Sorrento, Australia – 9/12/2023
The Australian WASZP Nationals drew to a spectacular close with a series of gripping races from the South under solid 12-18 knot winds.The stage is set for an electrifying International WASZP Games.
International sailors claimed the top four places in the overall championship, with Francesco Bertone proving consistency will be the key to winning the International WASZP Games next week. The tight racing is a feature of the WASZP class, with every sailor prone to a high score. 2nd overall went to Dane Magnus Overbeck, who completed a near flawless preparation for the games, in third place Sam Street who appears to have a speed edge came back from some poor results early to claim the final two races of the day.
The first race for the day (heat 2) witnessed local legend and 2019 International WASZP Games runner-up, Tom Trotman, staging a remarkable comeback. Trotman, initially in 4th place at the last top mark, capitalised on the right hand side of the course down the run, clinching victory in style. Following closely behind were Hawaiian sensation Gavin Ball, fresh off his triumph at the Americas Championships and SailGP Inspire Championships and France’s Hippolyte Gruet securing the 2nd and 3rd positions respectively.
The women’s championship saw Hattie Rogers, narrowly missing the top 10 after a losing three boats just shy of the finish line, while in the second race of the day finished in 12th, a great result nonetheless and shows that top 10 in the International WASZP Games next week is well within reach.
The excitement escalated in the second race of the day (heat 3) as 16-year-old local talent Aidan Simmons etched his name in history with a breathtaking victory. With increased wind pressure and shifting conditions, Simmons worked his way through the fleet, claiming a monumental win for the youngster. New Zealand’s Tim Howse showcased his top form with an impressive 3rd place finish, marking his best result of the regatta.
Meanwhile, the 6.9m division witnessed a thrilling showdown between rising stars. 15-year-old Norwegian sensation Pia Tveita engaged in a gripping battle with 13-year-old Callum Simmons and Australia’s Brenn Armstrong. The races showcased incredible talent, with mere boat lengths separating these young prodigies.
The final two races of the day were a clinic from Sam Street, winning both races reasonably comfortably, It was Bertone though who claimed overall victory despite not winning a race in the championship.
The Australian Championship went to Trotman who finished 5th overall, claiming his first Aussie title since 2019. In 2nd place, Louis Tilly finished 10th over all and was forced to carry a black flag in race 4 which ruined his title campaign, he will be a threat in the Games no doubt. While young sensation Simmons finished in 11th overall and 3rd Aussie.
In the Masters and Super Master, Jervis Tilly held off both Andrew McDougall and Brad Devine to win, Brad finished well up in race four only to be black flagged, which may have cost him the title. The two NZ sailors Dave Shaw and George Wills finished first and second in the masters division, followed by Aussie Richard Steedman.
The Australian WASZP Nationals served as a riveting prelude to the highly anticipated International WASZP Games. As the weather promises to warm up throughout the upcoming week, the stage is set for a return to the stunning Sorrento conditions that promise of a quality championship and fierce competition.