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2020 Adelaide National Regatta at Adelaide Sailing Club - Overall

by Harry Fisher 10 Jan 22:44 PST 5-10 January 2020
The Finn Class racing in the 2020 Adelaide National Regatta © Brad Halstead

The Adelaide National Regatta, featuring the national championships for three different classes, has come to an end with champions crowned across the range of competitors.

The event brought together the national championships for the OK Dinghy, Finn and Mosquito Catamaran classes, with some decent conditions across the five days of sailing.

The Adelaide Sailing Club has shown its capability as a major regatta venue once again with this event, bringing together resources and capability to create a more enjoyable atmosphere for the competitors.

Unfortunately due to strong winds and big seas, the final day of racing was unable to be sailed due to safety concerns, which left a few of the sailors sitting in second place without the opportunity to have a crack at their respective titles.

But it was a smart decision from the race committee with the strongest gusts of the day hitting 26 knots at the Adelaide Airport, and the sea state extremely wavy and difficult to manage.

OK Dinghy

The OK Dinghy fleet saw a dominant performance from Rob McMillan, who came away with a commanding victory, ahead of six-time class national champion Mark Jackson in second and Tim Davies in third.

McMillan said that while he was happy to come away with a win, he thoroughly enjoyed being able to sail in the regatta alongside his son Will, who at 13 years old finished 10th overall in the 32-strong fleet.

"More importantly some of the nicest people to sail with you'll ever come across, so it's been a great week and great to sail with my son too," McMillan said.

"To sail with Will in the OK on the same course, you turn around when you finish a race and you see your son just with you, it's a pretty special feeling I got to tell you."

Among the OK Dinghy fleet were some great performances from interstate boats, however the pick of the locals was Adelaide Sailing Club's Brent Williams, who sailed consistently with all his results in the top seven, to come away with fourth overall.

It caps off a great season of local OK Dinghy sailing in Adelaide, which has swelled in numbers in the lead up to this regatta, and looks set to continue the enthusiasm in the years to come.

Finn

Without any racing on the final day, John Condie was able to come away with the Finn Class national championship ahead of youngster Lachy Gilham, who was hot on his heels and looking forward to sailing on the final day.

Finn sailors still took to the water early in the day to see if it was going to be possible to sail in the wild conditions, but came ashore soon after.

Condie said even after hitting the water and coming in, he was nervous about the idea of defending his lead on such a windy day against a hungry competitor in Gilham.

"Today, conditions were favourable towards Lachy so the pressure was on," he said.

"When we got out there it was too much, the seas were huge, it was very scary and I was a bit nervous this morning about it (defending the lead).

"I was happy when they canned it."

Gilham, who prefers the heavier weather over Condie, said he was hoping they would get some racing in but understood that race committees making decisions over weather conditions was "part of the game".

"I was trying to push the race committee to get at least one race out because it would have given me and John a good run for the national title," he said.

Condie also finished as the highest placed sailor in the Grand Master division, Gilham was the first Under 23, James Bevis was the first placed Master and local Dirk Seret came away as the first placed sailor in the Legend division, as well as finishing as the first local boat.

Mosquito Catamaran

The Mosquito class looked like they were potentially going to get a race in, but unfortunately suffered the same fate as the Finns and OKs, leaving the leaders in the Mk I, Mk II and Spinnaker divisions in place to become the new national champions.

In the Mk I division it was an Adelaide Sailing Club clean sweep on the podium with veteran Warwick Kemp showing a clean pair of heels all regatta to clinch the overall victory with a solid buffer, ahead of Phillip Pearce in second and Peter Hallsworth in third.

Kemp came away with four wins from the eight-race series, as well as three seconds and a sixth that he was able to discard, while Pearce took a couple race wins late in the regatta but couldn't do quite enough to catch the leader.

In the Mk II division, Adelaide Sailing Club locals Justin and Kalahni Bissi held on to win the regatta from an extremely fast-finishing team of Peter Dunk and Kirsten Thomas.

Dunk and Thomas took race wins in the final three races of the regatta, which going into the final day saw them just one point behind the Bissi duo, setting up an epic showdown for the final day that was unable to eventuate due to the weather.

Justin Bissi said he was relieved the racing was cancelled on the final day, as Dunk and Thomas were getting quicker as the regatta went on.

"In the position that we were in, we were better off that we didn't sail because our main competitor was coming at us hard and fast," he said.

Meanwhile in the Spinnaker division, Matt Stone came away with a commanding victory that saw him win all but one race in the eight-race series and clinch the title ahead of Gary Maskiell in second and Tim Shepperd in third.

Stone sailed extremely well all regatta and was simply too good for the rest of the fleet.

The Mosquito racing has been top class, especially in South Australia with racing at the Adelaide Sailing Club showing strong fleet numbers and a lot of growth in recent years.

Well done to all the volunteers and the race management team at the Adelaide Sailing Club for putting on a great event, showcasing their capability to run major regattas as well as the importance of sharing resources and creating larger events by combining class championships.

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