Admiral’s Cup Anniversary Regatta

It seemed like such a nice, simple idea. Get a few veteran offshore boats together to mark the 50th anniversary of Australia’s first victory in the Admiral’s Cup. Hold a couple of informal races around the cans and then enjoy a few drinks afterwards with old shipmates.

Five months later that simple idea had become a full-blown regatta with yachts sailing to Sydney from interstate ports to join the fleet and sailors flying in from overseas just to be part of the celebrations. 

Held on December 1, 2 and 3, the Admiral’s Cup Anniversary Regatta was a joint venture between the Classic Yacht Association of Australia, the Sydney Amateur Sailing Club, the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron and the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia. It attracted 21 entries for a three-race series raced on Sydney Harbour and offshore.

The event had three co-patrons, each with special connections to the Admiral’s Cup: Syd Fischer, who competed eight times in his various Ragamuffins and captained the Australian team on six occasions; Gordon Ingate (pictured above), skipper of Caprice of Huon for her incredible three-in-a-row wins in 1965; and Sir James Hardy, who contested the Cup in his own yachts and also as a helmsman on Impetuous during the Australian team victory in 1979.

Entry was open to any yacht that represented Australia in the Admiral’s Cup or had contested the trials. Among the famous old offshore racers taking part were Caprice of Huon, the first Ragamuffin, Salacia II, Love & War, Mister Christian, Anitra V, Lorita Maria, Mercedes III and IV, Pacha and the original Wild Oats.

 
Wild Oats

Salacia II

 

Weather conditions for the regatta could hardly have been better. There was brisk Nor’easter for the opening Harbour race, another solid Northerly for the offshore return sprint to a mark laid two miles off Long Reef, and a typical Summer mixture of challenging breezes for the concluding Harbour race.

The racing was fair and spirited throughout, but a regrettable starting-line incident in Race #1 sadly put an end to Caprice of Huon’s regatta before it had begun.

The sight of traditional displacement yachts thundering down the Harbour under their huge symmetrical spinnakers stirred the souls of anyone familiar with the spirit of Australian sailing a generation ago. For one nostalgic moment Too Impetuous flew a blooper that can’t have been out of its bag for 20 years or more.

There were social occasions after each day of racing, the most formal of which was a welcome dinner at the RSYS. More than 260 guests attended, including the three co-patrons.

The surprise guest of honour at the dinner was the Admiral’s Cup itself, kindly lent to the regatta and secretly flown out from the Royal Ocean Racing Club in London. The Cup was carried into the room to great applause by the sons of the skippers of the victorious yachts in 1967 – Balandra, Caprice of Huon and Mercedes III.

 

Results:

 

Race #1 – Harbour

1.         Ragamuffin                 2:08:21

2.         Love & War                2:09:03

3.         Lorita Maria                2:42:30

 

Race #2 – Offshore

1.         Sagacious V                2:59:50

2.         Wild Oats                    2:57:31

3.         Mercedes IV               3:20:58

 

Race #3 – Harbour

1.         Uptown Girl                 2:16:27

2.         Syonara                       2:33:10

3.         Mister Christian           2:36:32

 

Overall 

1.         Wild Oats

2.         Sagacious V

3.         Uptown Girl

4.         Ragamuffin

5.         Mercedes IV

6.         Fare Thee Well

7.         Mister Christian

8.         Syonara          

9.         Salacia II

10.       Vittoria

11.       Love & War

12.       Lorita Maria

13.       Camille

14.       Too Impetuous

15.       Mercedes III

16.       Auric's Quest

17.       Anitra V

18.       Kingurra

19.       Pacha

 

(Impetuous and Caprice of Huon were retirements)

 

Article by David Salter, SASC

Photos by Rene Chapman

 

Additional photos by John Jeremy will shortly be published at www.rsys.com.au/gallery and may be requested by RSYS Members. 
Spotayacht also took photos and these may be purchased at  
http://www.spotayacht.com.au/​