Bendigo sailor to compete in world championships

Bendigo’s Adam Hawkins is setting sail for the Flying Fifteen world championships in Hong Kong after teaming with Melbourne’s Ben Jones to win the national title last week.

Representing Mordialloc Sailing Club, the duo won three of the eight races at Davey’s Bay.

But it was Hawkins and Jones’ consistency which helped them breakthrough for their first national title. 

Competing against 46 boats, they steered I’d Swap This For A Bundy to top-eight finishes in every race across the six days of competition.

“This was our fifth nationals together; we’ve had two seconds, we finally got the breakthrough,” Hawkins said.

“The conditions were pretty good, we were pretty lucky. Normally that time of year the winds can be pretty light, but we had pretty good wind.”

It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the pair, though, as they were in second place behind Queenslanders Ashley Smith and Adam Kingston – the eventual runners-up – after six races.

But in 40-degree temperatures and 18 to 22-knot northerly winds last Friday, the Victorians outperformed their rivals in the final two races.

In the second-last race, Hawkins and Jones took fourth place – one spot ahead of the Queenslanders – before winning the final showdown as Smith and Kingston finished third.

Both teams finished equal on 28 points, but Hawkins and Jones won by two on the net result to claim the coveted Coweslip Trophy.

The trophy was first presented to the Flying Fifteens winner in 1963 by Prince Philip. As the national champions Hawkins and Jones will now send a letter to the Duke of Edinburgh and receive a response.

The duo, who are set to defend their Victorian title in the 20-foot, keel boat Flying Fifteens class at Gippsland in March, are already planning for November’s world titles. Hawkins said the pair were aiming for a top-10 finish in Hong Kong. 

“It would be really good, we went to the UK the year before last and we were 12th, hopefully we’ll do better this time,” Hawkins said.

Hawkins, 35, learnt his craft sailing at Lake Eppalock with the Bendigo Yacht Club for a decade before relocating to Melbourne.

“Jack Carroll taught me to sail out there, apparently he’s still out there coaching the kids. He taught me and Glenn Ashby to sail,” Hawkins said.

“Mum and dad got me into it, so I was pretty young, five or six or something.”

Hawkins and Jones, who also won the invitational Uffa Fox trophy at the national championships, will be back in Bendigo for the BeYC’s Australia Day Regatta.

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