Hell Razor wins Milson Memorial Cup

Prominent Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron member Ian MacDiarmid on Saturday sailed his harbour racing yacht Hell Razor to a somewhat rare victory for a RSYS boat in the Squadron’s historic Milson Memorial Cup.

In recent years, results of the Milson Memorial Cup, one of three short ocean races conducted each year by the Squadron, have been dominated by Cruising Yacht Club of Australia boats contesting the Milson Cup as part of that clubs’ Grant Thornton Short Ocean Pointscore.

Ian MacDiarmid normally races Hell Razor in the Squadron’s Division 1 of the Harbour racing series, but enjoys the break to go racing off Sydney Heads in his club’s traditional short ocean races.

Hell Razor was declared provisional winner of the Milson Memorial Cup, decided on PHS handicaps, second and third place going to two CYCA boats, Warwick Sherman’s Occasional Coarse Language and Adrian van Bellen’s Jackpot.  In fourth place was another RSYS yacht, Rod Pearse’s Ultreya.

In Division 2, the Royal Thames Yacht Club Eddystone Lighthouse Trophy, went to CYCA entrant Saltshaker (Peter Franki), second place going to Soundtrack (John Amos), third to the RSYS entrant King Billy (Phil Bennett,).

Olympic yachtsman David Forbes has clearly lost none of his helming skills over the near 42 years since he won a gold medal in the Star class at the 1972 Munich Games.

While his current yacht, the Kaiko 52 Merlin is a far cry from the two-man Star, the need for good helming and tactics remain unchanged to be successful, and Forbes certainly is still a leader in the sport.

Merlin today scored a fine line honours win in the Milson Memorial Cup, finishing well ahead of Nine Dragons (Box Cox) and Occasional Coarse Language (Warwick Sherman).

Merlin revelled in what principal race officer David Reid described as “a beautiful Sydney summer nor’easter.”   Reid expressed surprise at the small size of the fleet, including CYCA boats contesting their Grant Thornton Short Ocean Pointscore.

“Forbes had got an excellent start with Merlin leading the 22 boats fleet around the windward mark for the first time and extending that lead by the second rounding and on the run back to the finish in Watsons Bay,” Reid reported from the RSYS committee boat.

Of 30 entries for Division 1, only 12 started in Division 1, 10 in Division 2. Division 2 was reduced by two when Crosshaven (Justin Pelly and Sean Rahilly) and Orbit (Matthew Brown) retired shortly after the start.

Peter Campbell

Jordan Reece scores another Cup win for Squadron

For the second consecutive year, a representative of the host club, the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, has won the prestigious Hardy Cup Under 25, ISAF Grade 3 match racing event on Sydney Harbour.

Jordan Reece (22) and his Estate Master crew of Max Vos (19), Milly Bennett  (19) and Jaiden Stevens (21), headed the leader board from day one,  winning 24 matches and losing just three in a dominating demonstration of match racing in small boats.

Their tactics were near perfect, as were their sailing techniques in handling the Elliott 8 sports boats in a wide variety of breezes. Today’s semi-finals began in very light conditions but freshened to 8 knots from the south-east, enabling RSYS race officers to complete the entire program on schedule.

For Jordan, victory came with his fifth attempt to win the Hardy Cup, donated by eminent yachtsman and Squadron member Sir James Hardy to promote the skills of match racing among youth sailors. 

For crew Max Vos and Milly Bennett this was their first Hardy Cup, but along with skipper Reece and Jaiden Stevens they proved a formidable combination against leading youth sailors from Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.

After two round-robins, the four finalists were Jordan Reece (RSYS), David Gilmour (Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club, WA), Chris Steele (Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, NZ) and Jay Griffin (Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, NSW).

Reece chose to take on Gilmour in the first semi-final but lost the first flight to the West Australia who last won the Warren Jones International Youth Regatta in Perth, WA. “We had a hard fight back to win the next two races and move on to the final,” Reece said.

With Jay Griffin making a late burst, beating the leading New Zealander Chris Steele 2-0, the stage was set for a final between teams from either side of Sydney Harbour.

The RSYS team skippered by Jordan Reece won the first two matches against Jay Griffin and his CYCA team,  but Griffin fought back to take out race three.

