Over 100 Entries Now At The Gill(R) 2011 Australian Flying Eleven National Championship
It's an old cliche but - "out with the old and in with the new"....
It’s an old cliché but - “out with the old and in with the new” here on Lake Macquarie this week where a phenomenal two hundred and four Flying 11 sailors will be contesting their 2011 national titles, having descended upon Lake Macquarie in the wake of the Moth’s World Championship of which the majority of their top gun contenders this week, including the podium winners Outteridge, Turner and Babbage were all not-so-distant champion graduates of the Flying 11 class.
The fleet this year is bigger than ever, a record crop for the class and it is extremely pleasing to find almost exactly half these crews are registered as junior entries (under 15 years old) and also predominantly new to the class this season. The class has obviously found a most popular niche position in our youth pathway here in Australia, prominently supported by Yachting NSW.
F11 Race Officer Col Chidgey and his start crew will have their hands full coordinating a starting line of around an expected 350m to accommodate these future world beaters and the hundred plus boats will no doubt be pushing the limits to get away in some clear air.
There is a very healthy contingent of local crews representing Belmont 16ftSC, sixteen crews in fact with a number of hot contenders on show from Belmont and also Gosford just down the road. The largest club fleet numbers however come from Sydney’s Manly 16ftSSC with 26 crews here and a number of the more experienced F11 sailors back again this season to vie for the coveted prize. After the previous national championship held last January 2010 at Beauty Point in Tasmania, five keen Tassie F11 sailors have also made the trek north chartering the national association boats which have been gathered back from both Victoria and Queensland where they have been in use blooding their new fleets.
All the local volunteers are pumped and chest pounding proud to be involved in such a prominent Australian youth class regatta and have breezed through their dress rehearsal in fine form. Even RC chairman Iain Murray commented on the regatta pedigree stating “I have a day job of running the America’s Cup and the privilege of chairing the F11s”.
The Flying Eleven Sailing Association of Australia is now set to run a monumental regatta inclusive of its seven hundred odd visitors to Lake Macquarie. All that is needed now is the weather to play its part and with a forecasted weak southerly to kick things off for today’s invitation race and a robust nor-easter arriving in two days time, things look pretty good.
Measurement and registration commence today at 8am followed by the invitation race from 2pm. Throughout the remainder of this week long regatta, racing will commence with the first warning signal at 11am and there are ten races scheduled to ultimately determine the new Flying 11 National Champions for 2011.
The event coverage this year will include some new bells and whistles - all directed from the Flying 11 class website www.flying11.yachting.org.au including a live blog, Facebook, Picasa, Youtube and Twitter platforms keeping everyone in the loop as it happens out on the water.
There is still plenty of action this week too after the Moth Worlds watching this dynamic little skiff and our sailing champions of the future out on Lake Macquarie with loads of excellent viewing from all around the eastern shores.