28 sailors from NSW, VIC, SA & WA travelled to Largs Bay Sailing Club in South Australia for the RS aero Australian national championship, the first national regatta for 3 years, and the first to have the new 6 rig.
The regatta was held over 4 days, with 10 races scheduled, all were completed over a variety of conditions including 38-degree days with light breeze where the fleet was accompanied by dolphins, to strong 20 knot plus winds and tricky swell on the final day.
For the first time at a national regatta, we ran a buddy system where sailors of differing abilities and from different clubs were paired together to compare tactics and build friendships. This is a fantastic initiative which we hope to carry on.
As is now customary, at the end of every race day we met in the bar to have a debrief from sailors from each fleet to discuss what they had done well, and not so well over their races. We also hand out daily prizes of Aero chocolate bars to sailors nominated by competitors for their on-water antics.
Largs Bay Sailing Club ran a great event, with excellent race management and facilities. Special shout outto all their volunteers and to Maria Luisa Coulson for loaning her camera, and Michelle Thomson & Hayley Dillon for taking photos.
Big thanks to our regatta sponsor Rooster Sailing Australia & Sailing Raceboats Pty Ltd for helping out on-site for the event.
Congratulations to all competitors. Full results can be seen here.
5 Rig Results
6 Rig Results
7 Rig Results
9 Rig Results
Congratulations to all competitors at the NSW state championships. Unfortunately the second day of racing was cancelled due to the strong westerly breeze guessing in the mid 30 knots. Many thanks to BYRA Bayview Yacht Racing Association Sailing Club for hosting us, Mindy Meehan for organising and Simon Reffold for being the race officer.
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
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
The 2018 Nationals were over four days in Port Stephens, NSW. The wind was strong on all days, 18 or more knots each day. Racing was scheduled for the mornings to avoid the stronger afternoon breeze.
1. Chris Brain
2. Victoria Land
1. Rhett Gowans
2. Michael O'Brien
3. Nick Collis-George
1. Simon Reffold
Yachts and Yachting Article
The 2018 Victorian State Championships were held at Black Rock YC in April 2018. The wind was light over the two days. All rigs sailed together with the result adjusted for rig handicaps. The winner Greg Kelly, Rhett Gowans second, Chris Brain third.
Sail World article
The first NSW State Championship was held at Balmoral Sailing Club in February 2018.
Balmoral SC was the first Club in NSW to adopt the RS Aero. The NSW Distributor and event sponsor, The Life Aquatic, hired Michael 'Fletch' Fletcher as the coach for the weekend to provide support and guidance to the six competitors. (Graham Hanna, Michael Savery, Simon Reffold, Chris Brain, Phil Bookalil, Nick Collis-George)
Nick Collis-George won the series. Phil Bookalil second and Chris Brain third.
Yachts and Yachting article
The first National RS Aero Regatta was held at Black Rock YC in April 2017. The wind was strong over the two days with large wind waves on Port Philip Bay.
The event was covered by Yachts and Yachting.
1. Simon Reffold
1. Brian Case
2. Nick Collis-George
3. Peter Stephinson
1. Chris Brain
2. Michael Parks
3. Philippa Danks