2014 Australian Championship
The 2014 International 505 Australian Titles were held at Lake Macquarie Yacht Club, NSW. The event was very close with the winner not being decided until the last race.
Day one of racing had two races completed. Race 1 was sailed in about 12-18knts. Cameron and Heritage lead most the race except when it counted. Close racing with Babbage and McAllister and Quirk and Guanaria with Menzies and Quirk having a great last run home.
Race 2 was sailed in eight to 12 knots. Quirk and Guanaria lead most the race with very close racing behind. The top three finished within 25 seconds of each other.
Day two races 3 and 4 were sailed as the regatta competitors started to get into top gear. Race 3 started in a shifting 12 knots and saw Babbage and McAllister hold on to win over Quirk and Guanaria and Robinson and Castle who finished a close third. Race 4 was started in 12 knots from the east/south east and a strengthening 15 knots at times swinging to the south early in the race, and some sneaky easterly shifts throughout the race saw the lead change throughout the race with the final results seeing Quirk and Guanaria take the win from Cameron and Heritage in second and the local team of The Blues, Prosser and Sinclair sailing a great race for third.
Day three racing was held in 7- 8 knots with the odd gust of 12 knots was very shifty and with plenty of 30 degree shifts. Hayley Outteridge and Nathan Outteridge (Olympic Gold Medalist) won the day with two bullets.
On day four, only one race was held. Race 7 was sailed in 10 to 15 knots of Easterly breeze. With only days of sailing left the top three are only five points apart. The race was lead by Quirk and Guanaria for the most of the race losing their lead only once. But with Babbage and McAllister and Cameron and Heritage finishing second and third respectively and the forecast of some more breeze in the next two days the event winner is far from being decided.
Races 8 and 9 meant it was the second last day and was sailed in a really strong NE seabreeze, 20 to 25 knots with gusts to 30, producing great rides downwind. However the current leaders continued to show their talents. Mike Quirk snapped a side stay in Race 9 and was lucky the mast broke above the deck and not below. There was minimal damage to the hull. Mike always carries a spare mast and was able to be ready for the next and final day.
Final day Race 10 and 11 the breeze in eight to 12 knots E to NE sorted out the final positions and there was only four points separating the top three boats overall. If Kevin Cameron had not beaten Mike Quirk by half a boat length across the finish line on the last race there would have been equal points with Mick Babbage. Mick Babbage just grabbed gold at the end. Well done Mick Babbage and James McAllister.
• This was a well-run regatta by an experienced race committee of the Lake Macquarie Yacht Club. We were lucky with the weather with varying light, medium and heavy conditions to properly test the crews.
• In spite of a smallish fleet of 25 boats the quality of the fleet was, as usual, exceptionally high.
• A number of newcomers sailed this year with a special mention of Mike Whitmore and John Hillcoat from Tasmania with an older boat and Sarah and John McArthur-King from Canberra. They both agreed they learned a lot about 505s mixing with a friendly bunch who are willing to share all information.
• The girls showed the boys a thing or two on more than one occasion. Amy Lee and Justin Mulkearns and Haylee Outteridge and Nathan Outteridge scored first and second in race 5. Watch Amy in future 505 regattas you guys.
• The pedigreed combination of sister and brother Haylee and Nathan Outteridge always showed their form. However just like many past 505 regattas, 505 specific experience is needed to get to the top in a good fleet.
• Up and coming young crew from Illawarra, Dean Souter and Brad Clarke are ones to watch in the future.
• Grahame Prosser and Kane Sinclair sailing an older boat from a previous strong Lake Macquarie 505 fleet showed form of old days when the Lake fleet was the fastest in the world.
• Ryan Menzies and Jeff Robertson sailed their best regatta yet. This was probably due to their new quality crews of Nathan Quirk and Joel Castle respectively.
• In the long run the seasoned 505 sailors showed the way from day one throughout the regatta to register:
1 - Mick Babbage/James McAllister
2 - Mike Quirk/ Shane Guanaria
3 -Kevin Cameron/Sam Heritage