Pictures courtesy of Steve Ashley. Written by Kings Pursch
40 boats attended the 2011 Taipan National Titles from January 2-9 in Hervey Bay, Queensland. The Taipan catamaran is a lightweight, high performance boat that can be sailed either single handed or as a two person crew. Originally developed by Greg Goodall and Jim Boyer, the Taipan is now produced by Australian High Performance Catamarans (AHPC). The appeal of this boat for many of the teams is that the boat offers a good balance between competitive racing and family involvement.
Above: Andrew and Petra Williams pull off a brilliant port start in the Taipan 4.9 sloop division.
Mark Braithwaite from NSW sailed with his eldest daughter Annika this year and enjoyed the event. Mark commented 'For me, the nationals give me my fix of competitive racing and adrenaline rush, but its also a great chance to enjoy a holiday with my family in some of the nicest places Australia'. Hervey Bay met the expectations of Mark along with all the competitors and their families who loaded up the car, hooked on the boat and emptied out the bank account to attend the event
Above: Greg and Brett Goodall on the C2 (left) and Shane Reynolds has a great start in the spinnaker boats.
Conditions were great for racing with 10 races being completed over the week. One light day of racing gave the light weather specialists an opportunity to shine, but the majority of racing was completed in 10-15 knots of wind on flat water. These conditions made for perfect racing over the series.
In the Taipan 5.7 division it was Mark Adams who won the series after a great final day to overtake the rum-fuelled team of Shane Reynolds and Mark Symonds. Shane and Simmo entertained the race officials and other competitors with some spectacular starting over the series. It was great to see a good fleet of Taipan 5.7s racing again and it was also great to see some new faces in the class, so hopefully theyll be back next year said Adams.
In the Taipan 4.9 cat rigged division Luke Donovan backed up his Victorian state titles win by also taking out the national title. Luke withheld a final day charge from stalwart Dennis Baker who finished second, ahead of Andrew Vize who finished third. Luke commented I had a good lead going into the final day but put a lot of pressure on myself with two 8s. By the last race I just played the percentages and stuck with Dennis (Baker) the whole race to make sure he didnt get enough boats between us to win the overall title. Luke sailed well over the series and deserved the win, but he also conceded it was unfortunate that fellow competitor Chris Boag suffered a gear breakage to ruin his chances of winning the overall series.
The Taipan 4.9 sloop division finished with a three way tie for first place after an action packed final day of racing. Andrew and Petra Williams showed no signs of nerves and had a near perfect final day with three wins and a second. This pushed them from 5th place into 1st place after Dan and Annaliese Van Kerckhof struggled through the final day with a broken mast rotation. Dan and Liese still sailed well to finish the series on equal points with Willy and Petra and also the defending champions Matt and Chris Homan from Queensland. The late charge from Willy and Petra gave them the series win on coutback over Dan and Liese (2nd) and the Homans (3rd), which also pushed Chris and Troy Munro back to 4th after the boys had a brilliant start to their series.
Congratulations to this year's winners and competitors. Thanks to the TCAA organising committee, Hervey Bay Sailing Club for hosting a brilliant event, and Steve Ashley for donating his time and expertise to take photos at the event. Visit www.taipan.asn.au for full results and pictures. Next year the Taipan national titles will be held from January 7-14 and will be hosted by Port Kembla Saiiling Club