• New Windsurfer world champ Nick Bez is a starter - Sail Sandy pic
    New Windsurfer world champ Nick Bez is a starter - Sail Sandy pic
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The Victorian Windsurfer Class fleet will kick off its 2019/20 summer season in October with a big fleet expected to descend on the Sandringham Yacht Club for the 2019 Sail Sandy Regatta.

Hosted from 12-13 October, Sail Sandy organisers expect at least 20 Windsurfers as they prepare for a big season ahead. Other events include the Victorian Championship at the Parkdale Yacht Club on 24 November and the National Championship at the Brighton and Seacliff Yacht Club in Adelaide from 23 to 26 January 2020.

Headlining the Windsurfer fleet at Sail Sandy will be recently-crowned world champion, Nick Bez, along with local young guns Will Grimshaw, Jude Smale and the 2019 National Female Youth Champion Isabella Grimshaw, who finished fourth at the Worlds.

"Sail Sandy will be a fantastic opportunity to get in some great quality, early-season fleet racing, and showcase how fun the racing is in the class," Bez said.

"Sandringham is supporting the establishment of a Windsurfer fleet within its off-the-beach racing this year, so bringing the windsurfer army to Sail Sandy is a nice way to build some momentum."

The windsurfer is one of the fastest growing one-design classes in the world, with more than 350 boards in Australia since the launch of the new LT version in July last year.

The class received World Sailing international status in late 2018. Its recent world championships on Lake Garda in Italy attracted more than 160 competitors from 18 countries.

Featuring a lightweight epoxy hull with enhanced volume, the LT delivers great performance while supporting inexpensive one-design racing, where the emphasis is on skill and tactics rather than equipment.

The beauty of the Windsurfer class is its versatility. Four disciplines are part of the Windsurfer racing regime – course racing, slalom, marathon and freestyle.

With the biggest one-design sailboard fleet in Australia (107 at the last Nationals), the class has been the breeding ground for Australian sailboard Olympians and the country has produced many world champions over the years.

The current crop of racers ranges from 12-year-old grommets to living legends over the age of 70.

In championship racing, the Windsurfer class races in weight divisions to keep things even and interesting. At the most recent nationals, the lightest competitor was 38 kilos and the heaviest over 100 kilos.

Lighter sailors can use a 4.0 or 4.5 Windsurfer rig, while the full-size regatta sail provides plenty of grunt for the rest.

The class supports racing at club, state and national level with a strong emphasis on youth participation. The Windsurfer is a great option for junior sailors who want to continue their journey on a slightly different path.

An annual Youth scholarship provides funding for the best male and female sailor under 18 to attend the next world championship.

The first of Victoria’s major interclub off-the-beach events, Sail Sandy brings together hundreds of sailors across a range of classes, many of which use the event for their first hit out of the season ahead.

In last year’s event, there were strong fleets in a range of classes, with more than 190 entries. However, with the excitement around this season and the major events Sandringham is hosting, the Club expects numbers to reach close to 250 this year.

"Sail Sandy is always a great event to kick off the season with big fleets, and a great atmosphere around the clubhouse over the two days," the Club’s Sailing Manager, James Sly said.

"It’s the first major event of the season and a great opportunity for juniors and seniors alike to dust their boats off and get back into the swing of the sailing season."

For more information about the Windsurfer class head to: www.windsurferclassaus.com

Contact Justin Page via justin@pageventures.com.au for more information or to get involved with the Sandringham Windsurfer fleet.

For more information about Sail Sandy, and to enter into the event, go to: https://syc.com.au/sail-sandy/

Harry Fisher

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