Zhik Australian Winter A Class Regatta – report from Bob Griffits

The Australian Winter A Class Regatta was hosted by the Wangi Amateur Sailing Club, last weekend, on the waters of Lake Macquarie. Wangi is the home club of Olympic Gold Medallist,  America’s Cup helmsman and A Cat sailor, Nathan Outteridge.
Fourteen 14 A Cats from New South Wales and Victoria contested the event, a good fleet, but unfortunately we were unable to entice any sailors from the slightly warmer climes of Queensland to make the journey down south. Still the event did attract quite a contingent of Australia’s top A Cat sailors, and the fleet was numerically stronger than the Moths, OK Dingy,49 ner’s, or 29ner fleets.
Chris Cairns won the only heat sailed on the Saturday, quite remarkable considering that he started significantly late. Chris is an acknowledged light weather expert, and he made the most of the light weather ( more accurately  “drifter”conditions), on his straight centreboard (or swords as Germans call them) trusty Tool design. The wind was terrible, but although we had to drift around in winter, at least we were able to do it in 20C of brilliant sunshine.
Sunday was a spectacular sailing day. 21degrees C of heat nicely complimented the 8 to 11 knot wind from the north west  which came complete with some testing shifts and gentle gusts.
Steve Brewin was the star performer of the day, or well he would have been if the sail number on his boat matched the sail number on his entry entry form. The race officials apparently took a dim view of this, and he was not recognised as a competitor. As a result the four races in which  he finished first across the line, did not count.
Brewin is the one who has so far best mastered the art of foiling. He went very well to windward, and was able to power away downwind. He sailed his Nikita to good effect, and tested both the Exploder Z  3 and 4 centreboard (swords) designs. His conclusion : no real performance difference between the two styles of boards.
The regatta was won by Scott Anderson, with Stuart Scott from Victoria coming second overall.
A special thanks to the Victorian contingent who made the 1000 km journey north. We trust you had a good time, and safe journey’s .
Lake Macquarie will once again play host to the Australian A Class Championships in January 2016. As it will be quite literally outside the front door of James Spitthall, and just down the road from Nathan Outteridge, we hope to attract a field a sizeable field of the America’s Cup contingent. More on that later.

Meanwhile a few of the Victorian intrepids went to Hazelwood Pondage where the weather was warmer than expected (still bloody cold!), the water warm and a few (I’m told) actually went sailing. I’m also told there was a lot of beer swilling done to ward off the cold. Highlight of the weekend appeared to be the 3+ tons of firewood used to keep everyone warm.

Up North the Queenslanders went to the Wivenhoe Dam Marathon.

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