A large fleet of 53 ILCA Lasers competed in the three classes. They ventured out into big rolling swells and breezy North Easterly conditions on day one of the 2023 ILCA Nationals hosted by Point Yacht Club, with gusts of 24 knots being registered on the bridge boat anchored in the middle of the racetrack. There were loads of thrills and spills encountered by the participants. The three classes all did two quick fire laps in each of their three races. Race Officer, Kevin Bingham set a triangle sausage course, with a generous distance between the top and bottom marks allowing for some epic beats and runs.
Leading the main fleet, the ILCA 7's, local sailor, Rudy McNeill sailed exceptionally notching up three back-to-back bullets. Topping the ILCA 4's, Isabella Keytel had a good first day out logging a third, a second and an impressive first. She commented "Very enjoyable conditions with some really cool, big surfs." Another sailor returning to his local stomping ground, Jethro Brophy Tintinger sailed out of his boots in the ILCA6's, finishing first in his class. He achieved a second, a fifth and a respectable first.
Another big weather day tested sailors on day two of the ILCA Nationals on Friday. To allow more manageable conditions, racing started earlier. As the sailing built momentum, so did the conditions with the sea state getting lumpy as the north easterly breeze filled in with winds blowing over 20 knots later on. Race Officer, Kevin Bingham opted to sail course one, a windward leeward course, with an early start. The shorter course allowed him to get in four races in total. The leading lady in the ILCA 4's, Olivia Purchase (MAC) had a magnificent second day on the water, with podium finishes in all four of her races. She kicked off her day with first places in race one and two, followed by a second place in race three, and finishing with a third in the fourth and final race. Purchase was lying third overnight behind Isabella Keytel, then Jacques Dugas, both ZVYC. Keytel now finds herself in second place only three points behind and Dugas in third, seven points behind Purchase. Defending ILCA 6 champion, Keagen Nel from Stillbaai Yacht Club had a fantastic second day, leap frogging overnight leader, Jethro Brophy Tintinger sailing for Henley Midmar Yacht Club. Nel achieved a total of three first places in his seven races overall, while Brophy Tintinger has earned two respectable first places. Only two points separates the tight competition between the two, including a very unusual tied first place in race two today. Continuing his fine form, Rudy McNeill had a brilliant day on the water, registering first places in each of his four races and stretching his lead in the ILCA 7's. Knysna's Georgou Divaris sailed hard, moving up one place ahead of Alistair Keytel. Currently in second place, Divaris finished with two seconds and two thirds, with a nett total of 16 points, ten points behind McNeill. Keytel is still very much in the running, with only two points behind Divaris.
Three races were completed on the final day, in similar NE conditions. Isabella Keytel (ZVYC) claimed top spot in the ILCA 4's after an almighty duel with Olivia Purchase (MAC). The two young ladies ended their nationals tied, both with 16 points. Keytel who was the overnight leader after the first day, found herself two points behind Purchase at the start of the final day. In her last two races, she magicked up two magnificent wins, taking her total tally of victories to four and edging Purchase out, who had three first places to her name after ten races. Chiara Fruet completed the all female podium in third place. In the ILCA 7 fleet, Rudy McNeill clinched the title by winning the first two races and not having to sail the last race. Alastair Keytel did enough to get back to second place overall, with Kai Leslie clinching 3rd place, edging out Divaris. In the ILCA 6 fleet, Keagan Nel continued to dominate and proceeded to retain the ILCA 6 Trophy that he won at the previous Nationals, held at Hermanus. Jethro Brophy-Tintinger secured second place, ahead of Simon Baer.