Two weeks after claiming the title of Australian Champion at the Melges 24 Nationals in Geelong Chris Links (RPAYC) Northshore Marine was victorious at the second Melges 24 South Australian Titles held at Adelaide Sailing Club last weekend. The only crew member to compete in both events was Chris, picking up a local South Australian team consisting of long time friend Stuart Shimeld and Nick Fewster and Peter Dunk.
Chris Links has won three of the last four major Melges 24 Championships this season by one point or less demonstrating how competitive the Melges 24 class is in Australia and around the world leading up to the World Championships in Geelong next January.
Seven boats participated in a hotly fought contest with the eventual winner, Northshore Marine claiming victory after a first in the last race gave him a count back advantage over David Bull’s Jester. The Jester crew had a fantastic regatta leading most of the weekend until the last seconds of the final race. Great result for them as they now focus on the World Championships in San Francisco in September.
Four points behind in third overall was Accru Adelaide just purchased by Dan O’Connell and skippered by Dave Alexander. Onboard was a welcomed and handy crew member, previous owner Kevin Nixon assisting in the hand over.
Lighter conditions this year provided a mix of relief for some visitors and disappointment for others that were looking forward to playing in the swell of the 2012 titles. Tricky and shifting conditions on the final day were challenging and picking the various patterns on the water was definitely the key to gaining positions. With rarely more than two and a half minutes between first and last place, racing was incredibly close and tactical.
The high degree of competition coupled with nearby accommodation and lots of socialising amongst teams made the event the perfect place to discuss technique, set up and other hints. The free flow of information assisted some of the newer crews, showing continual improvement on the race course.
The success of this event has truly cemented the class in South Australia and established a competitive field that is rapidly growing as we lead into the 2014 Worlds in Geelong. Adelaide Sailing Club has secured the State Titles as a ranked Melges 24 event and will host the 2015 Australian Championships.