Thirty years on and Jim Dunstan and Zeus II are still winning

3 September 2012

Peter Campbell

More than thirty years after they won the Sydney Hobart ocean race, Jim Dunstan and his Currawong 30, Zeus II, are still winning races, albeit on Sydney Harbour these days.

Zeus II began the Royal Sydney Squadron’s 151st season of yacht racing on Saturday with a win on corrected time in Division 3 on a showery and windy first day of spring on Sydney Harbour.

Dunstan, a past Commodore and Life Member of the Squadron, skippered Zeus II to a memorable victory in the 1981 Sydney Hobart and 23 years later came within less than five minutes of winning the race again in what was also Jim’s 25th Hobart Race.

Jim retired Zeus II from ocean racing after the 2002 Sydney Hobart but has continued to race her in Division 3, a division made up largely of old ‘half tonners’ of the IOR era of ocean racing.

Zeus II, designed by Peter Joubert, a professor of mechanical engineering and part-time yacht designer, has an overall length of 9.1 metres and is one of the smallest yachts ever to win the Sydney Hobart.

In Saturday’s opening race of the RSYS season she finished fifth in fleet in Division 3, winning on corrected time by 15 seconds from Mystere (Malcolm Shaw and Andrew Rodger). Line honours and first place on handicap went to Windsong 2 (John Vickery).

The windy weather certainly favoured the former ocean racer, with a 20-26 knot southerly breeze that frequently gusted to 30 knots, even 37 knots mid-afternoon.

RSYS general committee member Ian MacDiarmid sailed Hell Razor to victory in Division 1, winning from newcomer Duende (Damien Parkes), third place going to Sydney (Charles Curran) which also took line honours.

MacDiarmid said a significant factor in Hell Razor’s win had been a new rudder, designed by Andy Dovell for the BW36. Built by Tim Webster using carbon and foam, it is based on a carbon stock, allowing the rudder to be thinner.

“The old rudder needed the Lord himself at the wheel to sail in a straight line,” MacDiarmid said after his win. “In our first sail on Saturday with occasionally 20 knots running, I could let the wheel go for long periods of time and Hell Razer was totally under control…this would have been impossible with the original rudder.”
MacDiarmid said the Division 1 fleet had winds of 20 knots, at times up to 33 knots, on the last beat from Manly to the finish in Rose Bay and “she was, for the first time, tracking straight and sailing easily at good speeds.”

A first-up winner in a strong Division 2 fleet was Zig Zag 2, Graham Thompson’s J35 from the Royal Prince Edward Yacht Club. Zig Zag 2 took the double of line and handicap honours, winning from Arcturus III (Peter Davenport) and Ambitious (David Matthews).

The fresh weather affected Division 3, with only three boats finishing as the southerly built up during the afternoon. First place went to Beowulf (Stafford White) from Daydream (Cheryn Croker) and Brother Hood (Tony Craven and Jack Rigg).

Only a dozen International Etchells fronted up, with Doug McGain helming Ciao to a comfortable win from Vincero (Nick Kingsmill and Peter Gardner), third place going to Touch Pause Engage (Michael Stovin-Bradford).

The small fleet in the International Dragon class enjoyed close racing, with former Olympic sailor Carl Ryves steering Sidewinder to victory from Indulgence (Robert Alpe) and Liquidity (Richard Franklin).

Only two boats started in the International Yngling class, with Miss Pibb (Hamish Jarrett) winning from Black Adder (Gary Pearce).

RSYS's Nathan Outteridge Wins 49er Gold

9 August 2012

Craig Hayden, Yachting Australia and Peter Campbell

Australia's 49er crew of Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen have won the country's second sailing gold of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Outteridge, a member of the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, and Jensen led the regatta from start to finish, taking an unassailable lead into last night's medal race. The pair was able to enjoy the medal race, crossing the line fourth to climax a magnificent international campaign as Olympic champions.

