Zac's sailing all class at the world titles
WHEN it comes to the world sailing titles it's all about serious tactics, blood, sweat and tears at the races which attracts the cream of international catamaran skippers.
After days of racing the fastest single-handed small catamaran class in conditions which saw everything from rain to water spouts, thunder, lightning and stiff winds, Northern Rivers sailor Zac Heuchmer, 17, took out the bronze for the junior division of the A-Class Catamaran World Titles in Poland last week.
Held in Poland's northern town of Sopot on the Baltic Sea, 125 sailors from 18 countries took part in the competition comprising eight hard-fought races over five days.
Standing 2.6m (6'7”) on the podium, Zac dwarfed the sailors in first second place when he received his medal.
The Year 11 Ballina Coast High School student said while he was happy to make the top three, he was disappointed in his performance.
But tearing around a course at speeds up to 30knots (approximately 55kmh) on a trapeze, while your craft gets up on the foil under each of the two hull is the equivalent of turning on a tuppence in a tornado.
"I know there were several former Olympians competing, but I wanted to sail much better than I did,” Zac said.
"At Sopot conditions were varied and the locals excelled in lighter conditions while in Australia we love the stronger winds.”
However, Zac performance in the yacht class which is acknowledged by experts as being the formula one of the sailing world, is extremely competitive.
While Class A Catamarans are easy for an experienced sailor to sail, they are very difficult to sail at high speeds.
Now Zac is looking forward to racing over the summer and preparing to compete in the Australian A-Class Championships at Lake Macquarie just after Christmas.
"I', also looking forward to the 2018 world titles which will be held in Harvey Bay, Queensland, around November,” he said.
At Richmond River Sailing and Rowing Club, president Phill Robbins said the club was thrilled Zac did so well.
"We are very proud of him,” Robbins said.
"It was an amazing achievement, Zac was supported by dad who went over there with him and we are happy to have three generations of the family involved in the club.”