178th Australia Day Regatta 2014

Australia Day honours to Gretel II, Brindabella and About Time.

Gretel II, the famous Australian America’s Cup challenger of more than 44 years ago, produced another fine sailing effort in yesterday’s 178th Australia Day Regatta on Sydney Harbour, taking line and handicap honours in the Classic 1 division.

Gretel II was one of several prominent yachts to sail to victory in Australia Day inshore and offshore races, with ocean racer Brindabella winning on the Harbour and About Time taking out the Australia Day City of Sydney Cup for the traditional Botany Bay race.

Former Sydney Hobart line honours winner Brindabella (Jim Cooney)  scored a double win in the Open Division 1 of the Harbour regatta and Julian Farren-Price’s About Time won the Australia Day City of Sydney Cup short ocean race to Botany Bay and return.

About Time had a great day at sea, also scoring wins under IRC and  ORCi ratings in the CYCA’S Ocean Pointscore,  sailed as part of the Botany Bay race.

On a day of light to moderate breezes,  nearly 70 yachts and skiffs contested the Harbour Regatta which followed an aquatic spectacle of swimming races,  the Ferrython, a Tall Ships race and spectacular Defence Forces events on and above the Harbour. 

A fleet of 28 yachts contested the Botany Bay return race conducted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, retracing the course of the First Fleet from its original anchorage in Botany Bay to Port Jackson in 1778.

Gretel II, skippered by Michael Maxwell, current ‘custodian’ of the veteran but beautifully refurbished 12-metre class yacht, outsailed her opposition, which  included smaller metre class yachts and former Sydney Hobart races.

Gretel II took line honours from the 30 square metre yacht Fagel Grip (Jerry Lees) and former ocean racer Mister Christian (David Salter) and on corrected time won from Gusto (Phillip Denison) and Anitra V (Philip Brown).

Brindabella,  back from contesting her 21st Sydney Hobart Race,  elected for the colourful atmosphere of the 178th Australia Day Regatta on Sydney Harbour rather than the traditional Australia Day race to Botany Bay and return.

Australia’s best known maxi yacht won a duel for line honours with Regatta President Charles Curran’s 60-foot harbour racer Sydney and on corrected time won from Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron contenders Huntress (Philip Grove) and Braveheart (Bill Meiklejohn).

Other ADR14 division winners were Cherub (Mark Pearse),  Akela (Alan Mather), Miss Pibb (Hamish Jarrett), Allegro (John Taylor) and Isea II (Matt Collis) while the Historic Skiff race went to The Mistake (Jeremy Sharp).

Linew honours in the Australia Day City of Sydney Cup race to Botany Bay and return went to Upshot (Wayne Keavy) thus winning the Geoff Lee Trophy, donated by the late longtime chairman of the Australia Day Regatta organising committee, now headed by John Jeremy.

On corrected time,  wellknown CYCA and RSYS member Julian Farren-Price steered About Time to first place from Pazazz (Rob Drury) and Outlandish (Sean Barrett).

About Time added wins under IRC  and ORCi in  Division 1 of the Ocean Pointscore to its City of Sydney Cup victory,  winning IRC on corrected time from Merlin and Brannew. Under ORCi scoring, About Time won from Sydney Hobart competitor Midnight Rambler, skippered by Ed Psaltis, and Paul Clitheroe’s Balance.

Peter Campbell