by Tim Shepperd
32 Mosquitoes made the journey to Lake Albert in SA where Meningie SC ran the Australian Titles in some very challenging conditions - winds mostly ranged from 15 to 25 knots for the whole week, making it spectacular, both for the sailors and for those watching from the beach.
Gary Maskiell on his way to the cat-rig title
Gary Maskiell continued his dominance of the cat rigged division winning his sixth National Title in the class and his fifth in a row. Whilst Daniel Stone showed impressive boat speed in the very strong winds, Gary showed consistency in all conditions to finish seven points ahead of Daniel. Philip Warren-Smith showed a long-awaited return to form taking third place.
Daniel was more consistent in the spinnaker division, with a string of second placings giving him his first National Title in Mosquitoes. Once again the wind was fresh to frightening for the spinnakers, and it took a few downwinds before the sailors started to feel more confident. The spectacular nature of the spinnaker rig was brilliantly demonstrated on the final run to the finish of the last race where six boats were locked together in a group, barely under control and all crossing the line within seconds of each other.
Peter Dunk and Kirsten Thomas deal with the tricky conditions - Mosquito Australian National Titles 2013/14
In the sloops another new Champion was crowned when Simon Hallsworth and Ben Clarke achieved a perfect score of eight first places to depose the long-time sloop master Warwick Kemp and his crew Tomas Norman. Peter Dunk and Kirsten Thomas achieved many second placings and a first but finished one point behind Warwick.
The spinnaker titles have been held as a separate event prior to the cats and sloops up to now, but at the AGM this year the class decided that, from now on, the three divisions (cat, sloop and spinnaker) will run concurrently for the whole event. After 12 years of racing with spinnakers the addition of the third division is a significant milestone for the Mosquitoes. The class continues to grow, with more new boats launching every year and a recent poll showed that around 25-30 Mosquitoes are now racing with spinnakers.