2016 Nationals

Between Jan 2nd to the 9th at George River Sailing Club, NSW 13 Open, 6 Intermediate and 6 Green sailors represented SA with great pride, from the opening ceremony with their bright and eye catching uniforms – through to the closing Presentation our troops did us all proud.

It was an eventful week with very mixed and testing conditions. The open fleet sailors qualifying series was sailed on a lumpy, gusty and rainy Botany bay. Periods of complete loss of visibility due to rain was not uncommon. I was in awe of all the open kid’s efforts and determination, as a parent in a RIB it was unpleasant and tough, being in a 2.3m long dinghy was unbelievable.

Despite these tough conditions we had some great efforts, with many top 10 finishes, no mean feat in a quality field. At the end of qualifying 8 SA sailors had made the Open GOLD fleet in the top 62.

Unfortunately, these conditions meant Green and Intermediate had limited time on the water. Even so we still had 3 sailors qualify in the Intermediate top fleet, and two others unlucky as they missed some of the qualifying races.

The lay day was a welcome day’s respite for some tired open fleeters, and a day to try and get some sailing gear dry (and for some Mum’s to hit Pitt St Mall I hear. )

Finally the weather brightened and Botany Bay seemed like a different place to be. Firstly, you could see the shore and the heads and importantly the course marks. The final series conditions were much better but still some big wind shifts made it dicey to bang the corners.

All sailors performed admirably and the green fleet spent a few long days out on the water in an attempt to catch up on lost opportunities – this was a bit too long for some of the younger ones who decided enough was enough part way through the last day.

In the wash up we can hold our heads high at what our young brigade achieved


  • Ben Hinks 18th overall (17th Australian) and 1st Under 12
  • Chelsea Higgins 19th overall (18th Australian),  2nd Female. Both Ben and Chelsea qualified for the Australian Opti Team
  • Quinn Auricht 29th overall (25th Australian) and 3rd Under 12
  • Alexi Wigglesworth 44th overall
  • Harry Higgins 46th
  • Ruby Pike 106th all four qualified for the Australian Optimist Development Squad (AODS) for under 12’s
  • Finn Sanderson and Jonas Barrett also performed well in open fleet finishing 33rdand 34th respectively
  • Taran Sanderson was 1st 11 yo (79th Overall)
  • Austin Higgins was 3rd under 10 yo
  • Myles Wilson finished a Creditable 7th in Intermediate fleet with Austin Higgins and Thomas Gordon also recording great results in this fleet
  • Will McAskill was the best of the green fleeters finishing 17th, with Murphy Cowen a few places adrift

Overall we left the regatta richer for the experience, poorer for all the wet weather gear we purchased and looking forward for Largs Bay Sailing Club to show the rest of Australia how to run a fantastic nationals in 2017.

Put it in your diary, it’s not to be missed!

Bruce Konings – Proud Opti-Dad x 2

For detailed results click here.