Nationals wrap up in Wynyard

Published Tue 11 Apr 2023

The 2023 Australian Hansa Class Championships returned to Tasmania for the first time since 2015 – this time being hosted by Wynyard Yacht Club. The Club was hosting the event in their recently completed state of the art facilities and, whilst the main facilities had been completed, there were some final touches of grass being laid and concreting being completed days before competitors arrived.

50 sailors travelled from across Australia – many towing boats to bolster the local fleet. The locals turned out in force too, with all 19 Hansa 303’s from Hobart being transported to and sailed at Wynyard.

Due to the tidal ranges of the adjacent Inglis River, all divisions sailed at the same time, denying the Hansa 303 sailors from competing in both the singles and doubles fleets. There was a strong Victorian contingent vying against the locals in the hopes of securing the State Teams trophy for the 7th Time.

Following weigh in and measurement on Thursday afternoon, the sailors enjoyed a BBQ and official welcome by Waratah-Wynyard Mayor Mary Duniam in preparation for the upcoming regatta.

Good Friday dawned bright and not too breezy, as the sailors prepared for the 1st day of racing. Heading out to the course, the 303 doubles were sent out first with rolling starts followed by the 303 singles and Liberties.  The steady breeze dropped away in the first two races, forcing their abandonment. The breeze returned and the fleets were sent out to complete the first 2 races of the regatta.

The locals jumped to the top of the leader board in the 303 singles and doubles, with experienced Liberty sailors Bob Schahinger (SA) and Charlie Weatherly (VIC) battling it out in the Liberties.

Day two saw the winds increase to speeds described by the Race Officer as “ .. somewhere between fair and frightening”.  Race Management erred on the side of caution and postponed racing until the next day. It was a good decision, as a recorded gust of 39kts came through at 1.30pm. Sailors were honoured to be offered a presentation by Wynyard Yacht Club Commodore and former Hansa Class World Champion Chris Symonds in tuning and sailing the Hansa 303.

Day three saw strong, cool and shifty southerly conditions that tested the fleet and the race committee with a further two races added to the score sheet. Australian Sailing second tier Laser sailor Sam King, despite recovering from a broken foot, jumped into the Hansa 303 and showed other locals Michael Symonds and Rod Viney a clean pair of heels.  In the 303 doubles, it was again the local teams of Tassicker/ Gitzinger and Tassicker/Anderson who were leading the fleet, with Qld pair Rowsthorn/ Ralph taking our races 3 and 4. In the Liberties, SA sailor Bob Schahinger took out the days two races, swapping places with Charlie Weatherly (VIC) who took out the first two races. Prior to racing, competitors had an interactive briefing by Jonathon Rees on racing rules.

Day four saw some strong winds and lumpy conditions see some of the sailors decide to remain on shore. For those who did venture out, there were a few gear breakages and wet sailors at the end of the day.  In the 303 singles, Sam King and Michael Symonds both took a first and second on the day, however consistent sailing saw the former take out his first Hansa Class title. Symonds and Hobart’s Rod Viney made it a Tasmanian trifecta.

In the 303 doubles,  the winner was destined to be a member of the Tassicker family, with brother and sister Penny and Liam skippering separate boats. They traded first places on the final day, with Penny and her crew of Isabel Gitzinger taking the honours over Liam and crew of Max Anderson. Making it a family affair, Victorian siblings Craig and Sarah Millsom returned to more consistent sailing to take 3rd place in front of NSW pair Plunkett and Sanderson.

In the Liberties, the veteran pair of Weatherly and Schahinger were equal on 9 points after the 7 races, with Weatherly being awarded the Championship on a countback.

Final results for the event saw Tasmania taking out the 3 places in the 303 singles, the first 2 places in the 303 doubles, and Victoria and South Australia taking out the first two places in the Liberty, with another Victorian, Sean Hogan taking 3rd place.

This consistent performance gave the local team the prestigious State Teams Trophy for the first time. Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff on hand to present the award to the victorious Tasmanians. Charlie Weatherly was awarded the President’s Trophy – awarded to the Hansa sailor with the best performance across state and national competitions.

Special thanks to the Committee at Wynyard Yacht Club, their members and volunteers, Ulverstone VMR, safety boat crews and all the competitors from Hobart and mainland Australia who made the voyage to Wynyard to make this event such a success.

Results are available via this link.

A fantastic series of photos from Stephen Pink and Bruce Hutchinson are available on the events Facebook group page.