Noel Leigh-Smith Desperado leads Melges 32 Australian Championships

16 March 2012


Two late Friday afternoon races kicked off the 2012 Melges 32 Australian Championships on Pittwater. The quality fleet of Melges 32's had no time for a breather during the high intensity races set by race officer Steve Merrington RPAYC.

The shifty breeze and extremely close racing meant competitors were never really out of the race and were constantly trying to peg off the next boat or maintain their advantage; tacticians were working hard with their heads out of the boat.

Queenslander Noel Leigh-Smith on Desperado from Southport Yacht Club with experienced Pittwater locals Chris Links from Melges Asia Pacific and Jamie McPhail in the crew played the tactics card well to win race one. The majority of the crew hadn't raced the boat since Hamilton

Island last year. Chris commented "We were rusty to start with and scrambled all day to stay in the mix but in the first race we got anice shift out of the bottom mark and the right paid off, then sailed conservatively down the run to win the race" Desperado finished in third place in the second race and received the SLAM Boat of the Day prize for first overall.

Greg Prescott 2 Unlimited Sevenstar from the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania enjoyed the close racing and brilliant conditions that kept them thinking "We thought the Derwent was shifty until we sailed Pittwater" said Prescott who claimed a convincing win sailing away from the fleet in the second race and second place overall heading into day two.

Stepping off his Farr 40 into a Melges 32 for the Championships was Chris Way The Business RPAYC looking fast downwind. The crew on The Business looked polished, local Steve McConaghy calling the shots, they led at times and were constantly pressuring the other competitors finishing the day on equal points with 2 Unlimited Sevenstar but in third place overall.

Angus Reid's Maxstar from Canberra Yacht Club commented "We are used to sailing on the flat water on the lake, but local knowledge was a factor today in the shifty breeze. I was pleased with our speed and height but give us strong breeze tomorrow please." A predicted 20

knot southerly front tomorrow morning could be just what the doctor ordered for Maxstar.

Thanks to sailing partners North Sails, SLAM and Harken for supporting the event.

View Full Photo Gallery