Geoff Masters And Mako Melges Win Australian Melges 24 National Championship
Sail Port Stephens played host to the second Melges 24 National Titles over the Anzac Day weekend. Competitors from WA, VIC, QLD and NSW arrived at Nelson Bay on the Wednesday and Thursday prior to the regatta to rig boats and set up their crews and families at Melges HQ.
The second AGM of the International Melges 24 Association of Australia was held at the All Seasons, Salamander Shores Thursday evening. Heath Townsend from GBYC was again elected President, Darren Spence from RQYC Secretary / Treasurer so the class is in great hands. Items discussed included the location of the 2010 Nationals and the bid for the M24 World Titles. We all enjoyed a delicious meal at Salamander Shore afterwards.
Two races were sailed on both Friday and Saturday while Sundays racing was abandoned due to the 40+ Knot westerly winds.
The Melges 24s well and truly lived up the their reputation of exciting, tight one design racing, four races, four different winners. The regatta was there for the taking and it was lack of errors, composure and good consistent racing that won Geoff Masters (skipper) Mako Melges AUS 762 the 2009 title. Geoff's crew consisted of son Matt, father son combo David and Alex Lyons along with good friend and Middle Harbour Yacht Club, Club Captain John McCuaig. Geoff's cool head and one design experience in both Sydney 38's and Melges 32's paid off.
Geoff stated the "camaraderie in the fleet is great we've been learning a lot on the water and dockside. Different ideas on setup has meant we've got better each race and been trying new things" Geoff was recalling the last time he won a Nationals at Salamander Bay was 30 years ago 1979 in windsurfers, " the pleasure of winning this regatta at Salamander Bay racing with my son is fantastic" said Geoff.
Warrick Heath skippered Business Time AUS 206 RQYS along with crew Mark Moriarty and his sons Nicholas, Hugh and Max Creedy. The team sailed confidently and stamped their mark on the fleet with two seconds and a first going into race four. An infringement with Heath Townsend What Tha AUS 558 GBYC put them in fifth place race four possibly costing them the regatta.
All yachts competing bar one had families racing together with the youngest 11 year old Harley Walters crewing with his uncle Murray and father Heath on No Comment AUS 746 RPAYC with experienced yachtsman Rob Brewer and owner Mark Bernardinis to take third place overall.
Although the Melges 24 class is relatively young in Australia it is attracting experienced world class sailors. Alby Pratt from Norths crewed with Heath Townsend on What Tha along with Kym Nisbet and Darren Spence. Heath, Kym and Darren purchased What Tha as their East Coast boat with Heath and Kym both owning M24s in Western Australia.
John Hall Anarchy AUS 668 SYC raced with son Tim and led the fleet out of the blocks in several races succumbing to tide and wind shifts.
David Farrimond and his team of four sons on Vitesse AUS 710 RGYC took advantage of their time in the boat and the range of conditions thrown at them to learn more about racing M24 one design.
Each of the top four boats had won a race by day three so it was game on when the breeze was howling and racing was abandoned, setting up the challenge for the 2010 National Titles in Queensland.
1 AUS762 Mako Melges Geoff Masters RPAYC 9 points
2 AUS 206 Business Time Mick Moriarty RQYC 10 points
3 AUS 746 No Comment Mark Bernadinis RPAYC 11 points
4 AUS 558 What Tha Heath Townsend GBYC 12 points
5 AUS 668 Anarchy John Hall SYC 18 points
6 AUS 710 Vitesse David Farrimond RGYC 24 points