2018 Windsurfer One Design Australian Championships, Parkdale VIC – The Battle on the Bay
By Nicholas Sands
Parkdale Yacht Club on Port Phillip Bay hosted the 41st Windsurfer One Design nationals with competition in four disciplines across the Australia Day long weekend.
The regatta attracted 49 competitors from New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania, Queensland taking on a strong Victorian contingent on home waters.
The Windsurfer One Design is the largest and strongest sailboard class in Australia. Its classic shape, based on the original Windsurfer, has trained some of Australia’s best over the years and all of Australia’s Olympic sailboarders have raced in the class.
The board and rig set-up is simple by modern standards but the ‘Wally’ is highly technical to sail and boasts the hottest board racing fleet in the country.
Contested under hot and sunny skies, the fleet made a colourful sight with competition areas set close to shore which attracted great crowds of onlookers. Conditions provided something for everyone to strut their stuff – with breezes ranging from 5 – 18 knots across the racing period. Rolling bay swell in sea-breezes kept everyone on their toes, whilst shifty northerlies off the land on the last day let the flat-water specialists shine through.
The vibe throughout was fantastic with a strong social calendar and friendly atmosphere ensuring good times on and off the water. The deck at Parkdale YC provided perfect for watching racing as well as cooling down post-race.
Twelve windward / leeward course races were conducted by the slick Parkdale race management team with all in starts meaning crowded lines and plenty of tight racing up and down the track.
With competitors split into weight divisions for scoring there was frantic action with the short 25 minute races keeping things close.
In the Lightweights (<75kg) a four-way battle between super speedy NSW female Mel Webb and Victorian’s Mark Lloyd, young gun Will Grimshaw and Jason ‘JMO’ Morris saw each taking heats and the title up for grabs in a cut throat last race. Sailed in a fading oscillating Northerly, Lloyd and Grimshaw broke loose and match raced the final beat with the lead changing multiple times. Will showed great maturity to stave off Lloyd and take the gong but Lloyd had done enough to grab the crown.
Victorian Nick Bez showed excellent pace all regatta and sailed very consistently bagging 10 wins out of the 12 races to turn in a clean sheet after two drops in the Mediumweights (75-84.9kgs). Tim Lelliot from South Australia kept things tight to snag second, with former national champ Danny Bainbridge from Victoria grabbing third.
Simon Jones from NSW and Scott Buckingham from Victoria had a ding dong battle in the Heavyweight division (>85 kg) with both taking multiple wins. In the end Buckingham put in a strong last day to clinch the crown with local Paul Grimshaw completing the podium.
The Women’s division saw Mel Webb dominate with a clean sheet. Sailing in the lightweight class she took 3 overall race wins as well. Great stuff. Next was the local favourite Tonia Grimshaw-Lloyd with young Grace Webb sailing in her first Nationals third.
The Novice division was a showcase for up and coming racers who sailed a shorter course. Plenty of persistence was shown with 12 year old Josh Baker was a standout, sailing well in all conditions and taking a deserved win. Next was Dave Peterson back into racing after a long break. German exchange student Linda Meyer was next in her first ever regatta, then the ever smiling Grace Hawkless.
Australia Day morning saw competitors wheel out their best for a 3 minute trick routine. Onlookers were treated to up close action with the judging area set very close to shore. Great music and commentary from the viewing deck of the club created a fantastic atmosphere as sailors went through a variety of sail tricks, board spins and sailing positions.
Great routines were complimented with dressed up tricksters including ‘Elivs’, ‘Warnie’ and the ’70’s Nutbush girls’. The 3 judges had a tough time scoring when ‘Wedgie man’ entered the arena.
Dan Bainbridge was a stand-out early with some very neat sail tricks and a well executed no handed ‘coffin’. Tim Lelliot, sporting a tutu, got stuck in with a great variety of tricks and multiple rail rides including the crowd favourite bunny hop.
But in the end the judges liked the work of Mel Webb who scored a very popular win. She came out firing with a variety of rail-rides and sail tricks showing great control throughout. With the crowd cheering Mel put the cherry on the cake by doing the splits on a reverse railride. Very hard and very awesome.
Course Race 11 – Start – Windsurfer One Design Australian Championships – photo © Shane Baker / www.shanebaker.net
A building sea-breeze presented perfect conditions for the Slalom competition. Run in heats, the top four competitors progress through the elimination table to reach an eight person final with three heats.
