Tasmanians prepare for Audi Showdown 2014

Many of Tasmania’s most talented sailors in junior, youth and adult classes will provide a colourful racing spectacle in the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania’s 2014 Audi Showdown one-design regatta on Hobart’s River Derwent this weekend.

More than 120 entries have already been received for what is Tasmania’s most significant one-design regatta for off-the-beach dinghies, skiffs and catamarans and one-design keelboats. 

More late entries are expected between now and Saturday morning with 14 one-design classes already representing clubs around the State.

The racing will be largely along the Sandy Bay shoreline, scheduled to start on Saturday and Sunday at 10am.  Viewing will be best from Battery Point, from the Wrest Point Casino area and southwards to Nutgrove Beach.

Although not part of the Audi Showdown, a Combined Clubs Long Race Series race will start from Castray Esplanade between 9.30 and 9.50am, adding to the spectacle of sail on the river.

Competitors in the Audi Showdown include sailors who have won national championships and also competed with distinction at the international level, including several former world champions.

The Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania introduced the Showdown several years ago to provide sailors with regatta competition as a lead-up to their national championships.

Off-the-beach boats dominate entries, but the one-design keelboats include strong fleets of SB20s and 2.4m classes.  

London 2012 Paralympic sailor and recent Yachting Australia award winner Matt Bugg will be returning to the local scene in the 2.4m open class which also includes his father, Yachting Tasmania president Ron Bugg and his coach,  former Flying Dutchman sailor Richard Scarr.

Helming Ciao Baby 2 in the SB20 sportsboat class will be Rob Gough, sailing a keelboat instead of the foiler Moth in which he has a high international ranking.

The Australia Sharpie class will be making an appearance at the Audi Showdown with former two-times world champion International Cadet skipper Paul Burnell heading a fleet of up to six boats in his recently acquired Sharpie named Two Roos and a Blue.

The regatta coincides with a long weekend in Northern Tasmania and entries include off-the-beach boats, B14s, Lasers, NS14s, Optimists and Sabots from northern clubs.

The Laser fleet have the largest entry with 18 Laser 4.7 and four Laser Radials, including Queenslander Stuart Plenderleith.

Heading the 4.7 fleet is Tasmanian champion Sam King who recently finished third overall in the hotly contested NSW Youth championship, while other leading contenders for Showdown in the class include Joshua Ragg and Max Cottier.

Sixteen Optimists have entered while the evergreen Sabot class has almost 20 entrants headed by State champion William Wallis.  Several young sailors have progressed from two-up Sabots to one-up, including Ruby and Bailey Edmunds from Port Dalrymple Yacht Club at Beauty Point on the Tamar River.

Sandy Bay Sailing Club’s fleet of International Cadets has a dozen entrants as a new group of teenage sailors enter the class, headed by Jasmin Galbraith and Matilda O’Donoghue who earlier this year represented Australia at the World championships.

Spectacular sailing can be expected from a fleet of 14 high performance off-the-beach catamarans, the majority from Lauderdale Yacht Club and including the super fast F18s and the one-man Paper Tigers,  tuning up for their nationals early next year. Heading the Paper Tiger fleet is former national champion Bruce Rose.

Entries also include several high-performance dinghies, including former International Cadet champion Samantha Bailey and her crew, Chloe Fisher, in the 29er class, and Matthew Himson and Robert Tuck sailing an Olympic 49er.

Australian representative at the ISAF World Youth Sailing Championship, Jock Calvert, will have opposition from younger brother Angus in the Bic Techno sailboard class.

– Peter Campbell

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