with the modern day superstars of the class doing battle in the invitation races on the river in front of the club for added spectator appeal.

With the remainder of the event to be sailed on Botany Bay, this will provide a great spectacle and fans can enjoy the thrills and spills from the comfort of the clubhouse.

The fleet that is stacking up is looking like it will be top class, with perennial place getters, Sam McCloud, Jason Heritage and Chris Went heading up a strong fleet from South Australia.

There are whispers afoot of Vern Tidy making the trip from the west as well as Tasmanians and previous national champions Drew Latham and crew on boardOne Hump or Two.

To add some spice to the regatta there has been a huge influx of quality juniors into the class in recent years, with up to nine junior teams (under 21) competing for both the open trophy and the junior crown.

The Truck team prepared for Sunday’s racing on Botany Bay

Tasmania is looking at sending a strong team as well as the home state NSW.

One young crew (although no longer a junior) is Ryan Kelly skippering Nude with Tom Schnaars and Sean Keen from South Australia.

They have been giving some more fancied opponents a touch up locally and are a smoky for the title.

Western Australia will also be strong in this department, with young Jack Swallow transitioning into a quick boat and making the trip across.

A victory at Mounts Bay Sailing Club’s opening day against some quality competition sent a warning shot through the fleet.

Also creating some interest will be the women’s trophy, with up to five teams expected to compete.

There are three Canberra teams with Kelsey Hanrahan and Cass Schlimbach out of lasers looking to compete and class stalwart Mary Tulip also has a good boat under her and will be quick.

Tasmania and Queensland look like states that will also provide good competition in this area.

With so many battles within the fleet it will be a fantastic series at a great club with a record of hosting great events.

Many have said it will be as good off the water as it will be on it with strong northeasters cranking in and cold beer in the bar.

The aim is for a fleet of around 45 boats and around 130 to 140 sailors, which will test everyone with great depth throughout the fleet.

NSW had a warm up on Sunday November 3rd at the “River Club” and it was a fantastic day with extremely close racing on three short courses on the bay.

The 15 to 18 knot southeasterly caused some havoc among the fleet, with race one winner Blur skippered by Dean Souter forced to the bar after breaking a preventer.

Truck and Deep Sea Racing Prawns were left to battle it out with Truck taking the last race by seven seconds to secure the win; just a taste of what is in store at Christmas time.

There are still plenty of affordable quality boats for sale and ready to compete for the title.

It is also going to be a busy November locally in NSW with the following upcoming events:

  • ACT Dinghy Titles Nov 15/16 CYC
  • NSW State Titles Nov 29-30 PKSC
  • Final Warm up racing GRSC December 14

Check out the National website for class information or you can visit the event website for a deeper look in to the GRSC72 National Titles.

To nominate for the championships, fill out the online entry form. Please note: if crews are not finalised you are still able to nominate as a boat/skipper combination.

Any other queries or sponsorship opportunities contact Marc Ablett via email.

By Marc Ablett

For more information about Down Under Sail contact Marc Ablett or Harry Fisher at downundersail@gmail.com

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Higgins claims victory in thrilling finish

DAVE Higgins has taken out the fifth Lakes Resort Hotel West Lakes Sharpie Regatta in a memorable countback victory over youngster Ryan Kelly.

Sailing in his brother Mal’s boat Focus with the champion crew Andrew Chisholm and Sam Sanderson, Higgins clinched the victory in the final race beating Kelly over the line in a come from behind effort to win one of the closest West Lakes Regattas in history.

Higgins commended the efforts of Ryan Kelly and his crew who showed a lot of promise for the future of the class.

“(They were) very consistent,” Higgins said.

“They were around the top three the whole time and it was only the last real gust of wind that put us over the line.

“I guess sometimes the gods smile on you.”

In light and shifty conditions, 10 sharpies took to the lake in what was a great spectacle of close and competitive racing.

Four races were run on the day, which was a great effort for Principal Race Officer Mike Rogers considering the constantly changing conditions.

In one race he even started the fleet downwind to make sure the sailing kept going for the spectators.

Higgins results, although slightly inconsistent, proved just enough to get him over the line finishing with two firsts, a third and an eighth.

