The RS Aero Victorian State Championships 2019 were held at Mount Martha Yacht Club over March 9, 10 and 11. The series a total of twenty-five entries with 20 sailors from Victoria, 4 from NSW and 1 from SA competing in the 5, 7 and 9 rigs.
The fleet contained a broad range of age and experience with Tabitha Stevenson, Michelle de Blaquiere and Tim Bardon bringing their experience from other classes and jumping into an Aero for the first time.
Seven of the 10 programmed races were sailed in light, moderate and heavy conditions. The first day started with a slight breeze and a smoke covered Port Phillip Bay. Everyone was keen to get out and get the sailing underway.
By the time they reached the starting area the wind began to fade, and the race committee made the wise decision to send us back to shore to wait for the smoke to lift and the breeze to fill in. The afternoon brought champagne conditions with two races sailed in eight to 12 knot south westerly breeze. Michelle de Blaquiere and Lachlan Hartnett traded first and second places in the 5s. Rhett Gowans and Michael O’Brien signalled their clear intention with two firsts in the 7s and 9s respectively.
Day two started where day 1 left off and built to a solid 18 to 22 knot south-westerly and 3 races completed. With triangular courses set there were spectacular reaches and plenty of surfing, with plenty of centreboards coming up for air at the gybe mark. Lachie and Michelle continued to trade places in the 5s; Rhett notched up another bullet before breaking his tiller, opening the door for both Nick Collis-George and Chris Brain to lead the 7s home. In the 9s Simon Reffold had two great races to get home ahead of Michael O’Brien, with Michael taking the last race. There was plenty of action out on the course with the rescue boats kept very busy. Benson Or earned the most intrepid sailor prize. Having bottled at least a dozen times and a smile cemented on his face, it took some convincing to get him into the rescue boat. Once on board and watching Rhett sail his boat home Benson gave a detailed commentary of what he needs to learn.
The last day was light and lumpy with left over sea from the night before, about 8-12 knots of breeze and a mix of overcast sky, heavy rain and bright sunshine. The 5 fleet mixed things up with Tabitha Stevenson winning a race. Rhett, sporting a new tiller, reclaimed his place at the front of the 7s but it wasn’t enough to make up for his bad luck on day 2, and Michael gave the 9s a sailing lesson taking out both races.
MMYC, a volunteer only club, put on an excellent regatta, with Simon Reffold saying, “I attend regattas all over the world, every year – and…this one was a little bit special.”
Ian Gould, commodore of MMYC, took some of the best RS Aero photographs around.
LINK TO VIEW & DOWNLOAD PHOTOS
1. L Hartnett
2. M de Blaquiere
3. V Stefani
1. C Brain
2. N Collis-George
3. R Gowans
1. M O’Brien
2. S Reffold
3. G Attrill