“It’s never like this here.”
By Frances Beebe.
I know this is a common saying at every event, but this held true at the 2024 Oceania & Australian ILCA Open & Youth Championships. With the four AST/ASS women away in Argentina to compete at the World Championships, becoming the National Champion was up for grabs.
Despite the 15-20 knot sea breeze that came in for the practice race, day one of nationals greeted us with rainy and overcast skies, which prevented the sea breeze from filling in. Instead, these clouds resulted in a tricky day of light winds and sloppy seastate. These conditions saw varied results from many of our sailors, but Hugo Ralph managed to secure a 1st place result in the second race of the day. There were also many top ten results, with Frances Beebe, Joshua King, Travis Wadley, Kate Baisden and William Cullen all producing keepers early in the regatta.
Day two of nationals brought another day of cloudy skies, however after an hour and a half of waiting onshore under AP, a moderate South-East wind built. Unfortunately, this was fought by a South-Westerly breeze, which resulted in a lot of waiting on the water too. Thankfully, the race committee were up to the task, which allowed another two good races to be completed. Hugo Ralph finished in 1st place in the first race of the day, putting another impressive result on his score card. Frances Beebe and Myles Wilson managed to put together a consistent day, scoring a top ten result in both races. Dan Blight, Joshua King, Travis Wadley and Kate Baisden also scored a top ten result in one race of the day.
The last day of the qualifying series was a late start for the ILCA 6 fleets, after waiting on shore for the ILCA 4 fleet to complete their three races. However, the race committee was eager for both ILCA 6 fleets to complete two races in order for the race series drop to come into play. Frances Beebe, Hugo Ralph, Myles Wilson and Dan Blight all performed for the last day of qualifying, securing their positions in gold fleet by placing top ten in both races of the day. Travis Wadley also secured a top ten result in the second race.
By the end of the qualifying series, most sailors at the front of the fleet had a substantial drop that they were happy to remove. After this drop was taken into account, the fleets were split into gold and silver, to begin the finals series of racing. Queensland sailors performed very well in the qualifying series, and eight of our sailors managed to qualify for gold fleet.
The fourth day of racing, or first day of the finals series, allowed the first opportunity for sailors at the top of the fleet to come head to head. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate, with rain and thunderstorms all morning, and after three hours of waiting on-shore, the race committee eventually signalled AP over A for all classes.
Despite missing two races on day four, the race committee made the decision that they will aim for a ten-race regatta, and therefore only two races will be sailed on each of the final days of racing. This decision was vindicated, because in typical ILCA fleet behaviour, there were many general recalls for each race of the finals series.
In the first race of finals, a strong gust only lasted for the first upwind, and then the breeze died significantly, resulting in a very tricky second half of the race. Frances Beebe held a strong lead at the first top mark, however she was chased down in the lighter breeze and finished in 2nd place. Myles Wilson finished in 3rd place, hot on her heels. The breeze came in more consistently for the second race, and although the breeze did not pick up as much as expected, this was the first race of the regatta with the typical Adelaide conditions. The race was a left-hand track, and due to the smaller fleet size from a few general recalls, competition was tight during the race. Myles Wilson had another impressive result, finishing in 2nd place, and Frances Beebe finished in 3rd, which moved her up to first place overall with only one more day of racing left. Joshua King also had a new personal best for the regatta, finishing in 5th place.
On the last day of racing, a 15-20 knot Southerly with big swell was present, ensuring sailors were working hard right to the end. In the first race, Frances Beebe fought hard for a 2nd place result, which allowed her to keep the lead heading into the final race. Myles Wilson also hiked hard to achieve a 4th place result.
However, with the second drop for the regatta about to come into play, the title of National Champion came down to the final race. Frances Beebe and Brooke Wilson, an Australian Sailing Futures athlete from NSW, had a few points lead over the rest of the fleet, and the regatta win would go to whomever beat the other.
With a pin-favoured line and an advantage on the left side of the course, both Frances and Brooke fought to hold a lane off the pin at the start. Frances secured her position to win the pin, however Brooke’s terrific acceleration allowed her to gain the advantage. They fought neck and neck for the entire first upwind, whilst the rest of the fleet accidentally overlayed the top mark. With the solid lead in front of the rest of the boats, the battle for National Champion came down solely to Brooke Wilson and Frances Beebe. Brooke led the first half of the race, with Frances right on her tail, however in the second upwind, Brooke’s consistency allowed her to gain some distance on Frances and secure the championship win.
Frances Beebe held the 2nd place position for the final race which secured her 2nd place overall and Under 21 National Champion.
Overall, the 2024 Oceania & Australian ILCA Open & Youth Championships were a great success. Queenslanders dominated and took away the ILCA Class Teams Trophy for the first time since the trophy was awarded. This is a tremendous honour and clearly shows how hard-working all of our sailors are. Congratulations to everyone from Queensland!!
2024 Oceania & Australian ILCA Open & Youth Championships | Queensland Results
2nd – Frances Beebe
8th – Hugo Ralph
9th – Myles Wilson
14th – Dan Blight
16th – Josh King
25th – Travis Wadley
35th – Kate Baisden
43rd – Ben Stroebel
5th – Jack Scharf
6th – Will Cullen
17th – Gina Johnstone
18th – Joshua Claus
19th – Zoe Thompson
20th – Wayne Greenwood
25th – Fletcher Morse
32nd – Domenick Osborne
35th – Chelseann Osborne
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