• O for Awesome at the Heron Nationals. Photo Julie Hartwig Photography.
    O for Awesome at the Heron Nationals. Photo Julie Hartwig Photography.

The 55th Heron National Championship Regatta was sailed at Lake Cootharaba Sailing Club (Queensland).  51 boats entered the regatta.  There were representatives from all states in the fleet.

Western Australia’s Brien Hennessy crewed by daughter Rosie in 10272 O for Awesome won the regatta from David Johnson (10269 Heronasauraus Qld) and Greg Harris (10271 Slippery When Wet NSW).

Hennessy dominated last year’s regatta, sailed on his home waters in the Swan River.  O for Awesome’s series score at Lake Cootharaba was also very impressive, recording seven wins in the ten race series.  However, the competition at this regatta was more intense than last year with small margins between the top boats.  O For Awesome often came through the fleet after conservative starts.  This was demonstrated in the 4th heat, when O for Awesome passed 10274 Fatty and Skinny (Jason Groves NSW) at the last wing mark and won narrowly.

O for Awesome was one of four wooden boats in the top ten.  The top ten also showed a mix of gunter and Bermudan masts and jib and genoa (permitted for heavier crew weight combinations) sail plans, indicating even competition between the rig variations allowed in recent years.  A number of new Association mould GRP hulls made by Mark Philips of Dinghy Sports (who finished 5th in 10270 Pittwater Pearl) featured amongst the top boats.

Georgia Llewellyn in 9972 The Force (NSW) was the top placed junior.

The regatta was sailed in a competitive but friendly spirit, in keeping with the culture of Australia’s number one family class.  The 56th Heron Nationals will be sailed on the Derwent at Lindisfarne Sailing Club (Tasmania).

Top Ten
Place    Points    Skipper            Boat #        Boat Name        State
1    8    Brien Hennesy        10272        O For Awesome        WA
2    12    David Johnson        10269        Heronasaurus        Qld
3    24    Greg Harris        10271        Slippery When Wet    NSW
4    25    Jason Groves        10274        Fatty and Skinny    NSW
5    31    Mark Phillips        10270        Pittwater Pearl        NSW
6    35    Paul Armstrong        9957        Appauled        NSW
7    40    Matthew Brown    10273        The Peregrine Heron    Qld
8    56    James Gough        10163        Murra-Ngurra        NSW
9    56.5    Richard Gibson        10232        Flaw Show        SA
10    63.5    John Nobbs        10228        Two Fools Fumbling    Qld

- Richard Gibson

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