Light winds frustrate competitors at A-Pacs

The Gill Combined Hansa Class Asia Pacific Championships are underway at Royal Geelong Yacht Club. This regatta sees sailors aged from 11 to 92 taking part.

Following two days of weighing, measuring and registration the event was officially opened on Friday by Australian Hansa Class Association President Russell Phillips, Royal Geelong YC Commodore & Event Chair, Chris Williams and Gavin Wall - Australian Sailing’s Victorian Regional Manager. They welcomed sailors and their supporters from around Australia as well as a contingent from Japan and 2 sailors from Chile.

Following a briefing by Race Office Max Stein, a practice race was held on Friday in brisk conditions, giving competitors the opportunity to test out the waters of Corio Bay. RGYC volunteers put on a great BBQ dinner for the assembled group before they dispersed to prepare for racing the next day.

Saturday dawned overcast and calm and, unfortunately for the competitors, stayed that way throughout the day. The single person divisions – Hansa 2.3, Hansa 303 and Liberty – went out for the morning session in light conditions. The first race was started, however the wind dropped away to almost nothing, with only light patches and occasional puffs.

In the Hansa 2.3 division, it was Japanese sailor Koji Harada who made the most of the light conditions, leading home current Australian 2.3 champion Allister Peek (ACT) and Alyse Saxby (NSW).

Next to face the starter were the Hansa 303 single person division, and this group handled the light conditions well and most completed the course in time. Current World Champion Chris Symonds (TAS) lead home his Wynyard Yacht Club teammate Mike Darby with Kenneth Hibbert (SA) in third place.

In the Liberty field, there is a blend of experienced and novice sailors, and it was the experienced sailors who handled the conditions better and were able to break away from the rest. In his first Hansa regatta in several years – and in a brand-new boat – Ballarat Yacht Club’s Charles Weatherly experience – mixed with knowledge of the Geelong waters – saw him lead home the division.  Following him was South Australia’s Bob Schahinger, who has been the Australian Liberty Champion for three of the last four years. Another seasoned campaigner - WA’s Genevieve Wickham – was in third place.

Due to the light winds, several competitors in all fleets were unable to complete the course in the time limit, and racing was suspended for the remainder of the morning session.

Conditions didn’t improve for the afternoon session, and racing was abandoned for the day.

The regatta dinner was held at RGYC on Saturday night, with over 100 people attending. During the dinner, Mr Yuso Okita from Hiroshima Sailing Federation made a presentation to the assembled group about the 2018 Hansa Class World Championships, being held in Hiroshima in October 2018.

More light conditions are scheduled for Sunday, with the two-person divisions taking to the water in the morning session.

Current results available here.

Photos © Paul McInnes




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