International 2.4mR Championships – Matt Bugg defends title

Matt Bugg (sail no AUS1) to windward of his opponents in the International 2.4mR class on Lake Burley Griffin on Monday - International 2.4mR Championships 2012
Richard Scarr
International 2.4mR Championships were held from Saturday 18 February to Monday 20 February 2012 at YMCA of Canberra Sailing Club. Tasmanian sailor Matt Bugg has successfully defended his Australian title in the International 2.4mR class in which he is expected to represent his country at the London Paralympic Games.

Bugg won by just one point in a closely-fought series on Canberra’s Lake Burley-Griffin on Sunday and Monday, repeating his performance at Metung, Victoria, last year when he became the first non-Canberra sailor to be national champion in this one-man yacht.

In addition to Bugg, several paraplegic sailors contested the open championship against able-bodied sailors in the 18 boat fleet.

With Saturday’s racing cancelled because of lack of wind, five races were packed into two days and, fortunately for Bugg, there was a discard, which was an 11th in race two.

He recovered with a win in race three, then a fourth and a third and, with his first race fifth, ended with 13 points, just one point ahead of Sydney sailor Lachlan Gilbert on 14 points. Third place, on 16 points, went to Mark Leydon from the host club, the Canberra YMCA Sailing Club.

Gilbert won the final race, which meant that Bugg had to finish second or third. He crossed the line third to retain the title and further enhance his prospects of representing Australia at the London Paralympics. The team is expected to be announced shortly.

'My flight from Hobart to Canberra the day before the regatta started was cancelled, so I went into the first race with a total of about 40 minutes in the new boat that I had launched in Hobart only three days before,' Bugg said yesterday.

International 2.4mR class racing on a placid Lake Burley-Griffin - International 2.4mR Championships 2012
Richard Scarr

'The racing was very difficult with massive wind shifts and huge variance in the wind strength, normally from nothing to almost nothing.

'After a second place on the last day and then a complete disappearance of the wind, I thought I had the regatta won, until I found out that the last race had been thrown out due to the race officer finishing everyone incorrectly.

'Luckily, the breeze filled in for one last race and a third was enough to give me the trophy for one more year,' Bugg added.

In addition to Bugg and Gilbert, heat winners were Tasmanian Lisa Blackwood, who finished fifth overall, veteran Canberra 2.4mR sailor Peter Russell who was fourth overall and third placegetter Mark Leydon.

Final results (leading six):
1. Sponsor Wanted (Matt Bugg, Tas) 5-11-1-4-3, 13 points
2. Futs and Fugley (Lachlan Gilbert, NSW) 3-4-6-6-1, 14 points
3. Octopod (Mark Leydon, ACT) 7-1-4-9-4, 16 points
4. Jelelka (Peter Russell, ACT) 4-12-2-1-OCS, 19 points
5. Happy Days (Lisa Blackwood, Tas) 1-5-8-5-8, 19 points
6. Polar Bear (B Willcock, NZL) 10-2-OCS-2-5, 19 points

International 2.4mR Class Association website