Two races sailed in superb sailing conditions kicked off the 2023 Australian Flying Fifteen Championship off the coast of Fremantle. Sunshine, crystal clear waters and a light to moderate breeze greeted the fleet on the opening day of competition.
79 boats launched, ably assisted by an army of volunteers including veteran Flying 15 sailor Graeme Lillingston, who is an 11 time Australian Champion and former World Champion. Graeme was supervising the crane operation and no doubt offering a few of his own tips about racing a F15.
Race 1 of the series started cleanly at 1305 hrs in a 12 - 15 knot south westerly with course 1 signalled on the start boat. This was a two lap windward / leeward leg of 1.5nm per leg followed by a triangle to finish downwind on the second lap. Charles and Charlie Apthorp (GBR) from Hayling Is SC led briefly from Hamish Mackay and Andrew Lawson (GBR) from Royal Thames YC and Graham Vials and Chris Turner (GBR) Lyme Regis SC/Derwent Reservoir SC.
By the bottom gate Mackay / Lawson had taken the lead with Ian Pinnell and Ian Cadwallader (GBR) from Northampton SC chasing them down. Vials / Turner held on to third. By the second lap on the triangle Mackay / Lawson maintained the lead and went on to take the gun. Vials / Turner were slick at the wing mark gybe to snatch a place and move up to second for the final reach home. Pinnell / Cadwallader finished third to make it a GBR podium. Australians Grant Alderson and Luke Paterson from host club Royal Freshwater Bay YC took a number of places to finish strongly in fourth and the Apthorp family a well earned fifth.
If race one was all about the Brits, the local Aussies bit back in race two of the regatta. Sailed in very similar conditions with 1.5nm legs and another course one in 12 - 15 knots of SW sea breeze.This time it was two local Royal Freshwater Bay YC boats, Philippa Packer and Dean McAullay who led the race from start to finish from the first windward mark. Grant Alderson and Luke Paterson chased hard all around the course but had to settle for second place.
Another RFBYC boat sailed by Hamish Carnachan and Peter Mudford was in the mix around the track but there was one British crew who you cannot shake off in the shape of current world champions Vials and Turner. They crossed third to spoil an all Australian race podium.
So after only two races the regatta scores are finely tuned. Vials / Turner (GBR) lead with 5 points from Alderson / Paterson (AUS) on 6 points and Mackay / Lawson (GBR) in third overall with 7 points.Of the other Aussies chasing the Australian title, Packer / McAullay sit in 5th overall, Nick Jerwood and Brad Sheridan are 6th, Carnachan / Mudford 7th and the young Olympic sailors Lacky Gilmour / Ryan Donaldson 9th.
Two more races are scheduled for Tuesday with an earlier start time of 1200 noon and an advanced forecast of similar glamour sailing conditions.
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by Jonny Fullerton - Regatta Services