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Zhik Combined High Schools Sailing Championships at Belmont 16ft Sailing Club after Day 2

by Rod Carter 7 Apr 08:43 PDT 6-9 April 2021

The Zhik Combined High School Championships (CHS) commenced this week at Belmont 16ft sailing Club, with the usually large fleet numbers (120+ boats) well down from previous years.

The regatta is in its 54th year and is an iconic event that allows Secondary school students to enter any class of boat and represent their school. Over the years the CHS sailing regatta has seen many sailors progress to State, National, World and America's Cup champions. Take nothing away from the smaller number of competitors this year, the racing is still as fierce at the top of the leader board.

Day 1 saw racing postponed for over two hours until a light and shifty SE breeze filled the bay. One race was completed for the day. Conditions tested all but eventually Craig Wright from Hunter Valley Grammar sailing his NS14 "Risky Too" navigated the conditions best to take the bullet on corrected time. Second was Sebastian Spencer on 'Flying Star II" a Flying Eleven (F11) from Newcastle Grammar school and third for the day was Griffin Suters on his VS 'SFC Computers" from Merewether High School.

Results may have been completely different if competitors also found the requirement of signing on and off difficult which resulted in a number of boats receiving score penalties. It was a hard learnt lesson as a number of the top boats in race one eventually saw their podium finish pulled from their grasp.

Day 2 - There was no repeat of the sign on/off fiasco. With a light Southerly breeze, the race organiser decided to start race 2. These light conditions have prevented the skiffs and multihulls from being able to get away from the rest of the fleet ,meaning the displacement classes revelled in the conditions. Race 2 saw three Flying 11s take all the podium positions. Liam Karunaratne from Balgowlah Boys High on "Dirty Rat" claiming third, Sebastian Spencer finished second and Joel Beashel from Morisset High School sailing 'Cheeky' took the gun.

Race 3 and the conditions remained unchanged. Joel Beashel is developing into a talented young sailor under the coaching of his father Adam Beashel who was a successful sailor in both 49ers and America's Cup. Joel and his F11 crew Marshall repeated their performance from the previous race to again take the gun on corrected time. Liam Karunaratne performed one better taking second while Luca Dawson from St Marys Catholic College sailed extremely well on her F11 'Hammer Time' to finish third.

At the half way point in the Zhik CHS Sailing Championships, Joel Beashel has one hand firmly on the crown. With the chasing fleet in hot pursuit and the forecast for wind conditions to increase over the coming days, will there be a change in the leader board?

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