Ryan Kelly, skippering Nude with Tom Schnaars and Sean Keen were the most consistent boat on the day, finishing with a second, a third and two fourths and second overall at the end of the regatta.

Other standout performers were Chris Went in AREA Construction with Simon Hill and Tom Manhood who were third overall and Melges 24 import Luke Stephens skippering Pre-Mature with Luke Hookings and Josh Thomas who ended up fourth.

Remarkably, only two points separated the top four boats at the end of the day.

Tony Turton (Under The Radar), Steve Luders (Nightmare), John Weigand (Spank) and Darryl O’Toole (Wet Dream) were all on the pace as well finishing with some quality results and respectable overall results.

Chris Todd (Nest Of Vipers) and Bob Anesbury (Foam 3) brought up the final two positions overall but were never far off the leaders during the course of the day.

The Lakes Resort Hotel did a fantastic job of sponsoring the event and many keen spectators gathered in the Lakes Bar to watch the racing right in front of the hotel.

Higgins became only the third person to win the West Lakes Regatta and continued a family dominance with brothers Sandy (2009) and Mal (2010-2013) holding up the trophy in recent years.

After a third place in Sugar Daddy in 2013 and a second place in Nude this year maybe Ryan Kelly could be the next person to take the trophy away from the Higgins family in 2015.

But I guess we will just have to wait and see.

Sharpie sailors are now getting heavily in to their club and state sailing programs before they head off to the national championships on Botany Bay at the Georges River Sailing Club at Christmas time.

By Harry Fisher

Overall results from the Lakes Resort Hotel West Lakes Sharpie Regatta

For more information about Down Under Sail contact Marc Ablett or Harry Fisher atdownundersail@gmail.com

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Lincoln Week honours taken to Sydney

Sydney based yacht Zen skippered by Gordon Ketelbey has taken out this year’s Club Marine/Lexus Lincoln Regatta Week that finished last Thursday.

Ketelbey and his crew were the furthest travelled team in the monohull division coming all the way from the Middle Harbour Yacht Club in Sydney.

Zen joined a large group of travellers that made it to Port Lincoln to join the near 50 boat fleet, one of the largest ever seen at Lincoln Week in recent times.

Gordon Ketelbey’s Zen racing on Boston Bay

Duncan Rutherford, one of the crewmembers on board Zen explained how meaningful it is to win such a prestigious regatta when you travel so far for it.

“It’s always great to take a trophy home and it’s always great to come away with what you set out to do.

“We’re particularly pleased because we improved throughout the week and that’s what you’re always trying to do when you go sailing” Mr Rutherford said.

Closely following Zen in the Division 1 IRC honours was Adelaide based boat Shining Sea skippered by Andrew Corletto who finished second, sailing a very consistent regatta.

And in third place was Wicked skippered by Mike Welsh, who also travelled a long way to Port Lincoln from the Sandringham Yacht Club in Melbourne.

Mike Welsh’s Wicked sailing with their spinnaker

In AMS Division 1 Secret Men’s Business skippered by Geoff Boettcher took out the championship, followed by Shining Sea in second and Cailin Howard’s Aikin in third.

Peer Gynt skippered by Paul Bull, who took out PHS and IRC honours and was third in AMS, dominated division 2.

Bull and his crew sailed very well in the Adelaide to Lincoln race and backed up their form in the regatta taking home plenty of silverware.

Happy Hookers skippered by John Hookings won the monohull cruising division on a triple count back ahead of David Smallacombe’s Steeplejack in second and Paul Richards’ Tanqueray in third.

The regatta this year included the multihull national championships, which were one by Chris Williams and his crew in Morticia.

Williams and his crew travelled from Pittwater, New South Wales for Lincoln Week and also took out the Adelaide to Port Lincoln race record at the start of the event.

Indian Chief skippered by Darren Drew was second in the multihulls, and in third place was Malice skippered by Mal Richardson.

Overall it was a very successful regatta, and one of the largest turnouts that Lincoln Week has seen for a while.

Interstate travellers and our nearby neighbours from Adelaide all commended the hospitality of Port Lincoln and it looks likely that the regatta will continue to grow in the future.

