Northern dominance

Queenslanders crowned National Champions.

Written by CYCA

23 September 2018


James Hodgson, Harry Hall, Ryan Wilmot and Charlie Gundy have crushed the final day of the Australian Match Racing Championship, to defeat the previously unbeaten DownUnder Racing, 3-1 in the Finals Series to become Australia’s newest National Champion after gear failure on Price’s boat in Race 4.

Having joined and trained out of the CYCA Youth Sailing Academy for the past eight months, Hodgson expertly manoeuvred their Elliott 7m in the opening two pre-starts. This gave Hodgson the early advantage in each race, and used his heavier weight to his advantage on the upwind legs.

Price, currently World #8, held in on each race, successfully rolling Hodgson on the final run of Race 1 and looked almost certain to steal the opening race. But as both boats approached the pin end of the line, both boats gybed onto port with Price running up the back of Hodgson who slowed during the manoeuvre.


Race 2 again saw a very close battle with Hodgson showing superior speed on the upwind legs, but DownUnder Racing excelling downwind. But on the final run again to the finish, Hodgson was able to defend his lead after a 40 degree left shift made it almost a lay through to the finish. This saw Hodgson on match point against the former World #1.

Race 3 saw Price usual pre-start aggression come back to life, Price dominating the sequence to lead off the line. In a close battle upwind, Price penalised Hodgson on the approach to the windward mark and stretched around the course to win by the biggest margin in the Finals.

With Price regaining his winning ways, but still in a do or die scenario, both teams fought extremely hard to hold control of the race. After an extensive tacking duel up for the first windward beat, Hodgson rounded a length in front with Price ready to pounce yet again.

Unfortunately for Price, in a spectacular scene, the spinnaker halyard snapped clean in two once the spinnaker filled, dropping the spinnaker instantly in the water.

The gear failure allowed Hodgson to smoke away downwind to an unassailable lead.

For Hodgson it was redemption time for last year’s defeat at the Australian Match Racing Championship. It is an exciting win for the new team who will now look to add a second National title to their resume next month when they represent the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia in the Sharp Australian Youth Match Racing Championship.

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