Australian WASZP Nationals – Day 1 – Championship

We welcomed back the Fremantle Doctor after a few days of annual leave. A gorgeous 15knot sea-breeze greeted the 40 sailors at the Australian WASZP Championships. Host club Perth Dinghy Sailing Club has put on some fantastic hospitality for the sailors in the lead up to the series culminating in a great welcome night after the Slalom Championship unfortunately was abandoned due to no wind.

It has been fantastic for the sailors to get together for the first time collectively since covid and a strong fleet of 24 West Australian WASZPs have welcomed boats from all states and territories except SA and the NT.

The WASZP class is a diverse melting pot demographics, with sailors ranging from 15 to 65 and everything in between. There is something for everyone at this nationals with a strong masters contingent racing for the open championships but also enjoying personal battles within the fleet. There is a strong group of 16-23 year olds who have put in a lot of time in the WASZP coming out of 420s, 29ers and Lasers, looking to continue their sailing beyond the youth classes. There are many father, son combinations in the fleet giving a real family element to the class. The best part is, everyone comes together no matter what age or background and are competing on a level playing field in the WASZP.

Race 1 was sailed in 12-15knots of WSW with some big holes in it. Traditionally Perth is a left hand track, however, some sailors tried their luck on the right hand side and it paid dividends. Elise Beavis from New Zealand sailed a brilliant first work to be right in the mix on the first lap. The rest of the fleet twigged onto this and it was a procession to the right hand side on the second work. In the end it was a slightly chaotic finish with Keizo Tomishima coming through the fleet to take the win with Conall Green right on his hammer, however, Conall had a swim on the finish and almost lost second place to Louis Tilly who came flying through at the end.

Race 2 was slightly patchier than the first and Tristan Brown making his comeback to the class took the lead at the first mark from Tomishima and Green. Jervis Tilly and Grant Alderson were having a ding dong battle in 4th and 5th respectively. Brown unfortunately found a rogue plastic bag in the river and had to capsize and remove it while in the lead. Tomishima took his second bullet followed by fellow NSW sailor Louis Tilly.

Race 3 and the conditions at the start looked like the breeze had stabilised and moved further left. However, it went into its fluffy mode as the breeze never quite settled properly. Conall Green took the win in a commanding performance to take the overall lead in the series, Elise Beavis finished the day with a 2nd and sits 4th overall. Wiley old veteran and 5 time I14 National Champion Brad Devine had a great final race and finished in 5th place, leaving him in 7th overall and first Super Master, also one place ahead of son Tom in the family battle. It was fantastic to see such a diverse range of ages in the top ten with plenty of good racing all the way down the fleet.

Tomorrow and the next day look like the Fremantle Doctor will come hard, sailors will be fishing for the layday on the 26th of January.

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