by Kathryn Iles

If spectators love a close finish, they could not be disappointed by the final race of the Flying 11 Nationals, which ended on Saturday 18th January

Early in the series, ‘Sirius’, sailed by Tom Grimes and Chelsea Williams from Belmont 16’ Skiff Club, looked unbeatable, with four firsts and a second in the first five races. 

Then Huey had a mind change and every race provided fresh north easterlies and a steep chop. These conditions were perfect for Daniel Nugent and his crew Angus Metcalfe from Manly 16’ Skiff Sailing Club, in ‘Zephyr’. From Race 5 to Race 11, the boys carried only one second place, with all the rest firsts. 

Meanwhile, although ‘Sirius’ had slipped a little, their results were still strong enough to keep them at the top – until Race 10, when the mainsail came down mid-race, forcing a retirement. 

Heading into the final race, with Race 10 as a drop, ‘Sirius’ held a lead of 12 points over ‘Zephyr’. There was really only one course of action Daniel and Angus could take if they intended to win the title. Through patience and clever sailing, ‘Zephyr’ covered ‘Sirius’ throughout the race. The two boats crossed the line together, ‘Zephyr’ just ahead, but their position in the fleet was crucial. 13th and 14th meant Tom and Chelsea had to add 14 points to their total, while Daniel and Angus dropped their 13. 

And so, in the final tally, Daniel and Angus were named the new National Champions with 31 points, while Tom and Chelsea took second place with 32 points. 

Throughout the fleet, the ability of the sailors to handle the exhausting conditions was impressive. There were very few retirements and many grins. 

Once again, the Flying 11 proved itself to be a sensational craft, providing non-stop thrill for the 166 sailors in the regatta. 

The first ten places on Scratch for the Series were: 

1. 1388 Zephyr Daniel Nugent and Angus Metcalfe 
2. 1368 Sirius Tom Grimes and Chelsea Williams 
3. 1373 Hammertime Tom Crockett and Thomas Steenson 
4. 1393 Wave Runner Oliver Parker and Harry Parker 
5. 1382 MWD Daniel Heyworth and Barnaby Dowse 
6. 1361 Hi-Roller Nathan Lilley and Jesse Lilley 
7. 1366 Protagonist Jessica Iles and James Pinnington 
8. 1265 Tom Henry Stabback and George Richardson 
9. 1334 Ace Christopher Holmes and Jesse Dransfield 
10. 1362 Guccii Blake Doyle and Will Divola


Article by Kathryn Iles 


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