Gretal II to race in 177th Australia Day Regatta

4 January 2013

Peter Campbell

One of the most famous yachts in Australian yachting history, Gretel II, heads a fleet of more than 160 yachts and skiffs entered for the 177th Australia Day Regatta to be sailed on Sydney Harbour and offshore on Saturday, 26 January 2013.

The one-time challenger for the America’s Cup, when the contest was between classic 12-metre class yachts, has been fully restored and modernised by her current owner, Sydney yachtsman Mike Maxwell.

Gretel II will be unchallenged Queen of the Fleet when she contests the Classic Division 1 of the 177th Australia Day Regatta.

To quote author David Salter in a feature article in the official programme of the 177th Australia Day Regatta, Gretel II still retains “the powerful mystique of a genuine international classic racing yacht”, and will make “any true sailor’s heart miss a beat as she sweeps past in all her majesty.”

The Australia Day Regatta, proudly acclaimed as the oldest continuously-conducted annual sailing regatta in the world, has been held each year since 1837 to commemorate the anniversary of the first European settlement of Australia.

Originally known as the Anniversary Regatta, this colourful event is held on Sydney Harbour, where it began, and also at other locations in New South Wales and offshore.

In recent years some 700 vessels have taken part in the Australia Day Regatta, making it one of the highlights of the celebrations on Australia Day, 26 January each year. With this extension of the Regatta, boats taking part range from large ocean-racing yachts to 18 foot skiffs, both modern and historical, and radio controlled model yachts.

Gretel II’s competition in Classic Division 1 including former Sydney Hobart racing yachts Margaret Rintoul and Anitra V and Weene, a Tasmanian One Design class yacht built in Hobart more than a century ago.

Among the entries in Classic Division 2 are Ranger, skippered by octogenarian Bill Gale, and Solveig, owned by ABC television and radio presenter Angela Catterns and Charlie Chan.

Adding the nostalgia of the 177th Australia Day Regatta, sponsored for the tenth year by Commonwealth Private, will be a fleet or ten Historical Skiffs, exact replicas of the iconic Sydney 18-footers that raced early last century. They are named after famous skiffs of that era, such as Scot, Britannia, Australia IV and Yendys.

The 18ft Sailing League’s state-of-the-art 18-footers will also race during the 117th Australia Day Regatta for the Lord Mayor’s Cup.

Modern harbour racing keelboats will be racing in three spinnaker and two non-spinnaker divisions, starting from 1315 hours, while a fleet of ocean racing yachts will compete for the prestigious Sydney of Sydney Cup in race from the Harbour to Botany Bay and return.

Heading the ocean racing fleet will be Bob Steel’s TP52 Quest which placed third in IRC Division 1 of the recent Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race while Cruising Yacht Club of Australia Commodore Howard Piggott has entered his Beneteau 40, Flying Cloud.

Returning to Sydney Harbour the yachts will sail the same waters that Captain Phillip RN did when he headed north with his ships from Botany Bay on 26 January, 1777 to land and establish the colonial settlement in Sydney Cove in Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour) and thus found what today is the Commonwealth of Australia.

“In view of Australia’s early maritime history, our Regatta is of symbolic significance to the celebration of Australia Day,” Charles Curran AC, President of the 177th Australia Day Regatta, said today.

The 177th Regatta will start at 1100 with the short ocean race to Botany Bay and return, while on Sydney Harbour the Regatta racing will start at 1315 from a line to the east of the Flagship, HMAS Newcastle.

Other Australia Day regattas will be staged during the afternoon on Botany Bay, Brisbane Waters, Lake Macquarie, Drummoyne, Greenwich, the Parramatta River, Manly and Pittwater for catamarans, off-the-beach dinghy classes and keelboats while radio controlled yachts will race on Chipping Norton Lakes.

Other Australia Day events on or around Sydney Harbour on Saturday will include the Great Aussie Swim, the famous Ferrython, a floating concert in Farm Cove, the spectacular F/A 18 Hornet fly-over, the Tall Ships Race, a Tiger Moth aerial display and finally, a twilight ceremony in Cockle Bay and the Darling Harbour Australia Day Spectacular.

From Peter Campbell, on behalf of the 177th Australia Day Regatta Management Committee

M: 0419 385 028

E: peter_campbell@bigpond.com

Matt Whitnall wins Prince Philip Cup

11 January 2013

Anthony Armstrong & Peter Campbell

Squadron member Matt Whitnall has helmed Akula to a dominating victory in the prestigious Prince Cup 2013, sailed on Botany Bay last week with a fleet of 26 International Dragons from New South Wales, Western Australia and Tasmania.

