by Chris Hunt
The 47th Flying Ant National Championship was held at at Port Melbourne Yacht Club in Victoria. A controversial decision to allow the use of both asymmetric and symmetric spinnakers within the Flying Ant class saw a world first at this year's competition.
Flying Ant Nationals 2014
In an attempt to provide something new and relevant to Australia's junior sailing fraternity, the Association had previously voted to allow both kite configurations, enabling their youth competitors to gain experience in dual styles and offer a smooth transition in whichever future direction they wished to move.
This year's regatta saw the opportunity to test the decision, with the National contenders split evenly between the two kite styles and a range of weather on Port Phillip Bay providing conditions suited to both.
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The experience of last year's National Champions, Dale Brett and Jayden Havelberg on Rhinochaser, held them in first place until race 8, but a well fought battle saw the NSW team of Lachlan & Mitchel Nardone, on Misguided Missile, fly their asymmetric into first place (on countback) in the last race of the competition. The exciting and close run regatta also saw third and fifth places battled out on the final day.
The regatta also proved the worth of retaining the symmetric spinnaker, with three places out of the top six going to the Classic Ant configuration.
49erFX National Champion, Chelsea Hall, who has also won a 420 World Youths, coached at the regatta providing tips before and after each race day in order to maximize the learning and competitive edges of both kite formats. Chelsea's commitment to the Ant - her own training ground - sees her in favour of continuing with both configurations in the move forward.
The regatta showed the benefits of both spinnaker styles, giving the class a new and dynamic momentum for the future.
Well done to all participants and congratulations to the 2014 top six.
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1st. Misguided Missile. Lachlan & Mitchel Nardone. NSW Asymmetric
2nd. Rhinochaser. Dale Brett & Jayden Havelberg WA Symmetric
3rd. Phantom. Holly Hunt & Freyja Carlberg WA Asymmetric
4th. Rough Diamond. Patrick Corbett & Kade Morgan NSW Asymmetric
5th. The Edge. Chad & Dean Cowan WA Symmetric
6th Predator. Caelin Winchcombe & John Clements WA Symmetric