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Media Release: Australian Yachting Championship 2018 – Entries Reach Double Figures

Thursday, 17th August 2017


Entries for Australia’s Premier Keelboat event, the Australian Yachting Championships, are open with a swag of boats signing up across IRC, ORC and ORCi divisions for the 2018 edition of the race to be hosted by Sandringham Yacht Club from 19-21 January.

Mike Welsh’s Beneteau First 40, Wicked was the first entry received with the highly decorated Victorian entrant looking forward to the Championships to complement their busy season of racing. 

Since being purchased in 2008, Wicked has finished second overall in the 2009 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race and competed in the ORCV Melbourne to Stanley, Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race, Hamilton Island Race Week and the Adelaide to Port Lincoln with consistent results.

Wicked’s first major focus after being purchased was the 2009 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, where we placed second overall behind sister ship Two True,” Mike’s son, Mark said. “The race proved to be almost ideal for the Beneteau First 40 and it was an extremely close tussle between the two of us for most of the race, but ultimately their decision to acquire a Code 0, which we did not have at the time, proved to be a major factor.”

The father-son Welsh duo are regular faces at Sandringham Yacht Club with a number of Club Champion trophies in the cabinet, and alongside their long-term regular crew, are prepared and eager to contest the 2018 Australian Yachting Championship.

“We are pretty excited for the opportunity to participate in the Australian Yachting Championship because it is focussed around the type of sailing we love, and it is being hosted at our home Club,” Mark said.

In preparation for the Championships, Wicked will be racing in the Sandringham Yacht Club Winter and Summer Series as well as the ORCV Melbourne to Stanley Race in November with the crew out to maintain a consistent scorecard following mixed results so far in 2017.

“We have had an interesting year that started with finishing 25th overall and 4th in our division in the 2016 Rolex Sydney Hobart and placed 3rd in IRC 1 at the Club Championships behind the well campaigned J111, Joust and sister-ship, Bandit, who are both expected to compete in the Yachting Championships,” Mark said.

The philosophy on-board Wicked is; race hard, but have fun at the same time.

“Keelboat racing offers the opportunity to compete as a team, and despite a variety of backgrounds; Team Wicked come together as a strong unit with a common love of sailing,” Mark said. 

“While we push each other hard whilst racing, we also enjoy a lot of laughs on and off water, like an extended family.  Keelboat racing also provides the challenge of ocean racing, both locally in Bass Strait but also interstate in challenging events such as the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race and Adelaide to Port Lincoln, all the while enjoying some time cruising to and from the destinations.”

Alongside Wicked, a strong contingent of Victorian boats have also registered for the 2018 Australian Yachting Championship including; A Cunning Plan (Jon Lechte), Doesn’t Matter (Jade Cole), Jazz Player (Matt Lawrence), Joust (Rod Warren), More Noise (Jason Close), Nutcracker II (Rob Davis and Andy Baker), Phoenix (Alex Tseberg), Playlist (Mather Powell), Scarlet Runner (Robert Date), Sierra Chainsaw (Mel, Andrew and Patrick Mollison) and White Noise (Daniel Edwards).

The 2018 Australian Yachting Championship will be held in conjunction with the 2018 Sandringham Yacht Club Regatta, which will include various other handicap series.

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