by Jane Moffat
55 junior sailors took to the waters off McCrae Yacht Club over the weekend to compete in the Victorian Minnow Championship.
Beautiful blue sky, plenty of blue sails - Victorian Minnow Championship
Whilst the sun shone and the weather was warm on day one, the wind provided some testing conditions. Deemed too strong for the novice fleet, just the Open fleet raced on day one, completing four races in shifty and gusty conditions.
At the end of day one twins Laura and Hayden Harding from Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron finished at the top of the Open fleet, just three points apart with Hayden scoring two bullets from four races leaving him sitting on nine points. In third overall and just one point behind Laura was Jeremy Edleston also of BYS on thirteen points. At the end of day one there were just eight points between the top four boats.
The Hardings both sail the new YMS boat – a high quality fibreglass hull built by Adelaide boat abuilder Brett Young. YMS boats have had success in reinvigorating the Sabre class with the boats dominating the top half of the fleet.
Another beautiful day greeted competitors on day two, although some strong gusts initially caused some trouble for the novice fleet. As the wind settled the fleets also settled with
The novice course was laid just metres off the beach meaning Mum and Dad were able to stand in the shallows and have a close quarters view of the racing. It also meant the young sailors could come in for some words of encouragement between races, fantastic novice fleet conditions.
Novice fleet racing close to shore - Victorian Minnow Championship
Sailing in her first State Championship Meg Smith won the novice division in convincing style finishing on nine points and with a bullet in the last race. Obviously delighted by the win Smith was already planning for the Nationals in Darwin weighing up whether to make the jump to the Open fleet. Whatever she decides her first State Championships was 'really good fun'.
Race Officer Bronwyn Evans and her race management crew had to deal with a shifting breeze in the middle of the day as it swung through 50 degrees leading to a complete relaying of the course.
The top of the Open fleet was a tussle between the top five boats with Joshua Copeland climbing up the board with a bullet in the final race. However Hayden Harding was crowned the Victorian Minnow Champion finishing on 12 points just three ahead of sister Laura, who finished second overall on count back from Alex Bolton.
The Harding siblings both commented on the 'friendly rivalry' between them and spoke highly of their new fibreglass YMS boats highlighting that they are 'very smooth through the water and fast'. No doubt both of them will be battling for first place at the Darwin Nationals later in the year.
Novice fleet pit stop between races. - Victorian Minnow Championship
Perfect spectator sport conditions - Victorian Minnow Championship