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After a one point loss in the 2013 Nationals, could Jon Newman collect the prize that has eluded him for four years or would the three day a week training program Marcus Hamilton had been following allow the multiple World and National champion a real shot at the Musto Performance Skiff Australian National Championships. That was the question...
The Musto Performance Fleet came from Melbourne, Perth and country Victoria with one view, to race hard and prepare themselves for the 2015 Worlds in Perth next year, fine tuning to race pace, will this be a classic Ashes grudge match or will the Aussies be triumphant? Game on!
With a forecast of strong pressure all week, the Metung Yacht club held some of the most thrilling skiff sailing Australia has ever seen, flat water, 18-22 knots, sunshine and the welcoming hospitality of Metung that makes Gippsland Lakes the Musto sailor’s heaven.
The 2014 Nationals program of two/three races per day allowed flexibility in the regatta which was needed with day one and three blown out, however with creative race management eleven of the twelve scheduled races were sailed on Lake King just west of the yacht club.
Day two of the regatta saw the first racing following the blown out first day, with three races in the morning in a building breeze from 15 knots, and a further two races held in a solid 18-20 in the afternoon. Jon Newman came out of the blocks hard with a second and four firsts – pretty much the ideal start! Denis, Thor, Marcus and Tim all showed their colours, mixing it up for the following places. A number of boats were hesitant to head back out for the afternoon session and were late for the start – regardless the downwind sleigh ride to the start was a significant highlight (only a few managed to pitch-pole on the way down). The end result of the days 5 races was a lot of very tired and sore bodies after some great racing.
Day three was again blown out, after a large front came through late on day two, blowing a number of the boats over in the rigging area.
Day four’s forecast was for a nice relaxing 10knts, slowly building. So the 15-18 was a bit of a surprise. However the day’s conditions were fantastic and a further three races completed. Again Jon dominated, but was pushed hard by Marcus all day. Robin Dayes had a blinder in race 6, leading most of the race, only to pop the kite on the final run with no kite sheets attached – a great shame however he has now shown he can play at the ‘front of the fleet’.
Day five closed out with 15 knots building up to 20-22 coming through in definite bands. A further three races were held with Paul Newman coming into the frame in the final two with bullets. An impressive performance for one of the lighter guys in the regatta – his boat handling was awesome. Jon closed out the regatta with a 1, 6, 2 handing him the win. Marcus was able to hang on for second with Denis and Thor not far behind. Chris Peile showed some speed for the first time in the first race of the day leading at the top mark and remaining top 3 for most of the race before opting for a swim on the final gybe…
Clearly Jon Newman had put together a dominant display throughout the regatta and produced clean, error free race craft that most could only dream of with fluid tacks and gibes. Newman’s dominance delivered the goal and was crowned the Musto Performance Skiff National Champion 2014. Marcus Hamilton, Richie Robertson and Denis Jones proved they could be close but not close enough. Denis and Thor both WA sailors revelled in the high pressure downwind legs and that’s something we will all experience next year, their 15-20 knot grounding gave them both pace and race track position.
Interestingly Dayes and Robertson both heavy weights produced the fastest upwind speeds with Robertson shifting gears throughout the regatta (after a KPI review from his wife.....) Perhaps this pair could be the fastest upwind Musto sailors in the world..?
With the class continuing to build a strong reputation down under we had our first female entrant using the “reduced size main sail” This proved to be a great asset to the class and enabled 19 year old light weight Sinead Stone to compete.
With the fleet continuing to improve race pace and changing gears, the focus turns towards the exciting 2015 Musto Performance Skiff World Championships in Perth WA. Again another 15-20 knot race track in flat water skiff heaven. Can you ask for anything better.....?
Further race details and information on both these Nationals, and the upcoming 2015 World Championships can be found on the Australian website.
|Musto Performance Skiff Australian Championships, 4-8 January 2014||Metung Yacht Racing Club Inc.|
|1||AUS492||Fast Girl Jon Newman||Jon Newman||VIC||11||2||1||1||1||1||2||1||1||1||6||2||0|
|2||AUS453||Mario Kart Marcus Hamilton||Marcus Hamilton||VIC||27||6||3||2||3||2||1||2||5||4||7||5||0|
|3||AUS489||Four Legged Octopus||Denis Jones||WA||30||4||2||3||2||5||4||6||4||3||3||6||0|
|4||AUS380||Ribbed For My Pleasure||Richard Robertson||VIC||36||13||9||5||10||3||6||3||3||2||2||3||0|
|9||AUS391||Erila's Kitchen||Chris Peile||VIC||87||12||10||10||DNF||DNC||11||9||7||7||9||12||0|
|10||AUS218||Pen 12||Richard Shawcross||WA||87||DNF||13||14||7||10||9||11||8||9||12||8||0|
|11||AUS511||Wonder Wand||Chris Sutherland||WA||90||3||8||11||11||DNF||13||14||11||13||11||9||0|
|12||AUS440||WAB Project||Wayne Bates||VIC||94||9||12||12||8||DNF||10||7||13||14||10||13||0|
|13||AUS438||Black Spot||Richard Ekborg||VIC||99||15||14||9||DNC||DNC||3||5||10||11||13||DNC||0|
|15||AUS429||Fire Fly||Jayson Brownie||WA||126||14||16||15||14||11||15||13||15||15||15||14||0|
|16||AUS423||Mid Life Crisis||Daryl Stone||VIC||127||5||15||13||13||DNF||16||16||14||16||DNC||DNC||0|
|18||AUS||No Name||Sinead Stone||VIC||169||17||DNF||DNC||DNC||DNC||DNC||DNC||DNC||DNF||DNC||DNC||0|