by Clare Murray
Australian 29er National Championships final day of racing at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron and the winners are Jacqui Gurr and Steven Thomas. The top spot was still open to several boats going into the last day with 14 to 18 knots from the south east.
National Champions Jacqui Gurr and Steven Thomas - Australian 29er National Championships 2012
Gurr and Thomas were happy with their win in their first regatta together and dedicated their success to 29er sailor Tess Lloyd who sustained an injury at last week’s Youth National Championships. 'It was all for Tess,' Gurr said. 'She opened her eyes last night so we’re pretty excited. It means a bit more now.'
'We just tried to go out there and do it for Tess and we’ve been monitoring her progress all week,' said Tess’s crew Lewis Duncan who finished the series in ninth after his friend Angus Galloway stepped in as skipper for the series. 'Hopefully she recovers enough that we can get back out on the water again.'
Gurr, a former Womens’ 420 National Champion and Thomas, two time 49er World Champion, said the highlight of their regatta was winning the first heat together in the qualifying series.
'We used the compass a lot this regatta and sailed off the headings and kept it simple. We didn’t try to do anything too fancy in the fleet,' Thomas said of their tactics.
'We didn’t have a lot of pressure on ourselves. There were no expectations going into the regatta. We were pretty casual each day and didn’t worry too much about the results. Every race was a new learning experience and we just took it as it came.'
Gurr and Thomas were thankful to their coach Ian 'Bunny' Warren for all his support during the regatta. 'He made our life really easy with lots of information and lots of feedback,' said Thomas.
James Sly and Alison Dale - Australian 29er National Championships 2012
Victorians James Sly and Alison Dale finished second followed by Harry Price and Nathan Edwards of NSW.
'There was a lot of place changing so it was pretty close with different sets of conditions throughout the series,' Sly said.
'We sailed really consistently so the places took care of themselves,' Dale said of their approach to the regatta. 'Every race was a new race and we just aimed to do our best.'
Competitive racing - Australian 29er National Championships 2012
Felix Grech and Jack Hubbard who had led for the majority of the series finished in fifth place after disappointing results in Gold Fleet. 'The competitors we needed to beat we didn’t,' Jack said. 'We’d done a fair bit of training but we probably could have done more looking back now. We weren’t as successful as we hoped.'
To follow updates on Tess Lloyd’s condition click here.
To view race results click here.