by Harry Fisher
Just under 70 boats and around 200 competitors are poised to attend the Brighton and Seacliff Yacht Club in Adelaide between December 27th, 2012 and January 5th, 2013 for the 70th Australian Sharpie National Championships.
Sharpies in action in 2012 - 70th Australian Sharpie Nationals
South Australia has a very strong history of hosting largely attended Sharpie Nationals with Brighton expected to be no exception. A total of 66 boats have nominated for the regatta which accumulates to just under 200 competitors ahead of the regatta starting tomorrow with measuring and registration.
Some of Australia's best yachtsmen have been training for the series in an attempt to claim the prestigious title. One of these competitors is 5-time sharpie national champion Mal Higgins in his brand new boat 'Focus' sailing with Andrew Chisholm and Sam Sanderson. Mal is the hot favourite coming in to the regatta however the championship honours will be fiercely contested with many other great contenders nominating for the regatta.
Former Sharpie and current 505 National Champion Robin Deussen has nominated in 'Rage Factor' with Andy Dyer and Tim Ross and has already shown how competitive he will be with Higgins in some of the SA State Championship races even after a few years out of full commitment in the sharpie competition.
Many other big names are expected to be competitive such as locals Sam McCloud, Jason Heritage, David Higgins and Sandy Higgins as well as Vern Tidy from WA, and Drew Latham from Tasmania. It should be a highly contested top 10!
The Australian Sharpie class has a very proud history and the 70th Australian Championships of the class have organised a special event at the regatta to honour their history. For the first time, during the two invitation races on Friday the 28th of December, the club will host the inaugural 'Legends Lunch' for anyone who has sailed sharpies in the past whether that be in the current lightweight sharpie or the historical heavyweight version.
It is expected to be an extremely competitive regatta on the water and a very sociable and fun series off of the water. If you are in Adelaide between December 27 and January 5th, make sure you make your way down to the Brighton and Seacliff Yacht Club to have a look.
Sharpie Nationals website