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2019 Victorian WASZP State Championships at Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron

by Marc Ablett 4 Mar 01:42 PST 2-3 March 2019
2019 Victorian WASZP State Championships at Blairgowrie © Russell Bates

At total of 23 WASZP's raced in the 2019 Victorian WASZP State Championships hosted by the Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron. The racing was amazingly close with nothing between the first 10-15 boats at the top mark each time, the leaders were then able to stretch their legs downwind.

This was the first official event on the new 'BIG FOIL' now made class legal and swapped over from the existing foil. It proved its worth, when the fleet was faced with a weekend of patchy 8-11 knot patchy northerlies. The race committee did a fantastic job of getting five races away in these conditions with all races full foiling affairs.

At the front end Jack Flesenthal continued his good form taking out the title in an epic battle with Tom Trotman. Trotman levelled the scores with a win in race 4 meaning the final race would come down to a battle in 2, with whoever won out of Felsenthal and Trotman to take the title.

Race 5 was an epic, with Ben Gunther leading the way from Jack Abbott and Trotman. The battle continued down the run as the breeze began to soften. The leaders headed right up the 2nd work sniffing out a touch of east in the breeze. Trotman had worked his way into a great position and lead at the final top mark, with Gunther close by, unfortunately for both, they parked in no wind at the top mark. Felsenthal then came through with seemingly his own breeze and foiled around the 2 to put just enough distance between himself and Trotman as everyone was back on the sticks. Felsenthal claimed victory by the barest of margins to claim the title as race 6 could not be completed as the breeze evaporated to nothing.

It was a true WASZP weekend, with plenty of socialising at the local watering hole the Sorrento Hotel on Saturday night, leaving a few sore heads in the morning. The club put beers and BBQ on after racing each day and there is no better spot to be chilling out down the Mornington peninsula.

One of the many positive aspects to come out of the weekend was the women in WASZP, with Krystal Weir and Alison Dale at their first WASZP event. The WASZP is gaining great popularity amongst the female sailors around the world, with strong programs developing in Australia, Norway, NZ, UK and South America in particular. The fleet was also joined by an interstate contingent with Aaron Delongville making the trip from Perth, with Don McPhee and Henry Davison trekking down from Sydney. The fleet is growing extremely quickly with fleets now very strong in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney.

The NSW fleet will be ready to explode with the 2020 Australian National Championships pencilled in for 24-27th January at Port Stephens. This makes for an epic summer in Australia with Sail Melbourne also planned for the 17th-21st allowing WASZP Sailors 10 days of sailing on the east coast of Australia.

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