Hamlin wins 505 pre-worlds
Like the Hamlin Pied Piper, who led the populace, Howie set the pace to clinch his win overall. Howie and crew Mike Martin have been sailing together for 12 years, and are also the worlds' 18ft skiff 2002 champions. Howie was world 505 champion in 1999.
They rounded the top mark in virtually clear and free air, and the rest of the fleet followed in the final two races, 5 & 6 to win in the Grolsch Australian International 505 Nationals, pre-worlds warm up event for the 505 worlds 8-14 December. “The conditions suited us” said a delighted Howie,” there is a nice variety of breezes here, we prefer the moderate winds and we are able to hang on in the windy races. This is a great place”
Once again the weather came out smiling, the water was nearly flat, with a low swell, bright Indian Ocean blue, sparkling in the sun. Again, a great start, with the fleet becoming accustomed to the local conditions and the home town boys having to work harder for their money. Plenty of opportunity in steady 15-18 knots to concentrate on tactics and vie for the top honours. The fleet has become very competitive with over 100 boats participating and the Fremantle doctor giving truly varied conditions, starting with a real buster early in the week and down to light winds towards the end of the series.
Peter Chappel tops Australian nationals honours. With an almost unassailable point lead over the Australian 505 fleet, home town sailor, Peter Chappell went into the final two races and took the honours, with 18 points, to win the Grolsch Australian 505 nationals 2002/2003. Sandy Higgins racing with Paul Marsh, in Sleek, was 16 points behind in 2nd place and Andrew Beeckman with Ben Benjamin, in Gummi de Milo were third with 42 points. There were a stack of trophies to be taken away – including Australian Ladies Champion, won by Renee de Voogdt and Masters champion Brian Robinson won in “Grumpy old Men”
Top international sailor and 5 time world champion Krister Bergstrom from Sweden will be hard to beat. Howie Hamlin having just won the preworlds will be raring to go. Ian Barker, from the UK, silver medallist at Sydney 2000, has already shown his capabilities, winning race 4 of the preworlds, Tom Swift and Holger Jess from Germany will also be guys to watch. Australian contingent of top sailors to look out for in the worlds event include Sandy Higgins racing with Ian Davidson, defending Australian champion, Chris and Darren Nicholson from NSW
Grolsch 505 Australian Nationals first five:
1. USA 8714 Black Boat - Howie Hamlin/Mike Martin
2. AUS 8801 The Fish - Peter Chappell/Ian Davidson
3. AUS 8795 Sleek - Sandy Higgins/Paul Marsh
4. USA 7771 Gummi de Milo - Andrew Beeckman/Ben Benjamin
5. AUS 8809 - Scalpel - Leslie Nathanson/ichard Machin
On page 2 see Alexander Meller, President of International 505 Class Yacht Racing Association reflections from the pre-Worlds: