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RS Sailing 2021 - LEADERBOARD

Past Australian champions compete in Dragons at Metung

by Jeanette Severs 26 Jan 09:21 GMT 27-29 January 2023
Competing on Sydney's harbour in the 2023 International Dragon Class Australian Championship, and with spinnakers out, Karabos IX, with Nick Rogers crewed by Leigh Behrens and Lucas Upton, is ahead of Imagination © John Jeremy

This week Metung Yacht Club hosts the 2023 International Dragon Class Victorian Championship, the annual JJ Savage Trophy and Rob Trenberth Trophy races, and the annual East Gippsland Etchells Championship.

It will be a 2-3-2 race series. Day one, Friday, will see two races on the course. There are three races planned for day two, Saturday; on Sunday, day three, the final two races will be competed.

Multiple championships winner, Nick Rogers, from Hobart, Tasmania, is headlining the Victorian Championship, in his yacht, Karabos IX. His crew is long term colleagues Leigh Behrens and Lucas Upton.

Rogers, on board Karabos IX, was the defending champion at the Prince Phillip Cup Australian Championship Regatta sailed early this month in Sydney's harbour.

Rogers is bringing Leigh Behrens and Lucas Upton to Metung as his crew. Rogers and Behrens have sailed together for 28 years.

Rogers has won 48 national and international regattas thus far in his career, including winning the International Dragon Australian Championships 13 times.

"I've had a good career in the Dragon class. I began sailing them in 1987," Rogers said.

"Leigh Behrens has sailed with me, on and off, for 28 years. Lucas Upton is still relatively new to Dragons. He sails with me as crew in an SB20, a sports boat.

"On my journey home from Sydney I decided I will sail in the Victorian championships at Metung on my way back to Hobart."

Another past Australian champion, Sandy Anderson, from Perth, Western Australia, is bringing an all-women crew to Metung, on board Plum Crazy, fresh from the Sydney contest. With the 285kg weight limit, Anderson is able to have three people in her crew - Caroline Gibson, Susan Parker and Deb Henderson.

Anderson won the Australian Championship title in 2006, after being offered the helm of Solveig. She has been sailing for 57 years and includes the Western Australian Women's Keelboat Championship among her trophies.

While her crew is seasoned, their yacht, Plum Crazy, is still relatively new.

"We sailed her in two regattas in Tasmania last year and the NSW Championship and the Australian Championship in Sydney in January this year," Anderson said.

"Our boat was affected by strong winds and some gear was broken, which affected our overall performance."

Among the other yachts entered is Imagination, owned by Terry Grundy, berthed at Metung, and skippered by Damien Daniel, also fresh from the Sydney contest. Daniel is competing this weekend with the same crew he took to Sydney - Dean Smith and Dean Robson. All have sailed on Lake King for many years.

"The Dragon class is a beautiful boat, although harder to sail than many other types," Daniel said.

"I'm hoping for a homegrown advantage on Lake King (at Metung). Sydney's harbour had a lot of traffic in the way and a lot of tidal influence. Lake King is flat water and it's really good for sailing Dragons.

"I'm hoping for the pot of gold this weekend."

All three skippers and crews are keen to get some competition experience under their Dragon boats on Lake King's water, given Metung Yacht Club is hosting the Australian Championship in January 2024. After the regatta, Anderson is keeping Plum Crazy at Metung and will return regularly to compete on Lake King.

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