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Illustrated Sail & Rig Tuning by Ivar Dedekam
Illustrated Sail & Rig Tuning by Ivar Dedekam

Allen 2021 Flying 11 National Championship at Belmont 16' Skiff Sailing Club

by Hugh Stodart 20 Apr 09:51 BST 11-15 April 2021
Tight racing for the top 5 in Heat 9 - Allen 2021 Flying 11 National Championship © Mel Yeomans at Deck Hardware

The 2021 Allen Flying 11 Australian Championships were run at Belmont 16's from 11 to 15 April. As with most things this year the regatta had to be rescheduled from January to work around travel restrictions. It was great to have 50 boats entered in spite of the new dates. The weather in April was expected to be different from January with fewer, lighter sea breezes and potentially fickle westerlies.

The Flying 11 class is also very lucky to have continued support from title sponsor Allen and contributions from LIros Ropes, Vaikobi, Ullman Sails and Composite Spars & Tubes.

After measuring was got out of the way on the first morning a strong westerly settled in at 20-25 knots for the invitation race. Quite a few boats decided to stay ashore but those that did sail had some great action. The race was eventually won by Sam Stodart and Ash Napper after Darby Jones and Taj Waters skipped the finish whilst well in front.

Day 2 saw fading south easterly welcoming competitors for the first day of point scoring races. With the weather forecast for the rest of the week looking patchy, race officer Steve Iles decided to bank three races. As the breeze faded the results got less consistent and the leader after the first day was class newcomers Joel Beashel and Marshall Day with 2, 1 and 3 for the day. Darby Jones/Taj Waters and Liam Karunaratne/Ben Milham also won races but did not have the same consistency.

Day 3's forecast was marginal so an early call was made to postpone and hope the late sea breeze materialized, which it did at about 2pm building to 5-8 knots for two more races. The lighter crews dominated with Sam Stodart and Ash Napper getting two close wins from Joel Beashel and Marshall Day. Behind them the results were a mixed bag with no other crews having a standout day.

Day 4 started with a 10-15 knot north westerly and again the decision was made to run three races whilst we had wind. The wind died reasonably quickly through the afternoon but held on just long enough to run three races in shifty conditions. Joel Beashel and Marshall Day asserted their dominance using great boat speed and picking the wind to bag three first places giving them a substantial lead with just two races left.

Day 5 saw an early call for no racing as the forecast was marginal and the Race Committee decided to hold out for a better southerly wind forecast for the final day.

Boats left the shore for the final two races on day 6 with a 10-15 knot south westerly, but shortly before the first race the wind shifted south and strengthened to a nice 15-20 knot southerly. Heat 9 saw the closest race of the regatta with 7 boats in contention, a different leader at every top mark and countless lead changes. Sam Stodart and Ash Napper won in the end taking the lead using their reaching speed on the penultimate leg. Joel and Marshall put in a great performance for such a light crew securing third place and an unbeatable lead for the regatta going into the last race. Heat 10 saw Sam and Ash doing turns off the start line and putting themselves under pressure to hold on to their second place overall, as they rounded the top mark in the 30s. James Hopkins and Tom Cameron were enjoying being able to stretch their legs in the fresh conditions and took an all the way win from Darby and Taj. Sam and Ash managed to recover to 10th (despite a quick dip at the last gybe mark) and seal 2nd overall. Darby and Taj had a good final day to pull themselves into 3rd overall.

The team's trophy was won by Belmont, knocking Manly off their perch for the first time in 5 years! Manly are already scheming how best to keep the Belmont reign to a single year. Aimee Gallaway and Bella Divola were the first all girl crew (6th overall) in a fleet that had a strong contingent of female sailors.

The venue for the 2022 Nationals will be Gosford Sailing Club in mid January and we are all looking forward to seeing our young sailors develop their skills and establish the life long friendships that come with Flying 11 sailing.

Overall Results: (top five)

Plc Sail
No
Boat Name
(Boat Type)
Skipper/Crew From Drop Total
1 1327 Cheeky
Flying 11
Joel Beashel
Marshall Day
Belmont 16s
NSW
6 16
2 1383 The Muppets
Flying 11
Sam Stodart
Ash Napper
Manly 16s
NSW
27 33
3 1399 Nomad
Flying 11
Darby Jones
Taj Waters
Belmont 16s
NSW
13 45
4 1402 Dirty Rat
Flying 11
Liam Karunaratne
Ben Milham
Manly 16s
NSW
18 60
5 1363 Knot Shore
Flying 11
James Hopkins
Tom Cameron
Manly 16s
NSW
14 63

Full results available here.

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