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RS Aero Victorian State Champs at Sail Bellarine, Indented Head Yacht Club

by Australian RS Aero Class Association 3 May 13:13 BST 30 April - 1 May 2022
RS Aero Victorian State Champs © Australian RS Aero Class Association

  • Off the back of receiving such a glowing report of the inaugural Sail Bellarine regatta in 2021, the Victorian RS Aero Class decided to incorporate their 2022 Victorian State Championships within the 2022 Sail Bellarine regatta hosted by Indented Head YC.

Unfortunately, we had a few sailors pull out prior to the regatta due to Covid & injury, nevertheless we saw a fantastic turnout with 30 x RS Aeros in attendance, making us the biggest class already. We had three NSW entries & a few from rural Victoria (Portland & Inverloch), thanks for making the trip!

Day 1's forecast ensured we would get the 3 allocated races in. We saw a windy 15-22 knots, whilst the sun was out for the duration of the time, the wind seemed glacial at times. Throughout the day the fleet saw large wind oscillations, mixed with big bands of pressure funnelling down the racecourse.

Ian 'Biggles' Johnson & Megan Ridgway managed to start each race with a clean pair of heels, thereafter using their superior upwind boat speed to lead the fleet in most instances. These two sailors where respective club house leaders after Day 1 in the RS Aero 5 & 7 fleets. At the conclusion of Day 1, in the RS Aero 7 fleet, the race was on for 2nd place it seemed, with four sailors within one point of each other. Peter Milne & Gary Ratcliffe used their upwind boat speed to secure solid days, whilst Michael O'Brien & Rhett Gowans chipped away, sailing consistently around the course to 'stay in touch'. Biggles was deservedly leading the hungry chasing pack, with it all to play for on the penultimate day of racing. Megan used her racing knowledge & big fleet race experience to manage the RS Aero 5 fleet, at times giving the RS Aero 7's a run for their money!

The most impressive aspect to come away from Day 1, was how the RS Aero fleet as a whole handled the challenging conditions. Two years ago, the majority of the RS Aero fleet here wouldn't have taken covers off their boats, fast-forward to 2022 and we had the fleet successfully manage the conditions, get around the race course with minimal capsizes. A real credit to the fleet's growth & improvement!

3 races on Day 1 meant some aches on Day 2! With some stretching & a few coffees in everybody's system the sailors were raring to go for the final two races. A lighter forecast for Day 2 offered some respite for the weary sailors, with a decreasing breeze starting at 15 knots, decreasing through the day to 5-8 knots. A lighter breeze saw the racing condense and become much tighter, this was highlighted on the final race where we had 15 RS Aeros round the bottom mark within 10 seconds of each other! On Day 2 it was imperative to get off the pin-end cleanly if you wanted to be racing at the top-end of the fleet. Those that tacked early on to get on 'the long port tack' did best. With lots of lead changes and aided by the discard, the final standings changed hands in the RS Aero 7's, whilst the 5's stayed the same.

At the conclusion of Day 2, Megan Ridgway won her second RS Aero 5 State Championships, with a very tidy 4 points. Diane Vukelic came 2nd & Fiona Ekins came 3rd, pipping Laurie Hoffman by 1 point.

In the RS Aero 7's, Rhett Gowans sailed a consistent last day to jump into the lead, winning his 4th Victorian RS Aero 7 State Championships in the process, Ian 'Biggles' Johnson came 2nd, behind by one solitary point, with the New South Welshmen Gary Ratcliffe rounding out the podium.

Thanks to Indented Head YC, St Leonards YC & Portarlington YC on running a great regatta, we look forward to supporting this regatta again in the future.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4R5Pts
RS Aero 5
13006Megan RidgwaySandringham YC11(DNC)114
23085Diane VukelicGeorges River SC NSW2‑41328
32501Fiona EkinsBlack Rock YC‑4224311
41389Laurie HoffmanBalmoral SC33(DNC)2412
RS Aero 7
11Rhett GowansMornington YC1‑64117
22498Ian JohnsonMount Martha YC311‑638
33475Gary RatcliffeGeorges River SC NSW‑6332210
43414Michael O'BrienRoyal Brighton YC24‑53413
53070Peter MilneBlack Rock YC‑7224614
62822Pete EllisMcCrae YC5‑1487727
72915Ron FergussonAlbert SC410‑149831
82825Chris BrainSugarloaf SC‑159118533
92499Danny RaysonSt Leonards YC115613‑1635
103120Paul RidgwayBlack Rock YC913(DNC)51037
113467David ParryMount Martha YC88912‑1337
123082Luke ThompsonSandringham YC101110‑15940
132674Simon PluimTorquay SC177717‑2248
143058Paul RogersBlairgowrie YS13121310‑1548
153053Tim WallerIndented Head YC12‑1612161252
161696Paul SmartBlairgowrie YS14‑2217141156
172587Antony HowardSugarloaf SC16‑1815111456
183416Samuel BasshamPortland YC1815(DNC)181768
193106Kelvin BoyleMcCrae YC191918‑211975
202048Aaron FlavellBlack Rock YC‑231716222176
212914Christian HerrBlack Rock YC21‑2420192383
221074Brendan ChaplinBlack Rock YC22211924(DNC)86
233542Howard HughesRoyal Geelong YC(DNC)DNCDNC202096
242826David DroverBlack Rock YC2020(DNC)DNCDNC96
253546Gary PlozzaSouth Gippsland YC(DNC)DNCDNC231897
263060Paul SimmonsIndented Head YC(DNC)23DNCDNCDNC107
272937Brian CaseSt Leonard’s YC(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNC112

Coming up for the Aussie RS Aeros:

  • Icicle Regatta - Black Rock YC, VIC, May 2022
    Our Icicle Regatta series starts this Saturday (07/05), running for 4 consecutive weeks. Racing starts at 1pm, with two races back-to-back each Saturday. The series is free for BRYC members and visitors are able to register through this link.

  • RS Aero National Titles - Largs Bay SC, SA, 12th-15th Jan, 2023

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