WA wins Australian Minnow Championship for the first time

The Cruising Yacht Club (TCYC) in conjunction with the WA Minnow Sailing Assoc hosted the 35th Australian Alcoa Minnow Sailing Championships from 11-16 Jan 2015.  The regatta attracted 57 sailors from WA, NT and Victoria, 42 in the combined Open/Junior fleet and 15 in the Novice.

Open: 1st Kieran Bucktin ‘Kalari’ WA; 2nd Hamish Bolton ‘Griffin’ VIC; 3rd Kieran Schortz ‘Crackerjack’ NT
Junior: 1st Kieran Bucktin ‘Kalari’ WA; 2nd Huw Wiltshire ‘Ozone’ NT; 3rd Harry Williams ‘Devil in Disguise’ WA
Novice: 1st Drina Bucktin ‘Knock Out’ WA: 2nd Jacob Mills ‘Purple Haze’ WA: 3rd Charlie Hunter-Scott ‘Wizard’ VIC
First Female Open: In 4th place Anna Obrien ‘Red Shark’ VIC
First Female Junior:    In 12th place Kate Evens ‘La Femme Fatale’ VIC
First Female Novice: In 1st place Drina Bucktin ‘Knock Out’ WA

In the Open Division, local sailor Kieran Bucktin dominated the first 2 days of the regatta with 4 firsts and 2 seconds to give a comfortable lead over Victorian rival Hamish Bolton.  Third place in the open division was taken out by NT sailor Kieran Schortz. Kieran was able to also take out the Junior title over NT sailor Huw Wiltshire.  

This is the first time the open title has been won by WA and only the 2nd time in Minnow history that a junior sailor has taken both junior and open titles.

Open fleet Race Officer had his work cut out for him to set a course in the light fickle winds in the mornings, the afternoons giving a more consistent and stronger breeze which provided a range of conditions and making a fair regatta for all competitors overall.

This season has been the first with the WA  Alcoa Minnow Development Squad training throughout the year under Head Coach Chelsea Hall.  The remainder of the development squad members did extremely well with Dean Cowan from Dunsborough coming 6th,  Harry Williams sailed extremely well to win 2 races, placing 9th overall and 3rd Junior.  His brother Rhys Williams placed 11th in some very tight racing.  Light weather star Mitchell MacLeod placed 14th overall.  The results show the success of the Alcoa Minnow Development Squad program and shows promise for the future of WA Minnow sailing.

The Novice fleet racing was very tight between Drina Bucktin who narrowly won over fellow TCYC sailor Jacob Mills followed by Victorian Charlie Hunter-Scott.  Drina sailed well to place in the top 3 in every one of the 12 races to join her brother on the winners podium. 

The novice fleet had 3 former Minnow sailors to help coach the back half of the fleet.  On the final day, the sailors ran a race for the start boat crew, coaches/support boat drivers. 

Despite the Novice RO Gail Luff sinking her borrowed Minnow  ‘Bubbles’, this was a great fun event for the kids, cheering their coaches on and running the race for the adults.

With the success of the development squad evident in the results and one of the strongest WA contingents for a National event the Minnow Association is looking at extending its current program to include a junior squad.  The combined development squad and junior squad will provide an even greater opportunity for those younger sailors who will train alongside the development squad with the aim to ultimately lead into it and provide an even stronger WA contingent at the next National event.  

– Chris Bucktin

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