By Jason Farnell
Last weekend saw the final for the Sailing Champions League – Asia Pacific Series hosted by the Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club
Royal Geelong Yacht Club was well represented by the same crew that sailed in the Geelong Series over Festival of Sails being:
Helm – Mason Mahoney (Current 29er Victorian Champion Helm)
Main – Imogen Farnell
Jib – Georgia Delaney
Spinnaker & Engine Room – Matt Purnell (Current 29er Victorian Champion Crew)
The racing was held in the estuary at the junction of Thorsby Creek and the Hunter River with great viewing from the wharf in front of the Honeysuckle Hotel and was sailed in RS21’s being the same fleet of boats used at FOS. 15 Crews representing clubs from around the country competed in Open & Youth (Under 22) divisions.
Forecast of torrential rain didn’t eventuate and the weather stayed clear with the exception of a couple of showers, the sailors were greeted however by the challenges varied and shifting winds, land influences, harbour traffic including tub boats, fishing trawlers, TP52’s and the like traversing the race course as well as currents moving in opposing directions. The currents were anticipated from studying aerial images prior to the regatta but the location of tide lines was made easy to identify by the lines of logs and bamboo in the water from recent flooding, some of the logs being longer than the boats they were sailing!
The Geelong Crew fired from the first start and rounded the first mark in the lead but a spinnaker disaster put an end to a good result in that race, this had the crew off guard for the remaining 3 races in that flight and weren’t placed well after the first day.
A good de-brief after sailing and some in depth problem solving had them back in form for Sundays racing with Geelong winning the first 2 heats and losing the lead of race 3 with less than 2 seconds to the line thanks to the wake of a fishing trawler ploughing through the finish line. These performances were enough the lift their place to 5th Overall in the tight field and qualify for the Youth Final (Under 22)
With the final being the first boat to record 2 wins and the series leader starting the final with a win on the board it was over in 2 races. A stellar performance from James Jackson and his well credentialed crew from Mornington saw them lead the series as well as winning the Youth and Open Finals, earning themselves an invitation to compete ate the Sailing Champions League – World Final in Travemunde, Germany in the middle of the year.
Our crew did our club proud in the way they sailed, problem solved and approached the regatta as a whole. Some more preparation in a similar boat prior to the regatta would have allowed them to focus more on the racing than the boat handling on the first day but a great learning curve. With a tailored approach and what we have learned we’ll have RGYC etched on the trophy before we know it.
The Crew were greatly appreciative and would like to thank the RGYC Board for the opportunity to represent the Club and help offset the cost of competing.