2023 Fireball Australian Championships – Runners and Riders
This year marks one of the most open Australian Championships we have seen in the modern era. With sailors joining us from their olympic campaigns and hot shot UK sailors flying in, the fleet is looking very hot!
Current Australian Champion Jalina Thompson-Kambas / Nathan Stockley will go in to the championships as favourites. They have bought a new boat as part of their campaign for the 2024 Worlds in Geelong (http://2024.fireballworlds.com) and look strong across the wind ranges.
Luke Stephens / Ryan Kelly have dominated the South Australian scene this year. Luke is a past Sharpie National Champion and although this is their first Australian Championship they have been sailing fireballs for three years and have proved to be very competitive.
Four times Australian Champion John Heywood’s usual crew isn’t available but has scored a great replacement with Daniel George. The expectations is that they will be on the pace and consistent through the series.
Heather Macfarlane / Chris Payne fresh from a 3rd place in the 2022 World Championship have been seen out training in their boat. Watch out for these two if the winds moderate.
Sophie Jackson / Angus Higgins have been travelling the world chasing the olympic dream. With a very close 2nd at the 470 Australian Championships they will be coming in hot and could upset the traditional class stalwarts.
Steve Goacher loved sailing a fireball in Adelaide so much that he is flying out from the UK just for the nationals. Steve has had many successes in the fireball class, with most recently winning a heat in the 2022 worlds. He will be teaming up with Gosford local Glenn Stewart.
Ben Schulz has teamed up with 420 national champion Carter Baker. Ben just missed on winning last year and is probably the best Australian Fireball sailor to never win the nationals (so far). Their crew weight is a little low but they certainly have the skills to take it all the way.
The regatta starts on Friday March 10th at Somerton Yacht Club and it is still not too late to enter to see how you go against some of these champions. You can get more details here.