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22 February 2004, 10:50 am
International Contender For Sydney 38 Title
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Joico Australian Offshore Championship
Palm Beach

An international sailor who has been a resident in Australia for little more than a month is emerging as a serious contender for the Sydney 38 Australian Championship, which will be sailed from 3-7 March.
Leon CHRISTIANAKIS, who moved to Sydney in January, has already made his mark on the class by taking out the recent REX Airlines Sprint Series on Sydney Harbour. Now he has the Joico Australian S38OD Championship in his sights, and all indications are that he will be hard to beat.

Born in Zimbabwe, Christianakis spent the last three years based in England where he raced a Farr 40. For the 12 years prior to that he lived in Hong Kong where he was an active sailor at the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club.

Christianakis came to enjoy the Australian lifestyle when visiting Sydney with his Australian born wife, Fiona. Last year they decided to move here.

In preparing for the move he contacted a local sailing friend, Bobbie WILMOT, to discuss the purchase of a racing yacht and it was decided that a Sydney 38 was the way to go. He bought the former Fruit Machine, renamed it Cydon, and formed a crew that included Wilmot as tactician, and Fiona.

"The Sydney 38 appealed to me because of the size of the fleet and the quality of the racing it offered," Christianakis explained. "We race for enjoyment so winning the Sprint Series came as a very pleasant surprise. As a result of that we can't wait for the Joico series to start. It's not going to be easy to win the Australian Championship, the competition will be exceptional, but we're going to have a good time trying."

As many as 30 Sydney 38s are expected to contest the nationals. A fleet of more than 27 will make it the largest ever gathering of the class.

Pittwater's Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club is staging the Joico sponsored regatta. The Sydney 38 championship will be conducted in conjunction with the Joico Australian Offshore Championships, an event attracting some of the best IMS and IRC yachts in the country.

This week Holden, a major supporter of Yachting Australia, joined the prestigious Italian watch brand Locman as an Associate Sponsor of the Joico Australian Offshore Championships. One lucky sailor at the regatta will win a weekend in the Hunter Valley driving a Holden Monaro.

A combined fleet of more than 70 yachts is expected for the Joico Australian Championships and associated events over the five days. Apart from the major championships there will also be racing for Farr 40s, 11-Metre One-Designs and Sportsboats on the weekend of March 6 & 7.

Courses will be set off Palm Beach for all but the 11-metre One-Design and Sportsboats divisions, which will race on Pittwater.

This is the third year that Australia's leading professional haircare company, Joico, has been naming rights sponsor for a major annual regatta out of Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club.
Rob Mundle (As Amended By ISAF News Editor)
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