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Australian Musto Skiff National Championship 2024 at Safety Beach Sailing Club

by Paul Newman 12 Jan 07:26 PST 4-7 January 2024
Musto Skiff Australian Nationals at Safety Beach Sailing Club © SBSC

The start of the 2024 Musto Skiff Australian Championships at Safety Beach was like Christmas as the new square head mainsails got rolled out over most boats in the boat park, with lots of talk about how they looked and how they would perform. Only a couple of boats kept to the old sail, with me being one of those.

Day 1

For the most part, Safety Beach turned it on with fine and sunny days and good breezes, however, day one was a little mixed, with the fleet leaving the beach in a south westerly only to have the breeze drop out and swing to the east before coming back in again. This left an interesting sea state with a nice 10-15 knots.

Casey Bates was looking considerably shinier than normal in his new boat and new main sail, which turned too fast as he took the early lead of race one leaving the pack with some work to do to catch him. Unfortunately for Casey, he got stuck in a hole in the breeze and the fleet gobbled him up, leaving Jon to take the win from Matthias and Marcus.

Race two was fought out between Matthias and me after the two of us got away from the fleet on the first downwind. We match raced from there with a couple of lead changes and only meters separated us at the finish where Matthias took the win.

Special mention to Casey who outpaced Jon, Matthias, and Myself off the start lines throughout the day, showing some ominous signs of what to come from the talented young man.

Day 2

Day two arrived with some stronger breeze from the east, and all sailors got their first look at the new mainsails in the stronger breeze. Jon showed the fleet a clean pair of heels winning both races with Matthias having a brakeage in one race and finishing 2nd in the other race. Marcus found his speed again in the stronger breeze and challenged Jon up the front in both races but capsized in the second race. This took the pressure off Jon at the front. Again, Casey showed some fantastic speed and skill, finishing with a 3rd and 4th for the day.

Day 3

Day three started with some time under AP ashore to wait for the wind to come in, and in this time, I gave in to peer pressure and put up the new mainsail and didn’t regret it. We eventually sailed in 8-12 knots from the east and Matthias took advantage of the lighter conditions to put the pressure firmly back on Jon by winning both races, while Jon only managed a 2nd and 4th with Casey and myself putting him to sword in the light and tricky conditions.

Day 4

Day four started in a light northerly of around 5 knots with Jon sailing a fantastic race to take the win in the light conditions, with Matthias 2nd. However, it was all still to play out, for in the last race the wind came up to 15-18 knots as the fleet duked it out one last time. Jon stretched his legs on the first windward beat and rounded first closely followed by Marcus, Matthias, and Richie. The chasing pack fought it out for a while, which allowed Jon to slip away to take the win and the regatta with Matthias a close second.

Special mention to Tom Stuchbery who finally started getting the hang of the Musto Skiff in the last race of the regatta almost rounding the first top mark in second place only to accidentally un-cleat the mainsheet and capsize, watching all his dreams of glory go down with a rush of cold water.

The overarching opinion of the new mainsails was unanimous in approval by all sailors big and small, even if the performance was very similar to the existing sail. All agreed that there was an improvement in all aspects.

All in all, a fantastic regatta was had by all. A big thankyou to Safety Beach Sailing Club, especially Paul Fleming and Craig Garmston for their efforts, and another big thank you to the sponsors; Victorian State Government, Refresh Property Solutions, Ronstan, Phaedrus Estate, Irwin Sails and Jetty Road Brewery.

Additional photo galleries for the Australian Musto Skiff National Championship 2024 can be viewed at:

Overall Results:

PosSail NoSkipperClubR1R2R3R4R5R6R7R8Pts
1Aus 492Jon NewmanBlairgowrie1‑311‑42117
2Aus 408Matthias HouvenagelPMYC‑21‑10211229
3AUS578Paul NewmanMcCrae YC‑5243233‑617
4Aus 576Marcus HamiltonPort Melbourne YC342‑5‑744320
5AUS 577Casey BatesBYS4‑734366(DNF)26
6553Richie RobertsonBlairgowrie Yacht Squadron6557‑98‑9435
7565Robin Dayes ‑86666‑77536
811Hayden BrownBYS987(DNF)558(DNF)42
9AUS554Wayne BatesBYS7‑9‑98895744
10AUS 357Thomas StuchberyPortarlington SC10(DNF)8(DNS)DNC1010858
11AUS391Max McKayBlairgowrie(DNF)(DNC)DNSDNCNSCDNS11DNF71

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