“Wetty Gripper crewman Todd Harnett covers the pain area with electrical tape after a day of abrasion on the inside of his embroidered shirt.”
Sean Wallis in Wetty Gripper from Perth leads day one of the 2010 J24 National Championships being held at Sandringham Yacht Club in Melbourne this week.
Melbourne really turned on the glamour weather with a 10 knot southerly and flat water. Bright sunny skies and warm temperatures meant competitors enjoyed great Port Phillip sailing.
The quality of the racing is obvious with the first five places being held by five previous national champions after 3 races today.
Hugo Ottaway a local Sandringham sailor in Vice Versa, is in second place pressing hard with a first, 2nd and a 4th’
Third place is held down by another Sandringham sailor David Suda in Pacemaker with a 2nd’ 3rd and 5th.
The battle of the Seans didn’t go head to head today with Sean Kirkjian finishing fourth for the day after a 4th and two 6s.
Doug McGain had an up and down day to finish in 5th. Racing is incredibly close with the leaders and the pack all within seconds of each other. The close racing and high standard of racing means some of the sailors expecting to be in the top bunch find themselves nearer the back.
This season’s 2010 J24 Nationals at Sandringham Yacht Club in Melbourne is shaping up for a number of monumental battles.
In the last 6 years, this has been a battle of the Sean’s, with 5 wins between them, 3 to Sean Kirkjian and 2 to Sean Wallis, interestingly all in different boats.
Sean Kirkjian will be sailing Starpac and needs very little introduction to many in the sailing world, based out of Sydney he has achieved notable success in not only J24s in Australia in State and National Championships and in world championships, but also earlier in dinghies and in recent years helming or crewing on big boats such as Shogun, Yendys and Ragamuffin and is one of the youngest skippers every to sail in the Sydney Hobart. He has also won the 07 Sydney 32 One Design Championship and competed in Sydney 38s.
Sean Wallis from Perth and his team sailing Wetty Gripper sailed a brilliant regatta to win the 2009 National Championships last season in Adelaide and then followed that up with a resounding win in the first J24 Asia – Pacific Championship, also held in Adelaide in June 09. Previous to these wins Sean won the 06 Nationals in Melbourne. Sean’s sailing career started early both crewing and skippering International Cadets, winning an SA state championship. He then moved to 420s and Sharpies. He tried golf for a few years, but found he liked sailing better. In 1997 he had his first opportunity to sail a J24 and was hooked back in to sailing and the J24 in particular. In 1999 he was offered an opportunity to sail at the J24 nationals in Lake Macquarie and hasn’t looked back since then. He now finds himself doing his 11th consecutive J24 Nationals. Sean is also very much involved in Radio Sailing in Perth.
Both helmsmen will be out to win the nationals this season, Wallis going for his third title and the defending champion, Kirkjian to establish a dominant position in the J24 Roll of Honour. This is the hard to pick battle, both are very good in strong sea breeze conditions, which Melbourne is likely to turn on.
The other name that turns up twice since 2003 as a winning helmsman is Doug McGain sailing Code Violation from Sydney. Fresh from winning the NSW State titles in November, Doug is a no-nonsense, relentless skipper who is also very much in the fight for this season’s title.
Melbourne’s only previous Nationals winning skipper to be sailing this regatta is Hugo Ottaway, known colloquially in Melbourne as “Mr J24”, Hugo is a awesomely consistent skipper with a strong showing in all weathers, his boat “Vice Versa” has been totally renovated recently with the one aim – to win and go to the worlds. Look out !
But these guys won’t have it all their own way, also from Melbourne is David Suda sailing Pacemaker who is also very capable of winning this regatta. The Pacemaker crew has been together for years and have put in a huge amount of training in all weathers especially the strong sea breezes and are a force to be reckoned with on their home ground.
Also coming from Adelaide, are Alan Stevenson and Peter Stevens, and whilst not expected to win the regatta they are both very good in the similar Adelaide conditions and should be close to the podium if not giving the favoured boats a nasty surprise.
Entry is now open for the 2010 Nationals. Entry is done online by clicking on the link on the Nationals page to the Top Yacht Online Entry System as used by Sandringham Yacht Club.
