by David Price
With an ideal set of conditions and a great NE breeze of 15kts, the inaugural Zhik NSW ACT 9er Championships hosted by Wangi RSL Amateur Sailing Club on Lake Macquarie was able to stick to the plan with the larger 29er fleet completing three races and the 49er/49erFX fleet squeezing in an extra race to make it four races for their first day of competition.
29er Fleet Start Race 3 - Zhik NSW and ACT 9er State Championships
This was the first day of competition for the 49er/49erFX fleet whilst the 29er fleet commenced their Round 2 weekend of competition having staged Round 1 during Sail Sydney Regatta back in December on Sydney Harbour.
The 49ers and 49erFXs started together with four 49er teams and three 49erFX teams producing a impressive display of boat handling skill in the lively conditions. The 49erFX class was announced in November 2012 as the new women’s doubled handed skiff to debut at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Although the 49erFX teams have only been sailing the FX rig since December, they clearly demonstrated the skiff has similar speed and power to weight characteristics to that of the larger 49er rig in many conditions. They all seemed pretty happy to be sailing together on a common course enjoyed the enlarged fleet numbers on the starting line.
The dominant 49ers team on day one were AUS 1261 Dave Gilmore and Sam Phillips who are sitting on three points with a near perfect scorecard [1,(2),1,1] followed by AUS 1142 Peter Kendall and Bryce Waters on six points [2,(4),2,2] and AUS 7 Harry Bethwaite and Rhys Mara hold third spot on eight points [(4), 1 3,4].
The 49erFX fleet have two teams on an equal four points at the top with AUS 4 Haylee Outteridge and Michelle Muller [1,(2),2,1] ahead on count-back from AUS 1 Olivia Price and Caitlin Elks [2,1,1,(3)] and AUS 3 Anna Kendall and Tom Koerner on eight points [(3),3,3,2].
49erFX AUS 4 Haylee Outteridge & Michell Muller Leading Into Day 2 - Zhik NSW and ACT 9er State Championships
There were 25 teams on the 29er’s starting line for their first day of Round 2, with many new teams competing in the class having graduated from their junior classes after their various nationals over the Christmas and New Year regatta period. We saw a stand-out performance from 2013 Flying Eleven National Champion skipper Owen Long teaming up with past Australian Youth Sailing Team member Joel Turner to score two top five places [6,3,4] on his debut.
The dominant performance of the day came from the 2012-2013 National and 2013 AUS Youth Champions AUS 16 Harry Price and Angus Williams who produced another near perfect scorecard in the 29er fleet grabbing two bullets and a second place.
However, the championship itself has become very tight at the top with the combined scores from Round 1 and 2 now in play. Local team AUS 1696 Nina Long and Nathan Edwards lead the competition on 43 points after today’s scores [2,2,6] displacing Round 1 leaders AUS 1851 Jim Colley and Shaun Connor with their scores today [10,11,9] but only one point behind on 44 points and AUS 2060 Henry and Grant Makin [3,4,1]are sitting in third spot on 47 points.
All three classes have only a few points separating the places on the podium ensuring the final day of competition in the Zhik NSW ACT 9er Championships will be a thriller.
Rookie 29er Skipper Owen Long & Joel Turner Top Performers Day 1 Round 2 - Zhik NSW and ACT 9er State Championships
29er AUS 1696 Nina Long & Nathan Edwards Leading After Day 1 Round 2 - Zhik NSW and ACT 9er State Championships
29er AUS 16 Harry Price & Angus Williams Shine On Day 1 Round 2 - Zhik NSW and ACT 9er State Championships
Impressive Day 1 For 49er AUS 1142 Peter Kendall & Bryce Waters - Zhik NSW and ACT 9er State Championships
Day 1 49er Leaders AUS1261 David Gilmore & Sam Phillips - Zhik NSW and ACT 9er State Championships
Combined 49er & 49erFX Starting Line - Zhik NSW and ACT 9er State Championships