The Australian women's match racing crew comprising Squadron member, Lucinda Whitty, skipper Olivia Price and Nina Curtis, has qualified for the Women's Match Racing semifinal following a three wins to one victory over the Netherlands. The Australians will race Finland on Friday evening, AEST, for a place in the final – and the gold medal.

In the 470 women's class Elise Rechichi and Belinda Stowell head into the final medal race in sixth position following a fourth and a first on Wednesday.
The Australians have a slim chance at bronze and will be pushing hard in Friday's decider.

Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen have been the team to beat in the 49er class since 2009 and last night added the final trophy to their cabinet, an Olympic gold medal.

The pair was at the front of the fleet all week, wrapping up the gold medal in the final fleet race. Outteridge and Jensen just had to complete medal race to claim the gold, with their New Zealand training partners taking silver and Denmark bronze.

"It was amazing. We've sailed brilliantly for four years and this week has been one of our best weeks so far," said Outteirdge. "It was really cool to do a race where it didn't matter where we finished, we were just able to enjoy it. We got around and as soon as we finished we started to slowly get excited and the more people we saw the more excited we got. We had a good moment with the Kiwis, we've been good mates with those boys for a long time and it was awesome to be able to celebrate with them."

"Together our coach Emmett we put together a really good campaign, it was a four year campaign to ensure that there was no stone left unturned," he said. "We can stand here and say that we did everything possible to win and the results prove that."

Olivia Price, Nina Curtis and Lucinda Whitty went into the third match of the quarterfinal locked at one-all with the Netherlands. The Australian trio has been the team to beat all regatta, winning all 11 round robin matches to be the top seed.

Just as it was on Tuesday, today's races were hard fought with both crews working hard to get any advantage. The Australians took the win in the first race of the day, leaving them one victory away from a semifinal position. As you are have a look at this online pokies website to play free online pokies games

The Dutch got off to a better start in the fourth race, with Price and crew chasing hard, eventually getting through at the final mark rounding. The Australians extended from there, taking the win and will face off against Finland in Friday's semifinal. "We're happy with our day, we raced hard and came away with two wins," said Price. "Both races were very close, the first one was quite interesting with a couple of penalties, they're our training partner and we know them quite well. They were always going to be hard fought races."

A strong final two fleet races has given Australia's Elise Rechichi and Belinda Stowell a glimmer of hope of winning a bronze medal in the 470 women's class.

After a mixed week the pair of Olympic champions put it all on the line on Wednesday, starting the day ninth overall. Rechichi and Stowell were fourth in the opening race before leading race two from start to finish, winning by over two minutes, moving them into sixth heading into the medal race.

The 470 women's medal race will be held at 1pm on Friday on the Nothe spectator course at Weymouth.

Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page will be the only Australian crew in action tonight (Thursday, AEST) as they contest the 470 men's medal race. Belcher and Page take a four point lead over Great Britain into the decider, needing to finish within one place of them to claim the gold.

Current Australian standings:

  • 49er – Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen – Gold Medal Winners
  • Laser – Tom Slingsby – Gold Medal Winner
  • 470 men – Malcolm Page and Mathew Belcher – 1st overall going into medal race
  • Women's Match Racing – Olivia Price, Nina Curtis and Lucinda Whitty – qualified for semifinal
  • 470 women – Elise Rechichi & Belinda Stowell – 6th overall going into medal race
  • RS:X women – Jessica Crisp – 11th overall - finished
  • Laser Radial – Krystal Weir – 12th overall – finished
  • Finn – Brendan Casey – 13th overall - finished

David Edwards On Winning The Worlds

16 April 2012

by David Edwards

David Edwards provides an entertaining and insightful report on his and the crew of Iron Lotus' Etchells World Championship campaign. David has now won the worlds in the Etchells, Ynglings and Solings - quite a remarkable achievement.

Our Etchells campaign came together from the bones of Ivan Wheen's Sputnik Farr 40 team, which was a team that had a great deal of fun sailing together. We figured most of us on Sputnik had sailed Etchells at some point, the Worlds were going to be in Sydney in 2012, it should be fun and we should give it a go. Right? Getting started wasn't really any more complicated than that...

