With just four weeks to go to the Ronstan 2019 International Finn Australian Championship, at Black Rock Yacht Club, many Finn sailors from Australia and overseas are taking part in a series of events that ends with the national championship in the second week of January.
Around 40 Finns are expected to take part with a large contingent of overseas sailors joining the ever-growing Australian fleet, which is looking forward to hosting the 2019 Finn Gold Cup in December next year. That event will take place at the Royal Brighton Yacht Club, home of the annual Sail Melbourne event, which last week attracted 32 entries from eight countries.
The defending champion at the nationals will be Rio 2016 Olympian Jake Lilley. “We've had a fantastic beginning to the Summer of Sailing so far and each event is growing and getting more competitive. Of all the classes, the Finn has had the strongest showing of both talent and numbers in every major Australian regatta this year. So it's fantastic. The Finn is really healthy in Australia.”
In fact the fleet at Sail Melbourne contained 14 visitors from overseas, including the 2018 European Champion Ed Wright, from Britain, the 2018 Tokyo World Cup winner, Nicholas Heiner, from The Netherlands, and the 2016 Olympic champion, Giles Scott, from Britain. Most of the top sailors are staying on for the Nationals at Black Rock.
At Sail Melbourne, World No 1. Heiner took the win from Lilley, with Andy Maloney, from New Zealand, in third. Just before Sail Melbourne, Heiner also took a close win at Sail Sydney from Josh Junior, from New Zealand and Wright.
Heiner commented on his training in Australia. “It’s really been a good period so far in Australia. We came down here first to Sydney, where we had two camps. One was training and one was Sail Sydney. And then on to Melbourne for Sail Melbourne and the nationals, so a big block in Australia.”
“We chose to come down here because we thought the Sydney Heads looked a lot like Japan in a way. So for sure that’s one of the reasons we came here, and besides that in Melbourne we got great competition, with a great fleet of top guys. Looking forward to coming to Black Rock for the Nationals.”
Lilley continued, “To have all the British, Dutch, Chinese and the Kiwis here training with us at home is fantastic. I feel like we've all made jumps forward. Personally, to be at home and consistently training with this quality is ideal especially when we are always on the road for most of the year.”
He said that the waters off Melbourne are great for sailing and that the main focus for most Australian Finn sailors is next year’s Finn Gold Cup.
“Sailing in Melbourne in summer is magical. Generally we have glamour conditions with great sea breezes and waves. But you definitely want your sunscreen on. The Finn Gold Cup is very important. That’s why we have pushed for so many internationals to come here this summer and we are putting in work on the same waters.”
As well as winning the national title last year in a competitive and mainly local fleet of 29 boats, he was also the youngest sailor ever to pick up the title following his first title win in 2014. He said, “Winning the Australian Champs is always important. To have such a strong international showing this year presents a great challenge but I'll be there to bring my A Game.”
The Notice of Race, Entry Form and current Entry List can be found here: http://www.bryc.com.au/news/11046/