The Australian Nationals are almost upon us.  The top guns are gathering, as Robert Griffits reports. 

The Australian A Class Catamaran fleet will be celebrating the New Year in their traditional style by competing in their National Championships.
The racing will be on Port Phillip Bay, south of Melbourne, sailing out of the McCrae Yacht Club.  49 boats have entered the event. The star studded line out includes Steve Brewin, Darren Bundock, Carolyn Brouer, Andrew Landenberger, Chris Cairns, Scott Anderson, Darren Beattie, and Stephen Brayshaw.
A practice race will be held today (Sunday), and race program spanning the following five days is planned.  The weather forecast is promising, with winds in the 10 to 15 knot range on days except Tuesday which looks to be very light, and maybe a day to sitting on the beach. The shallow waters and the the long wind fetches characteristic of Port Phillip Bay can make for quite lumpy waveforms, which will add to the challenge of foiling.

Stevie Brewin will be using the latest version of the Exploder AD3, with brand new rudder cassettes , and centreboards which seem to be continuing to move closer to the main beam.  A little development is happening with rigs, with Landy experimenting with a shorter mast to improve righting moment. The venue and the competition should be able to afford a good evaluation of this concept.