Glenn Ashby is the new Australian Champion. Bob Griffits gives his wrap up.
Glenn sealed his victory with an emphatic three straight race wins on the final day of competition on Lake Macquarie yesterday. Steve Brewin had led the Championship up until yesterday morning, and generally had Ashby in his wake. But Ashby had never been far behind, and had won of the earlier races, with a string of second places. Half way through the regatta, Ashby had found his top form, and went on to win 5 out of the last 6 races. Indeed, in the second last race, he won by the proverbial country mile.
Second overall was the current A Class Catamaran World Champion Steven Brewin, who has devoted a huge amount of time sailing and developing his Exploder a Class Catamaran.
Stephen Brayshaw put together an outstanding performance to finish third overall. He sailed a very consistent regatta. Both Ashby and Brayshaw have been doing the hard yards, with an intensive training program together over past month. Brayshaw was able to edge out Nathan Outteridge by one point to claim the last podium spot.
David Brewer was fifth overall. The first five all sailed the Exploder AD3 boats. The first of the DNA F1 boats was sailed by Brad Collett, who finished sixth overall. Dave Shaw from Nelson, New Zealand, was seventh. Matt Homan sailing an DNA F1, finished 8th. Adam Beattie was 9th, and Stuart Scott was 10th overall.
First overall place in the non-foiling “Classic Division” was Scott Anderson, who finished 16th in the overall standings. He was followed by Chris Cairns (19th), and Leon McNeill (22nd).
The winds on the final day were in the light to moderate range. Race 10 started in a gentle 8 to 10 knot south easterly wind, which faded by the end of Race 11. The South-east wind was replaced by an 8 to 10 knot Seabreeze which blew the fleet around the course in the final race of the 12-race series.
The sailing waters bounded by Wangi Point, Fishing Point, Coal Point, and the flat sand spit topography of Swansea is a superb racing venue. The flat water was ideal for foiling.
The Race Committee, headed by Tony Outteridge did a great job, with excellent starting procedures and well laid out courses. The weather obliged with a variety of conditions, mostly in the moderate wind range, with one light/shifty day, and one day when the wind strength approached the class upper limit.
Analysis of equipment revelled an equivalence in performance between the Exploder AD3 and the DNA F1 platforms and foils. Glenn Ashby used the sail that he developed in conjunction with North Sails, and most of the remainder of the fleet used Brewin Sails.
Adam May from Great Britain was the highest placed competitor using the shorter mast/lower centre of effort combination, finishing 12th overall. There is certainly a place for this rig, particularly for the lighter weight sailors.
Australian A Class sailing has a big year in 2018, including the hosting of the World Championships at Hervey Bay, Queensland, in November. There will be a series of lead up events at the venue during the year, including the Australian Championships that will immediately proceed the World Championship.
Photos - Gavin Rietman and Melissa Brewin