For full results visit the Lincoln Week Website.

Interview with Chris Williams from Morticia

Morticia has taken out their second consecutive Multihull National Championship and was honoured tonight at the Multihull Presentation Evening at the Port Lincoln Yacht Club.

The Multihull Nationals were a part of this years Club Marine/Lexus Lincoln Regatta Week and provided a great spectacle on Boston Bay.

Down Under Sail was lucky enough to catch up with Chris Williams the skipper on board Morticia to hear what he had to say about the week that’s been.

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Interview with Stewart “Jock” Ross after the regatta

Down Under Sail caught up with Principal Race Officer Stewart Ross after today’s sailing to hear how he thought the regatta went.

Jock (as he is more commonly known) talked about the regatta both on and off the water and had an interesting insight in to the role of PRO.

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Interview with Zen pitman Duncan Rutherford

Today we caught up with Duncan Rutherford, the pit man on board Sydney 38 Zen, which has travelled all the way over to Port Lincoln from the Middle Harbour Yacht Club in Sydney.

Duncan gave us some insight in to how Zen has been faring here in Port Lincoln and what it would mean to win the regatta and take the trophy back home to Sydney.

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Team Aikin have a little fun on Day 3 of Lincoln Week

Some people had a lot of fun at Megga’s BBQ today, but no one had as much fun as the Aikin boys on the sail back.

Have a look at this crazy video to see what got them so excited!

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Strong breezes in Lincoln Week Taylors Island long race

Day two of the 2014 Club Marine/Lexus Lincoln Regatta Week took place today with a long race south around Taylors Island then north around Boston Island before finishing in Boston Bay in front of the Port Lincoln Yacht Club.

Secret Men’s Business skippered by Geoff Boettcher got out to an early lead but had a lot of time to gain over his competitors to ensure a victory on IRC.

Secret Men’s Business rounding Taylors Island

Closely following was Fresh skippered by David Buckland who sailed a great race and Andrew Corletto’s Shining Sea, which took out the IRC race win.

David Buckland praised the traditional Lincoln Week long race elaborating on how local knowledge plays a strong role and how Fresh is planning on finishing the regatta strongly.

“We snuck around a few rocks a bit quicker than the other blokes because we know where they are and that helped a lot.

“We’re going to come home with a rush, we’ll just get it together for the last two windward/leeward’s on Thursday and smash it” Mr Buckland said.

Shining Sea in front of the Port Lincoln silos

Mike Welsh’s Wicked and Andrew Saies’ Two True both had good races finishing second and third on IRC respectively.

In division two, Paul Bull’s Peer Gynt was dominant again, with another IRC win, however struggled on AMS and PHS where the standings were a little more competitive.

In the cruising division Tanqueray skippered by Paul Richards took the race win just ahead of Richard Harries’ Julia and David Smallacombe’s Steeplejack who were second and third respectively.

For full results in all divisions visit the Lincoln Week Regatta Website

For more information about Down Under Sail contact Marc Ablett or Harry Fisher atdownundersail@gmail.com

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Multihull nationals well underway at Lincoln Regatta Week

Two days of racing have been completed in the 2014 Multihull National Championships as part of the 2014 Club Marine/Lexus Lincoln Regatta Week.

Morticia skippered by Chris Williams has dominated the first two days of racing with two firsts and a second putting him well clear of his competition.

Mad Max flying along in Boston Bay

The reigning multihull national champion and new Adelaide to Lincoln race record holder is showing the entire fleet how it is done on Boston Bay.

There have been many other good performers in particular races however Morticia is beginning to look more likely to retain the national crown.

Morticia tied up after the Adelaide to Lincoln Race

The multihull national championship will continue until Friday where many more races are scheduled, so anything could happen.

Some boats that could potentially knock Morticia off could be Indian Chief skippered by Darren Drew or even Bare Essentials skippered by Tim Pepperell who won today’s race.

Article by Harry Fisher

For full results on the multihull nationals check out the Lincoln Week Regatta Website.

