Contender State Championships

Photos from top: Robin Malpas (ACT).
Matt Mulder and current World Champion, Mark Bulka.
Photos by Bob Bower (Illawarra YC).

The 2016/17 ACT/NSW International Contender states were conducted by the Illawarra Yacht Club on the weekend of the 19th and 20th November. It was used as a test event for the Musto Australasia 48th Australian Contender Championships in January 2017. Fifteen boats made up the fleet travelling from Sydney, Canberra and three from Melbourne, including the current World Champion, Mark Bulka.

Three heats were sailed on Saturday in a fading, shifty 8-10 knot Southerly. Matt Mulder (NSW) won the first 2 heats after passing Mark up the second windward in both races with Paul Cohen (ACT) finishing 3rd. The third and last race (lightest) was dominated by Craig Davidson (ACT) with Paul second and Mark third. At the end of the first day Mark was leading from Paul with Craig and Matt tied for third.

Race 1 results:- 1st Matt Mulder; 2nd Mark Bulka; 3rd Paul Cohen; 4th Craig Davidson; 5th Andre Webster (ACT).
Race 2 results:- 1st Matt Mulder; 2nd Mark Bulka; 3rd Paul Cohen; 4th Craig Davidson; 5th Thomas Young(ACT).
Race 3 results:- 1st Craig Davidson; 2nd Paul Cohen; 3rd Mark Bulka; 4th Thomas Young; 5th Robin Malpas (ACT).

Sunday’s two races held the promise of a building sea breeze and didn’t disappoint with both races sailed in 15-20 knots. Mark and Matt cleared out from the fleet early in both races with Matt coming from behind to get the heat 4 win by just under a foot and Mark doing the same with the same margin in heat 5. Andre Webster found some form in the fresher conditions to finish both races in 3rd.

Race 4 results:- 1st Matt Mulder; 2nd Mark Bulka; 3rd Andre Webster; 4th Thomas Young; 5th Craig Davidson.
Race 5 results:- 1st Mark Bulka; 2nd Matt Mulder; 3rd Andre Webster; 4th Paul Cohen; 5th Thomas Young.

Some of the other stand out performances over the weekend came from junior sailer, Thomas Young, who was unlucky not to finish the regatta in the top 5 after consistent results through the different conditions experienced. Also Oliver McKeon (VIC) who was sailing a contender for the first time ever, leading the fleet up the first windward in both of Sunday's heats and showed he will be someone to watch out for in future regattas.

Illawarra Yacht Club proved to be an excellent venue and it is looking to attract a large fleet of Contenders for the Nationals late in January 2017 especially considering it is only a year out from the World Titles to be sailed from McCrae Yacht Club (VIC) in January 2018.

Final Results (After a Drop):- 1st Matt Mulder (5 Points); 2nd Mark Bulka (7 Points); 3rd Paul Cohen (12 Points); 4th Craig Davidson (14 Points); 5th Andre Webster (17 Points).

Matt Mulder

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