271 Brendon Whalley, 382 Matthew Caldwell, 404 Richard Cullum, and Greg and Brendon Whalley side by side.
271 Brendon Whalley, 382 Matthew Caldwell, 404 Richard Cullum, and Greg and Brendon Whalley side by side. Peter Arney

Caldwell cruelly denied top prize

Matthew Caldwell maintained his stranglehold on second spot in the Nacra Australian 16 square class at the expense of last year’s champion Brendon Whalley.

Whalley, also a Bundaberg Sailing Club member, has spent less time on the water lately since concentrating on spear fishing.

Despite storming home he couldn’t catch Caldwell and had to settle for third spot.

But second isn’t a stranglehold Caldwell is keen on calling his own, especially on the back of a first place at last year’s Queensland Nacra titles.

It appeared as if he had the title in the bag, but Corey Holden’s golden finish, winning the last three races, was enough to hand him the trophy.

“It seems like I have the bridesmaid spot sewn up,” he said.

“It’s not one I want to keep, especially because the guy that beat me this time I beat soundly at the state titles.”

There wasn’t much in it, either. After six days of racing, Holden and Caldwell were equal on points and a false start by Caldwell all but handed Holden the win.

“By the time I did a U-turn and came back through the markers he was too far ahead; I couldn’t quite catch him,” Caldwell said.

Only 50cm separated the two sailors in the first race after an hour on the water, and half a boat length was the margin in the second.

“He’s obviously done a bit of tinkering to his boat, but you can’t do much really because our speeds are so similar,” Caldwell said.

The 16 square vessel is the smallest single man Nacra boat — Brendon’s dad Greg guided his to 10th overall and veteran Brian Bedford finished 11th.

“I think we all performed magnificently. Brian thought he had me but I just pipped him,” Greg Whalley said.

It wasn’t the only class that local sailors impressed in.

Richard Cullum, competing in the inaugural Nacra 4.5 national title, finished third after the 11-race schedule.

Brad Kroning, racing the 5.8 class, also won a race and finished fourth in another.

He finished 11th overall, an impressive result given the small breeze.

“That was a really tough class so you’ve got to take your hat off to him,” Whalley said.



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