West Australian and Tasmanian sailors claimed most of the major trophies at the 2011 Australian & Asia-Pacific Access Class Championships hosted by the Royal Perth Yacht Club.
Conditions for the final day were testing for RPYC Race Officer Annette Morris and her team. A very light northerly allowed just the one shortened race for the single person divisions, but after several mark movements and a long postponement a south-westerly eventually filled in for the afternoon session.
Going into the final day, Craig Escott (TAS) lead the Access 2.3 division on a tie-break from Martin Waller (VIC). His first place on the final day gave Escott a two point break to secure the title. Third placed was Michiyo Nishino (JPN). Sailing with servo electric control of his helm and mainsheet, Waller took home the Access 2.3 Servo trophy as consolation for the overall trophy that eluded him.
Fellow Tasmanian Robert Eadie also won his final race of the series to claim the Access 303 single person division prize. This was Eadie's first year in the 303, having progressed through the 2.3 fleet over the past few years. He finished with an impressive eight point buffer over Roy Jewell (VIC), with Wayne McNeil (WA) four points further back.
In the two person 303 fleet, Wayne Crabb and Bob Schahinger (SA) placed first and third on the final day, while Wayne McNeil and Neil Colwell (WA) and Lachlan and Tony Clear (NSW) had some ordinary results. The WA and NSW teams had to settle for second and third, happy not to have been caught up by Sarah and Craig Millsom (VIC) who finished with a 2-1 scoreline.
Royal Perth Yacht Club's Mike Cull took out the Liberty division honours with a win in the final heat, pushing Chris Riordan into second with Bob Schahinger finishing in third place. There was very close racing in this fleet over the three days. Helena Horsewell (NZL) took home the Liberty Servo Trophy.
Local SKUD 18 sailors Jamie Dunross and Rachael Cox, in a boat they only put together a day before the championships, made a statement in the final session with a 1-1-1 scoreline to finish four points ahead of yesterday's leaders. Jovin Tan & Desiree Lim (SIN) are their country's Paralympic representatives for the 2012 Games and match-raced the new local team hard over the three days. The duel was excellent training for these two teams who now head for the IFDS World Championships in Weymouth, UK, in July. Russell Phillips and Morgan Staley (AUS) were on the pace by the end of the regatta, but had to be content with third.
During the Awards Ceremony at RPYC, other presentations included:
Best performances for Special Olympics sailors - 1 Martin Waller (AUS), 2 Sarah Millsom (AUS), 3 Mark Thorpe (AUS)
Best Junior - Yuki Nishino (JPN)
Best Female - Sarah Millsom (AUS)
Most Improved - Helena Horsewell (NZL)
Australian Encouragement Award - Thomas McGann (AUS)
International Encouragement Award - 'Frank' Sekiya (JPN)
Hans Hill Volunteer Award - Bob Schahinger (AUS)
The 2012 Australian Access Class Championships will be held in conjunction with the Access Class World & International Championships at Middle Harbour Yacht Club in Sydney, NSW - www.2012accessworlds.mhyc.com.au