The Melges 24 fleet are descending on Geelong from all over Australia to compete in the Melges 24 Australian Championships from the 26 – 29 January at the Festival of Sails.
This will be the largest fleet of Melges 24’s at a National Championships to date. Competitors are fired up and eager to take out the illusive title. Several new owners have joined the class and are discovering the great camaraderie in the competitive fleet.
After chartering a Melges 24 at the NSW States David Bull was keen to pick up his own boat Jester 4 last week in time for Geelong. One of his crew members is flying in from WA for the teams first shot at the Title.
Three previous National Champions are in the mix including Heath Townsend (2008), Heath Walters (2010) and last year's winner Warwick Rooklyn.
Andrew Kendall and Vice President of the Melges 24 Association Dug Russell have put in serious preparation competing at the 29er Nationals last week at Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron. The most mature 29er team in the fleet competed against their kids in a heavy wind regatta. After a week of tough competition they swapped the three 29ers they towed back to Sydney for their Melges 24 Amigos and headed down the Hume Highway to Geelong.
Thirteen year old Harley Walters is up to his third Australian Championships these school holidays, competing in the Manly Junior Nationals, Optimist Nationals and will crew in the Melges 24 Championships with his brother Keal on Arriba Arriba.
Yachting NSW Board of Director member and President of the 420 Class Association and coach Rob Brewer also recently returned from RQ and will be drawing on his years of experience as tactician for Murray Walters on board No Comment.
This truly is a National event with crews represented from QLD, NSW, VIC, SA and WA, several teams have spent the past few days tuning their boats on Corio Bay. This Melges 24 Australian Championships is promising to provide super close, exciting one design racing .