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2015 Australian Match Racing Championship - Winner announced

by Bernie Kaaks on 24 Jan 2015
New national champions – Matt Jerwood, a bloodied Mark Whittington, Alex Landwehr and Patrick Vos. Bernie Kaaks
2015 Australian Match Racing Championships - In a five race series that was full of drama and interest, Matt Jerwood overcame the experience of Evan Walker to claim his first national match racing title with a three-nil score line.

Sailed on the Canning River adjacent to the South of Perth Yacht Club, conditions on the last day of the four day regatta were typical, with south westerly breezes fluctuating from 12 and up to 20 knots, making control difficult at times. Jerwood sailed a copybook first race to claim a narrow and uneventful win, but even the skills of Evan Walker were not enough to prevent his BW8 sliding out from beneath him and into a wild broach. In race two of the five-race final, Jerwood rounded the top mark for the first time with a narrow lead and set off on the downwind leg with a perfect spinnaker set. Behind him Walker was hit by a gust as the spinnaker filled, rolling it into a gybe and savage broach which took several seconds to correct. By that time, Jerwood was away with an unassailable lead. Score now two-nil.

Walker turned up to play in the race three pre-start, inflicting a penalty on Jerwood and winning the start. By the time the pair reached the top mark, Jerwood had closed the gap and carried Walker beyond the mark, using the South of Perth Yacht Club jetty to prevent his rival from turning back. It was a classic escape manoeuvre which not only cleared Jerwood’s penalty but put him into the lead. Walker clung doggedly to Jerwood’s transom, but found a determined opponent who covered tightly on the upwind leg and refused to be intimidated by the gybing manoeuvres going on behind him. Jerwood won the third race by some two boat lengths, and with it, the National Match Racing Title.

A reflective Walker acknowledged his opponent’s win and suggested with humour 'I think we need more practice!' That might be the case, but the two skippers in the final treated spectators to an excellent display of close racing where the result was in doubt to the very end, and minor mistakes turned into game changers.

In the three race petit final Sam Gilmour defeated Peter Nicholas two races to one, but the deciding race was clinched in the last few metres with some typically aggressive downwind tactics by Gilmour. Gilmour would probably be disappointed in the closing stages of this regatta. Fresh from his victory in last week’s Little Wheel Series, he put together a solid performance in the round robins until losing his final two matches. He then went down to Jerwood, his victim in the Little Wheel Regatta, in a straight two-nil exit. His three races against the experienced campaigner Peter Nicholas were exciting and extremely close, with plenty of protests and a few penalties adding to the spice. The outcome will have been very encouraging for Gilmour’s confidence.

Final Results:

1. Matt Jerwood, Redline Racing, South of Perth Yacht Club
2. Evan Walker, New Beach Marine, Cruising Yacht Club of Australia
3. Sam Gilmour, Neptune Racing, Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club
4. Peter Nicholas, Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club
5. Jay Griffin, Cruising Yacht Club of Australia
6. Steve Thomas, Royal Perth Yacht Club
7. Lachy Gilmour, Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club
8. Will Boulden, Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club.

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