 

Matt's consistent performance was to the point he did not need to sail on Friday - which was a good thing as his toddler son had covered the house in honey and Matt spent the day cleaning up ...so much for glory!

 

Matt and his crew of of Rob Bishop and Christian Brook, the Squadron Club Captain, sailed a near faultless series, notching up four wins, a second and a third to finish with a net 17.4 points under the old Olympic scoring sytem.

 

It gave Akula a huge winning margin from runner-up Whimsical, helmed by Gordon Ingate, in itself a remarkable effort by the octergenarian yachtsman, a past Prince Philip Cup, America’s Cup, Admiral’s Cup and Olympic yachtsman. Whimsical, with Gordon’s crew comprising David Giles and Bruce Hollis, won race six of the regatta and finished with 35.0 points.

 

A close third overall, on 35.4 points, was Sidewinder, helmed by another past Olympian, Carl Ryves, along with Dick Sargent, his co-Olympian in the Flying Dutchman class, Kevin Burman and Kate Lindsey.

 

Squadron members and their boats filled six of the top ten placings in the fleet, with with Martin Burke’s Riga, helmed by Ian McCrossin, fourth on 47.7 points, followed by Hoolign (Marcus Blackmore) on 42.7 points and Shapes (Wolf Breit) on 53.1 points. Anthony Armstrong helmed French Connection into ninth place on 83.7 points.

 

The regatta was a huge success with no days lost. In fact, only one race was delayed in either the seven races of the Prince Phillip Cup or the Archie Robertson Memorial lead up three races. The interstate view was that Botany Bay is among Australia's leading race courses with true breezes, no power boat orfFerry traffic and the ability to run long windward legs of around 2nm

 

Thursday saw one race in nor’wester in 14 knots. Again some strong shifts made it interesting and saw Gordon Ingate win from Marcus Blackmore who improved consistently throughout the regatta as he builds momentum for a European Campaign starting in Cascai next month.

 

Friday’s race started in around 7 knots at 11am and slowly build to mid teens shifting left all day, with Matt Whitnall out of the race cleaning up honey, Wolf Breit won after a hard fought battle with Ian McCrossin on Riga.

 

Winner of the Charles E Davies Memorial Trophy for the winner of race one of the Ted Albert Memorial Race Series was Wolf Breit in Shapes. The overall winner of three race series was Akula which also added the Jack Linacre Memorial Trophy to its collection as winner of the first race of the Prince Philip Cup Australian Championship.

 

The Botany Bay Yacht Club, a entirely volunteer club, worked well with the PRO Rob Lowndes with APRO Daryl McManus adding local colour to Rob's superb race management.

 

BBYC members made the 66 Dragon sailors who invaded their club most welcome. The Dragon Association thanked them by presenting a model of a Dragon to Commidore Brian Christenson and his club.

 

The Sydney International Dragon fleet is now one if the youngest in Australia, with new owners and a highly active program which includes the National Dragon Circuit, made up of all the States.

 

Attendance and success in these Super States is now recognised by a National Ranking List ( part of the global Dragon ranking list). Gordon Ingate presented the Wingnut Trophy to the first winner of the Australian Ranking List for 2012, Sandy Anderson fron West Australia.

 

Sandy, skipper of Linnea, races successfully on the Super Circuit as well as having a active international program. She placed seventh overall in the 2013 Prince Philip Cup.

 

From Peter Campbell – 0419 385 028

Dragon breath hot air on Botany Bay - Prince Philip Cup Day 2

9 January 2013

Peter Campbell

As Sydney sweltered in one of its hottest days ever, reaching 42.5 degrees, 21 crews of International Dragon class yachts yesterday enjoyed some respite afloat on Botany Bay for day two of the Prince Philip Cup Australasian Championship for the classic one-design class.

 

Despite the heat, races four and five were successfully sailed with matching hot competition.

 

After five races, Akula (Matt Whitnall) has had four wins to lead the championship on 0 points after one discard, but he has had to sail exceptionally well to hold that position in a highly competitive fleet of Dragons from New South Wales, Tasmania and Western Australia.

Sidewinder (Carl Ryves) is second overall while third overall is octogenarian international yachtsman Gordon Ingate, helming Whimsical.

 

Race four was sailed in a 12 to 15 knot nor’wester with the fleet geting a clean start and by the first mark Matt whitnall in Akula had established a small lead from Anthony Armstrong in FrenchConnection and Gordon Ingate in Whimsical.

