The final day of racing turned out to be the biggest test for the regatta. The early signs that the wind would pick up from the days' prior racing were correct, and didn't disappoint. The warm sunny morning lulled us into a false sense of security that it was going to be a light wind sailing day again. As forecast, the strong southerly breeze arrived just in time for race briefing, heralding a full day of great sailing to round off the series.
The last day had plenty at stake with the Raceboard placings in contention throughout the fleet. There was no room for slacking off even if the previous night's partying proved too much for some. The gloves might have helped the blisters but didn't help the sore heads.
The first race was fast and exciting in the building breeze, but it quickly grew too strong for some. After the first race the fleet scurried back to shore, wondering if there was enough energy in the tank to compete on big sails for the remaining races with many changing to smaller rigs better-suited for the strong breeze.
Racing was tight with even the slightest of errors proving costly. The race committee was quick to adjust the course length and position to suit the changing conditions to keep sailors on their toes and provide optimum sailing.
If conditions weren't testing enough with the strong winds, careful sailing was necessary, with planning at the top mark needed to avoid the resident dugong mother and calf grazing on the sea grass.
At the end of a tough week and the finish line in sight, the beach was crowded with friends, family, spectators and particularly freestyle kiteboards who appeared to be doing their best to collide with the fleet with their aerial manoeuvres close to shore.
Apart from the leader, the results for the bulk of the fleet came down to the last day of sailing which rewarded the efforts of those who could master the more challenging conditions.
With much anticipation first place was successfully claimed by Cam Harrison of NSW, closely followed by Alexandre Rouys from New Caledonia in second and Justin Lord (NSW) in third place. Presentation followed shortly after the day's sailing, rounding off a fantastic regatta, with plenty of awards given out across the fleet.
The 2018 Australian Raceboard Nationals and Oceanic Windsurfing Championships has been a great success with varied wind conditions throughout the regatta with tight, competitive racing by all sailors.
Finally on behalf of the sailors we would like to thank the race organisers, race committee and volunteers for once again putting on a superb event at RQYS.