It's been a good few months for One Design racers who have given up their beloved Wallies (just for a while) to sail other classes.
It all started when five Aussies went over to the worlds for the "other" One Design class, the Kona One Design. The Kona is basically a modern slant on the Wally; faster in the strong stuff but with the same close tactical racing where skill, not pumping, rules the day.
Despite having very little time on the Konas, the Aussies performed outstandingly in tough conditions off Miami. In a fleet of 83 sailors from 11 countries, perennial Australian champ Dennis Winstanley took out sixth spot overall and second in his weight class, narrowly ahead of former Olympic team member Stuart Gilbert (seventh overall and also second in his weight class). That meant that the Aussies were second best nation overall (in terms of top 10 placings) in their first regatta in the world's fastest-growing board class.
Dennis went on to take the Freestyle and overall scores in the Windsurfer One Design Freestyle and Slalom Cup, with Stu close behind. The fact that the whole Aussie team could shift to a new class and finish right up there with people with years of Kona experience demonstrates the level of the local One Design fleet.
Back in Oz, two women's national champs continued to strengthen their claims for a spot at the next Olympics. 2009 One Design women's champ Jessica Crisp continued to dominate the chase for the spot at the 2012 Games with a win at the RSX Nationals, while 2010 One Design women's champ Krystal Weir did the same by taking the women's division at the Laser Radial dinghy nationals. Unfortunately, both will miss the One Design nationals because they will be away at the Miami Olympic classes regatta.
And in mid January, two sailors who learned their windsurfing in the Junior One Design class dominated the Youth Worlds selection trials, sailed on Techno 293s. Annaliese Gilbert scored an easy win in the girl's class and will now go to the worlds. Sam Treharne, in only his second season on boards, put in a superb performance to lead the whole regatta into the last race, only to lose the title (and the world's team spot) on countback after dropping to 6th in the last heat. Another Junior One sailor, Matt Stenta, is meanwhile leading the huge 86 boat fleet in the Flying 11 NSW titles, with former Junior One and One Design Youth champ Paul Ivshenko in third.
It's been one hell of a summer for One Design sailors!