Melges 24 and Melges 32 Australian East Coast Championships Rock Down Under
11 November 2013
This past weekend the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club hosts the fifth Melges 24 and Melges 32 East Coast Championships.
The Australian Melges 24 class have the throttle down in preparation for the 2104 Melges 24 World Championships (27 January to 2 February 210) in Geelong. Regattas are available Australia wide including the East Coast, South Australia and Western Australia throughout November, December and early January leading up to the Worlds. Crews are taking full advantage of these events to practice crew work, tune their boats and refine regatta tactics.
Lake Macquarie yachtsmen and newcomer to the Melges 24 class David Young will travel to Newport this weekend to race AUS 746 No Comment in his first class Regatta. David has been travelling to the RPAYC to race over the past few months to get a feel for the boat. "We are not way off the pace, but we have lots to learn about changing gears, the East Coast Championships will give us a good benchmark" said David. The Melges crews are known for their willingness to share their knowledge and welcome new crews to the fold so the competition is all on the water. "We will be feeling our way at the East Coast Champs, somewhere near the top of the fleet would be great" said David Young. David had been watching the Melges 24 class for a while and loved the look of the boat. "They are practical and great for the Lake, when I heard the Worlds were in Australia that just put the icing on the cake" said David.
Another competitive sailor who will be racing his recently purchased Melges 24 in the East Coast Championships is Stephen Girdis. Stephen has extensive one design racing experience in various classes; he competed in the Melges 24 Worlds in Lake Garda, Italy in 2012 and has previously chartered boats in Australia. The prospect of competing in the first Melges 24 Worlds in the Southern Hemisphere was too appealing for Girdis to pass up.
The competition in the Australian Melges 32 fleet will be hot at the East Coast Championships. Tasmanian Melges 32 owner Greg Prescott 2 Unlimited has un- packed his boat from winter storage to defend his 2012 M32 East Coast Title. Greg and his team are a well oiled machine in the Melges 32, but are often challenged by the shifty conditions on Pittwater, which is where local boats Chris Ways Easy Tiger, Martin Cross If and Kim Williams Rock and Roll have the advantage. One Challenger for the fleet to watch is Geoff Masters who is flying in from Singapore to race The Business in the Regatta. Geoff is no stranger to the Melges 32, competing in several US National Championships and Australian Regattas, he is also the 2009 Melges 24 Australian Champion.
Predicted weather is lighter winds with some showers on Saturday and a 20 knot South Easterly on Sunday which should give all competitors opportunities and shake things up.