Full day of competition at the Sailing World Cup Melbourne

Finally every class racing at the Sailing World Cup Final Melbourne made it out onto Port Phillip Bay on the penultimate day in conditions very different to the previous two days. Flat seas and sou’west winds struggling at 5 knots in fact made the going hard for the Invited and Olympic opening session that began at midday.

Olympic classes are selected to compete at the Olympic Games; Invited classes are a multitude of other classes including the junior Optimists, Minnow and BIC plus the 420 and all-age Sabre and Viper multihull. All are important to the all-inclusive, all-age annual regatta supported by the Victorian state government and commercial partners.

Eleven Invited classes competing with the support of Line 7 Marine enjoyed beautiful sunshine and cool Melbourne winds up to 10 knots by mid-afternoon. Ashore a music festival at Catani Gardens and the first day of Olympic medal racing on the Stadium Course drew large crowds to St Kilda’s foreshore.  “Port Phillip Bay has outdone itself as a premiere sailing location, and Melbourne proves again why it is the sporting capital of Australia," said Minister for Tourism and Major Events, John Eren.

Photo - Sport the Library

In the 29er mixed fleet, Tom Crockett and Max Paul’s sail number ‘1’ reflected their talent picking the right way to go in the shifty breeze. Two wins from four races has them leading The Smiling Assassin crew of Natasha Bryant and Annie Wilmot (Australian Sailing Youth Team).

Like many in the hot skiff field, the new pair is vying for the one spot in the 29er class at the 2017 Youth Worlds. “A lot of people are working hard for that spot, hopefully we can pull it off,” said Crockett, the Newcastle based skipper who has to coordinate training on Lake Macquarie and Sydney Harbour with his Sydney crewmate.

Father and son Gary and James McLennan are racing against each other in the 27 strong Sabrefleet, a 1975 design described as a simple version of a Laser with elements of a Finn. Gary was leading James until race 5 when the younger McLennan’s third consecutive win shuffled the top two placings. “It’s a bit of fun sailing against your dad, and it turns out he actually knows what he’s doing,” 20 year-old James said cheekily.

Coming off yesterday’s heavy weather and the ensuing aches and pains…. “nothing Voltaren couldn’t fix” Gary offered, James bounced back in the light airs, his specialty, and with a day to go he leads his old man by four points.

Photo - Sport the Libary

The oldest competitor at the Sailing World Cup, 79 year-old Harold Medd from Black Rock, Victoria, is 13th overall and having a ball in the class after moving across from 505s and Etchells. “It’s fantastic fun. I found yesterday tough but I go well in that stuff, despite my age. I’m usually the oldest competitor; I’m getting used to it.”

Tayla Rietman and Lachie Hughes maintained strong results over an exhausting five races on Port Phillip Bay to be holding out Jack Challands and Harrison Rietman in the Viper class.
Laser 4.7 series leader Ryan Littlechild is a comfortable eight points in front of George Morton after six races. In the Laser Radial (Open) division Finn Alexander (Australian Sailing Youth Team) has set up a five point gap back to Zac Littlewood, despite being a non-starter in race four, a result he drops.

Jack Ferguson leads the Opti Open competition by a point from Quinn Auricht and Oscar Green’s commanding lead in the Opti Intermediate fleet puts him in a strong position going into the closing day of the Sailing World Cup Melbourne.

All Invited classes will wrap up their series on Sunday December 11 then many classes move onto national and world titles over the Christmas holidays.

Invited Classes Results Link

By Lisa Ratcliff/SWCF media