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Macquarie Access World Championships - Exhilarating sailing

by Di Pearson on 11 Apr 2012
Andrea Oliver (AUS) in the Access 303 single-person class - Macquarie Access World Championships 2012 © Andrea Francolini Photography http://www.afrancolini.com/
Macquarie Access World Championships, hosted by Middle Harbour Yacht Club, are being held on Sydney Harbour. Sixteen year-old Angus MacGregor from Tinaroo in Queensland is showing just why he is the defending champion of the Access 2.3 single-person class.

Following on from his win in Race four yesterday afternoon in tough conditions, MacGregor backed up with a further two wins from two races today to stamp his authority on the class in another day of fairly heavy winds; a 17 knot southerly dropped to 12 knots throughout the single-person classes racing.

The 2010 Australian Sailor of the Year with a Disability cannot rest on his laurels though, as older brother Duncan is in second place, having come up with a trio of second places to almost keep stride with his younger brother.

'It wasn’t as heavy as yesterday and there were more boats out,' Angus said on coming ashore. 'Racing is competitive and exciting.'

Gerard Meli (AUS), who led the competition on the opening day, has dropped to third place overall, while Koji Harada from Japan remains the best placed international in fourth place, his sixth and third places today enough to keep him in contention for a podium place with two days of racing remaining.

The top three places in the Access 303 were mixed up today, with yesterday’s leader, Stephen Churm (AUS), capitulating to Day one leader and abled-bodied sailor, Michael Leydon (AUS) now that a race drop has come into play, and Tasmanian, Rodney Viney dropping from second to third.

Leydon, from the ACT, fired off two wins, finding the 15 knot winds just to his liking, while Churm, who is likely to represent Australia at the Paralympics in London, scored fifth and second places. Alison Weatherly (AUS) is the best placed woman in the fleet in a credible sixth place.

Robert Bagby, a 303 sailor from Perth who is in 15th overall, commented on the racing on coming ashore: 'Stellar,' he said. 'The ease of getting in and out of the Club is so good - everyone here is beautiful and the sailing is exhilarating,' he enthused.


As expected, former 16ft skiff champion and 1984 Olympic representative, Greg Hyde (AUS), has moved into the top spot in the Liberty single-person. A race drop has left the Clontarf sailor with three wins and a pair of second places. He will be hard to beat.

'I’m liking it all; the Club, the racing and the people,' Hyde said this afternoon, unwilling to be drawn into whether he will finish in the top spot or not on Friday.

Chris Cook (AUS) who led the class on Day one of the Macquarie 2012 Access World Championship, is holding on nicely to second place following second and fourth results. The top two’s nearest rival is 2009 World Masters silver medallist, Barry Coates from Queensland, who is 18 points adrift of Hyde.


Brendan Tourelle from New Zealand, who was looking so good, leading the class yesterday, has dropped to sixth place, courtesy of uncharacteristic 15th and 11th places today.

The best placed international in the Liberty is Gerard Eychenne in fifth place. The Frenchman moved up the ladder after scoring his best results yet, a third followed by a win. Like many others, Eychenne did not finish either race yesterday, finding the conditions overwhelming.

Krista Bailey (AUS), who is in 17th overall in the Liberty has just one real wish. 'I would love to beat Barry Coates. I see Barry on the water, and then I’m like ‘where are you going Barry?’ Maybe he knows something we don’t….'

The Melbourne sailor is multi-talented, having also sailed in the SKUD class at a World’s last year and has competed in many Liberty events around Australia. 'I like to change it up,' she said. 'It gives you an amazing skill level.'

'I’m finding the conditions quite difficult, because I’m very light - and I think I’d go better if I stopped breaking things,' the Melbourne-based sailor added laughing.

In the Liberty single-person Servo International Championship, Helena Horswell (AUS) has a three-point hold over three Dutch ladies; Sefke Jan Holtrop, Wilma Van den Broek and Vera Voorbach.

Racing continues from 11.00am off Middle Harbour Yacht Club tomorrow.

Macquarie Access World Championships website

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