Ash Rooklyn won back to back Australian Open Titles, while Krystal Weir secured her first Women's Title on the waters of Port Philip Bay from Sandringham Yacht Club on Sunday.
Competitors were met with the best conditions of the event, with
the breeze getting lighter as the day progressed allowing the teams
to race with full sail configuration ensuring close racing and
fantastic tactical duels.
After completing the round robin, CYCA's Jay Griffin was left to
race local sailor Michah Shuwalow in the semi-finals, while Rooklyn
faced Irish teams racer Sam Hunt who was
representing the Darwin Yacht Club.
Rooklyn stepped up to the challenge managing to dispose of Hunt
in two races in the best of three series despite being given a
double penalty in the prestart of race 2 after confusion
relating the race draw. After clearing one penalty immediately at
the start, Rooklyn then managed to close the race back down on the
upwind, gaining an equalising penalty back on Hunt in a
port-starboard situation near the top mark, before then engaging
Hunt in a luffing duel near the top mark, gaining another penalty
on Hunt as Rooklyn managed to set his kite cleanly and sail away
for another clear win.
Griffin and Shuwalow's duel went to a third match after Shuwalow
managed to equalise in the second match. Griffin returned to the
form that won him the round-robin, and started cleanly to extend
throughout the race, booking another all CYCA final. The CYCA has
won the Australian Open Title for the past 8 consecutive
The Women's title was decided first with Krysal Weir and her
team of Kylie McKillop, Rayshele Martin, Tina Babbage and Nicole
Douglass showing good speed and local knowledge to secure the
Women's Title over CYCA's Kirstin Norris in three straight races.
Jessica Hansen and her mix of Queensland and Melbourne sailors
secured the petite final
and third place over CYCAs Tara McCall.
The Opens finals did not disappoint, with penalties in the
opening dial-up! With Rooklyn initially on the back-foot, he
recovered well to start tight to leeward, from there he was able to
control the game and extend enough to clear his penalty on the
Rooklyn managed a better pre-start in Race 2 with a starboard
entry helping his cause. He was again able to start in a
controlling position and was able to work away from Griffin to move
to 2-0 putting Griffin in a sudden death position if he wanted to
have a chance at the title in the best of five series.
After a delay waiting for some damage to be repaired to the
boats, Griffin came out firing. Rooklyn was left struggling for
options as the start gun approached, finally managing to scrape
around the pin end of the line, however Rooklyn was still down
speed giving Griffin the upper hand early on. Both boats engaged in
a fierce tacking duel, with many umpires commenting post racing on
the precision and high skill level of the sailors as Griffin
managed to just stay in control and lead around the top mark - but
Rooklyn was hot on his tail. With great sets on both boats the
action continued with multiple gybes as the boats surfed down the
Port Phillip Bay waves with about 12-14 knots of wind.
As they approached the bottom of the course Rooklyn managed to
roll over the top of Griffin taking his wind, however while Rooklyn
called for proper-course the umpires were hesitant to make a
decision, eventually giving a green flag allowing Griffin to lead
Rooklyn around the bottom mark by only a metre or less.
Again the boats engaged upwind; however it was Rooklyn who was
able to show good boat speed and sailing smarts as he was able to
convert a small left hand shift to take Griffin's stern, but this
allowed him starboard boat rights at the top mark which gave him
the opportunity to control Griffin as they approached the top
mark. As both boats tacked, it
was Rooklyn with a superior set, allowing him to quickly build his
lead from a few metres to a comfortable 3 lengths which he was able
to protect and build as the team of Ash Rooklyn, Byron White, Will
Ryan, Murray Jones and Jack Hubbard crossed the finish line, ending
a great regatta and giving them the title win!
This was Rooklyn's second title after winning in Southport last
year; and follows the win of White and Rooklyn in the Australian
Youth Match Racing Championship the previous week in
Rooklyn commented "I'd like to thank the Sandringham Yacht Club
and the Umpires and Race Committee for a great event in trying
conditions. It has been fantastic to defend this title and a big
thank you to my crew and the CYCA Youth Sailing Academy".
By Will Ryan, Coach