That’s the year done

Calendar year for 2017, that is with the last event being the Hobart race. The sailing and regatta season continues at full pace through January 2018.  We’ve all been doing the Rolex Sydney Hobart start for a while now, so it’s pretty much another event albeit with a little more media. Some of the MHYC team do the check in on the pin boat, the rest and a couple of extras are on the start boat. The photo below is of us out early before the start, getting everything in order. Thanks to Michael Hogan for the photo from one of the spectator boats.

Hugh George RSHYR2017

 

It’s been a fun year, again getting around to a few regattas out in the country and away from Sydney, it’s always good to get away from the ‘local pond’. I’ll be hanging around a few regattas in the coming weeks before stepping back on the start boat towards the end of January. Then, I’ll have a weekend of looking after the Farr40s followed by 3 days of the Adams10s and then followed by yet another weekend of the Farr40s. It’s always good to watch these guys, both are great fleets with good sportsmanship, that is few if any protests.

 

It was sad to hear of the virtual destruction of the Big River Sailing Club clubhouse in a recent weather event on the north coast of NSW. At Maclean nearby the local pub lost its roof along with plenty of other damage. I’ve always enjoyed going to their events and hopefully next season, I’ll have the chance. Knowing the committee will do their best to rebuild, they need competitors support of their regattas, I hope everyone will help by entering.

 

I’ll be sitting down over the coming weeks and planning the year ahead, what’s on when and which regatta to either attend or officiate and planning the work trips, both around New South Wales and interstate. I’m already heading to Wallagoot Lake in March, the weekend after the MHYC Sydney Harbour Regatta. Another in the pipeline is the 50th Keepit Kool mid year.

Off and running in 2017

Last weekend I was back out on the water for the first time this year. For over ten years I’ve been running the Adams10 Nationals when they’ve been held on the harbour. As Middle Harbour Yacht Club Principal Race Officer and a former longtime A10 sailor, these events have always been enjoyable to do. However on this occasion I was asked by Lake Macquarie Yacht Club to come up and be the events Race Officer. I’ve been going to the lake now to sail for 45 years with a fair bit of it on Belmont Bay on an Adams10, so no issues. The other change was the inclusion of the VXOnes for their Nationals to the course area. This wasn’t a problem as I’d previously run both classes together on Sydney Harbour.

 

I’d gone up to LMYC a couple of weeks ago to just go over their start boat and make sure all was fine. So day one on Thursday brought an overcast day and a nice #1 Southerly and a course was set at 1.2nm to shake out a few cobwebs. There were plenty of shifts, but the one constant in the first race for the A10s was the performance of Matt Watts Gogo who lead the entire race. From memory this was a first for the crew, but that was to be their only claim to fame this time around. Race two was won by last year’s winner, Powderhulk with Pat Delaney on the helm. The VX’s were shown around the course by Andrew Yorks Speedwagon.

 

Friday we woke up to nothing, as in nothing on the lake, no wind at all. ‘Hurry up and wait’ is the usual RO call. Finally a nice easterly came in and we got in three races for each class, with the best breeze of the day in the last one.  Gezzabelle from Pittwater and Eat My Shorts from the host club were the leaders on the day with a 1&2 each but with their drops for the other. It was more follow the Speedwagon on the other track. With the wind finally coming in late in the day it was great to get in three races.

 

Saturday morning was the same, nothing blowing from anywhere but a lot hotter indicating a NorEaster on the way. Finally it came in and we had some great racing. In the Adams10, Rob Clarkes KickandChase from MHYC worked things out and won both races. In the VXOnes a couple of Laser sailors also worked out what to do, Ash Brunning and Tom Burton won the last couple.

 

One of the highlights of the weekend was keeping an eye on the Wangi Wangi syndicate on Mad Max. They are new owners to the class having recently purchased the Adams10. They sailed the boat full of enthusiasm and made sure the fleet knew they were there. In race six they surprised themselves by finishing in third place having been in second for most of it. Mad Max was easy for me to keep track of especially downwind. The spinnaker used was one Melissa designed – yes, Mad Max W12 is the old Animus MH12. It was a pleasure to present the DeckHardware / Pat Carroll Memorial Trophy for the first placed timber seater to syndicate member Jody Shiels who was forward hand for this event. I hope to see more of them in upcoming Adams10 events, including the Sydney Harbour Regatta in March. On behalf of DeckHardware and as Pat’s mainsheet hand for a number of years it was great to see the timber seaters in action.

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Presenting the DeckHardware Pat Carroll Memorial Trophy to Jody Shiels from Mad Max.

 

Overall it was Eat my Shorts and Speedwagon who cleaned up, both boats too consistent. Once again it was great racing to watch in the A10s with second and third equal on points as were fourth and fifth. No one really knew where they finished till it was tallied up. I have to give due credit to the start team at LMYC, the two Ians and Wayne and Lindsay Rose from MHYC, great backing up when a lot was on and full focus on giving the sailors the best regatta possible.