For more information about Down Under Sail contact Marc Ablett or Harry Fisher atdownundersail@gmail

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Lincoln Regatta Week gets underway

The 2014 Club Marine/Lexus Lincoln Regatta Week got underway yesterday with two short course races in Boston Bay.

Part of the Lincoln Week event this year is a large fleet of 24 multihulls, which have arrived at Lincoln Week for their national championships.

The spinnakers flying on the first downwind leg

Races 1 and 2 were sailed in moderate conditions yesterday, and there were many good performers throughout the day.

The overall IRC honours were always going to be a tough battle, with many contenders hoping to kick their regatta off with a couple good races.

Adelaide boat Aikin had veteran yachtsman David Royle on the helm in the absence of Cailin Howard and he was stoked to just be a part of the event.

“I’m blessed to be able to come aboard with a crew who know what they’re doing and I just get on the boat and steer.

“We had a good start and were very happy to sail around the course in moderate conditions really well” Mr Royle said.

Aikin finished the day with a first and a third on IRC, however were not quite quick enough to finish the day on top, with interstate Sydney 38 Zen finishing the days sailing with a second and a first.

Local boat Fresh skippered by David Buckland

Beneteau First 40 Wicked also had a good day with a third and a second on IRC to put them firmly in third place.

In Division 2, Paul Bull’s Peer Gynt dominated in all divisions ahead of Enchantressskippered by John Muirhead and local boat Sextant skippered by Jonathan Newbury in second and third on IRC respectively.

Trevor Butcher’s Alternative Therapy performed well on PHS and AMS with a second in each division as well as Paul McGeever’s Splitter and Brenton Pegler’s Another Planetwho also performed well.

In the monohull cruising division, Happy Hookers skippered by John Hookings won the race ahead of David Smallacombe’s Steeplejack in second and Paul Richards’Tanqueray in third.

Keep posted on Down Under Sail for separate multihull results as well as all the action from today’s long race.

Article by Harry Fisher

For more information and full regatta results visit the Lincoln Week Regatta Website.

For more information about Down Under Sail contact Marc Ablett or Harry Fisher atdownundersail@gmail.com

Interview with David Buckland after Race 3 of Lincoln Week

Today is Day 2 of the 2014 Club Marine/Lexus Lincoln Regatta Week. Today’s race was a long offshore race south around Taylors Island, then north around Boston Island and finishing right in front of the Yacht Club in Boston Bay.

Down Under Sail caught up with David “Bucky” Buckland, the skipper of local Sydney 47 “Fresh” after the third race of the 2014 Lincoln Regatta Week.

Bucky gave us some insight in to how the local knowledge plays in to his hands and says that the boys on board “Fresh” are hopeful to finish the regatta off strongly!

Stay posted for more updates as the regatta continues.

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GoPro footage Lincoln Week Day 1 – Secret Men’s Business

Timmy Cowen on board Secret Men’s Business got some great footage on the GoPro head cam today of the start of Race 1 in the 2014 Club Marine/Lexus Lincoln Regatta.

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Interview with David Royle after Race 1 of Lincoln Week

Welcome to Day 1 of the 2014 Club Marine/Lexus Lincoln Regatta Week. The fleet is currently out on Boston Bay and have just completed Race 1.

Down Under Sail caught up with David Royle, the substitute helmsman filling in for Cailin Howard on board Aikin after the first race of the 2014 Lincoln Regatta Week.

David gave us some insight in to how the first race of the regatta went and had a few friendly words to say about his opponent Geoff Boettcher.

Stay posted for more updates as the regatta continues.

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An array of divisional winners in Adelaide to Lincoln Yacht Race

The overall winners of all divisions in the 2014 Club Marine/Lexus Adelaide to Port Lincoln Yacht Race have been acknowledged today at the Race Presentation at the Port Lincoln Yacht Club.

Competitors, race officials, support teams, friends and families filled the Port Lincoln Yacht Club to see the presentation of all divisions as well as celebrate another successful year of the great race with a few drinks and a famous Port Lincoln seafood lunch.

The Overall IRC Champions Secret Men’s Business at the Port Lincoln Yacht Club

Chris Williams, the skipper of the multihull Morticia was acknowledged for setting a new multihull race record of 11 hours, 23 minutes and 10 seconds; an amazing feat.