This system allows you to enter, change your details and pay online. Paperwork requirements for Insurance Certificates, Measurement Certificates and Measurement Compliance Certificates, Cat 6 Certificates and any other paperwork required will be done separately. You may be contacted by SYC and asked to fax these to the club, or if not, you will be required to supply these at registration on 2/3 January.
If you have any questions you want to direct to the club please ask for Monica Tonner on 03 9599 0999
Last night’s national Skype hookup, with representatives from NSW, SA and VIC online, made some far reaching decisions on the class future over the next 12 months.
Expect to see a much higher class profile in the very near future with a major promotional campaign coming on Sail-World.com, Australia’s leading and one of the world’s leading online sailing news sites.
Amongst a higher coverage of J24 events and news the campaign will be celebrating the class position as the birthplace of many keelboat sailing legends here in Australia and overseas culminating in a major event, “The Legends Regatta” to be held at Gosford on 2nd – 4th October 2010. Already we have significant interest from many Australian Sailing Legends, names you will already know well but not realised their involvement in the class in past years.
This site will soon begin a series of Legends features to profile these amazing people.
If you didn’t know it already “J24 – Where Legends Begin”
Two of Australia’s best known sailors drowned in the 2009 Sydney to Flinders Islet race on Saturday morning.
Ocean racing veteran Andrew Short owned and skippered the 80 foot (24.5) metre yacht, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, the former ShockWave 5, which ran aground on outlying rocks off Flinders Islet off Port Kembla just before 3:00am on Saturday.
Sally Gordon, was one of the most experienced women ocean racers on the Australian scene having sailed in 15 Sydney to Hobart races. She was the CYCA Ocean Racing Crew person of the year back in 2000.
Along with 16 other crew, the two sailors were taking part in an overnight race between Sydney and Flinders Islet. (Sail-World)
Many past and current J24 sailors have known both Andrew and Sally, sailing with and against them. Andrew won the 85 and 86 J24 Nationals and would have been a keen competitior in the Legends Regatta planned to be held in Sydney next year.
Terry Wise, our NSW President, has known both very well for many years and says, “Sally and Andrew are a part of our CYCA sailing family, both regular, very experienced happy faces, will be sadly missed.”
I am sure you all join me in offering our personal and J24 class condolences to their families in this tragic loss.
Ben Lamb, the current NSW J24 Champion, recently spent two weeks at Airlie Beach and Hamilton Island as tactician onboard the Farr 55 Living Doll. The Doll was winner of both the Meridian Marinas Airlie Beach Race Week and the Audi Hamilton Island Race Week IRC Grand Prix Division 1.
In an article in Sail World Michael Hiatt the owner stated “The afterguard did a great job getting us in the right place at the right time”
Another onboard a winning yacht was Dale Sharp a former NSW J24 President who was in the crew of Alegria an Archambault 40 which won the Hamilton Island IRC Grand Prix Division 2 and was overall winner of the Audi Australian IRC Championship.
Also joining the exodus North was Arthur Crothers and Bibiana Fedorova who sailed on Local Hero at Airlie Beach.
Other NSW J24 sailors who headed North for the Audi Hamilton Island Race Week were Steve Girdis and Ray Pearson on Steve’s yacht Free Spirit in IRC Division 1. Chris and Rachel Lee sailed on Toy Box, John Crawford on You’re Hired and Simon Williams on Ruth Magic.
The J24 “Comunity” is gaining momentum and our new site traffic stats are already impressive. We are now offering the opportunity to advertise your business to the J24 community. If you own a J the rates are unbeatable, if you crew or are a commercial operation wanting to advertise your business, then you will find our rates very attractive.
The J24 Community offers a wide range of skills that can benefit other owners and crew. We suggest you make a habit of supporting our advertisers, they are J sailors like you and will offer you the special service you expect from a small community.
In the very near future we will be commencing a promotional campaign on Sail-World.com – the world’s largest sailing news site. This will drive a huge amount of traffic to our site. So if you want to promote your business to our market then now is the time to talk to us about your ad.