The 2013/14 MG National Titles, sponsored by Harken Australia, were held at Wangi RSL Sailing Club over January 5-9. This was the MG class’s first titles at Wangi, but it proved to be a great choice as both the fantastic location, and flawless organisation by the volunteers at the Wangi RSL Sailing Club, resulted in a fantastic series for the strong fleet.
Sailing conditions were terrific, with day one presenting a classic Lake Macquarie NE'r - the kind your parents (and grandparents!) reminisce about. A steady 22-25knots, with the occasional gusts to 30, caused some concern on the committee boat, but the fleet hit the start hard and pushed around the course without backing off. There were a few breakages, and a few war wounds, but not one unhappy face at the end of that race, and with some great sharing of spares (and a bit of midnight oil), everyone presented the next day for the three back-back races.
Day two kicked off from 2pm, and a nice 15kt SE'r had settled on the course, with just enough shifts and variances to test everyone and allow the talents at the front of the pack to show through. Some great tussles were displayed throughout the fleet and after three races were completed, the fleet headed back to shore for some light 'refreshments' to ease the pain and to 'rehydrate'!
The scores after the first few days had 'Aqua Pest' sailed by Drew Van Ryn and Bryce Edwards showing perfect form, and it looked like they would sail away to an unassailable lead with races to spare. However 'Chilln', super consistent old-dog Greg Roche representing Taree Aquatic Club, crewed by young up-n-comer Cameron Kaul from Queens Lake Sailing Club, snatched a couple of cheaky wins in races 5, 7, and 8, and the scorecard soon showed it wouldn't be over until the last race. 'Aqua Pest' would need to keep them close in the last race to ensure victory.
The last race - race 9 - was a classic tussle, and the lighter shifty conditions resulted in many lead changes. In a remarkable show of skill and knack for picking the shifts, the oldest boat in the fleet (35 year old hull!) sailed by Port Hunter skiffie Aaron Gore, led the fleet around the first three buoys. The wind settled as the bunched fleet began the second lap, and the two challengers soon broke though and stuck to each other to a tight finish, with 'Chilln' getting first over the line, but with not enough boats between them to stop Drew and Bryce on 'Aqua Pest' from clinching the series.
While their boat 'Aqua Pest' has won two previous National Titles, this was the first MG National title win for Skipper Drew Van Ryn and 'supercrew' Bryce Edwards, representing emerging MG club stronghold - Cronulla Sailing Club. Bryce is also a previous NS14 National Champion as a skipper, and has now achieved the coveted crown of winning the title in both classes.
Hold on! 'Into The Mystic' - Rohan Nosworthy
'Team Harken' - the whole MG fleet! - Rohan Nosworthy
There were many other standout performers in the category prizes, notably:
- First on Handicap and first Female Skipper - Tayla Linnegar (crewed by her brother Josh) - Port Hacking Open Sailing Club
- Masters scratch winners - Mark and Martina Holt (Queens Lake Sailing Club)
- Junior crew - Reilly Tasker and Zac Davies (Cronulla Sailing Club)
- Classic boat - Jeremy Dodds and Bailey Peirera
by Rohan Nosworthy
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3:18 PM Wed 15 Jan 2014GMT
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