Flying 15 Australian Championship - Hawkins/Jones claim overall win
Sun, 6 Jan 2013
The Melbourne weather forecast was for heat and no wind on Thursday and that is exactly what we had at the Flying 15 Australian Championship, so International Race Officer Alan Carlisle kept the fleet on the beach and racing was eventually postponed to the next day.
Fridays forecast was for 40 degrees and a hot northerly that eventually came in and settled enough for the fleet to get away around 1230. There were plenty of shifts and a few pressure holes to challenge the fleet in the first race, which built to 18-22kts. The swell was the best we had seen all week and there were a few post-race stories about the exciting downwind rides and a few boats opting not to go down the face of some waves! Yet it was Lake Burley Griffin sailors Matt Owen and Andrew Reed who crossed the line first making them the sixth winner from seven races and moving them into third place overall.
Peter Milne and Phil Dubbin finished second ahead of Chris Paterson and Rupert Leslie in Storyteller, with the regatta leaders having to settle for fifth place behind Adam Hawkins and Ben Jones. Unfortunately the Rainey brothers had outhaul problems putting them back in the middle of the fleet and into fourth place on the point’s table.
In the Silver Fleet Queenslanders Larry Bardsley and Paul Webster sailing Turning Vehicle had their first win, and as the conditions took its toll several boats retired to the shore.
The eighth and final race brought a few surprises and cheers as Rob Radnell and young crew Sam Danks rounded the top mark in first place and hanging on downhill to round the bottom mark in fourth and eventually finishing 16th. While Hawkins and Jones alongside Coutts and Maskiell moved into the lead, some of the fleet found themselves out to the left of the course and overlaid the top mark with a few of the leading boats finding that mid fleet fight hard to keep their positions.
The final eighth race enabled a second discard from the scoresheet, the top six from race 6 did not change, but their order did, with Hawkins/Jones winning overall from Smith and Kingston who had lead the regatta from race 1. 2012 Champion Matt Owen sailing with Andrew Reed moved into third place with Rainey brothers fourth. A tie for fifth place between Thompson/Taylor and Milne/Dubbin started a countback, both had a first place but it was the result of race 7 that broke the tie with Milne/Dubbin having a second place beating Thompson/Taylors’ third place for race 2, there was plenty of post regatta banter between the boat park neighbours!
It was Hawkins and Jones third attempt at the Australian Championship and they dedicated their win to Adam’s father, thanking their families for their support. Flying 15 Australian President Peter Rooke thanked Daveys Bay Yacht Club for a great regatta and in particular the terrific club volunteers who helped the regatta run smoothly.
The 2013 Australian Championship will be held at Lake Macquarie in NSW.