David Dunn, skipper of Great White Hunter 1483 writes, “It was a brilliant, sunny Sydney spring day that greeted the Sydney Etchells fleet last Saturday for the first race of the Club Championship. A solid N/NE of 14 knots built to 19/20 knots by late afternoon and an in-coming tide made for a classic race day. Our Race Officer Rob Ridley, got the fleet away cleanly for the first beat off Clark Island up to the Western Channel mark.
The ‘fight’ to Bradleys Head, especially with an incoming tide, is a feature of all Etchells races in a NE breeze, and this one was no exception! The determination of the fleet to avoid the tide as well as take advantage of a northerly shift in the breeze ensured some close tacking, as the fleet worked its way up the Western shore. Great White Hunter led the fleet, closely followed by Michael Morris on Northern Havoc 1119, (with current Etchells World Champion Richie Allanson on board) Peter Gardiner on Vincero 1343. Newcomer Matt Stenta in Great White 1401 is one of the three new Youth / Intermediate crews and he demonstrated some excellent and close yachting. It was also wonderful to have our past Commodore Richard Chapman at the helm of Synergy 1272 as well as current Vice Commodore Christian Brook on Umami, battling it out in tight racing, typical of the Etchells fleet.
Some challenging and exciting runs were had by all, especially as the breeze freshened to 19-20 knots. The fleet charged down under full spinnakers from the Western Channel mark to the Darling Point mark with numerous gybes to maximize tide effect and the pressure lines running down the Western shore. The final work up into Watsons Bay to the finish was keenly fought. There were many ‘races within a race’ for our competitors, as they jockeyed for final positions. Racing concluded with Great White Hunter taking the honours from Northern Havoc, and Vincero coming third.
The day finished with many weary crews, reliving the day’s action in the Squadron bar, as is typical of the fleet camaraderie and bonhomie. It was a wonderful day’s racing with Sydney Harbour at its best!”
Photos by John Jeremy