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2024 AUS O'pen Skiff Championships at Lake Cootharaba Sailing Club

by Bevan McKavanagh 16 Jan 00:03 PST 9-13 January 2024

The 13th annual O'pen Skiff Champs took place at Lake Cootharaba Sailing Club on Jan 9-13th, with a total of 48 boats competing across 3 fleets: Gold, Silver and Green.

The Gold Fleet was made up of 26 of the most experienced sailors from all over Australia which included Western Australia, Tasmania, Queensland, Victoria & NSW.

The Silver Fleet, aka the intermediate fleet, was made up of 14 boats and the Green fleet, aka the youngest and least experienced fleet that are very new to regattas, was made up of 8 boats.

The week's sailing kicked off with a 2-day coaching clinic which was held in light to moderate breeze. A big thanks to coaches Aiden Hodzic, Riley House, Matt Young, Charlie Bratton and Lake Cootharaba's very own Charlie Hacker.

The coaching clinic combined with the Invitation Race allows all the sailors to assess where they are in their respective fleets. Day 1 started with the non-point scoring Invitation Race. Sailors then returned to the beach and locked in their sleet selection. The afternoon consisted of 3-point score races in moderate breeze. In the Gold Fleet Kaison Puls from WA and Atlas Miller from TAS dominated sharing the 1st and 2nd positions. Silver Fleet managed the same as Charlie Hughes and Josh Merritt from NSW taking out 1st and 2nd positions, with Green Fleet also completing 3 point score races.

With 15knots plus forecasted for Day 2 we went straight into 3 races with a break for lunch and 3 more in the afternoon. A big day for all. Oskar Bromberger from WA improved dramatically enjoying the stronger breeze he is used to in WA. The two-standouts continued to be Kaison Puls and Atlas Miller.

Day 3 and it was straight into the 2-up Adventure Race. This consists of matching the top sailors with the least experienced sailors in the fleet to make up teams for a 2-up adventure race. The race started ashore with a run to the teammate waiting with their boat on the water's edge. It was out around 2 marks and back to the beach. At the conclusion of the Adventure Race the breeze continued to build from the Southeast prompting the race committee to cancel Silver and Green Fleet sailing for the day. The Gold Fleet completed 3 races in winds exceeding 25 knots with short, sharp chop very characteristic of the shallow Lake Cootharaba.

Day 4 and the breeze had abated somewhat and it was back to racing for all three fleets. Very testing for the youngsters in the Green Fleet with the breeze gusting to 20 knots.

Special mention goes to Belmont's Emma Webb, recovering from a17th place in the first race of the regatta. Emma continued to improve throughout taking out 6th place overall and 1st Female.

Finally, a very special thank you needs to go to Lake Cootharaba Sailing Club for hosting the 13th annual AUS O'pen Skiff Champs along with Vaikobi and for providing lots of cool prizes.

Gold Fleet (Overall)

1st Kaison Puls, WA (1st U15)
2nd Atlas Miler, TAS (2nd U15)
3rd Oskar Bromberger, WA (3rd U15)

Gold Fleet (Female)

1st Emma Webb, NSW
2nd Zoe Webb, NSW
3rd Eloise Chernoff, WA

Gold Fleet (U12)

1st Hamish Skelton, NSW
2nd Leo Sparshott, QLD
3rd Nicholas Drummond, NSW

Gold Fleet (U17)

1st Tom Hughes, NSW
2nd Zoe Webb, NSW
3rd Jack Powning, NSW

Silver Fleet (Overall)

1st James Moore, VIC
2nd Charlie Hughes, NSW
3rd Joshua Merritt, NSW

Silver Fleet (U12)

1st James Moore, VIC
2nd Charlie Hughes, NSW
3rd Harvey Brooks, QLD

Silver (U15)

1st Joshua Merritt, NSW
2nd Gemma Kirchner, QLD (1st Female)
3rd Marcus Cockle, NSW

Green Fleet

1st Morgan Haines, QLD
2nd Louise Wanre, QLD
3rd Benji Reid, NSW

Full results available here.

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