Australian Arrow titles - Queenslander Robbie Lea won in commanding style at the Australian Arrow Championship sailed on Lake Macquarie from 28 December to 3 January.
After first winning the Championship at Rosebud, Victoria in 2009, Lea was surprisingly beaten by multi-championship winner Steve Short (Victoria) in a lighter regatta at Victor Harbor, SA in 2010.
The invitation race, sailed in an 8 to 12 knot breeze, provided no indication of the one-sidedness of the racing to come as New South Welshman and 15-times champion Frank O’Rourke celebrated his first outing in a new boat with a win from Short. Winds for the remaining races were fresher at 15 to 20 knots or more and Lea dominated with comfortable victories.
Apart from Lea, the surprise performer of the event was Will Richards (SA). A former Arafura Cadet Australian Champion and naturally talented sailor, Richards was sailing in his first Arrow championship. He was more than a match for O’Rourke and Short who had dominated the Championship over a 25 year period until the arrival of Lea.
Significantly, both Lea and Richards used Stealth mainsails from Central Queensland Sailmakers. The majority of the fleet using Chris Cairns sails could not match the upwind speed and higher pointing achieved by those using the Stealth sails.
The Handicap winner was Tony Kuhn (NSW) and South Australia scored its first ever Teams Shield victory.
1st: R Lea (Qld) - 1,1,1,1,1,1,DNF - 0 points
2nd: W Richards (SA) - 3,4,12,2,2,3,1 - 25.4 points
3rd: F O'Rourke (NSW) - 2,3,3,3,4,2,2 - 26.1 points
4th: S Short (Vic) - 4,2,2,4,3,4,3 - 33.4 points
5th: B Pearsons (SA) - 10,DNF,8,6,5,5,4 - 69.7 points
6th: M Rushton (Vic) - 5,7,5,5,8,11,7 - 70.0 points
7th: D Skinner (Qld) - 7,6,7,7,12,7,5 - 73.7 points
8th: C Pearsons (SA) - 8,14,4,8,10,10,6 - 79.7 points