An Australian in Our Midst….!!

Over some time, we’ve had an Australian in our midst – John Hassen…  I think I first met John at the Hayling Worlds in 2011.  John has family over here, and I have family ‘over there’ – so it has made sense to chat about life a lot.

John has long nurtured his dream of campaigning a Flying Fifteen “over here” as well as “over there”.  His is a proper Two Boat Programme !!  If you’re going to the France Worlds, you’ll likely see him there too!

I’ve got to know John pretty well, as many of us have.  You might like to read his travelogue of FF sailing in Europe that he has published on the FF Australia website.

Click here to see it.


The Ultimate Two-Boat Program….!

Have you ever wondered about following Charles idea of having a flying fifteen in each of two countries and just “popping over” for a regatta??

Well, John Hassen of Perth, Western Australia has done just that. In addition to his sparkly new Ovington at home, he now has a boat here to race with while on family visits to UK.  You may have seen him showing in the results table at the Nationals, Ullswater (where he sailed with Chris Turner!)  and Cowes Classic week.

You can read a little about his progress at Cowes Classic week by clicking here…. that’s John in the photo on the left and see the section titled “Long Distance Racer” in the report.


WA State Champs in Perth !!!

Whilst taking a month out, your Editor has sadly fallen behind on his news!!  But as you read this, I’m on a plane back to HQ…!!

One of the events I’ve fallen behind on was the WA Championships in fabulous Perth….!  Bother – as they had been emailing the FF Blog with daily news.   I’ll give you a catch-upon that in the coming days.  In the mean time, here is the newspaper report

Click here for a PDF download

SOPYC Newspaper clipping

More Super Trophies

Etchells Trophies Hassen JI saw your blog today on the subject of Flying Fifteen trophies and thought you may be interested in the attachments and information below. 

Given the current $A to £ exchange rate the prices of these trophies would be very reasonable to Clubs in the UK even after taking into account the cost of freight.

The website is:

I am also including some photos of trophies produced for Geographe Bay Race Week and the Cockburn Sound Regatta.

They need a minimum of two weeks from ordering to delivery. The sails and spinnakers are to the correct dimensions of the class.

John Hassen

Perth, WA

FF Cranes at South of Perth YC…..!!

Since the blog chatter started off by Helen Hepworth in Hong Kong pointing out that the Aussies all launch FFs by crane, we had additional contributions on cranes from Andy Murphy and Richard Taylor (South Cerney).

Now we suddenly have a flurry of FF crane photos and diagrams to show you!!

The first is from the home of the largest FF fleet in the world (any comment from HISC members??!!) at South Perth, WA.  It’s a pretty stunning and well capitalised setup there, but if there are any UK Commodores reading this you had better sit down….

SoPYC cranes 002

This is pretty industrial scale craning, and reminds me of the setup at Medway YC.  You can see though that some of the cranes have both large and small cranes built in.

SoPYC cranes 001

Uk readers should try to ignore all that blue water, cloudless sky etc.

SoPYC cranes 006

Now you might be thinking, “That’ll take a while – how you cope trying to launch a whole fleet quickly?”

Answer – lots of cranes!!

SoPYC three cranes 003

Thanks to Richard Blaquiere for the fabulous photos!

Brilliant Photos from the Perth Aussie Fifties…..

I was delighted the other day to receive an envelope from John Hassen in Perth containing a  superb DVD crammed full of great video footage and hundreds of FF photos from the 50th Australian Championships.  We’re trying to get the hang of how to put a video collection on the BIFFA website… but in the meantime I’ll publish some of my favourites from the massive photo collection donated by Bernie Kaaks and Glenda Leslie.

Here’s my ultimate favourite from Bernie Kaaks…

I feel the urge to have a caption competition!  How about….

“Matt Owen tells Steve Goacher where he can go !! (Left!!!)”

Western Australia State Championships…..!!

If you followed our reports from the 50th Australian Championships in Perth in the New Year, you may be interested to know they have just sailed the 50th WA State Championship.

Setting aside ‘Ashes’ gags for the minute…. Top Aussie boat in the January nationals was ‘El Toro’ sailed by Adele Jackson with Dean McAullay. This boat is maybe more familiar to you  with Grant Alderson and Dean McAullay aboard – previous FF World Champions. Well, guess what…. Grant and Dean cleaned up at the State Nationals too….

Grant said, “That was the closest regatta win ever!! Beat our closest rival by 1 meter over the line in the last heat and then won on a countback in the Flying 15 WA State Champs. Awesome crewing Dean McAullay!”

I just love inspired headlines on race reports and if you click here for the final race report, you’ll see what The Sun newspaper would have had trouble bettering!

Also click here to see the official event website.

© Glenda Leslie – Adele Jackson and Dean McAullay on a quiet spinnaker reach in Perth

Flying Fifteen Video from Perth Championships…..

Brady Lowe has sent in this fabulous onboard video from Perth.  Technique is moving forward it seems to me…..

