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2023 Australian 420 Championship at Metung Yacht Club Overall

by Jeanette Severs 10 Jan 2023 09:33 GMT 2-6 January 2023

The International 420 class 2023 Australian Championships went down to the wire for results, and included four protests in the final race of the four-day regatta.

A few capsized dinghies over the four days, and some minor injuries to a few competitors over the 12-race series, did not deter some hard racing on day four (last Friday).

A couple of competitors had to withdraw from the regatta on day four, because of injury or illness, and one boat withdrew in the final race, but these actions did not make a difference to the championships' outcomes.

In fact, some willing volunteers meant a couple of competitors were able to participate in the final day of racing, when otherwise they would have had to sit out after their teammates withdrew because of illness or injury. The decision to compete was allowed by the race officer, given these two yachts were not in a position to place in the championship.

The crews of 19 dinghies were competing for the open, youth (under 19), junior (under 16) and female national championship status, held on Lake King, at Metung (Victoria, Australia).

The racing conditions over the four-day regatta, although challenging, enabled all 12 of the planned races to be completed. Four races were completed on day three, which led to an early start and finish for day four, with only two races to be completed for the series.

Under the 420 rules, three races needed to be completed to constitute a series. It was a credit to the regatta organisers, race officer and the weather that conditions enabled all 12 races to be completed.

The 420 is an international youth performance pathways class, and is favoured by teenagers and youth for its speed. The 420 is the youth development boat in 43 countries.

Competitors are expected to demonstrate their ability to beat all the way up to the windward mark, and running off the wind where they have to control the kite on their dinghy.

It was clear on day two the Australian championships was likely to be a close-fought contest.

A light northerly wind on Monday still saw some fast racing among the two-person crews, with competitors using the trapeze and spinnaker to effect. The vagaries of the wind saw the race course change a couple of times during the day.

Three races were successfully held on (day one) Monday, with the Mckay brothers - Spencer and Benedict - finishing first, second and first in succession.

It was a good start for the NSW pair, setting them up to retain the yellow leader jerseys after gaining two second placings out of three races on Tuesday.

At the end of day two, the Mckay brothers (the current NSW champions) were sitting in first place, on eight points, narrowly ahead of former national champions, James Jackson and Harrison Chapman (Victoria), in second place on nine points.

Racing on day two saw conditions change, with gusty southerly winds across the lake favouring the former national champions - Jackson and Chapman finished first, second and third in succession over races four, five and six.

The second day of racing also saw Matty Goss and Carter Baker progress into third place overall, on 12 points. The pair raced hard to finish in first place in races five and six on day two.

Baker, from Adelaide, went into the race series as the current national champion and teamed with Goss, a Victorian, for this race series.

In the race for the female championship, last year's 420 National Championships runners-up, Hanako Tomishima and Grace Morrow, from NSW, were in first place, on 26 points, at the end of day two. Overall, Tomishima and Morrow finished fifth twice, sixth twice and fourth (in the final race of day two).

Their closest rivals, Olivia Cameron and Lilly Fogarty, from Victoria, were on 30 points, and at the end of day two this pair was sitting in second place for the female championship.

A lay over day - set aside in case racing was cancelled on any of the previous two days - gave competitors and their families the opportunity to experience the Gippsland Lakes environment in a more leisurely fashion.

Day three of competition saw a steady breeze, enabling the race officer, Glenys Hitchen, to extend the race course and hold four successful races.

The races began into the wind and, as the regatta progressed, experience enabled competitors to tactically decide if they were going to race to starboard or port to the first marker.

At the end of day three, it was still a tight competition between the Mckay brothers, Jackson and Chapman, Goss and Baker, Will Wilkinson and Luca Alexander, Tomishima and Morrow, and Cameron and Fogarty.

The team of Jackson and Chapman were only eligible for the Open National Championship.

Placings in the Junior National Championship were fought between Wilkinson and Alexander, Sailor Cowen and Sophie Ward, Zac Lowe and Finnlay Meijer, Fraser Baker and Mitchell Young, and Lucy Laverty and Milli Grover.

The Female Championship was contested by seven crews, between Tomishima and Morrow, Cameron and Fogarty, Cowen and Ward, Xanthe Kibbie and Olivia Chadwick, Abbey Everett and Stephanie Koutsimpiris, Lucy Laverty and Milli Grover, and Kristen Koutsimpiris and Jessica Lowe.

In race 11, Goss and Baker were first across the line, with second place going to Wilkinson and Alexander, and the Mckay brothers in third. Tomishima and Morrow were in fifth place.

