Challenging weather conditions that have seen smoke haze, low visibility, and a range of breezes has given race officials at the Australian 29er Nationals at the Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron quite a headache. But as sailors and officials close in on the final two days of the event, racing looks set to get back on track.
The bushfires across eastern Victoria and southern New South Wales have this week shown how wide the devastation is with the smoke haze creating a blanket over the Mornington Peninsula that has lasted a number of days.
A number of international competitors have made it to Blairgowrie this week, some of whom have come from New Caledonia and Hong Kong, to compete in larger Australian fleets – something they don't experience back home.
While the weather hasn't played the game at times, these sailors are enjoying being around a larger event and honing their skills in different conditions.
“It's quite awesome to have the chance to come here, it's quite different from New Caledonia, because there's much more boats,” New Caledonian 29er sailor Corentin Goulon said.
The Hong Kong sailors have really enjoyed the size of the event as well as the stronger winds that are more common in Australia.
“It's been quite tough racing but it's really good experience in the heavy winds,” Hong Kong sailor Jack Dingemans said.
“I think the main thing is just that there is a really big fleet in Australia that we don't get in Hong Kong, it's important experience for us,” Hong Kong sailor Pei Yip said.
Racing continues today and tomorrow to close out the series with plenty of races to catch up on.
– Harry Fisher