Festival of Sails 2012 - Bourke wins SB3 Victorian Championship

Festival Of Sails 2012, Royal Geelong Yacht Club, Geelong (AUS), Bundaberg Rum Victorian SB3 Championships
Borrowing a Queensland tourism slogan…’beautiful one day perfect the next’' was principal race officer Denis Thompson’s summation of the conditions that blessed this year’s Festival of Sails.

The shutters came down on the six-day Festival of Sails 2012 this afternoon with light airs and searing summer temperatures capping off the Geelong component of the regatta, a Victorian major sporting event that has been running since before both the Melbourne Cup and America’s Cup.

Warwick Rooklyn’s Bandit has been crowned Melges 24 national champion for the second year running after a stunning series victory.

The Parks Victoria Melges 24 National Championship was a hard-fought 10 race series, the final two raced sailed today in a light easterly breeze on the flat waters of Corio Bay’s inner harbour as those yachts that finished yesterday headed out the channel past the divisions still completing their schedule and home.

'We have defended our title, which is never easy to do. The Accru team kept us honest all the way through,' said Rooklyn afternoon as the boat was packed up and put on a trailer to return to Sydney tomorrow.

'The venue has ticked all the boxed for us in terms of an international class. It’s great to be here at the Festival of Sails,' Rooklyn added.

Bandit, helmed by Rooklyn and crewed by Julian Plante, Sean O’Rourke, Jay Griffin and Doug McGain, wrapped up the series with 13 points, a five point cushion back to the nearest Melges 24, Kevin Nixon’s Accru on 18 points. Jason McHatton’s Arriba! Arriba! rounded out the podium places in third.

Glenn Bourke’s Club Marine Hamilton Island is the undisputed champion of the SB3 class contesting the Bundaberg Rum SB3 Victorian Championship.

On his 12 point winning margin, Bourke, a triple Laser world champion said, 'It comes down to tactics. This is an odd regatta in that quite often the corners paid, and I’m not a corner kinda guy. But eventually the conservative option, taking shifts in the middle and chipping away, won out.

'You have to be in phase when it’s shifting that much, we were in phase more often.

So is Bourke’s flair learnt or is it natural ability? 'Ten thousand races over the course of a career bashes what’s right and wrong into you. Then if you have a little bit of natural ability coupled with that it helps,' Bourke said today.

He and his crew of Rod Jones and Greg McAllamsmith are well on track for this year’s SB3 world championship, which will be held at Hamilton Island in December.

Festival Of Sails 2012, Royal Geelong Yacht Club, Geelong (AUS), Bundaberg Rum SB3 Victorian Championships

The last time Bourke was in Geelong was in 1981 for the Flying Dutchman world championships, where he tied for third, and the last Victorian championship he won was in the Lasers around 25 years ago.

'One Victorian championship every quarter of a century is OK, I’ll have to try for another when I’m 75,' he laughed after collecting his trophy at this afternoon’s prize presentation held at the host club, the Royal Geelong Yacht Club.

Bourke’s long-awaited return to Geelong was a great experience for Hamilton Island’s CEO. 'I really enjoyed it and I really like the venue because it’s tricky.

'The regatta vibe reminds me of Cowes Week, but with sunshine. The whole gala scene on the waterfront is great. It’s not sheep stations, although we go out there and try really hard. It’s one I could do a few more of,' he added.

Results here