“In the fourth match Jay was leading with about 50 metres to the finish,” Reece recalled. ‘’We gybed, luffed them and they received a penalty;  game over for Jay!”

In the petit final David Gilmour defeated Chris Steele 2-0.

Jay Reece’s win in the Hardy Cup 2014 follows the victory by another RSYS skipper, David Chapman.  Since the first Hardy Cup match racing in 2001, Squadron teams have now won eight times, three of those victories going to Michael Dunstan in 2002, 2005 and 2006.

Sir James Hardy watched the three day event from his classic gaff-rigger Nerida and it must have given him great pleasure to see his concept of youth match racing bearing fruition. 

Of the eight individual winners of the Hardy Cup, almost every one has gone on to achieve further national and international success as key adult crew members, including tacticians aboard high-performance keelboat classes such as Farr 40s and TP52.

In fact, Jordan Reece and two of his crew,  Max Vos and Jaiden Stevens will be racing aboard rival Farr 40s in the Tasmanian and Australian champions in Hobart starting on Friday week, 14 February.  Last year’s Hardy Cup winner, David Chapman will also be racing, as tactician aboard the crack Tasmanian contender Voodoo Chile.  

Then it’s off to the USA for Reece, taking up the role of Director of the Chicago Match Racing Centre through to the end of the year.

It will be no slowdown for the other member of the winning Hardy Cup crew, with Milly Bennett moving up to the role of helmsperson in a New Zealand regatta.

Peter Campbell

Close scoring for Perseverance Trophy

Only one point separates the top three yachts in the Perseverance Trophy going into Saturday’s Milson Memorial Cup, the last of three short ocean races conducted each season by the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron.

The Trophy is awarded for yachts entered through the RSYS in the Gascoigne Cup, the Morna Cup and the Milson Memorial Cup and is based on combined division PHS results in each race.

Going into Saturday’s short ocean race, Rod Pearse’ Dehler 41 Ultreya is on 4 points while equal on 5 points are Peter Williams’Oceanis 50 Ceilidh and Phil Bennett’s King 38, King Billy. 

Ultreya has had two second placings under Perseverance Trophy scoring,  while King Billy and Ceilidh have each had a first place and a fourth.

She is also leading the Division 1 of the Squadron summer harbour pointscore by just one point from Ian MacDiarmid’s Hell Razor and Charles Curran’s Sydney.

A fleet of 40 yachts has been entered for the Milson Memorial Cup, which is also part of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia Grant Thornton Short Ocean Pointscore.

The impressive fleet includes several Rolex Sydney Hobart Race competitors, including Tony Kirby’s Patrice, Paul Clitheroe’s Balance, the Ed Psaltis-skippered Midnight Rambler and Chris Bran’s Branew,  along with Bob Steel’s Quest and David Forbes’ Merlin.

Also among the Milson Memorial Cup fleet are several of the Squadron Division 1 harbour racing fleet, including Ultreya (Rod Pearse), Willyama (Richard Barron), Huntress (Philip Grove), Wine-dark-sea (Peter Lowndes) and Hell Razor (Ian MacDiarmid).

Peter Campbell


Hardy Cup sailors put on display for Squadron members

Hardy Cup competitors from Australia, New Zealand and Singapore today turned on a great display of match racing for members of the host club, the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, who were watching from the historic clubhouse at Kirribilli.

With a steady south-easterly breeze of 12-15 knots, race officers were able to set the course off Kurraba Point, within a few hundred metres of the club. The  11 teams responded with a day of close, tactical match racing in this Under 25, ISAF Grade 3 event.

It was another good day for the RSYS’s Estate Master team,  skippered by Jordan Reece, who came through the near completed Round Robin 2 unbeaten in nine match races today.

His wins in Round Robin 2 again included beating his nearest opponents,  New Zealander Chris Steele, who had seven wins and two losses today, and West Australian David Gilmour who had eight wins and two losses.

Overall, Reece has now had 18 wins out of 19 races and seems certain to be the leading team going into the quarter finals tomorrow.   David Gilmour has a 15/19 score, Chris Steele 14/19 while Jay Griffin and his team from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia is 13/18, today scoring seven wins in an uncompleted Round Robin 2.

