– Kingsley Pursch, Monash Uni
The 2010 “Zhik” Australian University Fleet Racing Regatta was held on April 8-10, hosted by Great Lakes Sailing Club (GLSC) at Forster, NSW. 20 student teams from 5 universities (UNSW, Sydney Uni, UTS, Monash and RMIT) attended the event. This unique event included a representation from international students from Hong Kong, Singapore, France and Italy.
Tasars, lasers and NS 14s were the best represented classes and competitors were split into two fleets based on the VCY rating system. The sailing was balanced with social dinners and beach parties each night where the competitors managed to squeeze in a few drinks after long days on the water.
Thanks to the members of Great Lakes Sailing Club who generously donated their time to host the regatta. Thanks also to the event sponsors Zhik, Ashby Sails, Australian Tasar Association and Australian High Performance Catamarans (AHPC), who provided prizes and trophies for the event.
Over three days of competition 7 races were completed in a range of conditions to test every competitor. Day one provided 15-20 knots from the South-West for races 1 and 2 with gusts over 20 knots which was an exciting start to the regatta. 3 races were held on day 2 in perfect racing conditions with a building breeze that started at 5-8 knots then increased to 15 knots by the third race.
Quite a few people took advantage of the great conditions by swapping crews and boats to cruise around the lake after racing and simply enjoy being on the water. The final day was a perfect sunny day, but the wind was light. Two races kicked off just after midday in a North East sea breeze which tried its best to build, but didn’t manage to build over 6-8 knots before gradually backing out.
At the end of the series it was the University of New South Wales who won the overall point score to take home the major team trophy. The overall championship trophy was awarded based on a combination of results and participation. We look forward to building the momentum of the university fleet racing event and hopefully other universities can challenge UNSW for the trophy next year.
Colin Cheng from UNSW won the monohull division on his laser full rig, while Brett Goodall from TeamMONASH won the cats and skiffs division on the AHPC Viper. There were 6 female skippers in fleet and this division was won by Elizabeth Yin from Sydney Uni (laser radial) ahead of Tara McCall and Alice Walker from UNSW (NS 14) and Cait Davies from TeamMONASH (laser radial).
The next event on the university sailing calendar is the world match racing championships in Greece, where a team from UTS will represent Australia. This will be followed by the major university sailing event for 2010 – the Australian University Games (AUG) at Perth in September 2010. The sailing program at AUG will include match racing on foundation 36 yachts and teams racing on pacers. Teams of 6 to 8 students can represent their university in Australia’s largest annual multi-sport event, which attracts between 6000 and 8000 university students annually from 42 universities.