Dragon sailor’s brief interlude with a Flying Dutchman

Carl Ryves still holds a firm grip on the Dragon Gold Cup pointscore, despite finishing out of first place for the first time in five races in last Saturday’s Mini Regatta on the Harbour.

At the helm of Sidewinder, Carl managed a 5-3-2 score in the Dragon Mini Regatta, for a net 12 points after a total of nine races to date in the Gold Cup still 7.5 points ahead of his nearest rival Anthony Armstrong, sailing French Connection.  Sidewinder’s previous results had been a second and five firsts.

Of course,  Carl may have been distracted from Dragons after helming a Flying Dutchman with the Woollahra Sailing Club’s fleet – the first he had been in the back end of FD  in 25 years.

Not bad for a 74-year-old to sail one of the world’s fastest centreboard dinghies!  But then Carl and Dick Sargeant did represent Australia in the Flying Dutchman class at the Mexico 1968 Olympics. 

Sailing the original Sidewinder, they finished fourth overall, just 0.7 point out of a medal. 

This summer Carl will be an interested onlooking when the Flying Dutchman world championship will be staged on Sydney Harbour with the Squadron hosting the event for between 50 and 60 competitors.

So, after a Sunday sailing an FD once more, Carl Ryves was back at the helm of the Dragon called Sidewinder last Saturday competing in a competitive fleet of eight of the classic keelboats, like the Flying Dutchman a former Olympic class.

Riga (Martin Bourke and Ian McCrossin) won race one from Indulgence (Robert Alpe) by 17 seconds with Sidewinder third.  However, as Riga is not an entrant in the Gold Cup, top points went to Liquidity.

Race 2 saw Anthony Armstrong’s French Connection win by 25 seconds from Indulgence with Riga third and Sidewinder fourth.  Riga took out race 3 by 35 seconds from Indulgence and Sidewinder, Liquidity fourth.

Riga was the top-scoring boat in the Mini Regatta, while the pointscore for the Gold Cup saw Sidewinder on 12 points, French Connection 19.5, Shapes (Wolf Breit) 25,  Liquidity 30 and Indulgence on 45 points.

In Division 1, Geoff Davidson’s Beneteau 36.7 Jackie Clare won the day to strengthen her lead in the Spring Series pointscore, taking out the race from Impetuous Too (Graeme Lambert) and Euphoria (Anthony Coleman). 

After six races in the Spring Series, Jackie Clare has a net 9 points, followed by Sydney (Charles Curran) 17 points and Much Ado V (John & Michael Stephens) 23 points.

Only 34 seconds separated the top three placegetters on corrected time in Division 2, with Will Hutchinson skippering Solange, a Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 409, to first place from Ellipse II (Brian Bergin) and Jessica Rabbit (Bruce Millar) which took fastest time.

‘Til the Fat Lady Sings (David Smith) notched up her fifth line honours and third corrected time wins in Division 3, winning Saturday’s race from Therapy (Tom Cehak) and Esquisse 2 (Richard Staines).

In the Spring Series pointscore, ‘Til the Fat Lady Sings has a net 11 points, just one ahead of the Hood 23 Esquisse II (Richard Staines) which so far has only once placed worse than third in six races. Third overall is Come by Chance (John Nutt) on 20 points.

In the International Etchells Spring Series race,  Doug McGain steered Ciao to victory from Top 40 (Peter Merrington and Geoff Bonouvrie), third place going to Magpie (Steve Jarvin).

Peter Campbell

Biggest fleet of the season on Sydney Harbour

Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron Spring Series attracted the biggest fleet of the season so far last Saturday with a total of 74 boats taking part in all Divisions and One Design classes.

Division 1 attracted 21 boats, including 13 from Middle Harbour Yacht Club, sailing a long and slow race in a light easterly breeze. In fact, the last boat did not finish until 16:50, taking 3 hours and 55 minutes to sail the course.

Line honours winner, Charles Curran’s Sydney, had an elapsed time of 3 hours and 4 minutes, and finished last on corrected time.