This year the race committee incorporated the new AMS handicap rating system as well as the IRC and PHS systems that are already in place, which had 28 starters.

Geoff Boettcher’s Secret Men’s Business took out the inaugural AMS championship ahead of Chris Pratt’s Lucette in second and Cailin Howard’s Aikin in third.

The Overall PHS Champions Tanqueray at the Port Lincoln Yacht Club

Secret Men’s Business, who was the first monohull to cross the finish line early yesterday morning also claimed the Division 1 IRC and Overall IRC championships by the smallest of margins over Aikin.

Coming in third place in both Division 1 IRC and Overall IRC was Shining Seaskippered by Andrew Corletto who was not far off the pace either with only 28 minutes separating the top three on corrected time.

Chris Pratt’s Lucette was the winner of the IRC Division 2 honours followed by John Muirhead’s Enchantress in second and Jason Ward’s Concubine in third.

39 boats competed in the PHS division, which was won by Paul Richards’ Tanquerayjust ahead of Port Lincoln boat Speakeasy skippered by Grant Eckermann in second and Paul Bull’s Peer Gynt in third.

The multihull division had six starters and was won by Charles Meredith’s Peccadillojust ahead of the new race record holder Morticia in second and Ian MacDougall’sGoldfinger in third.

The cruising division of ten boats left Adelaide at 10:00am on Friday and was won by Rob Sellick’s Young Einstein just ahead of Kudos skippered by Vladimir Humeniuk in second and Adrian Wotton’s School’s Out in third.

The Lincoln Regatta week begins tomorrow on the pristine waters of Boston Bay and the week of competitive on water racing and enjoyable off water festivities should shape up to be a memorable one.

Follow Down Under Sail on Facebook for all the updates throughout the regatta.

Article by Harry Fisher

For more information about Down Under Sail contact Marc Ablett or Harry Fisher atdownundersail@gmail.com

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Geoff Boettcher interview on this years Adelaide to Lincoln


Down Under Sail was fortunate enough to have an interview with the helmsman of this years monohull Line Honours winner Secret Men’s Business Geoff Boettcher.

He gave us some great insight in to this years race and how his new boat is faring against it’s competition.

Interview by Harry Fisher

For more information visit the Lincoln Week Website and be sure to ‘like’ the Regatta Facebook Page for all the updates during the event.

For more information about Down Under Sail contact Marc Ablett or Harry Fisher atdownundersail@gmail.com

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Fast finish in Adelaide to Lincoln Yacht Race

Boats are starting to arrive in Port Lincoln after finishing the 2014 Club Marine/Lexus Adelaide to Port Lincoln Yacht Race this morning.

Secret Men’s Business before the start

Trimaran Morticia skippered by Shaun Carroll took out line honours and first multihull after arriving in Port Lincoln at around 3:00am this morning.

The new Farr 400 Secret Men’s Business skippered by Geoff Boettcher crossed the line a couple minutes past 6:00am this morning to be the first monohull finisher an hour and a half ahead of Cailin Howard’s Aikin.

G-Wizz before the start

The weather was consistent throughout the entire race and after rounding the foot of Yorke Peninsula last night it an off-the-breeze cruise in to Boston Bay.

As the boats continue to arrive throughout the day the hunt for overall IRC honours will become more intense.

Many of the teams are standing by their boats crunching the numbers and trying to work out if they have beaten their competition by enough time to come out on top.

Port Lincoln’s Marina Hotel will come alive this afternoon as the marina fills up with more boats and the bar starts to fill up with thirsty sailors.

Article by Harry Fisher

For more information visit the Lincoln Week Website and be sure to ‘like’ the Regatta Facebook Page for all the updates during the event.

For more information about Down Under Sail contact Marc Ablett or Harry Fisher atdownundersail@gmail.com

Adelaide to Lincoln Yacht Race Start 2014 – Video Blog

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Adelaide to Port Lincoln fleet prepares to set sail

A fleet of over 50 yachts have nominated for this years Club Marine/Lexus Adelaide to Port Lincoln Yacht Race that leaves the Cruising Yacht Club of South Australia tomorrow afternoon.

