Ashby takes another A Class title

Glenn Ashby crosses Andrew Williams - Victorian A Class Championships
David McDonald
Melbourne produced some frustrating conditions for the Victorian A Class State Championships at McCrae over the Victorian March long weekend.

With the main water activity on Saturday being swimming due to the lack of wind and the sunshine sailors waited until Sunday to get sailing.

Hot and windless conditions greeted sailors on Sunday morning but with a forecast cool change to hit around midday the race management team managed to get one race. The cool change brought not only wind but also pouring rain.

Monday saw four races completed in conditions described by Kiwi America’s Cup sailor Dean Barker as 'frustrating and shifty'. Barker last sailed at McCrae in a Laser regatta back in 1988. A newcomer to the A class his first regatta was the nationals in Queensland. So why does he sail an A class ' it teaches you the requirements for catamaran sailing but it’s a steep learning curve'.

Australian of the Year Simon McKeon took time out from what is a busy year to 'sail with his mates'. McKeon described sailing in a fleet of this calibre as an 'extreme privilege'. The fleet was littered with America’s Cup sailors.

The youngest sailor in the fleet 17 year old Thomas Stuchberry was also probably one of the tallest – at 6ft 5'. A past member of the Victorian Junior Sailing Team Stuchberry was too big for most other off the beach boats but as a self confessed 'speed merchant' the A class was the obvious choice for him, and as the America’s cup was sailed in catamarans he see’s it as the future of sailing. In his first A class regatta and with one of the older boats in the fleet Stuchberry finished a creditable 33rd from a fleet of 50 boats.

Race Officer Peter Merritt started the four races on Monday under the black flag due to the time pressures created by the weather conditions.

With a scoreline of four bullets and the favourite going in to the regatta Glenn Ashby claimed the Victorian A Class State Championships for the 10th time.

For full results www.mccraeyc.com.au