First place went to Hell Razer, Ian MacDiarmid’s F36 Razer, with a margin of just 42 seconds on corrected time from Neil Padden’s Wailea from MHYC, third place going to Damien Parkes’ Duende.

As far as the RSYS Spring Series pointscore went, Hell Razor got top points from series leader Jackie Clare (Geoff Davidson) and Impetuous Too (Graeme Lambert).   After five races Jackie Clare has a series score of 13 points, Sydney 19 and Ultreya (Rod Pearse) 24 points.

The International Etchells’ mini regatta drew 29 starters with Steve Jarvin having a great day at the helm of Magpie,  scoring two wins and a third place in closing one-design racing.

Michael Coxon’s North Star was the other winner, also notching up a second and an eighth place while Philip Merrtington and Geoff Bonus sailed Top 40 consistently with a 3-4-3 scorecard.

While Division 1 hosted the Middle Harbour Division 1 fleet, the Squadron’s Division 2 fleet sailed with Middle Harbour on that club’s courses.

Will Hutchinson’s Solange was provisionally placed first on corrected time of the Squadron boats, but later retired after the skipper realised he had sailed the wrong course – in fact, Solange had sailed a longer course than the rest of the fleet.

Revised results gave first place to Can Can (Roman Tomawsky) with Molly (Frank Hetherton) second and Campeador (Jonathan Threlfall) third.

Former Division 4 boats again dominated the top placings in Division 3, with David Smith’s Sayer 25 ‘Til the Fat Lady Sings outsailing the fleet to take the double of line and handicap honours.  In second place on corrected time was Richard Staines’ Hood 23 Esquisse 2, third going to Robert Albert’s Norn.

‘Til the Fat Lady Sings’ now leads the Spring Series on 17 points, one point ahead of Esquisse 2,  with Come by Chance (John Nutt) on 20 points.

In the International Dragons, Sidewinder (Carl Ryves) won from French Connection (Anthony Armstrong) and Whimsical (Gordon Ingate) while in the Ynglngs, Miss Pibb (Hamish Jarrett)  also had a comfortable win from Black Adder (Gary Pearce) and Shaden Freude (Daniel Marlay).

Peter Campbell



New Training Courses at RSYS

This season the club is pleased to launch a series of new training courses. These courses are ideal for the casual harbour racer, the cruiser or crew planning to campaign for a Sydney to Hobart.  Should anyone have any queries please not hesitate to contact the RSYS Sailing Office for further details.


David Kellett to receive ISAF Beppe Croce Trophy

David Kellett AM is to be awarded the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Beppe Croce Trophy which honours an individual for their outstanding voluntary contribution to the sport of sailing.

The Australian will be the first recipient out of Europe or the America’s to receive the prestigious Trophy, first presented in 1988 in memory Beppe Croce, the ISAF President from 1969 to 1986.

The Trophy will be presented to Kellett at the 2014 ISAF annual conference in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, in November.

A Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, Kellett, 65, has been a passionate sailor throughout his life.  He started out in small boats and Olympic classes before making the move to ocean racing and the America’s Cup.

A past Commodore and Life Member of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, Kellett has taken part in 40 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Races, including being sailing master of Sovereign which took line and overall honours in 1987.  

He became President of Yachting Australia, his first involvement with ISAF being in 1992 when he became the ISAF Member of Council for Group L. Kellett represented the region and his involvement and impact within ISAF was quickly felt. 

From 1994-1998 he was a member of the Events Committee and from 1997-1998 a member of the Oceanic Committee. In 1998 Kellett was elected as an ISAF Vice President and held the position through to 2008.  He then served as Treasurer from 2008-2012.

Throughout his time within ISAF Kellett filled many roles around the Olympic sailing competition.  For Sydney 2000 he was a Member of the 2000 Olympic Working Party, a member of the 2000 Olympic Advisory Board and President’s liaison at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games itself.

He was part of the Athens 2004, Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympic Management teams and served as ISAF Technical Delegates for the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympic Games sailing competitions.

For the past 15 years Kellett has been an integral part of the safety network of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, controlling the race at sea aboard the radio relay vessel.

The first recipient of the Beppe Croce Trophy in 1988 was His Majesty King Olav V of Norway and since then the award has gone to multiple Olympic medallists, rules gurus and designers, all having dedicated an outstanding amount of time to the sport of sailing.


By Peter Campbell

Evergreen Hood 23 still a winner


This season marks 46 years since the first Hood 23 was launched and yet this small one-design keelboat is still winning in open company, with Richard Staines’ Esquisse II taking top handicap honours in the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron’s Division 3 last Saturday.

Esquisse II, along with several other boats, has been moved from Division 4 to Division 3 following the Sailing Committee’s decision to merge the two divisions, and the Hood 23 is proving more than a match for the bigger boats.

Esquisse II is third overall in standings, just one point behind the top placed Come by Chance, John Nutt’s C&C 36, and equal on points with the sports boat ‘Til the Fat Lady Sings (David Smith).  Esquisse II’s placings in the Spring Series so far have been 3-3-9-1.

The evergreen Hood 23 was designed by eminent naval architect and Squadron member Warwick Hood AO with builders Stoddart Bros Marine launching the first one in 1966.  Since then hundreds of Hood 23s have been built, but Esquisse II is now the only one racing with the Squadron.

The Hood 23 (LOA 7.20m) is a definitive design with its raised deck and masthead rig carrying a working sail area of 30.56m².  With an efficient hull shape, it exceptionally fast in light airs.

Esquisse II is raced with great skill by owner Richard Staines, a member of RANSA who bought the boat from a Middle Harbour syndicate in 1991.  In a profile published in the RANSA magazine, Staines recalled that Esquisse II “has at some stage, won every series and regatta we have entered” including three of five Series, including the Main Series, with the Squadron.

Saturday’s racing saw Geoff Davidson’s Beneteau 36.7 win Division 1 and take the overall lead in the Spring Series on a countback from Sydney, Charles Curran’s Sydney 60, which placed second on corrected time. 

Both are on 11 points after four races while Ultreya (Rod Pearse) is third on 20 points, although not racing on Saturday.

In Division 2, consistency is paying dividends for Jonathan Threlfall’s Jeanneau Sunfast 36, Campeador, now holding a nine point lead with a scoreboard of 3-4-2-1 for 10 points.

Campeador also took fastest time on Saturday, winning on handicap from Alouette (John Waring) and Ambitious (David Matthews).

Brian Bergin’s Ellipse II is second overall on 19 points, being a non-finisher on Saturday, and one point ahead of Ambitious.

In the International Etchells, Douglas McGain’s Ciao scored a 14 second win, following up on McGain’s success in the mini regatta the previous Saturday.

Runner-up was Shindig (Rob Weir and Mike Tyquin) just 21 seconds ahead of Carabella IV (Matthew McCann).

The International Dragons and Yngling shared a mini regatta with Sidewinder (Carl Ryves) dominating the Dragons and Miss Pibb (Hamish Jarrett) outstanding in the Ynglings.

Sidewinder won all three races while Shapes (Wolf Breit) had two seconds and a third. French Connection (Anthony Armstrong) was next best with a second, an equal third and a fifth.

Miss Pibb had a 1-2-1 score with Karma (Gary Wogas) taking out the second race and placing second and fourth in the other races.

Soria (Robyn Grosvenor) did well with a 3-4-2 score while Black Adder (Gary Pearse) notched up a 4-3-3 result.

By Peter Campbell

Much Ado V notches up second win

John and Michael Stephens’ Ker 11.3 Much Ado V showed her class with a second consecutive victory in Division 1 of the Squadron’s Spring Series on Sydney Harbour last Saturday.

Fifth to finish in the biggest Division 1 fleet so far this season, Much Ado V scored by just under five minutes on corrected time from Rod Pearse’s Ultreya,  with third place going to Wine-Dark Sea (Peter Lowndes).

The Ker 11.3 design by UK-based Jason Ker has had a string of success overseas and in Australia,  including top inshore boat at the 2002 Rolex Commodores Cup, twice class winner in the Rolex Sydney Hobart and the New York Cup and Queens Cup at Cowes Week.

