With the sun bidding adieu to the Southern Hemisphere, and relentlessly making its way north to somewhere around the Tropic of Cancer, you would normally expect the Australian A Class fleet to be in some form of catatonic hibernation .
But for 2013, the normal sleepy winter down time will not happen. For this year, it will be the Northern Territory Fleet that will hosting the Australian National Titles.
At latitude 12 degrees south of the equator, the Darwin venue is very much typically tropical. Sailing takes place in the cooler months.
Darwin does not have a summer nor a winter as such. Instead it has two seasons: the very hot and humid “Wet Season”, and the slightly less hot, and less humid “Dry Season”. The wet season is as its name suggests; very wet with a consistent afternoon monsoon deluge, and supersaturated humid air for the rest of the time.
But the dry season, is just that: very dry. The weather is very stable, and it just doesn’t rain. The winds are also predictable, so the Australian Nationals, to be held during the first week in July, have a high probability of being held on schedule. No chance of a cyclone that is a wet season hazard.
There will be a significant migration of A Cat sailors from the southern latitudes, with boats arriving by both trailer and container. To give you some idea of the distances involved, the bottom end of Australia is about 3,700 kilometres distant from Darwin.
The Darwin people are renowned for their hospitality, and this should be a great regatta. It is a little unfortunate that the Nationals will partly overlap the European Titles in Barcelona, as this will dilute the Australian participation in both regattas.
Seven Australians will make the long journey to Barcelona, led by the perennial European attendees, Steve Brewin, Andrew Landenberger, Jack Benson, and Scott Anderson. Stephen Brayshaw from Melbourne is also likely to put in a strong performance.
Despite the cooler weather in Australia at present, the Australian team members are very much in training. Steve Brewin has been out training on his Nikita, against Scott Anderson at Gosford. Both will sail a Nikita in Barcelona. Landy willshortly leave hissheep stations in northern New South Wales to make an early appearance at Lake Garda, and then ontoBarcelona for some practice prior to the event.
The Australians are also on a second, more clandestine mission. We are coming to take the sun back. Europe can have it until June 22, after that time we want it back, and it will commence a slow, but consistent journey back Down Under.
Bob Griffits,
(AUS 950)

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