Albert Sailing Club’s annual two day winter regatta conducted in late June again had big fleets and close racing with 108 monohull dinghies competing in senior and junior classes across the weekend. The regatta was sailed on Albert Park Lake which is close to the Melbourne CBD and took a short race format with the leaders finishing races within thirty minutes.
The 50th Victorian OK class state championships were sailed as an event within the regatta. The OK sailors who generally sail in open waters were tested by the shifty northerly winds, particularly when the winds freshened on Sunday with gusts up to 25 knots. The class veteran Bruce Ashton established a clear lead after the first 3 races on Saturday, with two wins and a second, but had to withdraw on Sunday with a reoccurence of a back injury. Multiple Australian and Victorian champion Roger Blasse sailed well on the Sunday to record wins in 3 of the four heats, and win the series overall. Doen Darazio and Tom Pearce both showed good speed at various stages to finish second and third overall, with Steve Haintz from the host club displaying the benefits of years of sailing on the Lake to finish fourth overall. The OK class was established in Australia in 1960 by a number of members from Albert Sailing Club, and the first State championships were sailed on Albert Park Lake in 1961. The club was thus pleased to conduct the 50th Victorian titles for the class.
In the Sabre class, current Australian champion Chris Dance dominated the regatta with wins in all races, to take out first overall. Susan Gillam from Williamstown Sailing Club sailed a good series to finish second overall, with Andrew Misson from the host club third in a wooden Sabre which was over 25 years old.
The racing was very close in the Laser full rig and Impulse classes, with only one point separating the first and second overall placegetters in both classes. In the Laser class, Johnathon Pulham from Albert Park Yacht Club finished first overall from the Grand Master entrant Peter Wright from ASC. The Impulse class was fought out by boats from Albert Sailing Club with Walter Green in ‘Seas the Day’ the narrow overall winner from Steve Dunn in Astro Boy.
There was a strong fleet of juniors with around twenty competitors in both the Optimist and Minnow classes. In the Optimists the top sailors were at a weekend training camp which gave the opportunity for others in the fleet to experience close racing at the front of the fleet. One of the youngest skippers in the Regatta, Harrison Sly from Mordialloc Sailing Club put together a good consistent series with four 1st and three 2nd placings in the ten races sailed to win the series overall. Sarah Philip displayed good speed , particularly in the stronger breezes to finish second overall, with Matthew Bates from Mornington Yacht Club a close third overall. In the Minnow class there was a close contest on the final day between Jasper Pluim and Will Fox, both from Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron. Jasper had two wins in the last two races to take out the Regatta by two points. Hugo Llewelyn was right in the mix after day one, but missed a couple of heats on Sunday due to soccer commitments, and finished third overall.