45th RSYS Annual Cruise

A fleet in excess of 30 racing yachts and support boats are anticipated for the RSYS Annual Cruise which will commence Saturday 12th April and finish in Pittwater on Thursday 17th April. This one is a bit unique due to Easter falling right in the middle of the school holidays. The committee deemed it best to have the cruise prior to Easter and finish it at Pittwater in case some boats would like to stay and enjoy Pittwater over the Easter period.

So I guess we better pack 8 days of fun into 6! I am sure we are up to the challenge and just to prove there is no rest for the wicked there is no lay day this year due to the Cruise finishing on Thursday.

This year the program for the Cruise is primarily in the Hawkesbury with the final night at the always welcoming Royal Motor Yacht Club for our traditional Cruise function. A great way to end the cruise.

Racing will again be managed by Rob Ridley and Chris Stone with the aim of having the last boats finish within around 2.5 hours of starting for the inshore races.

Saturday 12th will be the first ocean race to Pittwater, weather permitting. The fleet will rendezvous at Hallets Beach where the committee will put their cooking skills to the test serving up over 150 complimentary sausages on a roll to the hungry hoards.

Sunday will be a gentle inshore race with a raft up at the typically tranquil Mushroom Bay. This is handy for changing crews on Sunday night at Akuna and the famous Progressive Dinner will be on to sample the fleets culinary skills.

Monday will be our second inshore race with a raft up in Pinta Bay, often we see 20 or more boats anchored stern to shore. The bay will abound with aromas as the competitive crews vie for supremacy in the Creative Cuisine cooking competition. Of particular note this year is that a winning meal will be served in the Careening Cove Room for a limited period of time.

On Tuesday the second and final Offshore race will take place to determine the winner of the prestigious Alan Payne Trophy followed by a get together in Yeomans Bay, a location we have not really explored before.

Our second last day will see the 3rd Inshore race followed by meeting in Refuge Bay with BBQ’s available on the beach for those who want to cook their own and regardless I am sure crews will get together to discuss the days adventures.

Finally on Thursday we will enjoy the concluding race of the inshore series and return to civilisation at the Royal Motor Yacht Club for our final function dinner and get to marvel at the dance moves of the fleet. Not to mention announcement of the Creative Cuisine competition.

Additional activities include a Youth sailors prize that will be given to the boat with the lowest average age of people on board across the Inshore Series races.

We are delighted that Bill and Dee Manning have again prepared our Cruise Crossword.  The Crossword is a challenging and entertaining way of filling idle hours between sailing and partying.

Vice Commodore Richard Chapman (Nand V) is again donating a prize to the winner of the ETA competition; an ICOM VHF Handheld Radio .  This is awarded to the boat that most accurately assesses its elapsed time across all of the 6 races.   We are very grateful for Richard’s continued generosity and I am sure you will all join me in thanking him.

There will be no official RSYS event over the Easter period however I am sure interested parties will discuss possible venues to meet up during Easter.

I would like to re-iterate that the cruise is not just for racing sailors. More and more people are enjoying the cruise on their motor boats and taking advantage of our proximity to the incredibly beautiful Hawkesbury and the company of their friends. Most participants come back year after year and I can recommend you give it a try, you just might get hooked!

Cruise Captain
Julian Farren-Price

Wet weekend for Etchells State Championship

A wet and, at times, windless weekend on Brisbane Waters,  saw only five races sailed in the 2014 Etchells NSW championship.  Victory went to Graeme Taylor’s Magpie from the Mornington Yacht Club in Victoria and his crew of international sailing stars Steve Jarvin and Grant Simmer.

Four Sydney fleet yachts finished in the top ten placings with former world champion Iron Lotus winning races, but placing seventh overall because of an OCS in race three.

Gosford Sailing Club hosted the championship which attracted a fleet of 39 yachts, 11 from the Sydney fleet. Unfortunately, races five and six had to be abandoned because of a windless waterway but the best sailing was reserved for the last race when 22 knots of breeze came in from the south.

Iron Lotus, with Tom King at helm, led almost throughout the final race with Magpie finishing second to clinch an overall win from last year’s champion Caio (Doug McGain) who sails with the Sydney fleet as a member of the CYCA. 

Magpie had a consistent score of 2-1-3-9-2 for 17 points, Caio finished with 21 points from a scorecard of 1-7-6-2-5.  Third overall went to RSYS member Matt Whitnall in Umami, with 34 points from placings of 3-3-11-6-11.

Michael Coxon, sailing No Star,  placed fifth overall on 34 points, seventh to Iron Lotus on 64 points.

Peter Campbell


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