The Squadron’s first mini regatta of the season for International Etchells underlined what the class is all about - close one-design fleet racing with just a few seconds deciding two of the three races for the 23 boat fleet. The end results also emphasised that consistency of placings is the keynote to success in any Etchells regatta series.
As far as the Squadron fleet goes, the mini regatta showed what a strong fleet, with great depth of talent, is racing on Sydney Harbour this summer.
With a light 10 knot south-easterly breeze, race officer Ian Kingsford Smith set courses from the start line in Taylor’s Bay to marks near Shark Island (125ºfor the first two races and 140º for the third). The first two were over two laps, for the third he set three shorter laps with the weather mark now south-west of Shark Island.
The mini regatta saw three different winners while the minor placings were spread between four more boats. Yet none of the three overall placegetters won a race, they just sailed consistently well.
Rupert Henry, helming Vivienne, set the pace for close racing in the first race, with a seven second win from Dot (David Seaton), third going to Umami (Matt Whitnall).
Race two saw a wider margin for winner Shindig (Paul Thackray) from Special Mention (Mark Anderson) and Dot.
With the south-easterly shifting in direction and dropping in strength, the fleet started the third race with five boats in with a chance of being overall winner on the day: Umami (Matt Whitnall), North Star (Michael Coxon), Alchemist (Richard Hammond), Shindig (Paul Thackray) and Vivienne (Rupert Henry).
Hammond led for most the last race but was beaten right on the line by Doug Flynn’s Wobbegong. The official margin was one second – less than a foot. A close third was Umami.
Consistency paid off with Umami taking out the mini regatta with placings of 3-6-3, North Star finished second with a 4-4-5 scorecard, Alchemist third with placings of 5-7-2.
The division racing on Saturday saw the biggest fleets of the season so far with 10 boats in Division 1 and Division 4 boosted to a dozen starters with the addition of three International Ynglings.
In Division 1, Euphoria (Anthony Coleman) led the pursuit of line honours winner Sydney (Charles Curran) and on corrected time took first place from Hell Razor (Ian MacDiarmid) and Ultreya (Rod Pearse).
Bruce Millar’s Jessica Rabbit scored an outright win in Division 2, finishing far enough ahead of the rest of the fleet to take handicap honours from Campeador (Jonathan Threlfall) and Ambitious (David Matthews).
Wingsong 2(John Vickery) led home the fleet in Division 3, but placed well down on handicap, first place going to Marigot Bay (Merryl Semple) from Tingari (John Jeremy), third to L’Eau Co (Grant Pollock).
Til the Fat Lady Sin, David Smith’s Sayer 25, scored her third consecutive line honours in Division 4, but on handicap placed second to the 33-year-old Bonbridge 27 Hornblower (Steve Sweeney) the margin just 5 seconds. Third place went to the Hood 23 Esquisse 2 (Richard Staines) just 20 seconds further back.
By Peter Campbell