The 2012 RS:X National Titles and Bic Techno regatta was held from 27 to 29 January 2012 at Hawks Nest, NSW Australia, as part of the Downunder Pro (www.fw-australia.com).
23 competitors took part in racing, with representation from most states of Australia and also from Japan, New Zealand and Norway.
Conditions were favourable with nor-easters ranging from light to very strong winds as the regatta progressed. The right side of the course had a gentle swell and the wind chop was small. Woman’s Division:
Jessica Crisp (NSW) won the regatta ahead of fellow Olympic athlete and training partner, Jannicke Stalstrom (NOR). Third place went to Yuki Kanai from Japan.
Race three was won by Stalstrom as all classes started together.
Crisp is representing Australia at the Olympics this year making it her fifth Olympics. As a medal chance in Weymouth the Australian sailors are all hoping her final preparations all go to plan. Equipment is supplied at the Olympics. Men’s Division:
An outstanding consistent performance was seen in Luke Baillie (class president) who was the clear winner. James Levy (defending champion) came second and Patrick Vos was third.
Interestingly Vos has only been windsurfing for two years and is already competing at a high level.
Baillie won all races bar two. In the first race he won by a huge margin only to record an OCS. Bailey dominated many races by the first mark.
Baillie carried on competing in the Australian Formula Titles, also part of the Downunder Pro 2012. Despite using a one-design rig (9.5m sail) vs other professional sailors with state of the art gear (12m sails), Baillie finished third Australian. A remarkable performance!
Baillie is asserting himself as a leading racer and is one to watch in future Olympic and Pro racing circles.
Baillie is growing as a sailor, being second Australian at the recent Worlds in Perth. Tim Gourlay, who was the highest placed Australian, could not compete at this regatta and reports that he has retired from RS:X competition.
The men's RS:X fleet has had a huge boost with Yachting Australia announcement of its intention to relax its selection criteria for this class. As a result Australia men are now improving at a phenomenal rate. By the time the Olympics come this class will be ready to challenge for medals. Four sailors are currently preparing for Olympic selection these are (in alphabetical order): Luke Baillie QLD, James Levy NSW, Eamon Robertshaw WA and Patrick Vos WA.
All are privately funded and are heading to Europe for the final push. They all benefit from been great mates to help each other through. Youth Division:
The Australian Youth Representatives, Sam Treharne (NSW) and Anna Gilbert (NSW), both won their divisions. Both sailors are very quick in the light and enjoy pressuring the senior sailors in the fleet. Bic Techno Division:
Hugh Jones (TAS) won overall. Jones is a committed sailor who competes internationally and is emerging as a high wind specialist. Samantha Sterling (QLD) finished first female – following her sister, Joanna, in her winning ways. A special mention also goes to Antoine King (NSW), who attended Day 1 and 2 and dominated all the races he competed in, bar one.
Coaches Brendan Todd and Craig Ferris were on hand throughout the regatta, and still found time to have a sail in the idyllic conditions. Todd led a Training Camp after the regatta which many sailors attended including Olympic Yacht Sailor, Krystal Weir (VIC).
At the close of each day sailors enjoyed friendly races on the new RS-One boards. These where kindly supplied by Hudson Godfrey Hudson-Smith from Ocean Peak, Victoria which is the new supplier for RS:X. For second hand gear check here
The National Titles 2013 will be held at Sorrento, Victoria, a stunning destination with beautiful sailing conditions. For further details contact James Neeson at Sandy Beach Headquarters Windsurfing School, Victoria.
• Nick Nelson, who lead a great race committee which produced an international standard regatta
• Tammy Ting, from Downunder Pro, for all her support
• A big thanks goes to Elena de Bruijne who produced and filmed the video report and provided these great photos
• All participating sailors – it wouldn’t be much of a regatta without you!
Some great video footage of the event, courtesy of Elena de Bruijne here
Patrik Pollack and I interviewed World Champion, Dorian van Riljsselberghe, at the RS:X Perth Worlds here