Off the back of receiving such a glowing report of the inaugural Sail Bellarine regatta in 2021, the Victorian RS Aero Class decided to incorporate their 2022 Victorian State Championships within the 2022 Sail Bellarine regatta hosted by Indented Head YC.
Unfortunately, we had a few sailors pull out prior to the regatta due to Covid & injury, nevertheless we saw a fantastic turnout with 30 x RS Aero’s in attendance, making us the biggest class. We had three NSW entries & a few from rural Victoria (Portland & Inverloch), thanks for making the trip!
Day 1’s forecast ensured we would get the 3 allocated races in. We saw a windy 15-22 knots, whilst the sun was out for the duration of the time, the wind seemed glacial at times. Throughout the day the fleet saw large wind oscillations, mixed with big bands of pressure funneling down the racecourse.
Ian ‘Biggles’ Johnson & Megan Ridgway managed to start each race with a clean pair of heels, thereafter using their superior upwind boat speed to lead the fleet in most instances. These two sailors where respective club house leaders after Day 1 in the Aero 5 & 7 fleets. At the conclusion of Day 1, in the Aero 7 fleet, the race was on for 2nd place it seemed, with four sailors within one point of each other. Peter Milne & Gary Ratcliffe used their upwind boat speed to secure solid days, whilst Michael O’Brien & Rhett Gowans chipped away, sailing consistently around the course to ‘stay in touch’. Biggles was deservedly leading the hungry chasing pack, with it all to play for on the penultimate day of racing. Megan used her racing knowledge & big fleet race experience to manage the Aero 5 fleet, at times giving the Aero 7’s a run for their money!
The most impressive aspect to come away from Day 1, was how the Aero fleet as a whole handled the challenging conditions. Two years ago, the majority of the Aero fleet wouldn’t have taken covers off their boats, fast-forward to 2022 and we had the fleet successfully manage the conditions, get around the race course with minimal capsizes. A real credit to the fleet’s growth & improvement!
3 races on Day 1 meant extremely sore bodies on Day 2! With some stretching & a few coffees in everybody’s system the sailors were raring to go for the final two races. A lighter forecast for Day 2 offered some respite for the weary sailors, with a decreasing breeze starting at 15 knots, decreasing through the day to 5-8 knots. A lighter breeze saw the racing condense and become much tighter, this was highlighted on the final race where we had 15 Aero’s round the bottom mark within 10 seconds of each other! On Day 2 it was imperative to get off the pin-end cleanly if you wanted to be racing at the top-end of the fleet. Those that tacked early on to get on ‘the long port tack’ did best. With lots of lead changes and aided by the discard, the final standings changed hands in the Aero 7’s, whilst the 5’s stayed the same.
At the conclusion of Day 2, Megan Ridgway won her second Aero 5 State Championships, with a very tidy 4 points, Diane Vukelic came 2nd & Fiona Ekins came 3rd, pipping Laurie Hoffman by 1 point.
In the Aero 7’s, Rhett Gowans sailed a consistent last day to jump into the lead, winning his 4th Victorian Aero 7 State Championships in the process, Ian ‘Biggles’ Johnson came 2nd, behind by one solitary point, with the New South Welshmen Gary Ratcliffe rounding out the podium.
Thanks to Indented Head YC, St Leonards YC & Portarlington YC on running a great regatta, we look forward to supporting this regatta in the future.
LINK TO RESULTS