Canberra sailors finish on top at 34th NSW Tasar Championships

Heat three - Ridgways lead the pack - 34th NSW Tasar Championships
Phil Thompson
The 34th NSW Tasar State Championships were held at Speers Point Amateur Sailing Club over the Easter weekend for 2011.

Rick Longbottom and Kelsey Hanrahan from Canberra were too smart and too quick in the prevailing sick sou'easterly conditions of the final two days racing, holding off World Champs Rob and Nic Douglass to take the titles by a point. This is a great result for the Canberra Yacht Club, where Nic Douglass is also a local sailor. Craig McPhee and Gill Berry, early leaders of the regatta, from South Australia rounded out the top three.

Day one was sailed in a variable westerly of 2-15 knots, with Nev Wittey and J-C Strong on Stunner taking out heat one, and Rick Longbottom and Kelsey Hanrahan on Navy Sailing taking heat two. The Douglass team of Rob and Nicole were relegated to second place in both races, but managed to lead after the first days racing.

Day two belonged to Craig McPhee and Gill Berry sailing Roll Your Own, who sailed exceptionally well to take two heat wins and the regatta lead. Rick Longbottom and Kelsey Hanrahan won the remaining heat of the three races on day two.

Going into the final day of racing, Craig McPhee and Gill Berry lead Rob and Nic Douglass by a point, with Rick Longbottom and Kelsey Hanrahan only three points behind. Rick and Kelsey, sailing with correctors to make minimum weight, proved to be too fast and too smart in the shifty southerly, outsailing their competitors to take the regatta win.

Messy bottom mark roundings in the light conditions - 34th NSW Tasar Championships
Phil Thompson

The top three on scratch at this Championships are an indication the competition that the NSW State Championships attract on a yearly basis. Rick Longbottom is no stranger to the top of the Tasar class, having won a World Championship, multiple Nationals, and his last NSW State Champs in 2002. Rob and Nic Douglass are the current World Champs and five time National champions, and Craig McPhee and Gill Berry have also won a number of National and State Titles. Kelsey Hanrahan, a great skipper in her own right, is a member of the Canberra Yacht Club Youth Racing Squad, coached by former Tasar sailor, Craig Davidson.

All three of these teams have their eye on the World Championship crown, which will be raced for this September in the UK out of Torbay.

Megan Darby sailing Pigs Can Fly won the Junior Title, Craig McPhee and Gill Berry took out the Masters title, Nev Wittey and JC Strong won the Grand Masters and Heather MacFarlane sailing SMAC won the Ladies trophy. Balmoral again won the handicap teams trophy, closely followed by Kogarah Bay Sailing Club and Speers Point.

The Tasar Association of New South Wales would like to thank the event sponsors, Zhik, Grotty Yachty, Deanna Harken of Flow Energetics (an excellent massage therapist in Sydney), Maxy Boats and of course Bethwaite Design.

The Race Committee, a combined crew from Speers Point including President Gary Powell, were headed up by PRO Jeremey Atkinson, who did a great job of getting the series in with the variable conditions, as well as sharing the waters with the NS14's who were racing out of Teralba.

For more information on the Tasar, including results for this event, the Worlds or the boat itself go to www.tasar.com.au

Craig McPhee and Gill Berry lead on day two of NSW States - 34th NSW Tasar Championships
Phil Thompson

Messy bottom mark roundings in the light conditions - 34th NSW Tasar Championships
Phil Thompson

Megan Darby (centre), first junior, going around the top mark - 34th NSW Tasar Championships
Phil Thompson

Rick Longbottom and Kelsey Hanrahan - NSW Tasar State Champions - 34th NSW Tasar Championships
Phil Thompson