It's finally rolled around - 2014 Australian Sports Boat Association National Titles in Fremantle, Western Australia. Can't wait.
Can Octopussy make it one better? - ASBA Nationals 2014
A fleet of twenty boats is set to line up for the seventh ASBA National Titles being conducted by the Fremantle Sailing Club (FSC) from Thursday the second of January. The course area is the same as that used in the 1987 America's Cup and with any luck, the Fremantle Doctor will be in the house to provide some spectacular Sports Boat racing.
While the fleet is made up predominately of the local West Australian fleet, two boats have made the journey west from Brisbane and Sydney and a number are flying in to crew on various boats. The designer of the VX One and Viper, Brian Bennett, is also sailing his first Australian event on the VX One Mongoose.
A variety of designs for the ASBA fleet are ready to start - ASBA Nationals 2014
The Viper 640 fleet is also competing for the right to represent Australia in the USA at the EFG Pan American Viper 640 Sport Boat Championship
So who is Hot and who is Not? The entire fleet compete for the overall title but also in two divisions, so there are many to look out for.
It's hard to go past the Octopussy crew (Rees Howell) for the overall and Division 1 win. They will be looking to finish one better than in 2013 when they travelled from Perth to Melbourne to finish second overall and took out Division 1. On a recent weekend excursion to the Gold Coast for the QLD Titles, they also finished second overall and where again second at the 2012 & 2013 WA States. So no pressure or anything.
The 2013 WA State Champs, Don't Forget Alice (Rod Beurteaux), will be trying to maintain the trend and add another National Title to an already stellar sailing career.
Brett Whitbread's Crank - Can this be their 3rd title - ASBA Nationals 2014
Crank (Brett Whitbread) has been shipped to Fremantle for the event and will be competing in their fifth ASBA National Title. They had a win in 2011 (as Blokes World), finished second in 2010 and 2012 and have been praying to the Fremantle Doctor for some support during the event. Silenus (the God of Beer) also rated a mention as well - you're on notice if you are on the 11.45pm flight to Perth on New Year's eve.
Andrew York's brought his VX One Tachyon over from NSW - ASBA Nationals 2014
Tim Reger (Fang) and Andrew York (Tachyon) should also be on hand to keep the fleet honest while The Ducks Nuts (Mitch De Vries) will be looking to repeat their win at the 2012 WA States. Mitch is also the holding of the 'Personality of the Regatta' trophy which he is hoping to pass on to another worthy winner. Hats off to Andrew York for doing the road trip from Sydney as well.
One of two Thompson 750s entered is The Duck's Nuts - ASBA Nationals 2014
The weather and wind forecast is looking spot on for the event. The Fremantle Sailing Club is ready to go. It is also the first event for new ASBA sponsors, Sailforce.com.au and Karver Systems. Combined with the support of long term supporters, Gill Australia, Hogs Breath Cafe & 3 Oceans Winery, and the ASBA Good Time Guarantee, no one goes home empty handed and without a story to tell.
Each days racing can be followed live via the Tack Tracker system on the ASBA web site (www.asba.org.au) or via the Tack Tracker App on your iproduct. Teri Dodds will also be on the water each day photographing the event, so smile.
For the event information and link go straight to the event page on the ASBA web site - www.asba.org.au/event/asba-2014-national-titles/