WALLAGOOT Lake Boat Club secretary Tony Hastings will fly the Kangaroo flag after being named in the Australian sailing team to take on the Kiwis on Wellington Harbour, New Zealand, over Easter.
Hastings finished in 14th place out of a field of 40 at the Paper Tiger national championships held at Meningie, South Australia, recently.
The top 10 placegetters were named in the preliminary Australian team, but due to the unavailability of some sailors Hastings was promoted up the ranks.
“The top 10 Aussies form the Kangaroo team and because some of the other sailors have decided not to represent, I was promoted into the team,” Hastings said.
“This is easily the highlight of my career and I’m looking forward to taking on the Kiwis on their own water.”
The event will be hosted by the Muritai Yacht Club on Wellington Harbour, a notoriously windy venue.
“It is often very windy on Wellington Harbour and that is why some of our veteran sailors have decided not to compete,” Hastings said.
“Strong winds and choppy water are the conditions I do worst in, but I’m developing my boat and training hard to raise my standard.
“For example I’ve reinforced my mast and hulls, so I can push the boat hard and go flat out when others chicken out and back off. Of course anything can happen, and if we get light winds I could do really well.”
Hastings is a proud Aussie and he will have a red Kangaroo symbol on his sail.
The competition will be decided after the sides tally the total of all their team member’s scores at the end of the series.
Hastings will be teamed with former international champions Bruce Rose, Mark Wiggins, Bryan Anderson and Ian Marcovitch.
It also boasts Bendigo 14-year-old junior sensation Joshua Thorpe, who won the rookie of the year award, C grade and junior champion at the recent nationals, finishing 11th overall.
The Paper Tiger catamaran is a very competitive class, requiring Olympic standard sailing to win major events, and although Hastings is yet to win a race in major titles, he has often finished races in the top 10.
“Body weight is a big factor in sailing performance, and as a lightweight (62kg), I do well in light winds, but go really badly in strong winds and choppy water,” Hastings said.
“The Paper Tiger is mostly a one-design class, meaning that all the boats are roughly the same shape, same weight, with the same sized sail.
“The class rules mean that old boats can be just as competitive as new ones. My boat, 2901 “Tigerdelic”, is a 20 year old plywood boat, with a five year old sail. It’s a tiny fraction slower than boats with new sails.”
Hastings started sailing at the age of 12 under his father’s guidance, and after a few laps around his home lake he started competing in club races.
It wasn’t long before he was competing in state and national titles.
One of his earlier triumphs was winning the Narrabeen Lake club championship at the age of 17, on a Sailfish.
Hastings is currently looking for work after completing his honours in environmental science last year. He researched the relationship between Bell miner associated dieback and rainforests in coastal gullies.
“I would be delighted to accept any offer of sponsorship, to help cover the cost of competing,” Hastings said.
“I would display promotional material on my sail and mention a sponsor in related publicity. The trip will cost about $1000 in airfares and accommodation. A new $1500 sail would provide a great boost to my performance.”
Contact Tony on 0427 534 548 if you would like to offer support.