The 156 nautical mile race that takes the yachts south west around the foot of Yorke Peninsula and then North West in to Port Lincoln, nestled in Boston Bay on the Eyre Peninsula is known as South Australia’s premier ocean racing event.

Last year’s Adelaide to Lincoln winner Secret Men’s Business 3.5

The reigning Line Honours and Overall IRC champion Secret Men’s Business 3.5 and it’s nearby Runner Up Scarlett Runner are both absent from this race, leaving the Line Honours hunt wide open.

Secret Men’s Business was sold after competing in last years Rolex Fastnet Race where they placed 3rd in IRC Z division and Scarlett Runner is on it’s way home after just completing the Cape Town to Rio Yacht Race where they finished 2nd on Overall IRC.

With these two 50+ footers that have dominated this event for last several years not competing in this years race the Line Honours result looks difficult to predict.

The sailors on board Secret Men’s Business 3.5 last year

21-year-old trimmer on board Adelaide boat Concubine Luke Stephens who will compete in his seventh Lincoln Race this year said that regardless of the conditions, it is anyone’s race.

“There’s about three or four boats that look like they could take out the over the line honours, but it’s really hard to tell this year.

“Even after the front few, it looks like there’s going to be a strong group of around 15 to 20 boats that will all finish within a couple hours of each other” Luke said.

A number of boats look poised to finish the race first including Kym Clarke’s Fresh, Cailin Howard’s Aikin, Greg Patten’s G-Wizz as well as last year’s winning helmsman Geoff Boettcher’s newly purchased Farr 400 named as expected Secret Men’s Business.

If the race experiences some consistency with the weather, the Overall IRC Honours will be expected to come right down to the wire.

A 15-20 knot Southerly breeze is expected for tomorrow’s start, which will put the fleet to the test as they beat down the gulf headed for the foot of Yorke Peninsula.

“If there were bigger boats in this years race, it really could have been a record year.

“The forecast says it shouldn’t get below 15 knots for the entire race, so we’re looking like we’ll have a quick finish” Luke Stephens said.

Cailin Howard’s Aikin

As the boats arrive in Port Lincoln they will be greeted by the hospitality of South Australia’s aquaculture capital and the Port Lincoln Yacht Club who always put on a great event.

The Club Marine/Lexus Lincoln Regatta Week is the largest keelboat regatta in the state providing a mix of courses that will make the most of the fantastic sailing in Boston Bay and some of the surrounding islands.

Beginning on Monday February 24th and running until Thursday February 27th,

Lincoln Week is always an enjoyable week, with quality racing on show as well as some entertaining off water festivities that bring the city alive.

Article by Harry Fisher

For more information visit the Lincoln Week Website and be sure to ‘like’ the RegattaFacebook Page for all the updates during the event.

For more information about Down Under Sail contact Marc Ablett or Harry Fisher atdownundersail@gmail.com

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Steve Allen goes back to back in Lancelin Ocean Classic

Ten time world champion Steve Allen has over come a dramatic false start to claim his second Windsurfing Marathon title in as many years at the Lancelin Ocean Classic early last month.

Allen, who finished in a time of 29mins 59sec, was forced to regain his composure when a restart was called after a group of sailors apparently misheard the starting siren.

Steve Allen flying in the Lancelin Ocean Classic

“The start didn’t have too much of an effect on me, it was the seaweed that slowed me down more than anything.”  Allen said.

The 40-year-old from Queensland said he was confident going into the race but was keeping a close eye on the fast finishing Isaac Devries who took out second place in a time of 30mins 12sec.

The fleet off the start

“I was just stoked to be the first back to the beach, the conditions were tricky, especially at the start, almost all of us carried seaweed off the beach except for Isaac but I was able to reel him in.” Allen said

118 athletes negotiated gusty 15-20 knot winds to finish the 25-kilometer down wind race.

Steve Allen crossing the finish line in first place

Peter Volwater finished third in a time of 30mins 41sec while one of the pre-event favourites and 41-times world champion Bjorn Dunkerbeck finished fifth.