Estate Master (Jordan Reece) leads Team Gilmour (David Gilmour) on Day 3 - photo: Raoul de Ferranti

Griffin lost to David Gilmour, but beat Chris Steele and Sam Gilmour but has yet to meet Jordan Reece in Round Robin 2.


One of the most impressive performances today came from Singapore’s Justin Lui with six wins and two defeats, including beaten the WA brothers,  David Gilmour and Sam Gilmour. Overall, Lui has had 10 wins from 19 matches, equal fifth with WA’s Matthew Jerwood.

Event Patron, Sir James Hardy enjoying racing at the 2014 Hardy Cup - photo: Raoul de Ferranti

Provisional positions in the near completed Round Robin 2 are:

1. Jordan Reece (Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, NSW) 18/19
2. David Gilmour (Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club, WA) 15/19
3. Chris Steele (Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, NZ) 14/19
4. Jay Griffin (Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, NSW) 13/18
5=. Matthew Jerwood (South of Perth Yacht Club, WA) 10/19
5=. Justin Lui (Singapore National Sailing Centre, Singapore) 10/19
7. Sam Gilmour (Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club, WA) 8/19
8. Adam Middleton (Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club, NZ) 7/18
9. Sam Ellis (Gosford Sailing Club, NSW) 4/20
10. Andy Green (Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, NSW) 3/19
11. Malcolm Parker (Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club) 1/19.

Peter Campbell

RSYS crew maintain Hardy Cup lead on a fresh day

Steele v Liu Prestart - Raoul de Ferranti

Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron Jordan Reece and his Estate Master team continue to head the leader board in the Hardy Cup Under 25 ISAF Grade 3 match racing event after a day of sailing in fresh to strong weather on Sydney Harbour.

After the completion of Round Robin 1 today, Reece had notched up nine wins from ten flights, his only loss being to New Zealander Chris Steele and his 36 Degrees Below team from the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.

Today’s racing was curtailed late this afternoon after the completion of the first round robin and one flight of the second, with the south-westerly breeze kicking at close to 30 knots, providing some spectacular downwind kite runs in the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron’s Elliott 8 sports boats.

Steele and West Australian David Gilmour, winner of last week’s Warren Jones Youth Regatta in Perth, today emerged as Reece’s main opposition to a Hardy Cup win at his fifth attempt.

Steele was able to sail in only one race yesterday after a collision with his opponent in the second flight of the day, but he had a day’s hard work on the water today to make up the lost flights.  

He came out well with eight straight wins, but the record shows seven wins out of 10 because of a penalty point from day one.

David Gilmore finished Round Robin 1 with eight wins out of 10, with wins today against Steele and his younger brother Sam and his Neptune Racing team,  also representing Perth’s Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club.

Fourth overall is the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Jay Griffin with six wins in Round Robin 1, including beating David Gilmour.

The Squadron 'redshirts' looking after the competitors - Raoul de Ferranti

The fresh to strong breeze proved ideal today for Chris Steele (21) and his crew, David Hazard on main and Jay Prestt on the bow, the trio have been match racing together for two years.

“We had a big day on the water today, lots of wind and tough competition in sailing nine races,” Steele said after the racing back at the RSYS.

“The strong breeze suited us…we were really strong on the downwind legs with David trimming the main and Jay call tactics.”

Steele said his best races of the day had been against top rivals David Gilmour and Jordan Reece, his only loss of the Hardy Cup so far. 

“We had trailed Jordan for most of the race,  but managed get through him on the final downwind leg,” Steele said. “The match against Gilmour was decided on the calls of umpires.”

Overall placings after Round Robin 1:

1. Jordan Reece (Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, NSW) 9/10
2. David Gilmour (Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club, WA) 8/10
3. Chris Steele (Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, NZ) 7/10
4. Jay Griffin (Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, NSW) 6/10
5. Sam Gilmour (Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club, WA) 6/10
6. Matthew Jerwood (South of Perth Yacht Club, WA) 5/10
7. Justin Lui (Singapore National Sailing Centre, Singapore) 4/10
8. Adam Middleton (Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club, NZ) 4/10
9. Sam Ellis (Gosford Sailing Club, NSW) 3/10
10. Andy Green (Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, NSW) 2/1
11. Malcolm Parker (Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club) 0/10

Peter Campbell