Another sensational come-from-behind win in the penultimate race of the 2012 Gill Flying 11 National Championships stylishly secured the title for Gosford Sailing Club’s Kurt Hansen and Lindsay Pike in Oscar at Salamander Bay, Port Stephens, on Saturday.
by Peter McIntosh
Skipper Kurt was thrilled to add his and Lindsay’s names to the trophy alongside previous winners including Nathan Outteridge, Nathan Wilmot and Adam Beashel, especially after he recently finished runner-up in the Sabot nationals a couple of weeks ago.
And with best mate and top crewmate Lindsay, the duo also took home the best juniors (under 15s) trophy in the week-long championship which started out with 87 boats and was split into gold and silver fleets midway through.
Oscar went into the final two races with a four-point lead on nearest rivals Ashley and Daniel Heyworth from Manly in MWD.
In the penultimate race on a black flag start in moderate south-easterlies Oscar was fifth to the top mark with MWD in hot pursuit. Midway through the race Oscar became the third link of a Gosford trifecta, with clubmates Michael Anderson and Yanni Papadopoulos in Nomad and Bradley Leicester and Samantha Gray in Funnel-Web leading the charge. On the final reach and run Oscar hit the lead and drew away while MWD advanced to second and Avalon’s Nathan Judges and Jack Cuthbert moved into third spot in Playbuoy. With the drop in play, Oscar was now unbeatable overall.
In what was for Oscar a final dead rubber race, Kurt and Lindsay again showed their ability to work through boats, improving their first top mark position from eighth to fifth at the end. Valiant overall runners-up MWD finished first in the final race when Oscar had already sewn up the championship and were after the drop two points behind Oscar overall.
Overall third were early championship leaders Belmont’s Jack Buchan and Emma Jones who finished third in the last race in Hammer Time, followed by Avalon’s Sarah and Harry Parker in Waverunner, who had a great final day with fourth and second heat placings.
In a real boost for their home club, handicap honours also went to Gosford, with the team from Funnel Web, Bradley and Samantha, picking up the big one thanks to consistent improvement culminating in a fifth and seventh on the final day.
The keenly contested All-Girls trophy was won by Avalon’s Nicola Forbes-Smith and Natasha Bryant in Bolt, who were also sixth overall in the gold fleet.
Meanwhile in the 43-strong silver fleet Felix Daverio and Maxime Dupont in Intrepid from Manly won the championship with a third and fourth placing in the final race. Cronulla’s Ashley Atkins and Beth Davies in Frozen with Fear finished strongly with a first and sixth placings to be overall runners-up ahead of Kiah Hodgkinson and Patrick Dawson in Top Gear from Northbridge.
Talking after the event the gold fleet winners Kurt and Lindsay said they were feeling confident and relaxed going into final day and focussed on ``sailing our own race and seeing what happens’’.
They were not fully sure they had won before the final race until people around them started congratulating them and they ``relaxed out’’, said Lindsay.
'I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet, but it’s great,’’ said Kurt, 14.
`Yeah, everyone is congratulating us and it feels good,’’ added Lindsay, 13. The pair learnt to sail together in PJs when they were aged 7 and 8 and won the two-up Sabots nationals at Airlie Beach in 2008-09. They are not certain where their sailing will take them next but said options on the table include 420s, 29ers and more F11 sailing.
Both praised the Port Stephens venue which was a large open area with consistent breeze and a great place to relax afterwards.
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11:41 PM Sat 21 Jan 2012 GMT
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