by David Price
After a magical weekend of sailing at Wangi Wangi on the shores of Lake Macquarie, our NSW/ACT 29er, 49erFX and 49er state champions were established at the conclusion of the 2013-14 Zhik NSW/ACT 9er State Championship series in sublime conditions, with Wangi RSL Amateur Sailing Club once again providing a most welcoming atmosphere and a faultless race management team under the guidance of RO Tony Outteridge.
9er fleet combination events a big bonus for the 9er classes
The series first round (weekend) was held back in December, incorporated within the successful 2013 Sail Middle Harbour Regatta which took the place of the cancelled Sail Sydney event. The 29er and 49erFX classes carried their series scores from their round one into this weekend’s regatta. Due to a timing issue with a national training camp, the 49ers were absent from the first weekend’s racing of this series.
All fleets enjoyed the combination events without incident - Zhik 2013-14 NSW ACT 9er State Championships
The perfect nor’easters over both days gave the fleet of thirty six teams every opportunity to compete in the fairest of conditions and enjoy the final seven races on water with their shore time bonding bathed in endless sunshine and laid-back atmosphere.
Under the banner of the Australian 9er Project now approaching the end of its’ second year where the three 9er classes – 29ers, 49ers and the new 49erFXs all combine to compete at their major events around the country, the NSW/ACT 29er Association provided the golden opportunity for our youth sailors to mingle with the senior teams and a number of their Olympic heroes, running a keen eye over their next pathway skiff in the Olympic 49erFX and 49er classes.
Post nationals, this regatta has become a sort of graduation day for many of the youth teams aging out of their youth sailing careers. This occasion we saw four of the six FX teams comprising last year’s graduates from the 29er class contesting the exciting 49erFX open class. The transition from the 29ers appears to be a rather seamless move as last year’s Australian Sailing Youth Team members Harry Price and Angus Williams sailing Happy As Larry dominated throughout both weekends of the series, jumping into the class the day before the series started in December. Another smooth transition was demonstrated by graduate 29er sailor/skipper Nina Long with Alison Dale sailing Hell On Heels earning second place and Olympic FX campaigner Haylee Outteridge joining the fleet this weekend with Ayden Menzies in AUS 999 claiming third place.
29er leading the 49er and 49erFX pack down to the finish - Zhik 2013-14 NSW ACT 9er State Championships
In the 49er class, the competition was very fierce with only two points separating each of the podium places. The new VIC/WA team of Will Phillips and Fang Warren sailing in Namaste secured first place from another new WA/NSW team David Gilmore and Rhys Mara sailing AUS 91 in second place and the QLD 29er graduates team Joel Turner and Lewis Brake sailing Why Seas in third place.
The taut racing among the top Australian world ranked fourth/6th 29er teams competing over the two weekends continued to the very last race of the series as it has done continually over the past 12 months in their battle for supremacy. It was world ranked fourth team Kurt Hansen and Harry Morton sailing ATB Morton reigniting their leader status within the group to claim first place over newly anointed Australian Sailing Youth Team members and world ranked sixth team Jim Colley and Shaun Connor sailing Objective, only one point behind them in second place with Owen Long and Corey Hamilton sailing Slick in third place.
The Zhik 2013-14 NSW/ACT 9er State Championships format run over two weekends of competition has once again proved to be of real benefit for the three classes confirming a well-structured pathway for our youth sailors continuing their participation and hence retention within the sport.
49erFX winners Harry Price and Angus Williams sailing Happy As Larry - Zhik 2013-14 NSW ACT 9er State Championships
29er winners Kurt Hansen and Harry Morton sailing ATB Morton - Zhik 2013-14 NSW ACT 9er State Championships
49er winners VIC/WA team of Will Phillips and Fang Warren sailing in Namaste - Zhik 2013-14 NSW ACT 9er State Championships
Newest 49erFX sailors shaping up for next season or two - Zhik 2013-14 NSW ACT 9er State Championships
Wangi atmosphere as a venue is second to none - Zhik 2013-14 NSW ACT 9er State Championships
Further information and results can be found via our Australian 29er and Australian 49er websites and Facebook pages.