Australian Combined High Schools Sailing Championships at Belmont NSW

051Last week saw me up at the Combined High Schools Sailing Championship at Belmont on the shores of Lake Macquarie. Known as the CHS, it’s an institution amongst all teenagers to grab a boat, any boat and compete. Over the years many well know Australian sailors have competed in a variety of classes. I can remember a young Nathan Outteridge sailing a 505, Nathan and Sarah Wilmot sailed in borrowed Magic25s and my daughter Melissa sailed a Europe dinghy one year. This year was no exception with  Melges20, VXone and even a Nacra5.8 sailed by 29er sailor Harry Price. As with many of these events over the years, it’s great to watch the boat handling skills of the next generation of Aussie sailors, many no doubt spurred on by the successes of their compatriots in the last couple of years overseas.

Weather wise we had everything, from sunny drifters to blown out races due to too much wind and driving rain on the last day which saw some pack up and leave early. With over 140 entries spread across some 35 different classes in 5 different divisions, it was quite difficult to keep track of most other than the few you knew. This was one event I was glad to be ashore at. I was however kept quite busy at the DeckHardware regatta support van, both first thing in the morning and even during racing. In several instances, I had sailors come ashore with something broken, a quick repair and they were out again hopefully not missing too much.

The results showed quite a mixture across the fleet, with the leading boat a 16′ skiff, followed by a Maricat and the leading Flying Eleven.

On the Thursday night Melissa spent some time organising an evening with Gold Medalist Liesl Tesch, multiple Olympian Karyn Gojnich, Laser sailor and coach James Burman, Americas Cup and maxi boatbuilder Lindsay Stead and the Sailing Chix [Nix, Nic and Mel]. Nix compared the evening with each speaker giving a short Bio and then questions from the floor were asked. It was interesting those who asked and the type of questions. “What do you do with crews who don’t listen?” “How do you deal with breakages?” Many of those there were delighted to see Liesl’s Olympic medals [she has the full set from wheelchair basketball and sailing] and have photos taken with her.

DeckHardware again provided some products as prizes and we look forward to continuing supporting the youth sailing in the future.


Easter in Canberra

026On one of my trips down south, I dropped by and saw Matt Owen, the CEO of Canberra Yacht Club. After running through a range of DeckHardware products, some of which Matt took on the day, we got talking about race management. He noted that the upcoming Asia Pacific Access and Skud18 Championships were to be held at the club over Easter. Would I be interested in being the Principal race Officer? Having been involved in the 2012 Access World Championships at my home club Middle Harbour Yacht Club, I had little hesitation in agreeing as they were a great bunch of people to be involved with. Robyn and I drove down for a meeting with Terry Peek the Sunday before Easter to see how the organising was going, 8 hours in the car for 1.5 hours talking, at least it was a nice day.

I drove down again the following Thursday for the regatta, this time in the DeckHardware van with a few ‘bits and pieces’. The day was spent making sure the competitors and those helping out were ready to roll. Friday was a practice race, it was much needed for the team on the water, as much as I had raced on Lake Burley Griffin, I’d never run anything. It was good to get my eye in.

Racing was competed in the Skud18s, Access, Access303s single and double handed and the Libertys. Across the five divisions, they had multiple races each day. Luckily we had good sailing and were able to get in some good racing across the Easter weekend as you can see by the attached photos. The winning Skud18 from London 2012 was sailed by 420 sailor Rob Crawford and his father Peter upfront after the sudden withdrawal of Paralympic Gold Medalist Dan Fitzgibbon due to illness, Peter enjoyed his time crewing for his son and having some time on the water. Other London2012 sailors included Liesl Tesch, Dan’s London2012 crew and Stephen Churm from the Aussie Sonar team.

With competitors from nearly all Australian states, New Zealand and Japan it was a good mix and from what I saw, some great racing for the spectators on the shoreline. Next years event is proposed to be held down in Adelaide, either on the river or even perhaps down at Goolwa on the Murray River.

Results available here: