Trying to keep up

With all the recent sailing that’s been happening, it’s just a little hard trying to keep up with all the regattas and then we have the unbelievable race 8 in New Zealand for the Americas Cup  .

Rigging at Port Kembla Sailing Club on Lake Illawarra

A couple of weeks ago, I went down to Lake Illawarra for the  second round of the Flying Eleven states. On behalf of Allen Brothers England and LIROS Ropes Germany, DeckHardware has been supporting the junior classes, so we took the DeckHardware RIB down for the weekend.  Mel took over a thousand photos on the Saturday and then spent Sunday at home doing  a lot of editing.  Conditions wise, it couldn’t be further from the first round on Pittwater.  Pittwater turned on a good southerly so there was plenty of standing on the centreboards, Lake Illawarra was  the opposite with the winds struggling to get above 8knots over the weekend.  The race team did a good job to get in the races that they did.   Our DeckHardware ambassadors Aimee and Bella led after Pittwater and to finish up second overall and first all girls is a credit to their teamwork and their parental support both off and on the water.   From what I saw over the weekend, all the sailors enjoyed the event, it was pretty close results wise and there was  plenty of speculation  as to the placings until they were published. 

Just after a Flying Eleven start, some go left and some go right

Following the  Elevens, it was back to the Farr40s for more of the same. Unfortunately only 6 boats sailed this event, but the closeness showed just how keenly fought the racing was. First and second tied on point as did third and fourth.  Watching just how close the racing was is why I enjoy being a race official.  Make a small mistake and you lose a boat length or two and you are out the back door. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone claw their way back after say, an OCS. It’s just too close speed wise with plenty of pressure on the tacticians.

Always good racing and great to watch

The third weekend in a row out on the water, strange given the current global situation was to watch the Sydney Harbour Regatta. For something a little different DeckHardware provided Middle Harbour Yacht Club the use of the RIB as a photography boat.  Marg Fraser -Martin has been taking photos both inshore and offshore at MHYC for a few years now and we have a great rapport between us.  We spent the weekend going from course to course [there were seven] and from top mark to gate rounding’s trying to capture some of the action.  Marg took well over two thousand photos over the weekend from sports boats to sports yachts and harbour racers. Then throw in the 18’ers on the harbour and there was plenty of action afloat.

Just a little soft spot for these boats

Here’s a couple of Marg Fraser Martins photos below

Always plenty on , on Sydney Harbour

Karen Gojnich and her J70 crew
Lachlan Steel, one of several DeckHardware ambassadors
Lachlan Steel on Lazarus Partners 18′ skiff
These guys have too much fun

And then one gets a call from a prominent Medalist sailor, “I’ve run out of fuel can I get a tow home?’

And at the end of the weekend, it’s under the Spit Bridge and heading for the boat ramp queue.

There has been of course a sailing event over the Ditch in Auckland, well done to the Kiwis with a little help from an Aussie or two. They certainly had the faster boat towards the end. Lets see what happens in the coming months as to the next one.

That’s nearly it for the summer Downunder season for me , although we still have the  Allen/Liros/DeckHardware sponsored Flying Eleven and 16’Skiff Nationals on  in the coming weeks. Then the Annual Batemans Bay Regatta over  the ANZAC weekend  with everything from Sportsboats, multihull, monos and Sailability. Always a great weekend on the water down south.                                                                                                                                                                                       

Back on the horse

Last weekend was the annual Sydney Harbour Regatta hosted by Middle Harbour Yacht Club and supported by the other major yacht clubs east of the bridge and RPAYC from Pittwater. As an example, the CYCA ran the Offshore boats, RSYS had Ynglings and Etchells, Manly Yacht Club ran the PHF handicap divisions and RPAYC had a mixture of sportsboat types.

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After being offshore last year with the Sydney 38s and Farr40s, it was back inshore on Hugh George [MHYC start boat]with the Adams10s again, this time alongside the Cavalier28s who were sailing their State titles as a part of this event.

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On Saturday we couldn’t have been given a better day, the sun was out and a NorEaster around 10knots. Just perfect, flat seas made it even better. The only downside for the competitors was the huge runout tide forcing a couple of individual recalls in both fleets. I did however advise them over the radio in the count down, that the start boat was hanging to tide not the wind and to note that it would push them over. All good as they recognised the fact and returned quickly and in one case even to win that race. I gave the Adams10s three laps and the Cavs two and the 10s with masthead spinnakers managed to catch the tail of the Cavs to ensure no hold up in a turnaround. It was a great day and no better had this summer. Three races ran without incident.

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Sunday however was a turnaround, miserable would be the word. A southerly change had come through forcing the Offshore boats inshore and many courses and divisions cancelled for the day. The Cavalier28s made the decision to not sail, so I only had a small but competitive fleet of Adams10s sailing. They of course loved the 20knot Southerly, hounds spinnakers and #3 jibs ruled the day however. In one race the third placegetter didn’t set a spinnaker, just poled out the jib and ran straight downhill faster than those trying to gybe spinnakers. There were a few broaches, the best was from No Friends who photographer Andrea Francolini managed to capture. We set them three short races, two lappers and 15 minutes in between to make it easy for all. Anchoring on the western ferry channel in the Sound is pretty uncomfortable in those conditions so the least time spent out there, the better.

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Having the Offshore boats inshore, including Marcus Blackmores new Hooligan and Paul Clitheroe Hobart winner Balance made for some exciting viewing as they came back to Manly from Shark Island. Hooligan on one run out ran the Manly Ferry, such was her speed, well in to the 20s. Balance gybed right beside us at speed, giving us great insight to the communication on board, no yelling just to the point. Neither boat would have been very dry given the amount of spray!


That was pretty much the last weekend at MHYC for the season. This weekend I’ll be down at Wallagoot Lake for their annual regatta including the Sabre States and NS14 traveller series. After that, also coming up is the NS14 States at BYRA on Pittwater at Easter and the Annual Batemans Bay Regatta following that. Then the Sydney Summer sailing season will be over. Time to hit the road again.

More regattas and driving

Following on from the Farr40 regatta schedule, the annual MHYC Sydney Harbour Regatta was held at the beginning of March. As per the norm in what was the 11th running, I ran the One design courses for the Adams10s, J70s and the VXOnes in The Sound. The event overall has multiple divisions and course areas with some 170 entries, so I was just a small cog. However as part of the SHR, the results for the J70s and VXOnes were for their State titles.

The Adams10s kicked off the weekend in a good NorEaster on Saturday, a little bit of runout tide, but the track was pretty well clear of some of the other fleets racing. As per usual, it depends on the day who is going to win or even place.  Jim Curtis on Another Dilemma had the best consistency for the day, with assistance Jim Vaughan from the late Ben Nossiters Sirius but when Brian Lees on Contentious sails like he does, last in one race then wins the next, the scorecard is all over the place. Matt Watt on Gogo lead at the bottom in one race then his crew decided prawns were on for dinner, so that was that…

In the J70s Tim Ryan was ably assisted by renowned tactician Steve McConaghy and despite an OCS in the first race cleared away from the fleet in each race. Second was former Adams10 sailor Brent Lawson, who finding himself without a boat for the SHR did a ring around and scratched up a boat and crew in the days before. Certainly a change of pace for both Steve, who had come from filling the same role in the Farr40s and Brent in trying to learn how to sail a smaller boat with an Asymmetric  spinnaker.

In the VXOnes, Andrew York had Tasar sailors Rob and Nicole Douglass as crew and the regatta experience showed with another clean slate. Fred Kasparek came up from Canberra to keep Yorky honest.

Sunday dawned with yet another brilliant summers NorEaster, they’ve been lacking all season. In the Adams10s, Brian again showed inconsistency with another win followed by more mid fleet placings, leaving the AD crew to reap the rewards with a win and two seconds. In the J70s, Tim again showed the fleet the way, the big event experience of his tactician showing. Unfortunately last years wining skipper Tony Barnes had the owner of the boat sell it so was unable to defend. In the VXOnes, again it was more of the same, with Andrew York sailing higher and flatter to windward with his 3 person crew against most of the others with only the two aboard.

In all, the Sydney Harbour Regatta with two perfect days sailing was enjoyed by everyone out on the harbour.

Next up was a 550km trip down to the south coast. Some time back on a previous visit, I was asked back to Wallagoot Lake Boat Club to run their annual regatta. Normally held with five divisions, the event was smaller in number due to unfortunate clashes with other events. There was a mixed fleet ranging from a Hobie17 coming from Jindabyne down to an OpenBic.

Division 1 included all boats with yardstick over 113. Winner was Reif Oliver on his tiny O’Pen Bic , 2nd Gote Vykstrom (Laser Radial) and 3rd Neil Fisher (Sabre).
Division 2 had just 2 trailer-sailors, with Commodore Brian Wright winning ahead of Roger’s boat, the Margart D.
Division 3 included a great variety of boats, with yardsticks less than 113. Peter “Master Blaster” dominated on his Devoti D-one, often leaving the rest of the fleet far behind. 2nd Tony Hastings  and Luca Dorrough (both NS14s) and 3rd local champ Rob Morton (RS100).
Division 4, multihulls, saw Maricat state and national champ Rod Anderson claim his biggest prize – the WLBC Regatta. Tim Symons (Hobie17) was 2nd.

This event is what country sailing is all about, including the home cooked deserts and goodies for dinner and after sailing. Everyone has their own idea of the perfect boat, so the VYC yardstick system comes in handy. None the less, it was a great weekend with reasonably steady 5-10knot seabreezes and Bob [Sabre sailor] and Darren [Stingray sailor] are now more informed as to how to run the startboat. Thanks again to Tony Hastings for arranging accommodation, a good nights sleep was had.

Next up this weekend is back to Middle Harbour Yacht Club and the 420 and Cadet Dinghy State titles. Two days out on the harbour in familiar waters again.

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