Musto Skiff Australian titles 2013 - Winning by a whisker

Will Phillips winning race 5 - Musto Skiff Australian Championships 2013
Rick Steuart
The Musto Performance Skiff Australian Championships has been action-packed throughout the week-long competition. In the end, Will Phillips claimed the title by tallying one more point ahead of runners-up Jon Newman and Tim Hill.

Will Phillips is the new Musto Performance Skiff Australian Champion, he won by one point from Jon Newman with Tim Hill third. All are from Victoria.

For Will it was a good fortnight, as he came to Perth the day after winning the 49er National Championships. The championships over five days, from January 4 to 8, was sailed on Melville Water Perth from Mounts Bay sailing club. The significance of sailing in Perth is that it’s the first time outside Victoria and reflects the growth in Perth from one to eight boats in a Year.

Mounts Bay sailing club is on the Swan River and the race course was Melville water so Andy Curnow the PRO could set a one nautical mile race course in flat water. The Fremantle Doctor was not its usual self. Day Four was actually lost due to lack of Wind. Despite this Andy got all 10 races in, three were light and three heavy. On the last day the first race was light, race two started light before a 25 knot breeze arrived midway up the work. The sudden jump in breeze caused some spectacular capsizes including Jon Newman the regatta favourite’s nose plant at the top mark.

Race one started moderate South west and race two were slightly stronger, as the course was only 15 minutes sailing from the club the boats were back on shore after three hours. Just a perfect days sailing. Pre regatta Favourite Jon Newman won race one but Veteran Champions Arthur Brett and Denis Jones led early. In race two again Arthur Brett was out in front early and Will Phillips was with him, as the breeze picked up, Ritchie Robertson who held the lead down the run capsized with 50m to go, Arthur won with Will second, and Will and the next four boats finished and capsized, Jon Newman had a bad race capsizing too often.

On day two it was again lighter at 10 – 12 knots , Chris Sutherland and Arthur Brett led the fleet until Jon Newman pulled a good shift to lead all the way to the end. In the second race it was a left hand course and Newman, Phillips and double Contender world champion Marcus Hamilton all did well, but the class heavy wind flyer Ritchie Robertson did better and built a 100m lead that he held to the finish with Will Phillip’s second and Marcus Hamilton third. race three on day two was windier and Will Phillips had his only race win followed by Marcus and Jon Newman.

Day three was lighter and hot, no one had a great day. In race six, Marcus Hamilton came through in the end, with Tim Hill second, Arthur Brett managed a spectacular capsize in Ferry wash. Race seven was lighter, a North Easterly that swung right 20 degrees, and died to five knots then less down the last run. In the end Mark Whittington the young ex Laser champion from Perth won, followed by Jon Newman and Arthur Brett.

Day four was unusually for Perth abandoned due to lack of wind, a cyclone to the North made the weather pattern unusual.

Day five, race eight started light from the Sea breeze direction at eight knots, Newman and Sutherland led up the left and in the end Jon Newman won. Jon was starting to look good after a bad start to the regatta primarily due to capsizing. Race nine was the most spectacular of the regatta by far. It started in 10 knots, 100m before the top mark carnage arrived in the shape of a 25knot wind increase. Newman led around the top mark just and nosedived, Tim Hill capsized gybe setting and the whole fleet sailed at high speed around the course. In the end Thor Schoenhoff from WA won.

At the start of the last race Will Phillips had a two point advantage over Jon Newman, with Tim Hill, Marcus and Mark Whittington close on points for third. It was right at the Musto top end of 20 plus knots from the South west. In the end Will Phillips did what he had to do coming second while Jon Newman won. third was a more consistent Tim Hill over Marcus Hamilton.

The new fleet WA was not disgraced, ex Laser sailors Mark Whittington came fifth and Thor Schoenhoff sixth and Arthur Brett won race two

This regatta was a test event for the 2015 Worlds to be held from Mounts Bay sailing club in January 4 to 11. The river is a perfect place to sail Musto’s being flatter and a little less windy that offshore Fremantle and Mounts Bay sailing club is an excellent Venue and can easily cope with the 60 boat fleet that’s expected.

The final points were first Will Phillips Vic 21, second Jon Newman Vic 22, third Tim Hill Vic 32, 4th Marcus Hamilton Vic 33, 5th Mark Whittington WA 35