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40th NSW State Championship at Speers Point Amateur Sailing Club

by Jenny Sorensen on 25 Apr 14-16 April 2017
Tasar NSW State Championship © Beth Morley /

Congratulations goes to current National and former Tasar World Champions, Rob & Nic Douglass for an incredible and well deserved victory in this year's NSW Tasar State Championship held over Easter at Speers Point, Lake Macquarie. Not only did they score a perfect 7pts, from '7 heat wins' over the 9 race event (allowing for 2 drops), they did so amongst one of the most highly competitive fleets ever seen by the Class in any State Regatta.

In 2nd place, borrowing a boat to helm in his first ever Tasar Regatta, was Rio Olympics Laser Gold medallist Tom Burton with forward hand & NS14 sailor Emma Knighton. The closely contested 3rd position was awarded to 9 times National Ladies Helms Champion & current National Fireball Champions Heather Macfarlane sailing with Chris Payne both from Victoria, who led 2 pts from State & National multi-class Champion plus ex-World's Open Laser Radial runner up, James Burman with wife Tara (nee McCall).

Chasing the leaders over the 3 days of competition were Brad Stephens & Jen Overton finishing 5th on the podium (Brad himself winner of many offshore keelboat races including crewing on 4 winning Syd-Hobarts), and ex-Tasar World Champion Rick Longbottom & Darryl Bentley whom together are current defending Sail Sydney champions, sailing their boat 'Navy Sailing' into 6th. The next few positions included World University Championship Gold & Silver medallist in Match Racing & multiple NS14 & MG14 National Champion Hugh Tait (the majority sailing with Tara McCall), current World Tasar Champion Chris Dance, past Tasar European & Japan National Champion Martin Linsley, 2016 heat winner in 505 Worlds Michael Quirk as well as Women's former Laser Radial World Champion & twice Women's Hobie European and World Champion, Krystal Weir.

Thus with such an extraordinary field of top class boats positioned upfront, it was no wonder anyone finishing mid-fleet back had felt the pressure! However, as challenging as it was, it did not prevent all 39 competitors thoroughly enjoying the 3 day Regatta. Despite the breezes being light to occasionally moderate, they were steady and the skies could not have been bluer. Whilst some sailors discussed where winds and direction changes may have laid on the course, others were deciding how best to cast away without getting a drop of water in the boat! It had been a game of finely tuning the rig and trimming sails to the conditions, checking & rechecking transits and angles, and as Rob Douglass commented, a Regatta where your head needed to be 100% out of the boat.

So who were the Divisional and Handicap winners of this year's State Titles?

Divisional WinnersJunior HelmFemale HelmMasterGrand MasterSuper Grand Master
1stDan Bromelow (Manly 16SSC)Heather Macfarlane (BRYC)Rob & Nic Douglass (JBSC)Heather Macfarlane & Chris Payne (BRYC)Martin Linsley (RANSA/ CYC) & Jenny Sorensen (GRSC)
2ndSamantha Rose (DAC)Krystal Weir (SYC)Rick Longbottom & Darryl Bentley (RANSA/ CYC)Brad Stephens & Jenny Overton (BSC)Chris Parkinson & Laurie Hoffman  (SPASC)

Handicap Results:

PosHelm & Crew (Club)
1stSamantha Rose & David Evans (DAC)
2ndBoyd Newton & Kylie Symonds (BSC)
3rdAlex Cross & Andrew Crawford (ADFS)
4thRalph &  Imogen Stanford (WSC)
5thMichael O'Brien & Kerry Fyfe (NSC)

Check out Full Scratch, HCP & Divisional Results here. Congratulations must also go to all sailors that took part, making it both a competition and a 'good time off the water' for all!

Evidently, this Tasar Regatta was NSW's '40th' State Championship, which drew entries from 20 different Clubs in addition to several Australian Defence Force Services teams. It is a sign of the Class's growing popularity not only in this State, but throughout Australia. A record 33 boats will soon head to Japan for Tasar Worlds 2017 (28 July to 6 Aug). Again, the competition will be tough with ex-Tasar World & multiple National Champions to multi-class Olympians from 7 different countries attending, but Australian Tasars have trained solidly over the last 8 months, and they are ready!

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