Put your Money on the Tasmanians – 2012 Melges 32 Australian Nationals

15 March 2012

Article by Erin McKnight — An amalgamation of Tasmanians and Sydney-siders may just be the winning formula aboard "2Unlimited SevenStar", the sole Tasmanian entry in the Melges 32 Australian Championship, which starts tomorrow. Owner Greg Prescott will be putting his faith in tactician Darren "Twirler" Jones to orchestrate his team and strategize them to a win in the hotly contested event.

The ten race series will be hosted over three days by Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, and has attracted a strong fleet of ten boats, including three interstate entries. The Tasmanian entry has already showed strong form, with a convincing win at last weekend"s Sydney Harbour Regatta, boasting a near-perfect scorecard.

Just two years ago, Prescott decided to purchase a Melges 32 to "dodge around on", competing in a number of offshore races around Tasmania before coming to NSW to play with other Melges 32"s. His arrival could not have come at a better time with ten teams expected to fight for the Australian Title.

Despite the fact that one week ago, half his crew had never set foot on board a Melges 32, Prescott has complete confidence in the 2Unlimited team. "Twirler has brought together a majority of the crew and I know they are really good guys. Twirler has come to Hobart a number of times to sail on the boat and obviously has a lot of overseas experience in this class, so he is very familiar with it, and the Tassie guys on board have done every race the boat has ever done" he says.

Although the Melges 32 is not specifically designed for long-distance offshore racing, 2Unlimited already has a considerable list of achievements, including winning the 300nm Launceston – Hobart Race, the 180nm Maria Island Race, and completed other marathon races to both Bruny Island and Newstone.

"Twirler and I have done about ten Sydney – Hobart races together, so our relationship goes back a long way. He will be calling tactics for me this regatta – which is a change from his usual position as mainsail trimmer, but I thought it would be an advantage to move him to the new role."

He is frequently in demand by high-profile sailing campaigns such as the Australian Farr 40 Estate Master, the US based Farr 30 Groovederci, and the Melges 32 Ramrod hailing also from the USA. Twirler finds himself frequently jetting around the globe to compete in sailing events at the highly competitive International level. However he quietly admits that he would like to spend more time sailing on local shores. It"s his local knowledge that Prescott will be relying on this weekend to win the Australian Championship.

"Our aim for the Nationals will be to keep up the good work from last weekend" Prescott commented. "We wanted to do the Sydney Harbour Regatta to see if we were on the pace with the local boats. Obviously we were – but there will be a lot more wind this weekend, as well as an extra five boats competing, so there is no guarantee. The Melges 32 is heaps of fun to sail, and going in to the regatta with such a strong team, I am quite happy."

The Melges 32 Australian Championship commences on Friday with inshore racing around Pittwater, followed by two days of offshore racing over the weekend.

For event information and results (once available) for the Melges 32 Australian Championship: http://www.rpayc.com.au/sailing/regattas