Well, at least it sounded easy. The first eighteen months hovered somewhere between first and second gear, occasionally hitting third: we bought a boat, sailed a few races and enjoyed racing in the Sydney Harbour Fleet.

However, we had trouble finding a hardstand space between the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron and the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, so ended up as an Etchells with no fixed address, living mostly on a trailer that ended up more often than not being parked in the street.

We were sailing four-up and unfortunately our tough as nails bowwoman, Abby Ehler, got a great job offer overseas and also fell pregnant, so we needed to find a new crew member.

Tom King's little black book of sailing contacts offered up a long list of potentials, but there was one obivious standout candidate, Owen McMahon. Owen joined our team last year for the Mid-Winters, in what would be our first real regatta leading up to the Worlds, but this presented a further problem.

Who would sail in what position on the boat? I grabbed the mainsheet, because I'm hopeless elsewhere and you can get away with less hiking. Ivan choose the bow, because are there any better photo opportunities than up the front?

Tom still has the weight and strength of a small child, so he got the tiller. This left the fourth spot for Owen, who, because he still lives in Melbourne, was never really going to get a choice. With the team together, the mojo was solid and half the battle was won.

Looking back at our campaign, victory at Moolooaba, the 2011 Etchells Australasian Mid-Winter Championship, came too easily. We never thought that we had speed and rather than sailing extremely well, we got lucky with the wheels coming off some of the favoured teams.

Our big wake up call came a little later in 2011, at the NSW State Chamionship, where it was Murphy's Law of the Oceans. Cars were crashed, houses wrecked, mobile phones destroyed and we sailed like clowns. After the States, we really needed to turn up the heat a few notches, and that's exactly what we did!

By the time the Australian titles came around, we felt much more comfortable with our speed, our boat handling, our communication and our ability to get out of trouble. We still had the ability to get into trouble, which is a quality we may never lose, but when we lined up for the Worlds, we knew we had a reasonable chance at the podium.

So, how did we do it? Did we practice endlessly on the water? Did we have any cunning tuning secrets? Did we read Jonathon Livingstone Seagull? The answer to all of these is a clear and resounding, No. Our success in the Worlds had more to do with some really simple things:

  • Thorough boat preparation
  • Productive time on the water
  • Establishing and following routines
  • Enjoying our sailing, and
  • A bit of luck.

Let me elaborate:-

  1. Never tell anyone that you are thinking of buying an Etchells. Do it by stealth or better still use a 'nom de plume'. It's amazing how many experts come out of the woodwork with firm opinions on what consitutes a fast boat.
    Etchells are a one design class and the great news is that the older, cheaper boats seem to be holding up well. All we wanted was a boat that was reliable and one that we could tinker with over time. What we bought was the equivalent of a used car with four flat tyres.
    Our new baby, 925, was essentially a sound hull that hadn't been looked after, with a bent mast and topsides that looked like they had been painted with a brush.
    This meant that we had our work cut out for us. The mast was straightened, but still to this day it has tyre marks from when it was run over by a truck. Far too many hours and too much sweat went into this Etchells, but the end result is a very simply laid out, clutter-free boat, which we think is better than new. Well, at least in our eyes.
    The Iron Lotus is a very special boat. The guiding principle we employed with the setup of the systems, was that if it can't be done straight away, with minimium effort, then the setup is wrong.
    Etchells have too many moving parts which can easily fail and to keep on top of the maintenance requires a tinkering ratio of approximately one hour racing to one hour of boat work. Not as bad as the old F111, but still, more than we needed.
  2. Simply going for a sail does not benefit anyone; we had an objective for every session. The four of us have all done enough sailing to know what we needed to work on. With Owen living in Melbourne, crew work and communications were a priority when he was on the boat and when he wasn't, we worked on the rig, sails, marking, measuring and recording various settings. The guys at Norths really helped us with feedback and the wonderful open-book policy from Michael 'Cocko' Coxon and his team was great.
  3. Establishing a routine and sticking to it was critical to making this regatta a success for us. Routine gives comfort, comfort gives confidence and confidence allows us to be calm and keep our heads out of the boat.
    Everything that needs to happen followed a process from filling the water bottles to diving the boat, organising the duck pancakes for the tow and having the correct clothing on board. It's often the simplest things that can have the biggest impact on racing. Get these details wrong and before you know it you arrive at the start late, you don't have a transit and suddenly you are in the second row!
  4. Top quality gear was crucial. No short cuts here, everything is checked and rechecked, especially deck hardware and running rigging. The North sails were excellent and we used all Gill clothing, which was well designed and perfect for the job.
  5. If you want evidence of luck, then checkout the replay of Race Six on the tracker and watch the Iron Lotus on the first leg (at about minute two, it becomes comical). We nearly had a mutiny when, after punching a hole in Ante's transom, half the boat wanted to do a 360 and the other half wanted to be a bit more retro and do a 720.

