Nicholas Richardson and Adrian Beswick Sailing AUS 792 Rocketship for Wynyard and Leven Yacht Club have been declared Petuna Bell Bay Aluminium Australian National Champions after strong westerly winds prevented race officials from running racing in safe conditions yesterday.

The race committee checked the wind speeds on the course twice during the afternoon, with the Class upper limit of 30 knots exceeded on both occasions; N over A was signalled, for the day racing.

The organising committee made special mention to the sponsors of the Australian Championship including Naming Rights sponsors Petuna and Bell Bay Aluminium; Leaders Jersey Sponsor Suenami; Mark Sponsor and fuel supplier Caltas; In Kind Supporters of the event, JW and TJ Beswick Master Builders; Merchandise sponsor, Steve Walker Sails and Sail Equipment Australia; Race Day Sponsors Tasports, Brierley Marine and Harcourts West Tamar.

Richardson and Beswick took the win by one point from the Hunt/Price combination in AUS 372 The Hitcher after the overseas entrants were removed from the results. Previous Australian champion Guy Bancroft finished in third after a mixed regatta but at the presentation left no one wondering that it was just a warm up for the main event, the World Championships which start on 2 January 2018.

In the Handicap stakes were taken out by Leven Yacht Club representatives, Isaac Mearns and Tom Killalea sailing AUS 252 Miss Conduct. Mearns sailed a fantastic second day to dominate the handicap results. Local Port Dalrymple Crew Josh Harriss and Bailey Edmunds sailing AUS 355 Bondi Tram had a solid second day to take out second and southern reps Kirsty Grey and Julian Salter sailing AUS 368 Pinky and the Brain rounded out the top three.

Richardson and Beswick went into the championships with little expectations and practice with only 2 hours sailing in preparation. Richardson jumped on the boat after Beswick was on the hunt for another team member in late November after his Brother in law crew had to pull out from competing following a badly rolled ankle which caused major bruising and tendon damage. Lucky for Beswick, Richardson had experience at the national level having won two Australian Championships in his career in the B14 Class. The general consensus is that they jagged the title from the fleet in a display of great sailing in what is still a very competitive field of competent sailors.

In recent years crew weights have optimised at around 140-150 kgs for most top crews. Despite weighing 175kgs as their combined weight, a good 25kg above the target zone, the pair made the most of conditions on the race course and sailed smart in the heavy and light winds to take the victory. This will set a new benchmark for the top end of the weight range in the class and give confidence to the heavier combinations that it’s not the weight holding them back.

The presentations saw much reflection on the class atmosphere itself and saw Richardson make a special mention to the club for the great atmosphere created by the members, to the competitors for the hard fought battle and to Beswick for the late call up. Beswick paid tribute to his family for supporting him through all t he years, in particular to his wife Kelly and Son Max for their support in the lead up and during the event along with his mum and dad for all their support. He made special mention of the classes friendly atmosphere which was created by a tight knit group that is the B14 class in Tasmania, Australia and Globally.

The Tamar Cove CST Composites B14 World Championships are starting on 2 January. Following the lead up regatta, crews will have a better idea where they will place in the field and will be looking to capitalise on the local conditions which they have learnt across the two days racing had thus far.