In last Saturday’s Squadron race,  the 38-footer was always well up with leading group, other than breakaway fleet leader Sydney,  and on handicap took out her second consecutive win in fine style.

Sailing in a fresh south-easterly breeze, Bruce Millar’s speedy Jessica Rabbit led home the fleet in Division 2 but was down the list on corrected time with Astral (Andrew Butler) winning from Limelight (Alan Husband) and Campeador (Jonathan Threlfall).

In Division 3, John Vickery’s Windsong 2 scored a line and handicap win,  taking corrected time honours by just one minute from John Jeremy’s Tingari,  third place going to Mystere (Malcolm Shaw).

Saturday saw the first mini regatta of the season for the International Etchells class with a fleet of 22 boats contesting three races which produced three different winners and seven different placegetters from the highly competitive fleet.

Former world champion Cameron Miles set the pace at the helm of The Hole Way, winning race 1 by just three seconds from Michael Coxon, steering North Star, third going to Umami (Matt Whitnall).

However, The Hole Way could not repeat that result in subsequent races,  with a 7th and 11th to finish fifth overall on the day.

Race 2,  and the mini regatta overall winner,  was Douglas McGain at the helm of Ciao, finishing with 10 points from placings of 5-1-4 with North Star on 11 points from placings of 2-2-7.   Steve Jarvin sailed Magpie into third place overall on 18 points from placings of 8-5-3.

Third race winner was Top 40 (Peter Merrington and Geoff Bonous) who lifted their game from a first race 18th to a third and a win to finish with 18 points.

Only three boats turned out for each of the other one-design classes with Riga (Martin Burke and Ian McCrossin) winning the Dragons and Miss Pibb (Hamish Jarrett) taking the Yngling race.

By Peter Campbell

‘Til the Fat Lady Sings outsails combined Division 3

For several past seasons, David Smith’s sports boat, ‘Til the Fat Lady Sings, has been the fastest boat in the Squadron’s Division 4.  So far this season, she has outpaced the Division 3 fleet in which Division 4 boats have now been amalgamated.

‘Til the Fat Lady Sings has taken line honours in the Division 3 fleet in the two races so far sailed and last Saturday she won the double of fastest time and first on corrected time.

Sailing in a light and shifty easterly breeze,  the sports boat finished a remarkable 7 minutes and 33 seconds in front of the next boat, John Nutt’s C & C 36, Come by Chance, which also placed second on handicap.

Another former Division 4 boat, Richard Staines’ evergreen Hood 23 Esquisse 2, took third place on corrected time.

Division 2 saw Roman Tarnawsky’s Beneteau First 34.7 Can Can scoring its second consecutive win on corrected time.   Can Can was second last boat to finish but won the race by just two seconds from Eclipse II (Brian Bergin) which had finished second in fleet to Bruce Millar’s Jessica Rabbit.

Third place on handicap went to John Amos’ Soundtrack with just 33 seconds separating the first four boats on corrected time.

Much Ado V, John and Michael Stephens’ Ker 11.3, chased the 60-footer Sydney around the course in Division 1, scoring a comfortable handicap win from Jackie Clare (Geoff Davidson) and Equiknox (John Molyneux). Sydney placed fifth on corrected time.

In the Etchells,  28 boats turned out to race with Michael Coxon steering North Star to its second consecutive win, getting the gun by 38 seconds from Top 40 (Peter Merrington and Geoff Bonus).  Alchemist (Richard Hammond and Roger Gain) took third place.

The first Mini Regatta of the season, for Dragons and Ynlings, saw close one-design racing in both classes.

In the Dragon class, Carl Ryves’ Sidewinder scored a second and a first to be top boat on the day, but both wins were close: 27 seconds in race 2, 15 seconds in race three.

Anthony Armstrong won the first race from Sidewinder with a break away margin of two minutes,  Liquidity (Richard Franklin) finishing third.