Consensus usually never wins, but in this case a 360 plus a tack paid big dividends!

Winning the Worlds at our home club is a spectacular result for us. The congratulatory greetings, emails and phone calls from all our sailing friends is very much appreciated. We paticularly want to thank all the competitors who came from interstate and overseas. It was wonderful to sail in such a high class fleet. The race management, the starts and course allowed for very fair racing. Lastly, the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron was a fantastic host and in no small part, this was because of the army of red shirted volunteers, who seemed to be everywhere, just when we needed help. These elements and the support of all the on-water spectators, made the 2012 Worlds a first class event.

So what's next? Back to work for us and hopefully, we will once again pull the Iron Lotus off her trolley and see you at the 2012 Mooloolaba Mid-Winter Regatta in Queensland.

Tingari Wins Varuna Trophy As Squadron Season Ends

14 April 2012

Peter Campbell

The East Coast 31 Tingari, owned and skippered by John Jeremy, has won the Varuna Trophy, the traditional end-of-season handicap race between the winners and top placegetters in each division and class in the Squadron’s Main Series.

Tingari won the Division 3 Main Series for the third consecutive season and in the Varuna Cup sailed up to her optimum in winning from the Yngling Black Adder (Gary Pearce) and Division 1 champion ISuper (Peter Campbell).

John is one of Sydney’s most active yachtsmen, as a competitor and as volunteer administrator. A former Commodore of the Sydney Amateur Sailing Club, he edits that club’s magazine, has served on the Sailing Committee of the RSYS, and is chairman of the Australia Day Regatta organising committee.

He is an outstanding amateur photographer and his images of classic yachts racing on Sydney Harbour including many wonderful photos.

John has owned Tingari for 30 years and many of the crew have been sailing on the boat for about a quarter of a century, including Lindy Danvers, Daryl Gibbs. Chris Mifsud, David Cox and Horst Kirschner, who sadly passed away this week from pancreatic cancer.

“We were able to tell him of our victory in the Varuna Trophy...Horst was a major contributor to our successes with Tingari,” John added.

Discussing his victories this season, John said: “Some new sails help occasionally but the real secret is consistency – being out there every weekend and doing the best we can; and above all enjoying the sail and the company of good friends.

“That was very much our approach to the Varuna Trophy race last weekend. It was a light north-easterly wind – not a TIngari breeze; she really enjoys 15 to 25 knots.

“But we simply set out to do our best and not make too many mistakes. This year it worked, and we won,” he added.

Results were well spread between the wide variety of competing boats, with fourth place going to Lahaina II (Len Buttenshaw), fifth place to the Dragon class yacht Liquidity (Richard Franklin and Damien Hannes).

Charles Curran’s Sydney took line honours but placed ninth on corrected time in the rather slow race that saw an hour and 19 minutes between first and last boats.