Newport, Australia – 25 January 2024
The highly anticipated 2023/24 WASZP Australian Slalom Championship continued on Pittwater today with an exhilarating final day of racing. The changeable weather conditions and back to back races challenged the exceptional skills of the world-class sailors on short downwind wind courses. Start, blast downwind round the gybe marks and across the finishing line. Races targeted to be 5 minutes. This is the drag racing of sailing.
The regatta, which commenced 24 January, has attracted sailors from up and down the country to participate. The championship is a testament to the growing popularity of the WASZP class, known for its innovative formats, like the slalom series, creating fast and exciting races. Competition has been fierce with impressive displays of speed, boat handling and tactics.
Day 2 started hot and light with competitors waiting onshore for the breeze to stabalise, a few nursing bruised bodies and egos after 8 slalom races yesterday. A shifty 12-18knts that came in around midday and sailors hit the water for more of the crash and burn slalom format. The tight competition throughout the fleet continued with every mistake punished in the unstable and shifty conditions. The key was to stay on the foil, when you were up, you were up!
“The level of competition we have seen today is absolutely phenomenal, they make it look so easy when they are flying along, but we know that it takes a heap of practise and time on the water to sail so quick and clean throughout this short format racing” said Nick Elliott, Race Director, RPAYC. “The mix of fluctuating conditions challenged sailors across the fleet. We are thrilled to be hosting such a prestigious championship on Pittwater and thank our local WASZP fleet for their enthusiasm and hard work bringing the event to the RPAYC. With the Australian Slalom Championship concluded we can now look forward to the WASZP NSW State Titles which commence tomorrow.”
The standout performances of the slalom series have been Louis Tilly in Boogie Wonderland (RPAYC) taking 8 bullets from the 14 races, his worst result being a fourth place. In second place, with a score of 22, taking 5 wins was Marshall Day in Too Cheeky (B16SC), followed by Nicholas Dunn in The Sting (RQYS) in third place on 30 points. The only other sailor to win a slalom race Keizo Tomisha in Zen (WSC) winning race 13 and finishing fourth overall. These sailors have blown away the competition in the slalom format and we look forward to finding out if their dominance continues into the next regatta.
View results at: https://rpayc.com.au/waszp-class-regattas-2023-2024/
Photography and video by Andrea Francolini Photography