Rockingham top teens triumph

John KaputinSound Telegraph

Two sailors from The Cruising Yacht Club in Rockingham won the 49th Flying Ant Skiff Australian Championships at TCYC during the recent Cockburn Sound Regatta.

Skipper Jeremy Kaputin, 15, and crew Isaac Pringle, 12, took Equalizer to first place and became the new Flying Ant National Champions during the event, which was held from December 27- January 3.

Jeremy and Isaac have come up through the ranks of the junior sailing program at TCYC, having started in Mudlarks a few years ago and progressing through Minnows to Flying Ants.

Jeremy has been sailing Flying Ants for four years, first as a crew and the past three years as a skipper.

Isaac started crewing with Jeremy last season and they have worked hard as a team to achieve their current success.

Fellow TCYC sailors Luke Phillips and Nick Sfetsos, on Antz Pantz, took second place and third went to Fremantle Sailing Club Flying Ant Viper, sailed by Jack Joyner and Nathan Stacey, both former TCYC junior sailors.

Flying Ants from WA and interstate clubs competed in the regatta with nine races sailed over five days and the final scores were based on the top seven race results for each boat.

Equalizer recorded top-three placings for all of its seven scoring races with four firsts, a second and two third places.

The regatta provided a full range of sailing conditions from light summer breezes through to a 25-knot South Westerly.

The windward beats offered an exciting display of skills and tactics and the stronger winds provided some spectacular displays of what Flying Ants are capable of; with spinnakers hoisted, crews out on the trapeze, skippers powering up the main sail as the hulls accelerated onto the plane and skimmed across the waves.

One of the Flying Ants with a GPS tracker on board recorded a top speed of 16 knots (30km/h).

As a mark of how tight the competition was, often the leading boats would remain only seconds apart after completing a full lap of the triangular course. The Flying Ant is a 3.2m planning skiff sailed by eight to 18-year-olds and the class has been popular in Australia since the 1960s with big fleets sailing during the 1970s to 1990s.

Quite a few of the parents at the regatta had sailed Flying Ants as juniors and the State Team trophy has a pair of father/son plaques, albeit 25 years apart.

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