Parks Victoria Melges 24 Australian Championship lead-in to worlds

2012 Melges 24 Australian Championship
Teri Dodds
Teams from the Australian Melges 24 fleet are busy training and preparing their boats for the sixth Melges 24 Australian Championship, sponsored by Parks Victoria and hosted by Royal Geelong Yacht Club as part of Geelong’s annual Festival of Sails.

This year’s regatta has the added importance of providing the experienced fleet with valuable time on the same race course that will be used when the Melges 24 Worlds come to town in January 2014.

Crews are using next week’s nationals to prepare for their world title campaign and some will have a further opportunity to fine tune when they compete at the 2013 San Francisco Worlds this September.

The Bandit Team, riding the wave of success after winning the 2012 North Americans, will be attempting to defend their Australian Melges 24 national title and owner/skipper Warwick Rooklyn is looking for a hat trick.

M24 Down wind Bandit
Dave O'Connor

While many owners prefer to find a workable crew combination and stick to it, Rooklyn has been mixing his Bandit crew over the years, 'After having different crew members for the US Nationals, San Francisco Race Week and the North American Championships last year, we found it brought some new thoughts and ideas to the program'.

As a result, several of Bandit’s successful crew members are now spread throughout the Melges 24 fleet and eager to challenge the Bandit boys for the 2013 Australian title.

Daniel Nixon, part of the winning North American Bandit team, will bring his experience to the family team on board Accru. West Australian boat Kaito includes previous crew members from Bandit, Julian Plante and David O’Connor. Both have been part of winning Melges 24 national teams and attended several world championships.

This is the strongest Melges 24 fleet yet to contest the title and the high level competition has attracted many of Australia’s top sailors who along with those crews who have been clocking up the hours on water will be very hard to beat.