Melges 32 Fleet Prepares For Australian Nationals
14 March 2012
The hardstand at Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club is a buzz with Melges 32's arriving and preparing for the Australian Championships this weekend. The Melges 32 regatta is supported by SLAM advanced technology sportswear, North Sails, Harken and the team at Melges Asia Pacific.
A series of ten races are scheduled, two in Pittwater and the remainder off Palm Beach and a southerly change forecast for Saturday should keep things interesting. Competitors have also been invited to join the Thursday night twilight race, which is a great social way to kick start the regatta.
Many of the teams took advantage of last weekend's Sydney Harbour Regatta to tune their boats, test their speed, crew work and tactics against the other Melges 32s. Greg Prescott's crew 2 Unlimited from Tasmania (chartered by Martin Hill) were extremely pleased with a regatta win considering it was their first hit out against other 32's. Keen to taste an Australian Championship is Angus Reid and his crew onMaxstar from Canberra Sailing Club and don't underestimate Geoff Masters racingFunnel Web. Geoff has competed as helmsmen in several U.S. Melges 32 regattas. Fierce Farr 40 competitor Chris Way will helm The Business. Way is no slouch campaigning most recently in three World Championships including the Farr 40's, Mumm 30's and Formula 18's.
One competitor extremely passionate about racing the one design Melges 32's and Australian Fleet President is Kim Williams Rock and Roll. Kim answered some of my questions about racing the Melges 32 in Australia.
M32: You have personally been very active in racing and promoting the Melges 32's in Australia and a large part of their growth, what is it about the boat that appeals to you?
KW: The Racing first and foremost is unbelievably close and tactical, yet you get some of the best downhill rides around as part of that close racing which most tactical classes don't offer. The ease of getting the boat to and from major regatta's on the trailer means you don't end up spending valuable time and money on deliveries. The Melges 32 is one of the most responsive and fun sailing boats and I remember being told by my American M32 friends that 'your worst day racing is still one of the best day's sailing you can have' I agree totally with them this boat is just plain 'addictive'.
M32:How do you see the class evolving in the future?
KW: We have some great people in the class who are committed to getting the best racing they can, as often as they can. There are boats all over the East Coast now and there are a lot of interested people on the sidelines that are ready to commit to an affordable world -wide class like the M32. The international class association is one of the best run and organised associations and has been incredible support to us so far. We are in discussion at the moment for world championships in Australia in the next couple of years and with the ease of transport for the M32 it will be well attended by our European and US members.
M32: What have been your strategy / preparation heading into the Nationals, What are your expectations?
KW: I like to make sure the boat is prepared to a point where our only excuse is whether we sail well on the day or not. Although the M32 does attract a lot of professional sailors there is a strong commitment by the association to Corinthian crews, such as ourselves, and this means that everybody feels comfortable in the class. Only owner drivers are encouraged and that means a lot to an amateur crew. We all work together as a crew both on and off the water to make sure our boat is regatta ready.
These Nationals will be wide open and anyone could win. My main aim is to see the racing results strengthen the appeal of the class and to encourage more sport boat, one design and skiff sailors to see the M32 as a logical step forward in their sailing careers.
It's a quality field and we are expecting some really exciting tight one design racing over the weekend.