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2008/09 Australian Championships

Jono Neate is the only name that you need to know from the 2009 Australian Nationals, sailed from Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club in Perth.  The short story for 2009 is that there was a sea breeze every day, and Jono won 9 out of 10 races.

The longer version is the regatta started 2nd January. RFBYC is a fantastic facility, plenty of grass for rigging, nice beach, and we raced on Melville water which is the wide river that flows through Perth - very flat water, minimal land influence, but a left hand track.  Each day the afternoon races had a good sea breeze building. It ranged from 12 knots with holes on day 1 to 22 plus on the last day.  We were always flat out and low on trapeze and the reaches were tight enough to mean that we were on the wire down the reaches also mostly flat out.
Jono Neate, the eventual winner


Race 1 started at 3:00 on the 2nd, and with nearly all the top five boats leading at some stage. Paul Green was in front for 1st half of race, until fell into hole and dropped to 5th. Matt Hosie the pre regatta favourite took the lead up going centre left with Chris Sutherland 2nd. 
In Race 2 with a little more wind Jono Neate bolted left from the pin at the start and won. That set the regatta up, a left hand track, with a lift on the port tack lay line determining who came 2nd.  The reached were set at 60 degrees and almost without exception they were on the wire, and in some of the windier races they were both flat out.

The Doctor had arrived and we had a solid 15-20 knots for Race 3. It was a clean start with all boats seeming to hit the line with speed. The first work saw boats attaching to the left side of the course, with the odd boat taking advantage of the shifts. The top five series leading where fighting for the top 4 places after the first triangle. Ross Brennan showed great improvement biting the heel of the leading five. For Race 4, the wind had clocked left 10 degrees and increased to 20 - 22 knots. John Cassidy and Ross Brennan nailed the start at the pin and took an early lead. By the windward return Jono had opened up a lead, but managed an ugly jibe which resulted in a swim and put him back in the leading pack. Chris Sutherland broke a halyard lock when coming 2nd and was unable to finish. Luckily he only missed one race and not two.

Jono Neate dominated Race 5. He looks just like Marcus on the water, although bit taller and heavier and maybe faster in the wind. Jono won starting on pin going left. The real race was 2nd to 5th, and Hosie, Cassidy, Sutherland and Paul Green were in 2nd at some stage.  Race 6 saw 16 - 22 knots and Jono again from the pin while Sutherland and Green battled all day.

The course was set for another fantastic day of racing in the Swan.  Race 7 started in 12-14 knots and it has been quoted by the Race Committee that everyone was only centimetres from the line at the gun. Jono and Paul showed good pace and got an early lead which was unable to be closed.  By the time it got to race 8, the wind had cranked to 20 knots and we were set for some awesome Contender racing. The start saw a fight for the pin, with the winner being a good chance to be first to the top mark. Hosie left the lay line to the pin end a little fine and resulted in a swim, damage and a DNF. Jono was first to the top mark but unable to break away on the reaches. The wind kept increasing and caused more boats to DNF. The last triangle had some awesome reaching with the fleet low wiring all the way down wind.

Jono had already won the regatta but still went out and won both races today, It was windy especially later on - 22 – 28 knots causing everyone to have a capsize. That must make this Australian championships one of the windiest ever, it was great fun.

Full results at

Round up
Jono showed he was human occasionally by capsizing on the runs and most of the fleet had concentration lapses - which mean capsizes in Perth - or maybe I am trying to convince Jono that he is vulnerable.
The rest of the fleet is now coming to grips with what happened, firstly Jono was quicker; his boat is  conventional, it is Marcus Hamilton’s World Championship Bonezzi from Medemblik, with a CST mast and Wavelength sail.  He sets his mast sets up straight, with minimal prebend. On the water he looks like Marcus. He is 88.5kg and 192cm tall, 24 years old. That's about 6kg and 2cm taller than Marcus, but I doubt even Marcus would have the same speed in the strong wind flat water, maybe Andrea could have.
Of the rest Paul Green was a clear 2nd, he was almost as tall and heavy as Jono, and sailed Tim Hill's old Bonezzi Aus 2281.  After trying his BT main he settled on Irwin sails, with CST mast and his speed was good especially as the breeze got stronger.  I (Chris Sutherland) came 3rd, my boat Aus 2444 is a Windrush, with the new CST  and wavelength. I am 178cm and 82kg.  Matt Hosie Aus 2296 came 4th and just started to show his old form towards the end although he did win race 1.  It seems that strong winds and flat water were made for someone tall and heavy - Jan Haanstra, Virgilio, the Thorburgs, Tim Holden and Simon Mussell would have been fast also. Flat water and tight reaches meant that the heavy guys did not lose downwind.

The next Australian Championships are Brisbane January 2nd 2010

Report by Chris Sutherland, with some input from Jono on Race Report

Boat stats
We weighed and measured all the competitors, and the stats are shown below.