 

My thanks especially go also to Lindsay as at the end of each day on the water he was first to provide refreshments ashore. Next up is back to MHYC, then I’m back on the road and headed to Tasmania next week with a fair bit on in the coming months.

 

Winter regattas

Every now and then, there’s always a few non club events that I run at Middle Harbour Yacht Club. Over the weekend we hosted the McConaghy38s for 6 races and on Sunday the Adams10s for their annual teams event, the Waitangie Cup.

The MC38s had a small but very competitive fleet as it turned out, the first two tied and the next three also tied on overall points. The leading team recently has been Ginger with owner skipper Leslie Green and tactician David Chapman and once again they were at the front. Pushing them was Maserati , with Neville Crichton and new young crew lead by Joe Turner and Mitch White. Maserati won on this occasion, relegating Ginger to second after a lengthy count back.

Saturdays racing started off with a one lap in a light westerly and after the finish the AP went up for around an hours delay whilst the breeze settled. In the end I moved the course south of Sow and Pigs Reef and started them in a one lap southerly. Unfortunately the breeze again dropped out so that race was abandoned. Then the NorEaster came in and we saw some good racing out through the heads, again one lappers whilst the breeze lasted.

Sunday saw the Westerly/NorWester trying to come in. In the end I moved them into a short course from Manly Point to North Harbour as this was pretty much the only breeze on the harbour. We got in a couple of short races in the NorWester for both classes before the CYCA fleet headed north. We then moved the course east of their fleet and got in the last race before the breeze again dropped out.

Whilst all the races over the weekend were all one lap, they were sailed in I think the best conditions available. It’s always fluky at this time of year on the harbour, too much or not enough. Certainly challenging setting courses to please.

The Waitangie Cup is an annual state teams event, New South Wales verses Victoria in the Adams10s. I’ve won, lost and run this event over several decades being an A10 sailor. Each home crew also swap boats so there is no advantage, it also gives them a chance to crew on the opposition boats and have a feel for what they are sailing against.Unfortunately the VICs were down a boat coming up so it was 4 against 3, with the last NSW boat dropped off in the scoring. Powderhulk with Patrick Delaney sailing Rob Clark’s Kick&Chase won all 3 races giving the home team the edge in the final points. As always it was an enjoyable event with no protests and I know from experience both state teams enjoy the challenge. Next year it’s off to Victoria to defend, something that’s always hard.

As a volunteer at MHYC a lot of time goes in to running the racing.  Including getting to the club early enough to set up the Start boat prior to a briefing and then a long day on the water in testing conditions for the Race Officer and the tacticians alike. On Saturday I was blessed to have three of my regulars assisting and Phil, Bev and Dennis helping to run a smooth operation. On Sunday I had a mixed crew of non sailing A10 sailors to assist. There were the odd hickups from those who had never been on a startboat before. All learnt immensely from being aboard helping to run the racing.

Next? Planning the coming months and next seasons calendar. There will be the regular events like the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race, what else?

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Back out on the harbour

It’s almost like a homecoming, returning to the start boat at Middle Harbour Yacht Club on Saturdays. We’ve now had two races in to the 2015/2016 season.

The first race of the season got away finally in a nice Nor Nor Easter with windward/leeward courses for all divisions. There was no breeze on most of the harbour, however there was a nice vein from North head to Obelisk Bay. Those who sailed said it was a great first day. Last Saturday’s  racing was split in to two fleets. The larger Open division combined with the Fleet from Sydney Amateur Sailing Club further down the harbour, whilst I ran the rest of the fleet on a similar track to the previous week. The wind however didn’t quite go to plan staying a little right, the course ending up with a slight bias that way. Those I spoke to later said they enjoyed the downhills however with the Adams10s doing up to 15knots at times.

Saturdays racing was a combined event with Barts Bash for the Adams10s. Barts Bash is a world wide event raising funds for the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation. Andrew tragically died at the age of 36 in an accident onboard the Artemis AC72 yacht in San Francisco Bay in 2013. With Anthony [Nocka] Nossiter, a prominent A10 sailor and one of Andrew’s closest friends, his friends set up the event in his honour. In return Anthony’s mates from MHYC combined to support the event, donating to the cause.

Sunday I went to Woollahra Sailing Club for their Barts Bash. They held part of their event in Optimist dinghies in two divisions. The first off were the Green fleet Tackers, the second off were the guest skippers. On this occasion champion NACRA17 crew Lisa Darmanin sailing an Opti for the first time lead 49er sailor Harry Price home.

Congratulations to all those who took part. It’s interesting though, looking at the videos from around the world at the various events, all had light conditions. I think my fleet had the best on the day.

A weekend on the water, for a change.

