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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So that was the weekends weather eh?

Middle Harbour Yacht Clubs race management team again backed up to run another regatta  a week after the clubs Sydney Harbour Regatta. This time it was the Melges32 National Championships. My RO offsider at the club, Steve Tucker ran three races for the class on Friday in what appeared to be a nice Noreaster. The decision was made to get in an extra race on both Friday and Saturday after viewing the forecast models for the weekend.

Saturday was yet another great day out on the harbour with the Northerly blowing around 12-14 knots, just nice. The fleet started with the usual general recall, the out going tide was a major factor here, no one had bargained on it even though it took the start boat a while to settle in. One of the things of running a fleet the calibre of the Melges32s, the Farr40s and the McConaghy38s, is the way they go about their start procedures. None of the running up and down the line like most club boats, they all work up to windward to check the shifts, come back check the line and then line up to start – text book fashion. Like the other two classes, they start from well back and are on the pace when the flags dropped. Good to watch, the class has a limit of three professional crew and it’s reflected here.

The racing was close with the Tasmanian Voodoo Chile team again making the trip north, they also did the Farr40s and MC38s. They have purchased an excellent second hand Farr40 in the USA to compete in this years World titles. They’ll be one to watch. Chris Way and his Easy Tiger team and another Tasmanian Greg Prescott with 2Unlimited gave the Voodoo Chile crew a run, these three swapped positions regularly on Saturday.

Sundays forecast almost went to plan with a light and sloppy westerly when we went out to run the final 2 races. The breeze was all over the place, shifting from 190 to 340 degrees and hardly reaching 6 knots. Along with the rest of the start team, I was also monitoring the weather, Toby on his Ipad and I had the phone going. A large storm cell appeared on the BOM radar, so I asked Kim Williams the Melges32 class president to come alongside and have a look for his thoughts. We made the decision to hoist AP over H and adjourned to the club, not knowing what was on offer. As the crews were settling down upstairs, there was a large crack of thunder literally over the marina. Those sitting nearby the start team were thankful for being ashore and inside and dry from the rain!

Following a mini meeting of myself, Kim and the top 3 competitors, it was decided to abandon racing for the day. With a time limit of 1500 for racing, it meant if we went out only one race could be held. The points in the top three wouldn’t change as a result, so I think everyone was happy for the early finish to the regatta.

Once again the core volunteer MHYC race management team of Steve, Toby, Ted, Andy and Philc did an excellent job in their assistance in this event, well done guys. Next up for us?

In a couple of weeks time in the 420 State titles.

Race management duties

This past weekend saw me out on the water at Middle Harbour Yacht Club as the Principal Race official for the McConaghy38 Class National Championships. The forecast was rather bleak earlier in the week for the weekend, however Saturday ended up being quite a nice day on in the Sound with the wind out of the East South East and a nice 8-10knots. Sunday almost went true to the forecast with almost non stop rain and drizzle, thankfully the breeze stayed around 12-15knots for the day from the South East.

Whilst the fleet was small, it more than made up for it in talent aboard the boats. Tasmanian Andrew Hunn who I’ve known since our Laser days in the 70s, has been at the front of the Farr40 fleet of late and brought his local tactician David Chapman and chartered a boat. Dual Gold Medalist Malcolm Page sailed with Leslie Green on Ginger, these two ended up equal on points with the Tasmanian team winning on countback. The Hunn sailed away from the fleet on Saturday with 3 wins and a second in the passage race. However on the Sunday they were a little unlucky breaking their outhall in one race and having to carry a fifth in another before bouncing back in the last race. The top four boats in the end were spread by 4 points showing the competitive nature of the class.

Andrew Hunn noted that the size of the spinnaker made it difficult to see where he was going, I guess also there was the change from symmetrical to asymetrical spinnakers for he and his crew. As you can see in the second photo they had a good lead in Race 3 through the bottom gate.

In the coming weeks I will be up North to Yamba, back to Middle Harbour for the Farr40s then down to Melbourne for the ISAF World Cup Sail Melbourne, back to Middle Harbour for Sail Middle Harbour. This is a new event for the 420s, 470s, Finns and 29ers, which will be interesting as some of the new competitors should be out there.

Then there’s the Rolex Sydney Hobart race on Boxing Day, the 50th Sabot Nationals co sponsored by DeckHardware and 2014!

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