In race two,  Sidewinder won from Shapes (Wolf Breit) and French Connection and in the final race Sidewinder scored the closest race of the day, beating French Connection by 15 seconds, with just three seconds to third placegetter Shapes.

In the Ynglings,  Hamish Jarrett steered Miss Pibb to two wins and a second to be top boat on the day,  the other winner being Soria, helmed by Robyn Grosvenor,  who finished the mini regatta with a 3-1-4 scorecard.

Karma (Gary Wogas) notched up an improving 4-3-2 score while Karyn Kojnich also sailed consistently with results of 2-4-3. 

The fleet included three women skippers, Robyn Grosvenor, Karyn Kojnich and Jan Marlay, steering Schaden Freude to two fifths and a sixth.

Peter Campbell

RSYS to host the Fd World Championship in 2015

The FD class throughout the world has become stronger since leaving the Olympics after 1992. In 2011 at Malcesne, Italy the FD class had their largest fleet ever of 135 boats. In 2013 in Hungary a strong fleet of 90 boats from 18 countries competed in a highly contested and close championship. Strong international fleets in Europe tend to dominate the World Championships, with the Hungarian combination of Szabolcs Majthenyi and Andras Domokas having won 7 of the last 10 world championships, but with strong competition from Germany, Holland and Italy that dominance looks to change.

The returning of the worlds to Sydney has also caused a resurgence of new builds. Cox/Bevis have a new carbon Mader imported from Germany, imported with an identical sister ship to be sailed by former 505 sailor Michael Nolan and Matthew Moore. Four locally built new FD’s are also under construction. These recent upgrades have made second boats available to new sailors joining the fleet, including 505 sailors Michael Babbage and James McAllister who won the 2013 505 national championships. From Victoria will be former FD national champions Peter Bartels and Stewart Edgar. The local competition will be intense, and will be tested at the NSW state championships as part of the Sydney International regatta on 2-5 December followed by the Australian Championships between 28 and 30 December 2014.

The influx of new carbon boats has been assisted by a strong Australian dollar and competition between German and Italian builders, improving quality and maintaining costs. A new FD costs about the same as a new 505, and less than many skiffs. An additional advantage for local fleet numbers has been the competitiveness of older boats. At the 2013 national championships, Cox and Bevis in a borrowed 1988 Mader won 4 heats, showing the speed and competitiveness of older boats against the brand new products. As a consequence there is a strong second hand boat market in Europe and good quality competitive boats can be purchased for around A$5-10,000.

One significant change in the FD fleet in recent years was the move to carbon masts in 2007, significantly reducing the weight and flexibility of the rigs. This has increased performance, but more importantly permitted a wider range of crew weights to be competitive. Top crews can be as light as 85-90kg in recent years, with appropriate mast and sail combinations, unlike the bad old days of the Olympics when all top crews were over 100kg and 6” 4’. This has really levelled the playing field to a wide range of everyday weekend sailors, and the end result has been larger international fleets.

The class has already attracted some interest from sponsors as well, with the newest Australian watch brand Bausele (www.bausele.com.au) coming on board to support the class and the Worlds, and a few others keen to market themselves amongst a truly world class group of sailors at one of Australia’s premier yacht clubs.

Ed Cox

152nd RSYS racing starts tomorrow

A strong fleet of over 80 yachts, ranging from one-design Ynglings to Division 1 60-footers, has entered the 152nd season of the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron with racing starting on the Harbour tomorrow, Saturday, 6 September.

Biggest fleet this summer will be the International Etchells class with 31 entries so far for this highly competitive one-design class while the three mixed divisions between them more than 40 entries.

Vice Commodore Richard Chapman and Cruise Captain Richard Lawson have joined the Etchells fleet,  chartering Foolhardy from Sir James and David Hardy.  Another addition to the Etchells fleet is AUS1292,  skippered by CYCA member Matthew Ramaley.

Prominent Etchells sailors entered for the season include Michael Coxon (North Star), Peter Alexander (Tonic),  David Seaton (Dot),  Doug McGain (Ciao), Matt Whitnall (Umami)  and Richard Hammond and Roger McGain (Alchemist).

With Division 4 entries dwindling in recent season, the division has been combined with Division 3, with the courses adjusted to accommodate the smaller Division 4 boats.

Division 3 has 15 entries with a fleet that now ranges from the Hood 23 Esquisse 2 through to former Sydney Hobart Race winner Zeus II.

Division 2 has attracted 14 entries so far, including three newcomers:  Greenwich Sailing Squadron member Terry Daly’s Mungral 25, the well-named Beware of the Dog; CYCA member Andrew Butler’s Dufour 36e Astral; and Valhalla, skippered by RSYS member Richard Corbett, until now a non-spinnaker division Winter competitor.

Heading Division 1 once again is Charles Curran’s 60-footer Sydney with the division looking highly competitive with such yachts as Peter Lowndes Lyons 47 Wine-Dark Sea,  Ian MacDiarmid’s Hell Razor,  Geoff Davidson’s Jackie Clare,  Bill Meiklejohn’s Jutson 50 and John and Michael Stephen’s Ker 1103 in the fleet.

While tomorrow is the opening of the racing season on Sydney Harbour, the 152nd Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron Opening Day will be on Sunday week, September 14.

The Squadron’s Commodore in Chief, His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd),  Governor General of the Commonwealth of Australia will fire a field gun to signal the official opening of the season.  Along with Her Excellency Lady Lynne Cosgrove, Sir Peter will review the fleet during the sail past of Squadron vessels.

Peter Campbell


RSYS take early lead at the Etchells Invitational Cup in Cowes

Cowes, UK, July 18, 2014 – The opening day of the inaugural Etchells Invitational Cup delivered plenty of sun, but variable winds that tested the 20 teams from 11 countries that are gathered in Cowes. While it was a day that saw plenty of place-changing throughout the fleet, three clear low-scoring leaders have emerged. Jeanne-Claude Strong of the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, is leading the fleet on four points, with Chris Bull of the Yacht Club de Cannes and Ian Dobson of the Royal Thames YC tied on six points. Despite a disappointing 12th place in the second race, Marvin Beckmann from Houston YC is holding fourth overall, on 13 points.

Race Details - A slowly dissipating band of thundery clouds to the east of the course defined the start of the first race, which didn’t get away until the fourth attempt. When the fleet finally got away, under a U flag penalty rule, an individual recall signal indicated at least one boat over the line prematurely that would be disqualified.

New Cowes-based owner Julian Metherell started at the committee boat in clear air and stayed on starboard tack, benefitting from a big right-hand windshift, However, the first three boats approaching the top mark were those that started near the pin. Jeremy Thorpe, representing Antigua YC and crewed by former world champion Stuart Childerley and Mark Andrews, rounded first. Shannon Bush from New York YC followed, with RYA Team Glamour (Annabel Vose, Amy Prime, Hannah Peters and Emily Nagel) in third.

The Antiguan team gybed around one-third of the way down the first run, consolidating their lead and looking very strong, although an early gybe by Beckmann, who rounded the top mark fourth, also saw him looking well placed. At the end of the second beat, Beckmann remained in second place, although Bush now held the lead, with Thorpe having slipped to third.

On the run Bush gybed early, a move that translated into a commanding lead at the finish. However, she had been one of the premature starters, along with Thorpe, so it was Beckmann that took the winning gun, with Ian Dobson’s team of Murray Chapples and Thomas Brennan second and Jeanne-Claude Strong third.

The second race initially got away smoothly, but with the wind dropping to almost nothing and the back markers failing to reach the windward mark against the building tide, it had to be abandoned. When the race was restarted it was in a light southerly breeze, with almost two knots of ebb tide setting across the course. The fleet got away cleanly, with boats soon spread evenly across the course, but it was Chris Bull, crewed by Nigel King and Tim Davies, that took an early lead in the middle of the track.

However, Strong rounded the top mark first, followed by Bull and Dobson, with Beckmann's team from Houston buried in 13th place. “We had a poor start and on the first beat we couldn’t go the way we wanted,” crew member Andrew Palfrey, another former Etchells world champion, explained. “We picked up some places by the finish but it was difficult to recover in those conditions.”

