Gordon Ingate, who last weekend won the New South Wales championship in the International Dragon class, is heading for Tasmania in January to again contest the prestigious Prince Philip Cup – in his 89th year!
In a remarkable demonstration of one-design racing skills as a helmsman and tactician, Ingate steered Whimsical to five straight wins over two days following earlier placings of 4-5-3 on day one.
Ingate won his first Prince Philip Cup on Hobart’s River Derwent in January 2008 after 50 years of sailing in the Dragon class, then the oldest sailor to have won the Australian championship for Dragons. He won the Cup again on Port Phillip last summer.
Sailing with Ingate in the NSW championships – and in the upcoming Prince Philip Cup – were his longtime crew member David Giles and Squadron Yachtsman of the Year Roger Hickman, who last year skippered Wild Rose to victory in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
“Originally, I had planned to again sail with Wolf Breit in the Prince Philip Cup but when he decided not to go to Hobart, Gordon said ‘you better sail with me,’ “ Hickman explained.
“It was quite an experience sailing with Gordon… here he is coming to his 89th birthday next March and he is as sharp as a tack on the helm of a Dragon.
“He is an exceptionally smooth helmsman, quick to capitalise on boat for boat strategy. A significant factor was Gordon’s near perfect picking of the gybe angles.”
Hickman said competition was very close throughout the NSW championship with the fleet that included many skilled Dragon sailors, including runner-up Marcus Blackmore, former world champion Rob Porter, past State champion Matt Whitnall and Richard Franklin.
Whimsical won with a net 8 points, with Marcus Blackmore in Hooligan placing second on 23 points, third place going to Liquidity (Richard Franklin) on 24 points, fourth to Trio (Matt Whitnall) on 28 points.
While Whimsical won five straight races other race winners were Hooligan, Liquidity and Trio, Many races were won by seconds, in race the first three boats crossed the finish line three seconds apart.