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regatta report

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The 2012 John Cootes Furniture A Class Australian Championships wrapped up the week on a winning note that exceeded the expectations of organisers. With some 70 boats participating in the weeks racing events, the small lakeside community of Wangi Wangi, nestled on the eastern coastline of Australia, just one and half hours north of Sydney became a community where the village residents opened their doors to the Athletes and their families from across the country.

On the last day of the Championships, the strong fleet of competitors embraced blue skies, beaming sunshine and wind conditions delivering North Easterly’s with 15 Knot winds wrapping up the last race within an hour.

For the major sponsor of the Championships, John Coote, who turns 70 this year, the veteran sailor has competed everyday in the week’s program, ending day 5 in a show stopping finish as he capsized just as he crossed the finish line. Up and coming young F18’s sailor Lachlan White who was onboard the media boat assisting reporter Nicole Scott, dived in coming to Coote’s aid.

Once back on shore and feeling a little weary but in good spirits, Coote made comment saying, “This weeks event has one of the best line ups I’ve seen in the one place, this is my home turf, I grew up here as a young boy from the age of 4 years old at Lake Macquarie and I’ve loved it ever since. To encourage and sponsor an event on the lake where I grew up is of a personal note for me,  sailing is a sport I love, the A Class is a very exciting class, and it’s got a great group of people and to give something back to the sport I love is very satisfying”.

Wangi Sailing Club Commodore Les McAllister was overwhelmed with the support from local volunteers who assisted from all ages and delighted with the spectacular sailing giving spectator’s an abundant of A Class entertainment. “It’s been a great sailing and social event with such very high performance boats and high profiled sailors which was not expected at all. I was telling some sailors to do things and didn’t realise I was speaking to such high profiled sailors, but everyone has been very polite and accommodating it’s been excellent”. said McAllister.

Simon McKeown, a long time A Cat sailor and current Australian of the year told Scott, “It’s been an outright privilege to sail and be amongst such a great number of talented sailors and not only great sailors but great thinkers who make and design the boats. It’s been an amazing venue, just fabulous” said McKeown.

Glenn Ashby took out the 2012 John Cootes Furniture A Class Australian Championships after winning on Day 4 with one race to spare, with Nathan Outteridge securing second place and Steve Brewin in third place. Ashby said. ‘Every National win is important but this field, with so much depth of talent and competition, is definitely the strongest fleet I have ever sailed against in the A-Cats at ANY level.   – Nicole Scott.