by Harry Fisher
The Australian Sharpie National Championship instantly provided challenges for most of the sailors competing in Race 2 as wind direction continued to blow unpredictably. At the end, the locals got the best of their rivals to get the upper-hand going into the next stage of the competition.
Sharpies flying with their spinnakers up - 70th Australian Sharpie Nationals
Difficult conditions at the Brighton & Seacliff Yacht Club on Sunday December 30th caused headaches for many sailors in Race 2 of the Australian Sharpie Nationals, but it was the locals that prevailed in the end.
The day started off with a strong southwesterly sea breeze that had been the dominant breeze over the last few days, however locals stated post-race that it was 'always going to go east', coming over the land and turning in to a switchy and difficult sailing environment.
With a strong shift in the breeze up the second upwind work, many sailors on the right hand side of the course got put in a horrible position while boats on the left were hoisting spinnakers on the upwind leg. This really changed the outlook of the race, however it was local favourite Mal Higgins who prevailed, showing his experienced in the infamous 'Brighton south-easterly'.
Higgins in 'Focus' with Sam Sanderson and Andrew Chisholm took the race win, their second in as many races, and are consistently proving to the rest of the fleet that there is no match for them, winning the race by the majority of the final upwind leg.
Sharpies beating up the upwind leg - 70th Australian Sharpie Nationals
Geoff McCloud in 'Warpig' with Sam Flint and Mark Beaumont took second place. They sailed a strong race and put themselves on the right side of the shifts to ensure an equal second place in the progressive results.
Dave Higgins in 'All Scoobed Out' with Rob Turton and Mark Kretschmer finished in third, and along with their second from Race 1 they are also in equal second with 'Warpig'.
It was one of those days that many sailors would want to forget, however it was a great day for local South Australian boats, and more specifically the Brighton & Seacliff boats, whose experience in the unique conditions at Brighton shone through.
Race 3 is scheduled to be sailed on New Year Eve and a lay day is planned for New Years Day. The regatta is shaping up to be a real cracker so make sure you come down for some great spectating if you're in Adelaide.
Sharpie Nationals 2013