Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Flying Fifteen World Championships 2023: The Runners and Riders in Fremantle

27th February 2023
Two ex-world champions Grant Alderton (foreground) and Nick Jerwood will both compete for 2023 World Championship honours in Fremantle from March 9th
Two ex-world champions Grant Alderton (foreground) and Nick Jerwood will both compete for 2023 World Championship honours in Fremantle from March 9th Credit: Johnny Fullerton

77 boats from 4 continents are entered, with overseas entries travelling from as far away as South Africa, the UK, Ireland, Hong Kong, New Zealand and all over Australia to compete at the 2023 Flying Fifteen World Championship (March 9 - 25) to be sailed at Fremantle in West Australia.

Containers of boats have arrived from the UK, New Zealand and the East Coast of Australia.

As Afloat reported earlier, Flying Fifteens have travelled from NSW, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia, the majority of those taking the two-three day trip across the Nullabor Plain to get to WA.

A number of former World Champions are listed in the line-up. On paper, one of the strongest crews competing comes from Graham Vials and Chris Turner sailing (GBR 4071 - Floaty McFloat Face), representing Derwent Reservoir SC/Lyme Regis SC, respectively.

Vials and Turner are four-time world champions in 2011, 2013, 2015, and 2019 and UK F15 champions in 2014 and again at the last two UK Nationals held in 2019 and 2021. Like many competitors, though, they have had limited big regatta experience over the last couple of years due to regatta cancellations caused by the global pandemic.

Graham Vials and Chris Turner sailing (GBR 4071 - Floaty McFloat Face), representing Derwent Reservoir SC/Lyme Regis SC Photo: AfloatGraham Vials and Chris Turner sailing (GBR 4071 - Floaty McFloat Face), representing Derwent Reservoir SC/Lyme Regis SC Photo: Afloat

Vials explains: “Chris and I sailed the UK Nationals in the UK in the summer last year, which we were lucky enough to win shortly after Chris had recovered from knee surgery. In our usual style, we haven’t done anything since then, so we will be looking to blow
the cobwebs away with the pre-worlds regatta and get some time on the water before the worlds. I haven’t sailed at Fremantle before; I have done lots on the East coast but never ventured West, so really looking forward to it”

Turner of Ovington Boats says, “This is my third trip to Perth; the first time was as a coach at the ISAF World Championships, the other times on business. I have been sailing the OK outside of the F15, but mainly rehabilitating from knee surgery; April last year was my third op”

So both crew members come into this regatta a little undercooked, but how much will a record 5th world title drive them to succeed?

Another former F15 World Champion in 2005 and former Australian National Champion is Nick Jerwood representing South of Perth YC/Fremantle SC, sailing (AUS 4015 - Best Foot Forward). Nick has teamed up with local WA sailmaker Brad Sheridan for the regatta.

Nick Jerwood and Brad Sheridan will compete at the 2023 Flying Fifteen World Championship Photo: Johnny FullertonNick Jerwood and Brad Sheridan will compete at the 2023 Flying Fifteen World Championship Photo: Johnny Fullerton

“Brad and I teamed up for the Fremantle Worlds soon after Janet retired from F15 sailing due to back problems. We had some initial success at the 2019 WA States with a win in Esperance and have been working on improvements for the Worlds ever since. Brad is a very talented sailmaker and owner of Aus Sails, so our partnership has brought with it the opportunity to build and optimise our own sails, which I have found very exciting and rewarding”

Grant Alderson has teamed up with Luke Paterson sailing (AUS 3933 - El Toro), representing the host organising club, the Royal Freshwater Bay YC.

Grant won the 2009 World Championship, crewed by club colleague Dean McAullay. Grant spends most of his time now as a top Australian coach and boat rigger but knows the WA waters well.

“I am very much looking forward to sailing in another Flying 15 World Championship. My last was back in 2013, so a significant absence! Having a World Championship in your own backyard was to good to ignore. A quick makeover of (AUS3933) and we are ready to tackle the waters off Fremantle’

Ian Pinnell of Pinnell & Bax SailsIan Pinnell of Pinnell & Bax Sails

Ian Pinnell (of Pinnell & Bax Sails) is sailing (GBR 4096 - Oooh La La) from Northampton SC, crewed by Ian Cadwallader. Ian is one of the class sailmakers and races a number of other classes at the top level.

He raced in the 505 class at their world championship on the same course (Owen Anchorage) as the F15s will be racing.

Racing under the flag of Hong Kong (HKG 3972 - Australian Expat Finance) are Ashley Smith and Adam Kingston. They are current Australian National Champions (sailed in 2020), and the pair based in Queensland represents the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron. They also won the Australian Nationals in 2015.