While most of the fleet favoured the right-hand side of the first run, Strong gybed early which helped to extend her lead, which she held to the finish. Chris Bull took second and Bush third. “The strength of the tide makes it a bit difficult for us here," said Strong’s middle crew member Neville Whittey, who raced a Soling in the 2000 Olympics. “We’re not used to that much stream – it feels like a nightmare, but it’s a great challenge.”

With the wind again dying over the racecourse, the fleet assembled ashore at Shepard’s Wharf, for the official opening of the new six-tonne crane at the marina’s dry sailing facility, plus a special prize for the youngest team at the event – James French, Tristan Seal and Rob Bunce of the UKSA/RYA British Keelboat Academy, whose average age is under 20.

Rupert Holmes

Ginger overcomes Kiwis to win MC38 Harbour Regatta

Leslie Green and his Ginger crew from Sydney have taken out the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron hosted MC38 Harbour Regatta by the narrowest margin from the lone New Zealand entry, Howard Spencer’s Menace, on Sydney Harbour this afternoon.

One point behind the Kiwis after four races were completed yesterday, ex dentist Green scraped home by the skin of his teeth, finishing on equal points with Howard Spencer’s Kiwi entry, Menace following the final three races today.

The Kiwis lodged protests against Ginger in Race’s 5 and 7 involving overlapping incidents. Ginger lost the first to be disqualified from Race 5, but survived the second, from which Menace was disqualified.

Winemaker Chris Hancock’s Vino, representing Hamilton Island Yacht Club, finished third overall, two points behind the top two after benefitting from the protests. It was not all plain sailing though; as the well-named Vino was caught short a couple of times by wineglasses in spinnakers, prompting wry comments from rivals about wine on board.  

All competitors had their chances, but it was hard going in the gusty and shifty 18-25 knot south/south-westerlies which caused minor damage. It was a day for staying one hundred percent alert as every little mistake proved costly.

“I enjoyed the strong winds, especially sailing these exciting boats,” said a smiling Green, Ginger’s Octogenarian owner. “The racing is so close and exciting; that’s what I love about this class,” Green said. “I feel we are well-prepared for the Australian Championship and we’re looking forward to it,” he added of the next MC38 event, to be held in conjunction with Audi Hamilton Island Race Week in mid-August.

Ginger crossed the finish line first in Race 5, which opened racing today. Her subsequent disqualification meant Vino moved into the winner’s circle, with Ghost Rider second and Menace third. Ghost Rider was locked out of the start and lost a lot of ground, but superior windward boat speed allowed her to round the top mark first.   

Spencer and his crew struggled somewhat in that race, being boxed in by both Ginger and Vino on various stages of the track. They could not catch a break.

In the gusty Race 6, however, the Kiwis did not put a foot wrong; spinnaker sets and drops were flawless and tacks clean. Their diligence translated to a one minute 26 second win over Ginger, with Assassin, owned by the newest fleet owner, Robin Crawford in third.

The Menace crew, including pros Ray Davies and James Dagg, will be dangerous at the World’s to be held on their own waters in October, and hosted by the Royal Akarana Yacht Club, where Menace calls home.      

Ginger won Race 7, while Assassin moved up to second place and Vino third, after Menace was disqualified and Ghost Rider suffered spinnaker problems, losing her a lot of ground.

Assassin had problems throughout the series, but her third and second places gave Crawford, who has been out of competitive sailing nearly 16 years, some comfort. “I’m learning to sail the boat,” he said.

Three windward/leeward races decided the winner today after four races, including a tough Harbour Passage course were completed yesterday.

All took their chances but mistakes and damage robbed some. Fourth placed Ross Hennessy (Ghost Rider) looked close to stealing the limelight a few times, but mistakes and damage cost him. “You win some, you lose some. It was practice for the Australian Championship, so better we learn from our mistakes here,” a philosophical Hennessy said.

Full results: http://www.rsys.com.au/index.php/sailing/results

Di Pearson