505 Australian Championships preview

The 2023 Ronstan Australian Championships start today at Darling Point Sailing Squadron in Manly Queensland, (the one with the blue roof).

Like many classes, it has been a while since the 505 have been able to conduct a National Championships and as a result this may be a regatta of change. The numbers are good, nearly 40 boats. The weather is warm and humid, but the strong SE trade wind that has been blowing for the Finns and the OK dinghies looks to be weakening. Likely the 5oh’s will have a perfect, tactical mid-range wind strength regatta. Which means everyone van have a chance to shine.

Past Australian Champions racing include Michael Quirk (4 times), Mick Babbage(twice) and Kevin Cameron and Sam Heritage, (once). The dominant team of Sandy Higgins and Paul Marsh are not here, but Sandy’s brother Malcolm, (6 time Australian Sharpie Champion) is here with his son Jack (a laser sailor) on the wire. Seven boats have come over from Western Australia, I have no idea of their form, but West Australians are the reigning champions, (Peter Nicholas and Luke Payne) from the win at the last nationals in 2019. Pete and Luke are not competing because they are scared….. or they are tied up with Americas Cup and Sail GP commitments. Regardless the field is open.

Like all classes the 505 class is seeking youth and we have a few young teens steering boats. The Queensland fleet has provided Chris Gregg who has been steering a 505 since he was 12 is sailing with his dad. Plus, Matt Bowden is here with 15 year old Ashlie Duffield. At the other end, the Queensland fleet has also provided a multitude of over 60’s spearheaded by the legendary Earle Alexander at 79 and a half years.

Today starts with the invitation race. Racing is out in front of the club in the waters of Waterloo bay at 2.00pm today. Racing proper starts Tuesday at 1.00pm and continues to Saturday, (12.00pm start). For those not familiar with 505 sailing, they start using a gate start, no recalls required so be on time if you want to spectate.

Who will win? Sailing! There is nothing better than sailing a 5oh.

Images: DPSS rigging lawn and Marcus Cooper preparing the boat.

Marcus Cooper preparing the boat
Marcus Cooper preparing the boat
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