Wrap up report from the Sydney International Regatta that concluded yesterday on Sydney Harbour in Australia.
After four days of tough competition in a variety of conditions, the winners in each of the classes sailed at the Sydney International Regatta have been decided, the Yngling State Title won, and a new Australian Finn Champion crowned.
In total, 160 boats competed in the Regatta, with over 260 competitors, making for a spectacular sight on Sydney Harbour. Racing in all fleets was extremely close, with most of the overall placings hanging in the balance as competitors hit the water for day four.
The 2001 Finn Australian Championship, which was held in conjunction with the SIR regatta was won by visiting Belgian sailor Sebastion Godefroid, with consistent first placings right through the regatta. Australian Finn legend Anthony Nossiter was close behind in second place, taking some time out from his Volvo Campaign on Djuice for a spot of inshore Finn racing. Clifton Webb from New Zealand took third place in the fleet of eleven.
The Yngling State Championships, which were conducted in conjunction with days 3 and 4 of racing were clinched by Nicky Bethwaite and crew Jenni Bonnitcha and Kristen Kosmala in the final race, which came to a nail biting conclusion as a container ship powered through the fleet 300 metres from the finish line. Bethwaite won first place overall in the regatta as well as the States, with Melanie Dennison and crew in second, and New Zealand team Alesha Thorpe and crew in third.
A great deal of interest was generated by the 29er fleet, whose World Championships are set to take place on the same waters in just over a week. Racing was furiously competitive, with boats in second, third and fourth places on equal points, the final places resolved on countback. John Winning and Euan McNicol won the regatta, with Paul and Jonathon Bonnitcha, New Zealanders Scott Kennedy and Brad Thom and Jacqui Bonnitcha and Sarah Clark in second, third and fourth respectively.
International sailors dominated in the top three spots in the Laser class, with Paul Goodison of England and Roope Suomalainen of Finland in the top two spots, followed by Aussie Brendan Casey. Rising NSW Laser sailors Nick Skulander and Ben Lamb both placed in the top six. New Zealand took another placing in the Radial class, with Jake Bartrom coming in first. Matthew Chew finished in second place, while Krystal Weir was the first of the girls, finishing third.
The 470 Men and Women's teams raced together, with a good fleet of 18 providing excellent preparation for the National Championships being held in January. Nathan Wilmot and Malcolm Page placed first, with the Belcher Boys in second, while 2000 Gold Medallists Jenny Armstrong and Belinda Stowell finished first in the Women's (and second overall) with Josie Gibson and Saskia Clark of England in second position (8th overall).
With some overseas entries in the Europe class, it was possible to run the fleet, though racing was in conjunction with the Laser Radial class. Belgian Min Dezillie dominated the class, with second and third places Monika Bronika of Poland and Australian Sarah Blanck finishing the series within a point of each other. Michael Lancey had a convincing win in the Mistral class, with James Grunfelder in second and Allison Shreeve in third, all the boardsailors enjoying the variety of conditions which the four days provided.
In the 2.4mR class, Peter Thompson, who placed fourth in the Mixed Single-Handed Keel Boat Category at the 2000 Paralympics won first place after a trying first day on the water, where an incident in heavy conditions with a Star on the course caused a retirement. A protest awarded him average points for the race, and Thompson won the series ahead of Michael Leydia and Michael McLean in second and third places.
In the Star class a change of helmsman on day 3 had Gary Gietz and Andrew Palfrey protested out of the running into third, the Baker Boys (Phil Senior and Phil Junior) moving into first position with Michael Jones and Bill Sykes placed second.
The same heavy winds on day one wreaked havoc with the 49er fleet causing a number of breakages and a need for some quick overnight repair work. Jason Beebe and Phillip Manning got off to an early lead in the series, however by day 3 Emmet Lazich and Carter Jackson had moved into first place. Denis Jones and Simon Sutherland followed in second, with Beebe and Manning taking third. Gold medallist in the 470 class at the 2000 Olympics, Mark Turnbull, and crew Nick Partridge finished in sixth position.