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2020 Flying Fifteen Australian Championship: Days 1 and 2
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2020 Flying Fifteen Australian Championship: Days 1 and 2

Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron, Manly, Queensland

Race day 1 - Monday was a big day!

A fleet of 20 Flying Fifteens have made the long journey from all over Australia to compete at the 2020 Flying Fifteen Australian Championship held in Waterloo Bay just south of the Brisbane River in Queensland. Some competitors had a long journey navigating around a host of bush fires still plaguing the country.

An invitational race was organised by host club The Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron on day one of the regatta but sadly the weather conditions were just too strong to race and this race was postponed.

The invitation race was due to start early and there would have been a break before the start of championship racing.  On shore many crews were debating whether to go out at all due to the strong winds. Winds had only slightly eased from the previous day. The forecast was for 20-25 knot SE winds.

In the end, 17 Flying Fifteenstook to the start line for Race 1 of the Nationals. The breeze was strong and the swell was short, sharp and the frequency was inconsistent, making it hard to make way upwind. The course laid was for a windward / leeward return, followed by a triangle to the finish.  The reaches were sailed in firehose conditions!

(The Flying Flamingos), Lewis Davies and John Radnell from Victoria, took out race 1 from local champions, Ashley Smith and Adam Kingston sailing (Sake). Coming in third was (Surprise by Giver AUS) sailed by Stephen Fries and Richard Machin from Sandringham YC in Victoria.

Conditions for the second race of the day were much the same with regular gusts coming through causing havoc. The course was reduced to a two lap windward / leeward blast.

There were boats broaching and spinnakers blown out but the downwind runs were exciting. Only one boat out of the top four finished with her spinnaker up and in one piece. There were only 13 finishers with some electing not stay on the water for race 2, however those that stayed the course enjoyed a wild ride.

Race 2 was won by Stephen Fries and Richard Machin from Ashley Smith and Adam Kingston again in second and John Wilson and Matt Summers from South of Perth YC in third.


Ashley Smith and Adam Kingston are members at RQYS and have been practicing at the regatta venue leading into the regatta.

Ashley Smith skipper of (Sake):

“We haven’t seen conditions like those conditions today all season. While our upwind speed was not the best, downwind was working well and we made up what ground we lost on the upwind”.

John Wilson skipper of (Ffast Lane 4):

“The races were well run in such tough conditions. Lots of fun!”.


Race Day 2 - Boats and Equipment a work in progress

Crews, sailmakers and boatbuilders were busy overnight and boats and equipment

were still being worked on in the morning with the smell of epoxy in the air before the start of the second day of racing on Tuesday. All boats and crews made it out to the race course for a slightly easier day of racing in south easterly winds in the 15 - 18 knot range, ideal conditions for Flying Fifteen sailing.  

The breeze did shift a little more and the crews that picked the shifts well and were on the correct side of the course managed to make their way to the top of the results board. Race officers were also kept busy managing course adjustments with mark changes in both races. 

(Fflashpoint) sailed by Peter Rooke and Paul Dunbar from South of Perth YC, took out the race win in Race 3, followed by the local Queenslanders, Ashley Smith and Adam Kingston (Sake) in their trade mark second position, and an excellent performance by Russell Shannon and Les Kearney (TCBYC) sailing (Reliance ffenty foo) joined the podium finishers in third.

In Race 4 the Victorians Stephan Fries and Richard Machin (Surprise by Giver AUS) stole the race win at the last rounding mark from the consistency of Ashley Smith and Adam Kingston (Sake) recording their fourth second place. Coming in third was David Tabb and Dave Bennett (Ark) representing CBSC.

Stephen Fries (Surprise by Giver AUS) recounted in the last race of the day struggling to make the top mark with Sake slightly to leeward.

“They couldn’t quite make the mark and were forced to tack twice to make it around the mark. That gave us a 50 meter lead and we managed to hold them until the finish and take the win”.

Full results can be found on the regatta website:

by Chris Howell

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