Another crew from the Royal Hong Kong YC sailing (HKG 3722 - All Torque) is Peter Britten and Oliver Merz. Incidentally, there are F15s from no less than 7 Royal yacht clubs racing at the 2023 Worlds.

Around 50 boats are racing under the Australian flag. A strong West Australian fleet comes from both ends of the state, from Geraldton YC to the north of Perth to Esperance Bay YC on the SW corner of West Australia.

Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club and South of Perth Yacht Club are located on the Swan River just inland from the ocean off Fremantle. Both clubs have a strong posse of sailors racing at the 2023 F15 Worlds. These include regular club race winners;

David Yu and Chris Nelson sailing (AUS 3859 - Tuffen Up), Hamish Carnachan & Peter Mudford sailing (AUS 3809 - Neffarious) and Greg Leaversuch & Peter Barblett sailing (AUS 3992 - Glamour Buoys).

Flying Fifteens round a gybe mark at the 2019 World Championships on Dublin Bay Photo: AfloatFlying Fifteens round a gybe mark at the 2019 World Championships on Dublin Bay Photo: Afloat

Philippa Packer is skippering (AUS 4063 - Firefly) with another former F15 World Champion crew, Dean McAullay. Philippa is one of about 20 female sailors racing in the class at these World Championships.

A big fleet from South of Perth YC includes another regular race winner, (AUS 4072 - The Answer) sailed by Greg Tonnison & Nick Robinson

There are some local WA sailors from other classes who have strong credentials. Lachy Gilmour & Ryan Donaldson have represented Australia in Olympic classes (49er). They are one of the youngest and no doubt fittest of the crews. (AUS 3980 - Ffast Lane 3 - RFBYC / EBYC)

Rod Beurteaux & Simon Wilder have acquired a new boat (AUS 4108 - Uh Oh) sailing for South of Perth YC / East Fremantle YC. Successful sailors from the Viper sports boat class and know WA waters well.

Around ten crews are families sailing together. These include brothers Mike and Paul Dunbar sailing (AUS 3986 - Ineffable) from SoPYC and the father and son team from the UK, Charles and Charlie Apthorp. Charles is another former World and European Champion in the class.

Nine New Zealand-based F15’s have made the journey across the ditch to race at these championships representing the Royal Akarana YC, Manly SC and Napier SC. Amongst these, Murray Gilbert and Jonathan Burgess (NZL 3840 - Ffrenetic)
came third at the 2017 Worlds in Napier, New Zealand. The pair has also won the New Zealand Nationals in the class.

 John Lavery & Alan Green (IRL 4083 - Phoenix)Irish duo John Lavery & Alan Green (IRL 4083 - Phoenix) Photo: Afloat

Two boats have made the trip down under from Dublin in Ireland. Seasoned F15 campaigners John Lavery & Alan Green (IRL 4083 - Phoenix) and Niall Meagher & Nikki Matthews (IRL 3938 - Ffantastic Mr Fox) come from the National YC in Dun Laoghaire, Dublin.

One competitor has made the journey all the way from South Africa. Alexander Campbell & Ralph Thomas have toured the world in the F15 (RSA 4009 - Rand Hedge), representing the Royal Natal YC / PYC.

The oldest F15 in the fleet designated as a (Silver fleet boat) comes from Parkstone YC, Poole Harbour in the UK, sailed by Graham Latham and Sarah Briscoe (GBR 2876 - Gripple Nipper).

All the entries are listed on the regatta website here 

Flying Fifteen World Championship 2023 Regatta Dates:

  • Mar 9 - 12 - Registration & Measurement
  • Mar 12 - Invitational Race
  • Mar 13 - 16 - Australian Championship
  • Mar 17 - Lay-day
  • Mar 18 - 25 - Flying Fifteen World Championships
Published in Flying Fifteen Team

About The Author Team

Email The Author is Ireland's dedicated marine journalism team.

Have you got a story for our reporters? Email us here.

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open. is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button

Flying Fifteen - At A Glance

Overall Length 20 ft6.1 m

Waterline Length 15 ft4.6 m

Mast Height 22 ft 6 in6.86 m

Sail Area 150 sq ft14 sqm

Spinnaker Area 140 sq ft13 sqm

Hull Weight 300 lb136 kg

Keel Weight 400 lb169 kg

Minimum Weight 685 lb305 kg

Racing Crew Two

Ideal Crew Range 18 - 28 st145 - 185 kg

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Associations

isora sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Events 2023

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton
quantum sidebutton
watson sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
wavelengths sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating