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Success at the Flying Dutchman Australian Championship 

On the 4-6 November, Albury Wodonga Yacht Club hosted the Sail Country Regatta 2023, incorporating the 2023-2024 Flying Dutchman Australian Championship. 
Matt Whitnall, writes "Some keen members may have noticed a very fast looking boat appear on the hardstand at the end of October, that was us taking advantage of the brand new ramp into the pond. 

This made training much faster and allowed us many hours of extra time on the water, as we could leave the rig in the boat and genoa furled, and carry out refinements and repairs which are a constant in the FD class.

We also managed to break our mast 2 months out from Nationals, and thankfully Pete the owner leaned into his skiff network, and we had a new improved mast back in the boat in a week.

Whooska's Broken rig - thankfully repaired by Pete Bevis. 

The FD’s were invited to be part of the annual Sail Country Regatta hosted by the Albury Wodonga Yacht Club on the Lake Hume reservoir.

Sail Country attracts lots of classes we don’t see on Sydney Harbour, like Minnows, Fireball, Heron’s and other classes raced more often in VIC and SA.

It was a novelty to race inland on fresh water and apart from the fickle winds for 3 days, the venue and the event were a sensational experience. Not having to rinse salt out of the boat and eyes was also a nice change.

The scenery was akin to Switzerland ‘lite’ with green rolling hills, clear blue skies, katabatic ( winds that flow downhill )breezes and even a vineyard with rows of vines coming down to the water’s edge.

The local breeze happens in the mornings before midday and is known as ‘The Ghost’, and like clockwork disappeared by 1pm each day.

The regatta was raced over 3 days, and a scheduled 12 races were set, however a 1pm start time on day 1 cut short racing to 9 completed and although fair, it did get very light and drifty at times.

The 3 minute start sequence caught out a few boats in race 1, but I was used to it from Windsurfer racing where we often do it in training and got away on time.

We realised quickly that 2 good teams were out on trapeze in 6 knots, in total contrast where we were sitting inboard with Pete to leeward and trying to find breeze so he could swing and get us motoring. The peak gust for the three days was 10.1 knots……and we gave the leaders a 70kg and 50 kg weight differential.

Matt Draper and Daniel Morrow dominated the racing all weekend, closely followed by Gary Cameron & Stewart Edgar, with great skills and superbly light combined weight, were hard to hold back when we got into the lead, especially downwind.

Matt Draper is a Champion Minnow racer from Victoria and Gary Cameron a stalwart of the 420 class with many championships between them. Daniel Morrow was a regular Etchells racer with Roger ‘Hicko’ Hickman for many years, so there was plenty of talent in the small fleet.

Day 2 was much better and morning races starting at 9am provided the chance to really get Pete on the wire and the boat flying, but our ability to swing never arrived and we hung in as best we could in the ever-decreasing breeze.

Day 3 was a repeat with close racing in the morning, then ‘The Ghost’ fading to zero and the lake glassing out.

We had a steady regatta and finished 3rd with a consistent scorecard of 3,2,3,2,4,3,2,3,2 and finished with confidence that stronger breezes would allow us to move up the podium." 

Well done to Matt and Pete on their fabulous result.