The 2023 Australian Yachting Championships, as part of the Teakle Classic Lincoln Week Regatta in Port Lincoln, has come to an end with champions across the range of divisions crowned.
The first three keelboat divisions all held racing on IRC as part of the championships, with a few additional regatta competitors involved on either AMS or ORC ratings.
The multihull division was also part of the Australian Championship with a strong fleet coming together to race on OMR handicap.
There was also a regatta Sportsboat fleet competing on both SMS rating and PHS handicap.
Geoff Boettcher’s Secret Men’s Business has officially got the monkey off the back, taking out the triple crown of the Adelaide-Lincoln race, the Lincoln Week Regatta, and the Australian Championship that combines results from the two events.
He held off a fast finishing Zen, skippered by Gordon Ketelbey, and becomes the first South Australian yacht in history to claim the Australian Yachting Championship crown.
“We went in there pretty nervous today because in two races we had to get one win and at least a second,” Boettcher said.
“Even at the top mark, we were second in both races so we had to fight for every inch mate.”
Finishing in third place after a great final day was Nick George’s Another Hooligan, which finished one and two points respectively ahead of fourth-placed Quest and fifth-placed Smuggler.
A strong fleet of Division 2 teams came together for an incredible battle on Boston Bay this week, with a range of yachts of all different designs giving everyone a chance at the front.
At the end of the regatta it was Andrew Smith’s Melges 32, Cockwomble, which came away with a great win after a strong final day ahead of Alan Woodward’s Reverie in second and Julian Newton’s MC38 Game On 2 in third.
Local Sydney 47 Fresh, skippered by Andy Dyer and owned by Kym Clarke, finished the regatta in fourth place after leading into the final day, which showed just how close the racing was.
Cockwomble’s Andrew Smith said it was a great experience bringing the boat over from Tasmania and being part of the event.
“It was incredible, six months ago we made the decision to come and do the IRC nationals in Port Lincoln… we’ve had a fantastic time and it’s been a great event in an unbelievable place,” he said.
Arch De Triomphe won Division 3 – 2023 Australian Yachting Championships – photo © Alex Dare
It was the battle of the Sandringham boats for the overall Division 3 championship, with Alex Newman’s Arch De Triomphe and Brett Averay’s Bacardi going toe-to-toe in an exciting tussle all week.
The Archambault 31 came away with the win in the end, with the chance to knock off their home club rivals not lost on the team.
“We had a great battle with Bacardi, it was ironic when we looked at the draw for the divisions that we’re battling with a local (Melbourne) boat that we know really well and BA (Brett Averay) that we know very well,” Newman said.
“We had some really tight races with them today, they pushed us all the way to the limit, which we knew they would and we were lucky enough to beat them today.”
The two local Sydney 32s had a great battle to round out the podium in an evenly matched competition for ultimate local bragging rights.
In the end it was Brad Dennis and Matt Stephens skippering Lincoln Mentor that finished ahead of Simon Turvey’s Born to Mentor on a countback.
Both yachts had three thirds and three fourths on IRC with Lincoln Mentor besting its rival in the last race to take the podium result.
Outlier won the Sportsboat division – 2023 Australian Yachting Championships – photo © Alex Dare
The Sportsboat fleet saw a massive group of boats from a range of different designs come together with a Melges 24s ending up the best of the bunch on the SMS rating system.
Ken Abbott’s Outlier took the overall SMS win, closely followed by Todd Bartlett’s Bohica in second and Lee Haakmeester’s Outrage-us in third.
“Some of these boats are very, very fast and have very hot crews,” Abbott said.
“A 30-year-old boat like a Melges is still holding its own as I guess shown now, but just a fantastic regatta with a very strong sportsboat fleet.”
On PHS however, which saw a much larger fleet on the results sheet, Outrage-us ended up taking the win while Bohica finished second and local boat Mighty Fine Lyons, skippered by Bill Van Riet, finished third.
Carbon finished second in the multihull division – 2023 Australian Yachting Championships – photo © Alex Dare
The multihulls had the closest racing of the regatta this week with three teams all close to taking out the championship going into the last race.
In the end it was Gerald Valk’s Crosshair that took the regatta win, closely followed by its sister ship Carbon Credit, skippered by Peter Hawker, in second.
Craig Unthank’s Sknot was in the mix for most of the event but slipped to third overall on the final day.
Valk said the racing was incredibly close and to be able to win a multihull Australian Championship in Port Lincoln was a great way to cap off the event.
“We love sailing in Port Lincoln, it’s nice flat water, multis love flat water and with the Australian Yachting Championship on top of that, well that just pulled a lot of boats in for the event,” he said.
As the event comes to an end, the Teakle Classic has set its dates for next year with the Adelaide-Lincoln race starting on 16 February 2024 and the Lincoln Week Regatta running from 19-22 February 2024.
Next year’s Australian Yachting Championships will head to the Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club as part of the iconic SailFest event in April 2024.
by Harry Fisher