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2023 QLD ILCA State Titles at Humpybong Yacht Club

by Rod Smith & Kate Baisden 4 May 2023 05:57 PDT 29-30 April 2023
2023 QLD ILCA State Titles © Mark Dawson

History was made over the weekend as 100 ILCA (formerly Laser) dinghies assembled at Bramble Bay's Humpybong Yacht Club to contest the 2023 QLD ILCA State Titles.

This record-breaking fleet was the biggest ever in the history of the class in QLD. There were 28 ILCA 4s, 46 ILCA 6s and 26 ILCA 7s competing.

The weather gods were in fickle mode across the weekend as conditions recovered from a week of very strong winds, leaving the race area with a light and shifty weather pattern. Skippers were tested by the deceptively strong tidal flows across Bramble Bay, with many being caught out and underlaying the top mark. This contributed to even more congestion than is usual in highly competitive ILCA fleets.

Fortunately, the courses were expertly laid by the experienced race officials, and all competitors enjoyed solid reaches in addition to windwards and multi-gybe runs. Saturday's racing saw three heats completed in tricky 3-8 knot conditions. Sunday featured all competitors drifting hopefully around the start area from 11 am until 3.30 pm as the Race Committee chased the dying westerly breeze and set consecutive course variations but were forced to abandon the day's racing. This meant competitors had to count all three Saturday races with no drop.

A healthy indicator of the class's continuing popularity was the size of the Junior fleet in the smallest sail area, ILCA 4 division. Henry Piggott scored a 'picket fence' with a first in every race to win the event. Ruby Carter, who achieved 10th overall, scored a 3rd in race 1 after only sailing an ILCA for 3 weeks. Ruby had never even been on a start line of any kind so coming away with a 3rd in her first ever ILCA race was a superb result. Another notable effort was made by Jeremy Liu, who sailed the series with a broken finger in a cast following a training accident during the prior weekend.

In the hotly contested ILCA 6 fleet youngsters Ben Franklin and Travis Wadley fought for top honours, but were closely followed by GM Darryl Beattie, top coach Kate Baisden and GGM sailor Michael Pitt. The strong 46 boat fleet showed a remarkable depth of talent featuring top state, national, world and previous Olympic level competitors.

The ILCA 7s saw U21 and Open sailors Daniel Costandi, Isaac Shotte and Alexander Bijkerk in the podium places, but again Masters experience and cunning was not far behind as Andrew Stransky, father of ILCA 6 Australian Olympian Mara Stransky, came home in 4th.

Overall the regatta was a resounding success, with the record breaking 100 boat fleet showing the ILCA class in QLD continues to attract participation and talent across all age groups.

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