Stephens clinches maiden Sharpie title in dominant fashion

By Harry Fisher

Luke Stephens, Matt Hansen and Dave Snoad on Sideshow Bob. Photos: Lou Hollis

Luke Stephens and his team of Matt Hansen and David Snoad on Sideshow Bob took out their maiden Australian Sharpie Nationals last week after a dominant display at the Adelaide Sailing Club.

The event, which was sponsored by Hames Sharley, Future Urban and Pinz, drew a fleet of 72 boats and more than 220 sailors, which set the scene for a tight battle at the top end with a number of top competitors.

However Stephens and his team jumped out to an early lead with three race wins and two seconds by the completion of the fifth race of a nine-race series.

It was all downwind sailing from there with the other boats playing catch up and competing against each other mainly for the remaining podium positions.

Stephens was able to hold on comfortably by the end of the regatta, winning with a race to spare, and coming out on top of Mark Soulsby, Tom Kennedy and Tom Alder on Shaderunner in second, and Robbie Deussen, Ash Dyer and Andy Dyer on It’s All About Me in third.

Dave Higgins, Rob Turton and Tony Gold in Major Tom snuck into fourth place overall and were the first-placed Brighton & Seacliff Yacht Club boat.

Don Allen, Glenda Allen and Darrell Ralph on $900 Boat and representing the Warrnambool Yacht Club came away as the overall Handicap winners, which came at a huge surprise.

Harry Mitton, Jake Wilson and Josh Hinks on Moby Dick, representing the host club Adelaide Sailing Club, came away as the junior (under 21) champions and even took a heat win in Race 6.

While records don’t exist for the ages of heat winners, the Sharpie Association was confident Harry was the youngest ever Lightweight Sharpie skipper to win a national heat.

Lauren Thredgold, Mark Witter and Brendan Shepperd in Nest of Vipers and also from Adelaide Sailing Club won the award for the first-placed female skipper after a very successful regatta by the new team.

Derek Milligan, John Fisher and Rob Tikoft in Zulu from the Canberra Yacht Club were able to finish as the best country representative, sailing in a strong fleet of more than 20 boats that traveled from regional Australia.

A number of other perpetual prizes were presented on Sunday night, as well as two very special life memberships of the Australian Sharpie class that went to South Australian class stalwart and 2015-16 National Champion Geoff “Sam” McCloud from the Adelaide Sailing Club, and former National President of the class Mark Kretschmer from the Largs Bay Sailing Club.

Next year’s nationals head back to the Mounts Bay Sailing Club in Perth, which is set to be a cracking event with great river sea breezes that Perth is known for and another huge fleet of long boats.

For full results click here.

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