Sailing Champions League Asia Pacific set for thriller final

Close starts set the tone for the day - Harry Fisher pic

The title of best sailing club in Australia for 2021 is less than 24 hours from being awarded and the same young Tasmanian and Sydney teams that were on top on day one sit at the top of the points table after day two of the Sailing Champions League Asia Pacific Final.

The Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania team of skipper Sam King and crew Chloe Fisher, Alice Buchanan and Charlie Zeeman, struck gold once again on Newcastle Harbour in light westerlies, holding onto their day one lead by the same margin of two points from Jed Cruickshanks’ Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron youth team.

Jeff Robinson’s Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club team is now equal third with South Australia’s Brighton & Seacliff Yacht Club skippered by Alex Higgins and crewed by his younger sister Chelsea, Joal Mackenzie and Brooke Jones. Their blistering day two scoresheet featured six wins, enough low points to move the talented South Australian youth team into third overall.

Robinson took time out between rounds on Saturday to talk about his cracker NCYC team: “I got a late call, so I grabbed Mick [Babbage], who I race against in the 505s, then a few phone calls later I’d organised Haylee [Outteridge] and Claire [Costanzo]. They are obviously fantastic sailors; I feel like I’m the weak link.

“We are really enjoying the sailing at Newcastle; it’s not about the results, it’s about getting the team together and if we are good enough, we’ll be there at the end.”

Among a majority of sailors aged 20 something, Robinson is holding his own: “When we train on the 505, we can be out for eight hours, so this schedule of 24 races a day is no problem.”

Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron is fifth overall,. One of two female skippers, Laura Harding, is leading the Victorian charge with crewmates Harriet Singh, Ethan O’Brien and Hamish Bolton.

Racing was set against Newcastle industry backdrop – Harry Fisher pic

“The venue is definitely different to Mornington where we had the qualifier, it was wavy and consistent breeze and here it’s super shifty,” Harding said. She is reluctant to nominate the four teams likely to be left standing after the qualifying series, adding “Everyone seems to be up and down so it’s anyone’s game.”

Sunday morning’s two remaining rounds will determine the top four clubs for the final series. The overall winner of the qualifying series carries one point to the first-to-two wins final, which is shaping up as a thriller given the forecast for a fresh west/sotuth-westerly breeze.

From midday on Sunday, the action will be broadcast live via the SCL Asia Pacific Facebook page.

The SCL Asia Pacific Final is part of NCYC’s SailFest regatta.

More information on the Sailing Champions League – Asia Pacific, and full results:

Lisa Ratcliff/Sailing Champions League media

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