National Sailing League Final: Western Australian sailors travelled to Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron in April

The National Sailing League Oceania event is for Clubs from Australia and New Zealand to send sailors to compete for the ‘best club’. The on water umpired fleet racing regatta was attended by 14 teams and sailed in Elliot 6’s. This was the inaugural event in Australia and Mark Turnbull aims to expand this regatta in the future as this is already a very successful concept in the Northern Hemisphere.

This year Western Australia sent a team of all Girls from Fremantle Sailing Club and Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club. Our team was Shelley White (Skipper), Ella Clark (Mainsheet), Hayley Clark (Bow) and Chelsea Hall (Trimmer).

Prior to departure the team trained in the SB20’s as they are the most similar boats that we had access to here in Perth.

Many of the teams raced in combinations of four or five and every team had to have at least one Female. Most of the Women and Youth teams raced in teams of five and typically four in the Open teams. We chose to sail with four crew on board so that we could qualify for both the Open and Women’s divisions.

We raced in 15 Fleet races of 12 – 15 minutes over the three days in light to moderate and shifty SW – SE breezes. The races were short, sharp and very intense. With teams rotating in and out of five identical boats after every race.

Day 0 we chartered an Elliott for 3 hours to get used to the technicalities of the boat and put ourselves through some paces with some paragraphs and short races. We soon learnt the best way to gybe the asymmetric spinnakers and allocated crew roles for each of the manoeuvres.

Day 1 we sailed better than expected being a new team, in a new boat and sailing on unfamiliar waters. We surprised ourselves sailing against many professional sailors.

After day 1 we scored a 1,1,1,2,3 and finished day 1 second overall out of 14 teams.

Day 2 results were up and down scoring a 2, 2, 5, 5, 4, 1. After day 1 the organising authority changed the draw and unfortunately, we got a really hard draw on day 2 versing on many occasions the first 4 boats overall after day 1.

Day 3 we struggled in such tough competition to get off the line. The competition by day 3 heated up and no one was willing to give away any meters. All teams had improved enormously by day 3 and were often finishing races within 10 seconds from first to fifth.

We finished off with a 4, 2, 3, 2. Overall we had heaps of fun and highly recommend any sailors in Perth to get motivated and training to qualify for next years event. We placed 7th overall and won the Women’s division.

Thanks to Fremantle Sailing Club, Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club and MonkeyFist Marine for their huge support of our team and getting us across to Sydney – we honestly couldn’t have done it without them. Thanks to Fremantle Sailing Club for allowing us a club boat to train in and for their continuous support.

Our team has qualified for a wildcard spot to attend the World Sailing League Women’s Final in Copenhagen later this year. Stay tuned for more adventures from our team.

 

Regatta Report by Ella Clark, Shelley White, Chelsea Hall and Hayley Clark

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