Article by Michael Genovese

For more information about Down Under Sail contact Harry Fisher or Marc Ablett atdownundersail@gmail.com

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Local knowledge proves crucial at 505 Nationals on Lake Macquarie

Lake Macquarie local Michael Babbage and crew James McAllister have clinched the 2014 Ronstan Australian 505 Championship by one point in varying conditions off their home club.

A star-studded fleet of 25 boats from all over Australia made up the competitive group, which consisted of reigning Olympic Gold Medalist, America’s Cup helmsman and Lake Macquarie local Nathan Outteridge who crewed for his sister Haylee.

Ryan Menzies leading the charge off the start

Leading in to the regatta there was no clear favourite, and the top end of the fleet was expected to be close and hard fought.

This was definitely the case at the conclusion of the series as only four points separated the top three, and the top five separated by seven points.

It came down to the final race, and Babbage sealed the title in brilliant fashion finishing one point clear of defending champion Michael Quirk and his crew Shane Guanaria.

Quirk and Guanaria were dominant early in the regatta leading after the first three days of racing, however on day four in a 20 knot northeasterly they lost their rig and ended with a DNF result, slightly knocking them down the standings.

Queensland State Champions and consistent nationals performers Kevin Cameron and Sam Heritage continued their good form in to the nationals clinching third place.

Haylee and Nathan Outteridge were a highlight of the regatta, winning a total of four races in the championship, but struggled in the heavier winds giving up plenty of weight to the larger 505 combinations.

The Australian Sailing Team Outteridge pair were crowned as the Lady Skipper and Youth Champion and finished the regatta fifth overall.

3rd place finishers Kevin Cameron and Sam Heritage

The regatta experienced predominantly easterly winds ranging from 6 to 25 knots over 11 championship races.

Queensland 505 sailor Sam Heritage spoke highly of Lake Macquarie and it’s sailing conditions saying how it’s easy to see why quality sailors like Babbage and Outteridge are produced here.

“After sailing several regattas at Lake Macquarie it is easy to see how the talented sailors can develop and refine their skills to mix it at a high level” Heritage said.

Heritage continued to praise the Lake, touting it as ‘God’s Country’ and explaining how many sailors in the 505 class are looking forward to their next opportunity to sail there.

Many sailors praised the work of the New South Wales 505 Assocation as well as the Lake Macquarie Yacht Club who all did an outstanding job of putting together a seamless regatta.

The 2015 505 Australian Championships are scheduled to be held in Victoria and more information will be posted on the 505 National Website when details are finalized.

Article by Harry Fisher

Information and Quotes provided by Sam Heritage, Australian 505 Sailing Assocation

For more information about Down Under Sail contact Harry Fisher or Marc Ablett atdownundersail@gmail.com

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Babbage seals consecutive National Moth title in Yeppoon

Scott Babbage has won his second consecutive National Moth championship after a stellar performance at the recent Moth Nationals in Yeppoon, Queensland.

Babbage sailed brilliantly in challenging conditions to hold off some tough competition throughout the entire series held at Keppel Bay Sailing Club.

The fleet of Moth’s lining up on the start line

With such a distance to travel for a large portion of Australia’s Moth fleet, the national championships only saw a fleet of 24 boats during the regatta that was sailed from January 2nd to 8th, 2014.

However of those 24 boats, the championships saw some of the Moth fleet’s best talent on display and quality racing was always going to be guaranteed.

The Central Queensland township of Yeppoon, famous for it’s pristine Sunshine State weather is one of the most ideal locations to sail on the Capricorn Coastline, and the Keppel Bay Sailing Club mirrored the quality weather with it’s superb hospitality and race management.

Early in the regatta, David Lister looked dangerous with the first three race wins in as many starts, but after suffering a rib injury during a downwind tumble in blustery conditions, his regatta went downhill from there.

Going in to the final race, Babbage had the championship sewn up, and former World Champion Josh McKnight looked likely to clinch second, which eventuated.

David Lister maneuvering in his foiling Moth

Kohei Kajimoto was the surprise packet in the series, filling the remainder of the podium places by sailing a sound, consistent regatta.

Kajimoto’s consistent performance also saw him take the Race 8 win, which was sailed in the strongest and most challenging breeze of the series.

