AUS Nationals ready to go.
This week the Australian A-Cat fleet assembles for it’s National Championships. This year it is at the South Lake Macquarie Amateur Sailing Club, a return after 9 years. The lake lies just to the South of Newcastle, NSW, about 90 mins away from Sydney, on the Australian Southeast coast. The vast lake, some 120 Km2 in area, is the largest saltwater lake in the Southern Hemisphere. It is a Ria, which I’m sure you vividly remember from those school geography lessons, is a drowned non glacial river valley with an opening to the sea. As such, it has a vast number of small bays and inlets over its 24km length, so becomes a leisure boating mecca for the Aussies and having many well-known sailors living around the shores in lakefront homes.
With the prevailing North-easterly wind, combined with a potential of a decent sea breeze arriving, it can produce some pretty full-on conditions out on the lake.
Some 48 A-Cat sailors, which is just over half of their national AUS fleet, have travelled across this vast country, and this year they are joined by two US sailors. Michael Christiansen, the US number 3, and Ravi Parent, the 2022 World A-Cat and F-18 champion, have both travelled over the Pacific to sail in what is the most competitive national fleet in the World. In addition, there are 4 other World Champions racing here this week also.
Currently, the weather is lovely, on this registration and measuring day. This fleet takes national measuring very seriously, this helps as our official International Measurer, Graeme Harbour, is sailing here too, so they’d better behave. Wind looks to be 7-12 kts, but quite gusty, under lovely blue skies with fluffy white clouds. The outlook for the coming week though, could be rather rainy and unsettled. Time will tell.
A few sailors have taken to the water, just to finalise various settings with their training partners. Andrew Landenberger, AUS 308, was out training with Bruce Woodward, AUS 90, in their classics. Landy has recently switched platforms and has gone back to his old Scheurer G6 Classic, having sold on his Exploder Ad3 Classic platforms used in his last 3 World Championship victories. 2023 Classic World Champ Scott Anderson, AUS 31, was spotted cruising around, like a Great White, meanwhile Open Sailors Brad Collett, AUS 10, and Matt Homan, AUS 41, were foiling about in those gusty conditions.
Sponsored generously by the Bay Hotel Motel, the ACADA, Marine Outlet and Harken, tomorrow is the practice race, then Racing starts in earnest on Monday. Stay tuned race fans.