Note that the cam is attached to the tiller head and not to the transom – a great improvement in technique. Also Brady has spliced in some camera stills taken from what I imagine is a mast cam….

Click here to see it.

Ashes Jokes at the Ready !! – Goacher wins in Perth…!!!


(David Yu and Chris Nelson…)

Great Britain’s triple world champion Steve Goacher teamed up with the winning skipper from last year’s Flying Fifteen nationals, Matt Owen, to secure the Golden Anniversary National championship for the class.  The union resulted in Owen winning an Australian title in successive years, one as helmsman and one as crew!

(Adam Hawkins and Ben Jones… and still finished second!!)

The championship was conducted on Perth’s picturesque Swan River and hosted by the South of Perth Yacht Club. Conditions varied through the week, with fresh south westerlies early, which gave way to some very light easterly breezes later in the week as weather conditions were influenced by a cyclone hovering off the north west of the State, and finished in a reasonably steady 12 to 15 knot easterly on the final day.

Before the start of today’s race, Goacher’s assignment was simple.  To win the title he had to ensure that he did not allow Alan Bax and Simon Childs to finish more than three places ahead of him.  As it happened, both finished worse than seventh, so today’s race did not influence the scoreline for either boat.

The result was a huge triumph for the three visiting British crews, who took out the first three placings in the regatta.  The trio showed remarkable consistency, so much so that the worst placing for any of them was a fifteenth in the 58 boat fleet.  Individual brilliance by several of the Australians from time to time was offset by the odd disaster in their scoreline and even with the benefit of two drops, they could not match the visitors.

Today’s race was a triumph for Adele Jackson and Dean McAullay.  They suffered a horrible day yesterday, starting out with a black flag disqualification in the first race and tenth place in the other two races – their worst scores for the week. Starting sensibly near the centre of the line today, the pair were clearly focused on controlling the centre of the course.  They played the shifty easterly well, ignoring the massive proportion of the fleet which headed off to the north side of the course on the first beat, and led at the top mark, with Adam Hawkins, Mike Hart, Graeme Lillingstone and David Yu in hot pursuit.

(Adele Jackson (huggee) and Dean McAullay (hugging)… )

Positions remained static on the square run, but on the second beat, Jackson/McAullay were very disciplined in sticking to their game plan to open up the gap to the chasing pack, but on the first reach the pack brought some fresher breeze down with them and once again that gap was back to about 30 seconds between first and second.  Goacher and Bax were doing what they had to do, well back from the leaders, and Hart had an uncharacteristic “lose” at the gybe mark, opening the door for David Yu and Chris Nelson.

Positions remained relatively stable during the final windward and return leg, so in a massive turnaround, Jackson/McAullay took the win ahead of Hawkins/Jones and Yu/Nelson, with Mike Hart finishing fourth.

Steve Goacher and Matt Owen therefore take home the Australian Flying Fifteen Championship trophy, with Adele Jackson and Dean McAullay being the best all-Australian crew.

Geraldton’s Adam Semple and Lisa Greeve won the silver fleet trophy with a four point buffer over Hank Heimans and Alan Sharpe, while Ray Ellard and Ken Treharne won the Classic championship without having to sail today.

Final Top 10:

  1. 3988                  17                  Steve Goacher/Matt Owen
  2. 3987                  20                  Alan Bax/Simon Childs
  3. 3775                  22                  Mike Hart/Richard Rigg
  4. 3933                  27                  Adele Jackson/Dean McAullay
  5. 3781                  30                  David Tucker/Matt Summers
  6. 3881                  30                  Adam Hawkins/Ben Jones
  7. 3670                  35                  Graeme Lillingstone/Ed Repsevicius
  8. 3743                  43                  Greg Tonnison/Steve Roberts
  9. 3859                  45                  David Yu/Chris Nelson
  10. 3982                  58                  Chris Paterson/Rupert Leslie

Final Silver Fleet:

  1. 3085                  10                  Adam Semple/Lisa Greeve
  2. 3224                  14                  Hank Heimans/Alan Sharpe
  3. 3312                  15                  Murray Latham/Tony Pugh

Final Classic Fleet:

  1. 2756                  6                  Ray Ellard/Ken Treharne
  2. 2012                  11                  Peter Paton/Narelle Thomas
  3. 2115                  20                  Wayne Hudson/Brianna Hudson

Our thanks both to Gill Browning for her reports from the RIB, and especially to Bernie Kaaks for his sensational photographs and reports!!

Right From the RIB – Final Day at the Perth Fifties…!!