This last weekend, before I’m heading north, I spent once again out on MHYCs start boat running a few races. Saturday was race two of the Winter series and the weather was just nice for the small but competitive fleet. We had a nice WSW breeze of about 15 knots maximum. All the boats managed to sail the whole course without shortening, as is the case some weeks when the breeze drops off, but that’s winter in Sydney with the prevailing Westerlies. Nothing too exciting apart from the dolphins herding fish in to Balmoral where we were anchored for the finish, too far away for any photos.005003

Saturday night was the annual Summer season prize giving where all the divisions, Saturdays, Wednesday afternoons and Thursday night fleets are acknowledged and trophies are handed out to those who excelled. Always a good night where everyone catches up. Unfortunately, Ben Nossiter who has regularly featured on the wall for the Adams10s for over 20 years wasn’t able to attend due to ill health and everyone wished him all the best. Jim Nixon, his long time mainsheet hand accepted and spoke on behalf of the crew.

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Sunday and back out on the water for the Annual Waitangi Cup. This is a teams event the Adams10s hold between New South Wales and Victoria, unfortunately this year the Victorians could only field two crews, so it was 2 on 2. Easy for race management and scoring purposes! Again with the Westerly slowly shifting right all day and gusting from 9-20knots, all four boats had to be on the game with headsail choices varying between #2 and #3s. NSW however in the first two races finished with a 1, 2, so the third race was a bit of a dead rubber. It’s always interesting this event, as to make it a little more even, there is a boat draw the day before. No one is allowed to sail their own boat and there’s always plenty who can’t find the halyard or control line where they are used to it. NSW retained the Cup, 11 points to 19. Bring on next year, the Victorians are planning on taking to Cup back, they’ll be holding it down at Blairgowrie on the same waters as the recent Moth Worlds. Shallow water and tidal conditions will make it interesting.

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Next weekend I’m on the road north for a couple of weeks in the DeckHardware van ‘doing the rounds’.

Adams10s

I’ve been involved in the Adams10s for over three decades now, as crew, as owner with Melissa and as the Principal Race officer at Middle Harbour Yacht Club. The class is one that’s close to my heart, having sailed on 12 of them over the years. You can sail short handed, do No Extras like Wednesday and Thursdays or race fully crewed on weekends and in various regattas. They are an all round boat. Those that sail them agree.

This past Australia Day weekend saw the class back at MHYC for their annual championships. Unfortunately there were no outsiders, either from Lake Macquarie, Pittwater, up the harbour or interstate. The clubs fleet of ten competitive boats had 7 races to battle it out again. Saturday saw a lovely Noreaster up to 18knots, so I managed to get in 4 races for them. Sundays forecast was for light and variable and that’s what we had. I held them ashore for a while and just as we set the course the breeze changed 40 degrees – typical. So we only had the time to get one race away. Monday brought Southerly winds and a little drizzle for the final two races. As it was Australia Day there was also the added bonus of having to avoid the other fleets racing.

The finish of the first race saw the first four boats all overlapped and the start team all thought, ‘What are we in for?’. As it turned out that was the closest finish for first place. Other races saw individual duals with several competitors asking, ‘Who beat who?’. Pre regatta favourite Another Dilemma sailed a very good event, winning four races, adding a second and a third to the score. Helmsman Tim Gallego, who flies in each year from his new base in England had only one indiscretion – a Black Flag Disqualification in race three. But he was one of three BFD!

Second in the event was Rob Clarke on Kick and Chase, Rob’s a newcomer to the class, having owned several types of yachts at Middle Harbour over the years. He was ecstatic of course with the end result, going in to the event trimmer Shane Guanaria said they would be happy with third or fourth. Class stalwart Ben Nossiter has suffered a few health issues lately and wasn’t as competitive as he has been in the past. Ben and his crew were however happy to have finished third.

As usual, it’s a team effort when running an event, having the assistance of Toby Gurzanscky on the clock and Lindsay Rose laying the marks, made it look good. Those from the various boats who made up the rest of the volunteers to assist, also enjoyed their time on the start boat or mark laying boat. For some it was their first time to see how it was done. Some should make the effort more often going by some of the questions they asked, as they were a little surprised as to the amount of work required to run an event. They are of course more than welcome each Saturday. It was also good to see Matt Carroll, the new CEO of Yachting Australia. Melissa and I sailed for many years with his father Patrick on his Adams10s, The Carpenter. Matt was invited to make the presentations, great to catch up with both he and his brother Terry back at Middle Harbour.

 

Next up for me is a trip to Tasmania next week. Aside from packing the DeckHardware van full of stock for the visits to the various outlets, I’m also going to spend a little time around the Australian Wooden Boat Festival in Hobart. This is a Bi-Annual event that brings the Marine Industry together with those who love the feel, texture and smell of the old days. Shaved wood for example, a smell I can’t forget from my youth helping my father build the various boats – his and mine There will be a range of boats on display as well as distributors and retail outlets. I’ll be there with my old mate, Ben King and Brierley Marine. Ben has helped out DeckHardware over the years and this time it’s my turn. He will however be back to assist us with the Sydney Sailboat Expo in a couple of months time though, more catching up.