 

After some jostling in the downwind leg, Whimsical established a small lead on FrenchConnection that was held till the end, but neither boat could catch Akula. As the three yachts pulled away from the fleet, the wind steadily built.

 

Race five stated immediately after race four with winds now well over 20 knots, with solid 25+ knot gusts.

 

This race saw Matt whitnall again take an early lead, but he was challenged by Carl Ryves in Sidewinder and former Fying Dutchman world champion Ian McCrossin, steering Riga for owner Martin Bourke.

 

Also challenging was Gordon Ingate in Whimsical and Marcus Blackmore in Hooligan.

 

The final result saw a very close win by Akula , followed by Sidewinder and Riga, with less than a minute separating all three boats.

 

Today is a lay and after five races and allowing for one drop, Akula is in first place on 0 points followed by Sidewinder on 17.4 points, Whimsical on 27 points and Riga on 31.7 (the Prince Philip Cup is still scored using the old Olympic system).

This year’s Prince Philip Cup includes a number of wellknown yachting personalities in addition to the veteran Gordon Ingate, whose long career has included representing Australia at the Admira’s Cup, America’s Cup and Olympic Games.

 

Marcus Blackmore is a successive TP 52 owner who has recently joined the Dragon Fleet. Sailing with Marcus is current world champion crew and CEO of Dragon boat builder Petticrow, Tim Tavinor, a former English Olympian in the Finn class.

 

Sailing with Gordon Ingate is Australian Olympian David Giles while sailing with Geoff Totterill from WA is Australia II legend John Longley.

 

Of course, Sidewinder’s regular crew, Dick Sargeant, is an Olympic gold medal winner in 5.5's and two-time America’s Cup crew. Carl Ryves and Dick Sargeant also represented Australia at the Mexico City Olympics, sailing a Flying Dutchman also named Sidewinder.

 

Peter Campbell – 0419 385 028

One point separates top three boats in Prince Philip Cup

8 January 2013

Peter Campbell

Just one point separates the three leading boats after day one on Botany Bay of the International Dragon Australasian championship for the prestigious Prince Philip Cup.

 

Matt Whitnall, sailing Akula scored two wins and a sixth place to be on 8 points while equal second on 9 points are Dragon class veteran and former Olympic yachtsman Carl Ryves’ Sidewinder and Riga, helmed by Ian McCrossin.

 

Sidewinder did not win a race, but showed consistency with a scorecard of 3-2-2 while Riga, had a 1-5-3 score.

Wolf Breit’s Shapes is fourth overall on 15 points from score of 8-3-4, followed by the sole Tasmanian yacht in the fleet, Michael Wilkinson’s Xanthos on 16 poiints (2-8-6).

Yesterday’s first race was sailed in a 10-12 knot nor’easterly seabreeze which cycled constantly and made the race challenging over the three lap course with a 1.2nm windward leg and a downwind finish.

 

“The start was aggressive with three boats over at the gun,” said Anthony Armstrong, Sydney fleet secretary and helmsman of FrenchConnection. “Only Marcus Blackmore’s Hooligan returned, but Gordon Ingate (Whimsical) was OCS, as was Richard Franklin in Liquidity.”

 

Riga, won a closely fought race with the Tasmanian Dragon, Xanthos, with just seconds to Sidewinder and the West Australian boat Linnea, helmed by Sandy Anderson.

 

For race two, the breeze moved more to the north, increasing to 13-16 knots. The PRO brought out the black flag after a general recall and the fleet got away to a clean start.

 

Sydney fleet rivals Sidewinder and Akula duelled to the finish line with Akula winning from Sidewinder, third place going to Shapes followed by Whimsical, Riga and and Xanthos.

 

The two top placings in race three were the same with Akula first and Sidewinder, with first race winner Riga crossing the line in third place, followed by Shapes, Linnea and Xanthos.

A fleet of 21 Dragons is contesting the Prince Philip Cup with boats from New South Wales, Tasmania and Western Australia competing with racing scheduled again for today, Tuesday, 8 January 2013

 

Peter Campbell

M: 0419 385 028

E: peter_campbell@bigpond.com

Farr 40 Tasmanian Championship decided on countback

7 January 2013

Peter Campbell

If the Tasmanian Farr 40 championship at the weekend is any criteria, Sydney Harbour is set for some spectacular and close one-design keelboat racing when the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron hosts the New South Wales and Australian Farr 40 championship in February.

 

Both championships will be sailed on the Harbour to wind up the eastern seaboard circuit of championship regatta and is expected to draw Farr 40s from Queensland and Tasmania to again race against the Sydney fleet.