The non-foiling versions of Moth’s known as Scows were also represented in Yeppoon with three out of the 24 entrants and David Henderson took out this division convincingly.

Australian Moth Class President Warren Sare spoke about the technological development of Moth’s over the years and how he thinks they have hit their peak, which was displayed at the nationals.

“There was evolutionary development on show, refinement on all that has worked in the past.

“It has appeared that further development has slowed for the moment, efforts are concentrated on tweaking proven gear and improving boat handling” Sare said.

Sare, a proven Moth sailor in his own right had a great series, finishing fifth overall and engaging in a fierce battle with, however falling just short of fourth place finisher Andrew McDougall for the Masters Championship.

Masters Champion Andrew McDougall flying on Keppel Bay

In July this year, the World Championships will be held in Hayling Island, UK followed by the 2015 Australian Nationals and Worlds combine to be held in Sorrento, Victoria next January.

“A strong Australian contingent is expected along with a strong showing from the UK, Europe, Japan and USA to make up a fleet of over 120 boats” Sare said about the championships.

For more information about the Moth class visit the National Website or for full results of the nationals click here.

For videos of the foiling super crafts in action visit Moth Australia’s YouTube Channel.

Article by Harry Fisher

Information and Quotes provided by Warren Sare, Australian Moth Association

For more information about Down Under Sail contact Harry Fisher or Marc Ablett atdownundersail@gmail.com

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Chappell clinches fifth Sharpie National crown

Western Australian Peter Chappell has become just the third person in history to win five or more Australian Sharpie National Championships after winning the recent 71st Australian Sharpie Nationals at Mounts Bay Sailing Club in Perth.

Chappell’s 23 year old Lightweight Sharpie “The Lizard” sailed by him and his crew Peter Nicholas and Luke Payne blitzed the series with five wins out of the seven championship races, a second and a third against outstanding competition.

‘The Lizard’ sailing on the waters of the Swan River, WA

South Australian Dave Higgins in “All Scoobed Out” with Rob Turton and Mark Kretschmer finished the regatta second overall and Western Australian Ash Gabrielson in “Bullit” with Mark Lewis and Ian Davidson clinched third.

The regatta was sailed like any other would be on the Swan River at Christmas time, in the strong Southwesterly sea breezes known as the ‘Fremantle Doctor’.

Even with a tropical cyclone rolling through northern Western Australia, the weather pattern in Perth was not affected too drastically and each afternoon sea breeze averaged 15-18 knots.

Payne, Chappell and Nicholas after the win

Chappell was stoked with his fifth championship saying how meaningful it was to have won in such an old boat with such great guys around him.

Chappell’s forward hand Luke Payne also mentioned how honoured he and sheet hand Peter Nicholas were in winning their first Sharpie Nationals with Chappell.

“We’re always learning new things sailing with PC (Peter Chappell) and we’re completely stoked with the win.

“It’s a tremendous honour to be a Sharpie National Champion and it’s certainly one of the most enjoyable regattas on our calendar,” Payne said.

Luke Payne and Peter Nicholas are outstanding sailors in their own right, sailing on the professional match racing circuit with David Gilmour as well as many other high profile regattas around the world.

Payne added that although the Sharpie Nationals is a regatta that he and Nicholas participate in outside of their professional sailing calendar, Chappell ensures that they understand the prestige of winning this regatta.

The Sharpie class continues to be one of the strongest dinghy classes in Australia, with a total of 44 boats and 132 sailors sailing in this years nationals aging from 15 to 65.

With such strong fleets on show at every national championship, the class is continuing to go from strength to strength with many more young people and sailors from other classes deciding to campaign the sharpie.

The Georges River Sailing Club in Botany Bay, Sydney will host the next nationals from December 28th, 2014 through to January 5th, 2015, which is expected to be another great series, with 50 boats expected.

For both outstanding on water competition, as well as one of the most enjoyable off water social scenes, there really is no better time to be campaigning the sharpie.

Article by Harry Fisher

For more information about Down Under Sail contact Harry Fisher or Marc Ablett atdownundersail@gmail.com

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