Race 12 saw the Mckay brothers cross the line first, followed by Jackson and Chapman in a very tight finish. Goss and Baker were third across the finish line, followed by Tomishima and Morrow, with Wilkinson and Alexander racing strongly into fifth place, then Martin Liebolt and Elia Sellers, Nicholas Meijer and Riley Everett, followed by Kibbie and Chadwick.

Four protests were registered after the last race (race 12), and were heard on land by a jury led by Juror, Richard Geake-Ransome.

"All the protests involved the top competitors," Mr Geake-Ransome said.

One of the protests was dismissed by the jury, another one was withdrawn by the complainant team. One protest - involving a collision during the race - was upheld. The jury found the remaining protest - which occurred prior to the start - did not affect the race results.

The upheld protest resulted in the dinghy Barbara being disqualified from race 12, and affected the outcome of the Open category of the 2023 National Championships.

The 2023 National Champions (Open) are James Jackson and Harrison Chapman, with Spencer and Benedict Mckay in second place, followed by Matty Goss and Carter Baker.

The 2023 National Champions (Youth) are Spencer and Benedict Mckay, with Matty Goss and Carter Baker in second place, followed by Will Wilkinson and Luca Alexander.

The 2023 National Champions (Female) are Hanako Tomishima and Grace Morrow, with Olivia Cameron and Lilly Fogarty in second place, followed by Xanthe Kibbie and Olivia Chadwick.

The 2023 National Champions (Junior) are Sailor Cowen and Sophie Ward, with Will Wilkinson and Luca Alexander runners-up, followed by Zac Lowe and Finnlay Meijer in third place.

Race officer Glenys Hitchen said the conditions on Lake King were challenging for all the competitors, because they were different. The water was calmer, compared to where the 420 sailors more commonly train and compete in the rolling waves of ocean harbours.

However Ms Hitchen was able to display the Oscar flag a few times during the race series, when the wind was consistently at or above 13 knots, enabling the competitors to race harder and faster, using the trapeze. The vagaries of windy gusts meant the Oscar flag was flown only periodically during races.

"It's an opportunity for the competitors to display more skills," she said.

"It was great to get a full regatta of 12 races, held over four individual days. The races have mostly been completed in conditions of 12 to eight knots.

"It's been beautiful conditions for sailing, particularly for the lightweight crews.

"The heavier-weight crews got a bit of heavier conditions today, which was great to share it around a bit.

"But the top four places were pretty consistent throughout the regatta."

The regatta was hosted by Metung Yacht Club and attracted competitors from NSW, Victoria and South Australia. Training camps were held at Metung, on Lake King, in the days leading up to the 420 National Championships races.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoBoat NameHelmCrewClubCATR1R2R3R4R5R6R7R8R9R10R11R12Pts
155151BALANCEJames JacksonHarrison ChapmanMYC [3]121233211[4]117
254351BARBARASpencer MckayBenedict MckayWSC/RSYSY121242112[5]3[20Q]19
356161KAMIKAZEMatty GossCarter BakerSYCY2[6]4411[5]3431225
456931RUSHWill WilkinsonLuca AlexanderWSC MHYCY[5]3333[5]24522431
556713SAILFISHHanako TomishimaGrace MorrowWSCFY[6]556644[7]345345
656388BRAVE STORMMartin LiebholdElia SellersWSCY746[8]56667[9]6558
755149AZZURRAOlivia CameronLilly FogartyDBYCFY4[8]7577756[10]7762
856542GIACOMONicholas MeijerRiley EverettSBSCY[11]78[9]8889968677
956448SQUIDGYXanthe KibbleOlivia ChadwickWSCFY9[12][13]79119101079889
1056160INDIAN PACIFICMurphy CowenBraden GrittifhsLBSCY[13]1010[13]11101088111210100
1156194VAMOSSailor CowenSophie WardLBSCFYJ1011121110911[13][13]121011107
1255167CRUSHFraser BakerMitchell YoungLBSC/ASCYJ89111412[19]12[15]158139111
1355245NOTOSAbbey EverettStephanie KoutsimpirSBSCFY12[13]9101312[14]1111131112114
1453663TURBULENCEAngus MahoneyCaden HumphreyRBYC [18]16[19]121613131414141513140
1554573SHAKE N BAKEWilliam WhiteDeclan RyanmycY[15]15141515141512121514[16]141
1652422LITTLE SEAZac LoweFinnlay MeijerSBSCYJ14[19]18[19]1415191718161814163
1752714CLUELESSLucy LavertyMilli GroverSsYC/MYCFYJ16141517[20S]161716[20F]181620F165
1854572CARPE DIEMWayne SmithCharlie EdwardsMYCY[19]181618171816[19]16171915170
1955158RIPTIDEKristen KoutsimpirisJessica LoweSBSCFY17171716[18]17181817[19]1717171

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