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60th Australian Flying Fifteen Championships held at the Lake Macquarie Yacht Club

Published Fri 05 Apr 2024

The Lake Macquarie Yacht Club hosted the 60th Australian Flying Fifteen Championships in January 2024 with every mainland State and Territory represented.

Conditions were mainly light east to north-easterleys and race officer, Ross Ahrens, had a pretty good grasp of what could be expected for this time of year.

After the obligatory registration, measurement, safety checks and invitation race, racing got under way with Victorian brothers Craig and Ian Rainey leading at the end of day one (2nd and 1st ) followed by Western Australians Karen and Russell Dawes (3rd and 5th ) and Queenslanders Ashley Smith and Kym Thumpkin (1st and 9th).

Day 2 saw the Raineys take a step clear of the fleet (1st and 2nd) and fellow Victorians, Lewis Davies and John Radnell, second overall (4th and 1st) and Smith and Thumpkin (6th and 5th).

With 3 races scheduled on day 3, it was always going to prove decisive to the championship.

John Hassen and Kevin Griffiths from WA won all 3 races to move into second overall with one discard coming into play. The Raineys held the overall lead by 13 points but had a lesser second discard compared to Hassen and Griffiths should the 8th and 9th heats be completed. Vying for third were five other boats all within 8 points of each other.

The final 2 heats were sailed in the strongest breeze finishing at around 17knots. Hassen and Griffiths sailed conservatively with a 4th and a 3rd but, more importantly, beat the Raineys in both races to secure the championship by 3 points. David Tabb from the UK sailing with David Bennett from South Australia finished third overall with a 2nd and 1st and Trevor Williams from Victoria sailing with daughter Anna had the same results (1st and 2nd) to finish fourth overall.

 John Hassen and Kevin Griffiths are long time supporters of the Flying Fifteen class and, as is so often the case, much training and travel has contributed to a fine victory in a very competitive fleet.

Lake Macquarie Yacht Club ran a first class regatta with excellent race management and social functions in superb surroundings for all competitors and supporters.