Audi Showdown significant lead-up to national and world titles

International Cadet sailor Sam Abel helming his boat at the 2012 Audi Showdown.
Dane Lojek
With Tasmania this summer hosting ten national and one world sailing championship, plus the Australian youth championships, the Audi Showdown over the weekend in Hobart has underlined the depth of talent in many of these classes.

Of the 172 entries for the huge spring regatta, 140 were from off the beach classes, including strong divisions for International Cadets, Laser Radials and Lasers 4.7s and Optimists, which will among the classes holding their championships on the River Derwent from late December to mid-January.

The Lasers and Optimist fleets included a number of mainland entrants keen to ‘test the waters’ of the Derwent before their national class championships and the youth championships.

Competition was also particularly keen in the Sabot class, with the Audi Showdown a selection series for the class nationals in Victoria at the end of the year, while the NS14 class is leading up its nationals on the Tamar River at Beauty Point.

The International Cadet class produced one of the tightest overall results, with Samantha Bailey and Laura Cooper sailing Impulse to a one point victory from Sam Tiedemann and Hugo Allison, sailing Phoenix.

Both crews won three races, had two seconds and a seventh place discard, with the critical placing being Tiedemann and Allison’s fifth in race seven in which they were forced on to the finish mark as they crossed the line in fourth place. After taking a penalty turn, they re-crossed the line to be recorded as a fifth not a fourth.

Third place overall in the 15-boat Cadet fleet, all from Sandy Bay Sailing Club, went to Sam Abel and William Cooper, sailing Shimmer.

Three Optimist sailors finished within three points of each other after ten races over the two days of the Showdown with Sandy Bay Sailing Club’s Hugo Hamilton, sailing R-SUP, finished with a net 20 points from a consistent series that included four first places, seconds and four thirds.

Second place on a countback went to James Grogan, sailing Superfish, from the Brisbane River Yacht Club from another mainland sailor, Max Paul sailing Maxi Taxi from Sydney’s Middle Harbour Yacht Club. Grogan won three races; Paul won two, to split them after they both scored a net 20 points.

In the Optimist Green fleet, for beginners in this international one-design class, the winner was Daniel Ragg, sailing Unleash the Beast from Kingston Beach Sailing Club. Daniel won five out of eight races and discard a third place, finished with a net nine points. Ruby Lowe, sailing Spicy Rice from the Tamar Yacht Club, finished second overall with a net 20 points, third place going to Bombora (Ethan Galbraith) from Sandy Bay Sailing Club, on 23 points.

All hands on deck on an Optimist during the 2012 Audi Showdown regatta.
Dane Lojek

The Sabot had the biggest fleet; with 23 boats in the senior one-up group and a further eight in the development fleet.

Just one points separated the two top boats in the Sabot seniors, with Joshua Harris, sailing Guided Missile, the Port Dalrymple Yacht Club, narrowly holding his overall lead to beat the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania’s Sam King, sailing Red Herring.

Harriss won four of the eight races, King three and both finished with a total of 15 points. Their discards decided the result, Harriss dropping a fourth, King a third to give the Tamar River sailor a net 11 points, the River Derwent sailor 12 points.

Winner of the Sabot development fleet was Fraser Marshall, sailing In the Limelight, from Pacemaker (Nicholas Smart) and Jester (Scott Roberts), all three from the RYCT Dinghy Group.

Experienced international sailor Rohan Langford dominated the Laser Radial class winning five of the eight races in the 15 boat fleet that included several interstate entrants. RYCT member Langford, sailing Cold Reason, finished with a net nine points after discarding a third place.

Second overall and first girl in the fleet was another RYCT member, the also internationally experienced Anna Vaughan sailing Topaz. The 16-year-old excelled in the light conditions on Sunday, with two firsts and a second place to finish on 21 points clear of Ben Price, sailing Hard Rock.

Anna Vaughan’s ongoing female rival in the Laser Radials, Victorian Anna Philp, finished fifth overall and second female, beaten for fourth on a countback by Queenslander William Bates,

Australian youth champion Jack Felsenthal had an outstanding regatta in the Laser 4.7 class, winning all but one of the eight races, with a third his discard.

Felsenthal, from Victoria, finished with a net seven points, nine points clear of local RYCT sailors Gabriel Morrison, sailing 1fast3u, with Edmund Hargreaves, sailing RPG, taking third place on a countback from Patrick Eberhard.

Although a small fleet, the 420 class produced some fine sailing in this international youth class that will hold its nationals in Hobart, followed by being part of the OAMPS Insurance Australian Youth Championships in January.

Former champion International Cadet champion Alec Bailey and his crew, Nelson Brown, won all but one of the eight 420 class races, sailing VMG, to finish on seven points, well clear of fellow Sandy Bay Sailing Club members Lachlan Hargreaves and Morgan Davies, sailing Feel Addicted, on 15 points. In third place was Clueless (Jonathon Cooper) on 17 points.

The NS14 is very much a family orientated development class and the competition is always close. This regatta, which was also the first event in the NS14 Travellers Trophy, saw four different heat winners and only three points separating the top three boats at the end of the Showdown.

Overall first place on 14 points went to Scott and Aiden Wilkie sailing Norwegian Blue. They had an excellent second day of racing with two wins and a second to finish two points clear of class veteran Dennis Leitch and his crew, Benjamin Matters, sailing Seabreeze.

One point back came Darren and Joshua Eggins, sailing Pumpkin Eater.

The Paper Tiger catamaran class from Lauderdale Yacht Club brought a fleet of ten boats to the Derwent for the Audi Showdown and provided some spectacular sailing, even in the light breeze.

Three times national Paper Tiger champion Bruce Rose, sailing the Apprentice, won all eight races for a net seven points, but he had plenty of competition with six of the other boats each gaining at least one top three placing.

Runner-up was Mick Boyle, sailing Mud Shark on 19 points, followed by Sean Keady, sailing sssokin billy, on 28 points, taking third place on a countback from RomperStomper (Steve Price).

Winners of other divisions were:

Catamarans, sailboards and mixed classes: Funkey (Dylan Can Drunun, RYCT).
Mirror: Carpe Diem (Jenny Graney, KBSC)
Access: Yellow (David Wood, Sailability)
2.4 Metre: Happy Days (Lisa Bailey, DSS)
Sharpie: One Hump or Two (Drew Latham, Nick Johnston, Nick Carter)