Melges News - Australia

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17 March 2011

More Melges Mania down under this month. Last weekend (5th – 6th March) Middle Harbour Yacht Club hosted the Audi Sydney Harbour Regatta. The Melges 24’s and Melges 32’s competed in the regatta as a lead up event to the Australian Championships later this week at the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club on Pittwater.

The race course was between North and South Head on Sydney Harbour. Breeze ranged over the weekend from 25 knots down to 5 knots in sloppy seas and shifting conditions. Sydney Harbour was like a washing machine with over two hundred entries all competing in their divisions for a chance at the AUDI car on offer.

In the M24 fleet Cameron Miles and crew on Roger That AUS 762 dominated the racing from the get go, four firsts, two seconds finishing seven points ahead of Warrick Rooklyn Bandit AUS 814. Consistency paid for Bandit who was unable to get a gun but finished three points in front of Western Australian boat Kaito skippered by Kim Nisbet, third place.

Team Amigos results could have been very different had the crew not taken a dip in Sydney harbour after a hiking line malfunction. Skipper Geoff Fogerty found himself a solo sailor mid race.

The Melges 24 Australian Championships sponsored by Gill Australia and North Sails from the 10-13 March are shaping up to be a massive battle of the boats.

Kaito the winning 2008 Australian Champion will have North Sails MD Michael Coxon calling the shots. Defending 2010 Champion Heath Walters will compete in No Comment AUS 746. Warwick Rooklyn NSW State Champion Bandit AUS 816 is keen to take the Australian Champion title prior to his Corpus Christi Worlds campaign. Cameron Miles Roger That AUS 762 staked his claim in the lead up event, he is also East Coast Champion and came a close second in the 2010 Championships. Added into the mix are several new boat owners including the first South Australian owner Gary Shanks looking to make their mark on the fleet.

The Melges 32’s raced in the same race course as the M24’s with a later start. After an exciting start to the first race in a 30 knot SE squall, Grant Robson and crew from Gosford Sailing club on Funnel Web took off down the first run, dodging and weaving through the harbour traffic only to have the high speed wipeout of the regatta resulting in a broken rudder. Kim Williams Rock n’Roll came in first place in the Super 30 AMS pointscore and Geoff Masters Jolt second place.

The Melges 32’s will now all do the two hour sail up the coast along the Northern Beaches to Pittwater to compete in the inaugeral Melges 32 Australian Championships this week.

Racing is scheduled for the Championships off Palm Beach and inshore, forecast breeze 10-15 knots from the South/South East…………

Watch this space

-Tracey Walters