Allen Flying Eleven National Championship for 2024: Report
By Mick Patrick – Qld Flying 11 President
Last week The Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron hosted the Allen Flying Eleven National Championship for 2024. This year 41 Flying Eleven’s gathered at RQYS, for what was to be a tightly contested championship.
Crews were well represented across many clubs including, RQYS, Brisbane Sailing Squadron, Manly 16 Foot Skiff Club, Belmont 16 Foot Skiff Club, Lane Cove Sailing Club, Middle Harbour 16 Foot Sailing Club, and Hornsby Kuringgai Sailing Club.
The invitation race was held in a fresh South-easterly, with many of the next generation sailors firmly keeping old superstitions alive and electing not to finish the race and avoid any unnecessary bad luck for the racing ahead.
Throughout the week, the crews were challenged by a mix of conditions from Easterlies, squally southeasterlies and afternoon sea-breezes. These conditions made racing interesting and resulted in many different heat winners.
During the event, the crews (and parents) were lucky to be treated to a night with Belmont coach and Flying 11 parent Chris Nicholson. Chris shared his insights into the future of the sport, his role as the Danish SailGP coach and of course, LawConnect’s historic victory over Comanche in the 2023 Rolex Sydney to Hobart.
As the week wore on it became apparent that the final podium positions were going to be decided on the last day, and ultimately in the last race.
With a slender 2-point lead going into the final race, Lucas and Zachary on FireFly were quickly on the back foot as Brace sailed by Ash Napper and Taj Bridge lead from the start to win the final heat. The team on FireFly fought back to a 3rd place finish, resulting in a tied position for first, with the crew on Brace taking out the 2024 Australian championship on countback. The Belmont crew on Ondalay, sailed by Jadon Morris and Phoebe Pilgrim rounded out the podium.
RQ crew Toby McDougall & Stella Willey (Odyssey) have shown tremendous improvement throughout this summer, which was highlighted with a 10Th place finish in Heat 8. Fellow RQ sailors, Jackson Black, fresh from a strong ILCA 4 Nationals performance and Ollie Bott (Fired Up), also sailed very well for limited preparation time they had together.
On reflection on their time in the class, the crew on FireFly said:
“The Flying Eleven is an amazing boat that provides close exciting racing, and I will look back on my time in the class with great memories” Lucas Patrick.
“I have made great friends in this class, and I have learnt so much from racing the flying 11, like fixing everything the skipper breaks” Zachary Patrick.
Thanks to the volunteers and the Squadron for the smooth running of the regatta.
RQYS Crew Results:
Lucas and Zachary Patrick (Firefly) – 2nd
Toby McDougall & Stella Willey (Odyssey) – 26th
Jackson Black & Ollie Bott (Fired Up) – 27th.
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