WHITSUNDAY sailor Dale Mitchell is continuing to carve out a name for himself in the Nacra F18 class, having just won third place at the 34th Nacra National Championships sailed out of Hervey Bay.
Mitchell and his new Townsville-based crewmate Marty Webb, sailed their Nacra F18 Ullman Sails to the top three spot amid close competition.
About 60 boats competed in the regatta across five different classes, including the 5.5metre Nacra F18, with racing starting on December 31. Most of the five days' races took place in winds of between 15-20 knots, which Mitchell described as "quite a good spread of conditions, but certainly heavier winds, rather than light".
"We're quite a heavy crew so we suit the stronger weather but you've certainly got your hands full when it's windy," he said.
Tight tussles on the Fraser Coast courses kept Mitchell and Webb on their toes for what ended up as a very tight regatta. An inseparable tie over the line during one of the match races led to Mitchell's ultimate third place result, just half a point behind his nearest rivals on Team Harken.
"This year the level of sailing has stepped up a bit [and] it made for quite an exciting and close regatta," Mitchell said.
"It was also a good family atmosphere and a lot of fun."
Mitchell and Webb are now preparing to take Ullman Sails to the 2013 Nacra Infusion World Championship, which will be sailed out of Southport from February 2-7. Entries have already started flowing in and although numbers have not been finalised yet, organisers are expecting strong interest in what promises to be a successful event.