Losers are able to work back through a 2nd chance bracket and still make the finals the hard way. The course features a very short start line, small beat then multiple gybe marks round two laps. With many boards jamming to get off the line starts were crucial. With swell building there were plenty of spills and some great action.
Tight finishes were a feature as the fleet was whittled down. Some of the favourites ended up swimming and were either eliminated or went through the repechage.
The final saw a few dark horses in with some old hands. The breeze was down to 12 knots but the lumpy sea-state made it a real challenge. A big crowd of sailors and supporters crowded the PYC deck for a first hand view. Commentary and music kept the crowd amped up.
The first heat saw Mark Lloyd cruise to an easy win from Jason Morris and Nick Bez. Heat two was very tight with Morris taking a bullet from Bez, with Peter Monkhouse grabbing 3rd. Lloyd was out the back door to score a 5th.
With no drops Morris was in the box seat and just needed a top 4 to seal the deal. Heat 3 started in a left hand pattern. Local Nick Bez nailed a pin end start and tacked across the fleet and was away. Morris meanwhile got hung up and went to last.
Bez extended as the chasing boards tussled and cruised home with a win and the overall slalom title. Next was Lloyd snatching a 2nd and second overall. Tim Lelliot was 3rd in the heat leaving Morris at the tail end and having to settle for third overall.
The marathon is an endurance test sailed over an extended course for multiple hours. The PRO set a long beat from the start just off Parkdale to beyond Mordialloc pier then a run back to PYC, a reach along the beach to Mentone, another long beat up to Ricketts Point, straight downwind to Mentone and then a final reach sprint to the finish off the club.
Conditions looked good with 8-12 knots across the race area at the start and the locals all calling for a building sea-breeze.
After a general recall, the fleet was away with one bunch heading out to sea and the other along the beach. NSW sailor Matt Ishenko was revelling in the conditions, along with Mel Webb and Steve Walsh looking good early.
But local knowledge proved useful as a group of Victorians who went left gained the upper hand half way up the leg. Mediumweight Nick Bez led the charge with Will Grimshaw hot on his heals with Jason Morris close behind.
Bez just let the fleet at the windward mark and the sprint back downwind was on. The fleet splashed colour across the horizon as it spread out on the run. At the turning mark Bez had extended slightly with Grimshaw, Morris and then Ishenko battling it out. The long reach to Mentone was a test as competitors grappled with a softening breeze and residual slop.
Bez had a 20 board length lead at the start of the beat to Ricketts Point. Grimshaw headed left, whilst others went looking for pressure on the right. Bez covered Grimshaw but took a few digs into more pressure to consolidate whilst Morris hooked into some nice air on the right.
Indeed, the right proved better as the fleet plowed on and some in the mid fleet made some nice gains.
At the last windward mark Bez had made more time and settled back downwind with a nice break. Behind, Morris worked passed Grimshaw with Ishenko and Mel Webb in the frame.
The final leg saw the breeze drop further with just 3 knots and big pressure gaps. Bez was holding on but the lightweights were charging with Morris applying the blowtorch just ahead of the pack.
In the end Bez got the gun but saw his lead cut by 2/3rds. Morris was next then Will Grimshaw, just ahead of Matt Ishenko and Mel Wedd (who also took first women) rounding out the top five.
The fleet battled on in very light airs and super hot conditions with finishers coming in over the next hour. A great effort by all – truly a marathon effort.
The Pentathlon is an aggregate of all four formats with a slight weighting to course racing. The Women’s overall was dominated by Mel Webb who had a great regatta taking out each discipline. Second was junior Grace Webb followed by Victorian youth Isabella Grimshaw.
The Men’s champion was Nick Bez who grabbed his first Pentathlon crown, then Tim Lelliott and Scott Buckingham rounding out the podium.
Windsurfers still doing it standing up at 40th Anniversary regatta
By Dave West. Originally published in SailWorld Australia
Balmoral Beach, one of Australian windsurfing’s spiritual homes, was the venue for the 40th Anniversary Windsurfer One Design Class (based on the original Windsurfer board) National Championships held 26-29 January, 2017.
The event, sponsored by Mobium Group and Namotu Island Fiji, attracted over 80 competitors from all states of Australia, as well as international sailors from Italy, Finland, Norway and the USA.
Balmoral Beach was a great base for the regatta. Competition was held over four days with conditions ranging from 5 – 25 knots which provided a great test for bodies and board handling.
With a fleet that included Olympians, World Champions and numerous Australian and State title holders, the event was the largest and most competitive one design windsurfing event held in Australia in a decade.
Ages ranged from 14 to 70 with the fleet divided into weight divisions for men, juniors and a strong ladies division competing in four disciplines – Course Racing, Slalom, Freestyle and Marathon. A competitor’s overall position is calculated by combining results from all disciplines.
The course racing, which is the highest profile and most important discipline in determining the overall scores, saw seven super competitive heats, with multiple general recalls and ultra-close racing.
After some titanic battles the final results were:
Men’s Lightweight: (1) Tim Gourlay (WA) (2) Rob Treharne (NSW), (3) Mario Vaidiveiso (ITA)
Men’s Mediumweight: (1) Josh Green (QLD), (2) Nick Bez (VIC), (3) Chris Thompson (ACT)
Men’s Heavyweight: (1) Dennis. Winstanley (QLD), (2) Rohan Cudmore (NSW), (3) Stuart Gilbert (NSW)
Men’s Super-Heavyweight: (1) Simon Jones (NSW), (2) Paul Grimshaw (VIC), (3) Gerald Nailon (VIC)
Women: (1) Lanee Beashel (NSW), (2) Mel Webb (NSW), (3) Jannicke Stolstrom (NOR)
Junior: (1) Will Grimshaw (VIC), (2) Max Paul (NSW), Anthony Charlton (NSW)
This event features a knockout competition with the top four in each successive heat progressing through to a final.
Fast and furious, the course features a short beat to windward, then a downwind with multiple gybes over two laps. Slalom favours those with great starting skills and excellent board handling technique.
In the men’s fleet, after a 3 heat final, the overall placings were (1) D. Winstanley, (2) T. Gourlay, (3) R. Treharne
The women had a five race series with a podium of (1) L. Beashel, (2) Annelise. Gilbert (NSW), (3) M. Webb.
Slalom action – 40th Anniversary Windsurfer One Design Class National Championships © Windsurfer Class Association of Australia
Freestyling with Dennis Winstanley
A three minute routine of sail and board tricks, the freestyle takes balance and control to a new level. Sailing the board on its rail or upside down, along with a variety of sail spins racks up the points but don’t drag the boom or fall in – points are deducted by the three judges for errors.
A super tight contest in the men’s saw a tie for first with Rob Treharne and Tim Gourlay equal, then Dennis Winstanley.
In the women’s it was another win for Lanee Beashel, with Mel Webb next, then Sirpa Hovi joining the event all the way from Finland.
This endurance event features an all-in start with a course that took competitors on a long distance tour around Middle Harbour and beyond. Chinaman’s Beach to Balmoral to Manly Bombora, to Balmoral to Clontarf to Chinaman’s to Balmoral for the Finish Line!
A 5-8 knot breeze saw the lighter sailors come to fore, with the leading bunch featuring the top lightweights and females.
In the women’s it was another victory for Lanee Beashel, then Jannicke Stolstrom and Simona Christofori (ITA).
The men’s leaders were Tim Gourlay, then Rob Treharne and Josh Green.
Marathon Action – 40th Anniversary Windsurfer One Design Class National Championships © Windsurfer Class Association of Australia
With a fantastic overall performance across all disciplines, Tim Gourlay from WA was crowned men’s Pentathalon champion, with Dennis Winstanley from Hamilton Island in second and Josh Green from the Sunshine Coast in third. All of the top three demonstrated world class sailing and board skills.
Lanee Beashel from Lake Macquarie dominated the women’s competition with a perfect score win in all disciplines.
Local girl Melanie Webb, had a great regatta to come in second and Annalise Gilbert who has been busy sailing other classes came in third.
The Junior competition was won by Will Grimshaw from Melbourne with Max Paul, son of Mark Paul of Bombora fame in second and Anthony Charlton from Lake Macquarie in third. What was great to see was the support the Juniors were getting and that four of the Juniors also had parents sailing in the same regatta.
With fluoro green, orange and multi-colour sails and Middle Harbour supplying a spectacular backdrop, many people were commenting that they ‘hadn’t seen the Harbour this bright since the 1980s’.
The Windsurfer class is undergoing a revival and club racing is now possible in small fleets dotted around Australia. “Yes, Windsurfers are still doing it standing up and It’s great to see such a strong turnout for the 40th Nationals” said David West, Windsurfer Class Association President.
“Especially those that have returned to the sport after many years, our young juniors, and those that have come from across the world. Young and old can join in the fun of a windsurfing regatta which includes round the buoys Course Racing, Slalom, Marathon, Freestyle and naturally some great comradery and partying.”
Greg Johns has been a driving force in the class since the original Australian Championship in 1977. During the regatta’s 40th Reunion Party held at Cala Luna in Middle Harbour Yacht Club, he was presented with a well-deserved “Lifetime Legend” award recognising his unwavering support and commitment to Windsurfer Class. Johns, the PRO for the regatta, said “Windsurfer Class has, and continues to be, a great training class for some of Australia’s most successful sailors.”
The competition had a bit of everything with trophies not only awarded for excellence in windsurfing but also “Windsurfer Classic” awards which promote the unique spirit of windsurfing, the colourful characters and antics during the regatta. Steve “The Pirate” Martland from Magnetic Island was awarded first place Windsurfer Classic with his commitment to the pirate lifestyle and dress throughout the regatta.
Following the 40th Nationals success, local windsurfing clubs are expecting more interest and increasing numbers of sailors on their start lines. Balmoral Sailing Club, the host club of this year’s event, is now planning to run regular weekend Windsurfer racing.
The 2018 Nationals will be set in Victoria and another strong fleet is expected.
For those wishing to get in some early training, Parkdale Yacht club in Melbourne is consistently having over 15 Windsurfer sailors in their weekly club racing on Sundays.
Women’s Slalom – 40th Anniversary Windsurfer One Design Class National Championships © Windsurfer Class Association of Australia
Slalom action aplenty in tricky 5 – 12 knots. – 40th Anniversary Windsurfer One Design Class National Championships © Windsurfer Class Association of Australia
The Mobium Group Australian Championships January 2015
Full results can be found here: 201501NationalsResults
Sydney Metropolitan Championships November 2014
After many years’ absence from the regatta calendar, the Sydney Metropolitan Championships returned to the beautiful waters of Sydney Harbour on the 15th and 16th November 2014 with the generous support of Middle Harbour 16′ Skiff Club. The first day’s racing was held in a healthy 10 – 15 knot southerly with gusts of 20 – 25 knots and there were plenty of smiles from the fleet of Sydney sailors who don’t often get the chance to race fully powered-up and hooked in for an entire four race session. Plenty of wind shifts, an incoming tide and some interesting wave action on the downwind legs made for nail biting races. The entire fleet was extremely close, with multiple lead changes on each leg of each race. At some mark rounds there was less than 60 seconds between first and last place. Paul Ivshenko, Robert Howard and Dave West each won at least one race, with Stuart Gilbert and Rob Clay snapping at their heels. Despite the close racing there were few incidents and plenty of smiles at the end of the session, followed by excellent steak sandwiches and beers on the skiff club deck.
Day two dawned with an ominous forecast and some quiet muttering among the sailors about the joys of Middle Harbour westerlies. The race committee was nevertheless upbeat and set a course on the eastern shore, aiming to complete at least a couple of races before the predicted sou-wester arrived. The fleet assembled for the first start in a fresh 20 knot west/nor-wester but seconds before the hooter the wind increased from ‘fresh’ to ‘exciting’. It is a rare and awe-inspiring sight to witness heavy-wind specialists of the calibre of Stuart Gilbert and Roger Crawford being repeatedly slammed into the water on their way upwind and hanging on by the skin of their fingernails on the downwind legs. Paul Ivshenko put in a super-human performance to take first place, with only four other competitors making it around the course. One unfortunate sailor battled the extreme conditions and was delighted to be third over the line only learn to his horror he had been disqualified at the start.
Racing was cancelled for the afternoon, and much of the fleet availed themselves of the services of the rescue boats for a lift back to the club. Rob Howard, winner of the Ancient Mariners age division declared it a “one in 100 year occurrence for WOD racing”. We didn’t realise that he was quite that old!
All in all, a great regatta, with excellent racing, new faces and plenty of smiles.
Lightweights: 1st Robert Howard, 2nd Paul Ivshenko, 3rd Rob Clay
Mediumweights: 1st Stuart Gilbert, 2nd Roger Crawford, 3rd Dave West
Heavyweights: 1st Peter Doolan
Women: 1st Karen Murden
Full results: 201411SydneyMetrosResultsv3
National Championships 2014 – Middle Harbour