Aussie Family Corinthian Champions At The 2014 US Melges 24 Nationals
17 November 2014
Australian crew AUS 812 Accru+ were crowned the Corinthian Champions and placed seventh out of thirty-one boats in the open fleet at the 2014 Melges 24 US Nationals in Tampa, Florida, 14-16 November hosted by Davis Island Yacht Club. The family crew consisted of skipper Kevin Nixon, his wife Glenda, their daughter Bonnie, son Daniel and his girlfriend, a new recruit Christine Linhart. They represented the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia.
Day one concluded with five races in light tricky conditions; Kevin Nixon and his Accru+ team held a tight two point lead over Roger Counihan's Just Add Water. Day two ended with only race and saw Accru+ finish a respectable fourth place. They went on to take out the Corinthian Division after day three with nine points ahead of Ryan Glaze’s Gringo.
The Nixon’s left their boat in the U.S. after competing in the 2013 San Francisco Worlds. It was delivered to Tampa in Florida and then brought up to speed for the Nationals.
After also purchasing part ownership of their best mate's and arch rival Warwick Rooklyn’s boat Bandit 814 in Australia the family put in 6am training sessions throughout winter on Sydney Harbour. Daniel Nixon was part of Rooklyn’s 2012 North American Melges 24 championships winning crew. Warwick has been training the Nixons giving valued advice from his wealth of experience. The training sessions consisted of roll tacking and light footing around the deck which has paid off for Accru+ in Florida.
Kevin & Daniel have been cross training on other boats in preparation for the regatta in the off season. Kevin has been sailing on Etchells, Farr 40 and a Farr 400 and in the guest skipper spot on an 18 foot skiff Panasonic LUMIX where Daniel is full time crew. In addition to his 18 foot skiff commitments Daniel also crews on Neville Crighten’s McConaghy 38 Maserati. The Nixon's have previously won the New South Wales and South Australian Championships and have come second twice in the Australian championships. They competed in the 2013 Melges 24 worlds in San Francisco placing fifth in the Corinthian division after holding third place until the last race.
The ladies populating the Australian fleet are experienced, dedicated competitors. Many of the women sailing Melges 24’s understate their sailing achievements and the Nixon girls are no different. Like a lot of women Glenda’s sailing career paused for family, however she used this time to stay involved in the sport as the treasurer and Commodore of Vaucluse Amateur 12 foot Sailing Club.
“We wanted to do a family campaign, our children Bonnie and Daniel really liked the look of the Melges 24 and we were all hooked after watching lots of footage of incredible downwind rides. I have known Karyn Gojnich, Alex Murray, Nicki Bethwaite and Adrienne Cahalan since the 80 s when Kevin sailed the 18 foot skiffs. They are amazing sailors and were my inspiration to give it a go before the body packed up” said Glenda Nixon.
Bonnie had a traditional introduction to sailing in an optimist at the age of eight. “I made my dad paint it my school colours and christened it Koala Leaf. My brother and I grew up sailing sabots at Vaucluse Amateur 12 foot Sailing Club and went from there to Flying 11’s and Laser 4.7’s at Woollahra Sailing Club and then match racing at the CYCA”. Said Bonnie Nixon. After their success this week the Accru+ team plan to spend another family holiday in the U.S. competing in Charleston Race Week in April 2015 and will continue racing in the Australian regatta circuit.