I am very sad this is my last day doing my on water report from the stunning Swan River for the final race of the 50th Aussie Nationals.
Pleased to say it’s another wonderful day with the usual clear  blue sky, waves with white tops and a lovely but shifty 12 – 18 knots building as the race goes on.
They got away on time with an individual recall from the 1st start for the long course today of sausage, triangle, sausage, windward leg.
As they approach the top mark Adele & Dean obviously determined to banish yesterdays disappointment are clear ahead followed by Lillo a distance ahead of the pack –
Steve in 9th & Baxy in 16th.
Wow Adele & Dean have got an even bigger lead as they approach the top for the 2nd time … away they power on a broad 3 sail reach!
A big gust hits the back half of the fleet so there are many ragging sails and out of control boats. Away in the distance I can see the fleet flying along the bottom reach with 2 white kites close together appearing to be way above the rhumb line – my educated guess is it’s Steve & Baxy as they are both using white kites today. These boats have now gybed back to the leeward mark but we’ll have to see what the outcome/damage is when they get back here.
Well 3rd time around
3881 closer this time
At the finish
Steve 8 or 9 and Baxy further back.
The maths gets more complicated as the 2nd drop comes in as they will have completed 8 races and the following is completely unofficial ..
3988 Steve & Matt
3987 Baxy & Simon
3775 Mike & Riggy
3933 Adele & Dean
The next are too close to call … the official results will be out shortly.
A lovely race to finish the series!
South of Perth YC have hosted a great event in a magic environment.
See you in England soon ….

Perth Fifties – Aussies Heartbroken….!!


(Steve Goacher and Matt Owen)

There are few sights in sailing that are quite as forlorn as seeing an idle boat crew near the start line, watching their fellow sailors charging away from the line after suffering the humiliation of a black flag disqualification.  That was the sight that greeted us as we arrived at the Swan River course area for the Flying Fifteen Nationals this afternoon and the luckless crew was the leading Australian crew of Adele Jackson and Dean McAullay.

(Alan Bax and Simon Childs)

Perth’s famous south westerly sea breeze, affectionately known as the “Fremantle Doctor”, failed to materialise again today due to the influence of a cyclone in the north west of the State. Instead, this afternoon’s breeze came from the east and south east, varying in strength from 3 or 4 knots, to bullets of wind gusting well over 15 knots.  South of Perth Yacht Club’s race officer Les Swinton, already under pressure after losing a race because of fickle winds yesterday, was determined to run three races today to get the regatta back on schedule and selected course 2 for all three races, requiring a windward and return leg, followed by a triangle and a beat to the finish.

(Greg Tonnison and Steve Roberts)

The quality of the field in this championship is best demonstrated by the fact that after seven races, only triple world champion Steve Goacher has been capable of winning more than one race.

Consistency and risk management however, have been the key for the top scoring boats. They have generally avoided risky starts, have avoided straying too wide on the windward legs and have stayed out of trouble.  They’ve also been able to generate excellent boat speed on and off the wind, but have maintained their composure when back in the bunch in the early stages of a race, to emerge among the leaders at the business end.  Steve Goacher in particular, has showed an extraordinary capacity to wear down boats in front of him.

The fall from grace of Adele Jackson and Dean McAullay has been a huge disappointment for them, coming at a time when they were brimming with confidence, holding third place overall, and best of the Australian boats.  Jackson was clearly shattered by her black flag experience and scored 10ths in each of the two races to follow.

“We had no excuses,” Adele Jackson said afterwards. “It was really shifty out there, particularly near the top mark.  We thought we were doing OK and then found ourselves back in the pack again.”

David Tucker and Matt Summers had a good win in today’s first race, taking a risk on the first leg by going out wide, but it paid off handsomely and they gleefully claimed their first win of the series.

In the second race of the afternoon, run in similar conditions, Alan Bax threaded his way through the traffic and worked hard near the centre of the course to get to the top mark with a small but significant lead, which he extended as the race progressed.  He had a spectacular first reach, riding one of the gusts that crossed the course to really take the race apart.

Jenny Richardson, sailing one of the older boats in the fleet, went to the extreme edge of the course in the first leg, picking up a nice little lift in the process.  She tacked on a wind shift and laid the top mark without having to tack again, to find herself in the lead for the first time.  It all unravelled in the downwind leg though, as the pack engulfed her little blue boat and put an end to its moment of glory.

The race was won by Queenslanders Ashley Smith and Adam Kingston, so after seven races, only the master, Steve Goacher, has been able to notch more than one win.

Tomorrow’s final race of the championship is scheduled to be run in the morning, with more easterly breezes forecast.

The leaderboard after race seven, incorporating one drop:

  1. 3988                  17                  Steve Goacher/Matt Owen
  2. 3987                  20                  Alan Bax/Simon Childs
  3. 3775                  30                  Mike Hart/Richard Rigg
  4. 3781                  35                  David Tucker/Matt Summers
  5. 3933                  36                  Adele Jackson/Dean McAullay
  6. 3670                  37                  Graeme Lillingstone/Ed Repsevicius
  7. 3881                  43                  Adam Hawkins/Ben Jones
  8. 3743                  43                  Greg Tonnison/Steve Roberts
  9. 3859                  55                  David Yu/Chris Nelson
  10. 3972                  59                  Ashley Smith/Adam Kingston

For full results click on “Perth Championship Results” shown under “Interesting Links” on the right hand side of this page….


Photos and Report by Bernie Kaaks