 

As RSYS member and Australian 40 Owners Association president Guido Belgiorno-Nettis said, there could not have been a better finish to the inaugural Farr 40 Tasmanian Championship on Hobart’s River Derwent on Sunday.

 

Sailing Transfusion, the former Farr 40 world champion from Sydney surfed to victory before an 18 knot seabreeze in the final race, with series leader Voodoo Chile, helmed by Hobart yachtsman Lloyd Clark, third across the line.

 

Transfusion’s win levelled the pointscore and it also gave the Sydney yacht the vital total of three wins to two by the Hobart boat.

 

However, he was speaking in broader terms of the success of the Tasmanian championship which is part of the Eastern Seaboard Circuit of championship events for the elite Farr 40 class sponsored by Aberdeen Global Asset Management, which also sponsors the famous Cowes Week in England.

 

Ironically, a second place in the last race by Tilford Auto Group, chartered for the regatta by Andrew Hunn, co-owner of Voodoo Chile, cost Lloyd Clark the Tasmanian championship win. A second place, rather than a third, would have given the title to Clark and Voodoo Chile. Visit this website to find out more information on private charters.

 

“Finishing second to a world champion on a countback and winning the Corinthian trophy was a great reward…we pushed the Transfusion team all the way in what has been a fantastic regatta,” Clark said after the race.

 

Winning skipper Guido Belgiorgno-Nettis described the inaugural Tasmanian championship as a wonderful event for the Farr 40 class. “We had great sailing on the Derwent, the regatta was brilliantly managed by Bellerive Yacht Club and we encountered plenty of competition from the local fleet,” he added. “Lloyd took us right down to the wire.”

 

Belgiorgno-Nettis praised his new tactician, West Australian Tom Burton, the world’s No1 ranked Laser sailor who on Friday won the Australian championship, also sailed in Hobart. “In his first role as a tactician on a keelboat, he did a wonderful job, showing great maturity in calling the shots,” the skipper added.

 

Third place overall went to another of the three yachts that came down from Sydney for the Tasmanian championship, Estate Master, skippered by Martin Hill with a family crew that included his wife Lisa, daughter Sarah and son-in-law Michael Blackburn, the Sydney 2000 Olympic bronze medallist in the Laser class.

Three races were sailed on the final day, with Transfusion and Voodoo Chile each winning one race on a smokey River Derwent in which the wind steadily increased for less than 5 knots to a brisk 18-knot southerly.

 

Third place overall went to Martin and Lisa Hill’s Estate which along with Transfusion and RSYS memberSam Hill’s Forty came down from Sydney to contest the Tasmanian championship, competing against Hobart’s fleet of five Farr 40s.

 

Going into the second and final day racing, Hobart yacht Voodoo Chile, from the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, on 6 points, held a two point lead over the former world champion, Transfusion, and another Sydney boat, Forty, both on 9 points.

 

But things changed once the racing got under way in less than 5 knots of south-westerly breeze on a course south of Kangaroo Bluff on the Derwent eastern shore.

 

Estate Master won the shortened race from Forty and Transfusion with Voodoo Chile. After four races, only two points separated the first four boats on the leader board: Voodoo Chile 10 points, Transfusion 11 points each and Estate Master on 12 points.After a delayed second race, waiting for the 12 knot seabreeze to come up the river, the state of play changed once more. Voodoo Chile won the race by just 13 seconds from Transfusion, with Hobart yacht Wired (Stephen Boyes) finally getting among the top third with a third.Transfusion recovered well after a spinnaker clip let go with the kite halfway up. “Our bowman Mitch White quickly clipped the head to the second halyard but as this doesn’t hoist beyond three-quarters it kept the boat going down wind, “ Belgiorno-Nettis explained.

 

“Mitch then went up the mast to retrieve the masthead spinnaker halyard and got back to finish a close second.”

 

Going into the final race, with breeze freshening to a 15 knot sea breeze, Voodoo Chile had 11 points on the board, Transfusion 13 points, Estate Master 17 and Forty 18 points.

 

It was then that Andrew Hunn and his crew got into the action with the chartered Tilford Auto Group, leading around the windward mark and holding first place until Transfusion outpaced them on the final spinnaker run to the finish, the winning margin just 21 seconds as the fleet surfed downwind in an 18 knot southerly.

 

Lloyd Clark, at the helm of Voodoo Chile, could not overtake Andrew Hunn, steering Tilford Auto Group, and thus the inaugural Tasmanian championship for the Farr 40 class went to Transfusion. A worthy winner and an equally worthy runner-up after two days of magnificent competition on the River Derwent.