by David Price
This weekend will see the waters off Wangi Sailing Club on southern Lake Macquarie alive and buzzing with many of Australia’s best Olympic skiff sailors and ISAF youth skiff sailors returning after a break from the nationals over the new year as they battle it out for the state titles in the Zhik 9er NSW and ACT State Championships.
29er Fleet Start Line Action In Round One At Sail Sydney Regatta
As was the case with the 2012-2013 Zhik 9er Australian Championships, the two Olympic skiff classes, the men’s 49er and the new women’s 49erFX debuting in Rio in 2016 will combine with the fiercely competitive ISAF youth skiff 29ers to compete at the one regatta. This allows for an Australian 9er pathway to be implemented over the next three years ensuring continued participation of our younger skiff sailors leading them into realms of their Olympic high performance sailing heroes.
The 49ers and 49erFX classes will combine their fleets on the starting line with the larger 29ers fleet starting separately.
In the 49erFX line-up, London 2012 Olympic match racing skipper and silver medallist Olivia Price with Caitlyn Elks (our 2010 Laser 4.7 World Champ) will be sailing against arguably the fleet’s most experienced female skiff sailor and home town girl Haylee Outteridge, sister of our gold medallist 49er skipper and America’s Cup skipper Nathan Outteridge. Both these girls have new crews for this regatta, Haylee teaming up with Michelle Muller (ISAF Youth World 29er bronze medallist) and have been busy all week at a national training camp ensuring this will be an exciting stoush to watch.
Also here this weekend and attending their national training camp which starts after this regatta, visiting top crews and 49er brothers from Victoria, Sam Phillips with Rhys Mara and Will Phillips with David Gilmore (eldest son of legend AC and match racing sailor Peter Gilmore) will push our local boys Peter Kendall with Bryce Waters who placed second at Sail Sydney International Regatta to the limit over the weekend.
This weekend comprises the 29er’s second round of the Zhik NSW and ACT 29er state championships, the first round running in combination with Sail Sydney back in December. The 29ers have 34 entries and many scores are left unsettled amongst this very competitive fleet. They have another six races left on their scorecard to complete and are in peak form after a month of intense competition including their national championships and AUS Youth Championships vying for selection to the Australian Youth Sailing Team.
The 29ers will also feature many new crews debuting in the class after graduating from their junior trainer classes now that their national championships have been contested.
The inaugural Zhik 9er NSW and ACT Championships will be something to watch if you have a chance to get up to Wangi this weekend with such talent second to none all on the water for a final fling in the 2012-2013 season.