©2012 Ash Stevens©2012 Ash Stevens

Leigh-Smith Desperado Declared 2012 MELGES 32 Australian Champion

18 March 2012

Tough day at the office for the final day of racing off Palm Beach in the Melges 32 Australian Championships hosted by the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club and supported by SLAM, North Sails, Harken and Melges Asia Pacific.

Winds of 25 plus knots, averaging 18-22 from the South, South West and a confused seaway provided conditions for plenty of thrills and spills and exciting rides for the final three races.

Noel Leigh –Smith Desperado AUS 582 won the regatta after a downwind incident with Angus Reid Maxstar AUS 158 was settled in the protest room. Maxstar from Canberra Yacht Club was blown out of race eight and had to carry a fourth moving them back into third place overall on equal points with Tasmanian Greg Prescott 2 Unlimited Sevenstar AUS 216 taking second place in the regatta on a count back. Geoff Masters Funnel Web and his crew had an awesome day racing in the swell "It shows how truly exciting these boats are, the courses were a little longer but you just eat it up downwind" said Geoff. The trimmer on Funnel web Stuart Mc Cuaig blew up two blocks and a winch handle and still managed to carry the big kite doing nineteen knots of boat speed.

Jamie McPhail tactician aboard winning yacht Desperado said "we had a nice speed edge over the other boats to windward, the right was favoured and we made the best use of it. We blew out a shoot on the first run of the last race though." Noel Leigh-Smith from Southport Yacht Club commented that "it was a great day of offshore racing, I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would." Noel sailed with his crew Jaime McPhail, Chris Links, Jabin Crisp, Grant Meredith, Josh Torpy and his son Ben.

The team on Breezin thought they did a handstand today when they put the brakes on downwind and spectators could see daylight between the rudder and keel. The Newcastle boys said it was like going down a mine shaft, and they should know, half of them work in them. The crew on Breezin will take full advantage of a day’s coaching they won as a prize offered by International Professional yachtsmen Darren "Twirler" Jones. Twirler has experience in the Melges classes overseas and is keen to see its growth and development in Australia. With professionals like Twirler, Steve McConaghy (The Business) and Chris Links more involved in the class and Australian sailing coach Mike Fletcher who has been working with the Funnel Web crew the standard of the entire fleet will grow. Overall all competitors had three days of quality one design racing in varied conditions. Thanks to race officer Steve Merrington and all his team for a great regatta.


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