Australian sailors have won four gold and a silver medal on the final day of the 2012 Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta, the last event in Weymouth ahead of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The final day haul included gold medals for Laser sailor Tom Slingsby, 470 pair Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page, 49er crew Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen, and Women’s Match Racers Olivia Price, Nina Curtis and Lucinda Whitty with Tom Burton winning silver in the Laser.
The Laser class was first up on Saturday with Australia’s five-time World Champion, Tom Slingsby, five points clear of second place heading into the medal race.
Fellow Australian Tom Burton went into the double-points race fourth overall, just eight points behind second.
In a tight final Slingsby took the race win and the gold medal, his fifth straight regatta victory at the London 2012 venue. Burton crossed the line in third to jump from fourth to second overall, claiming the silver medal on a count back.
“At the end of the day winning all of the lead up regattas to the Games doesn’t mean anything, it’s good for the confidence but I’d give up all five wins here for one good race at the Olympics,” Slingsby said.
“I’ve still got a lot to improve on between now and the Games but luckily I’ve got the best training partner going around with Tom Burton.”
Burton was at the front of the fleet all week with seven top 10 finishes from the nine races, but a tough first day of the finals series meant he had plenty of work to do in the medal race.
“The Laser fleet is incredibly close, you can see it in the fact that both the silver and bronze medallists here aren’t going to the Games,” Burton said.
The next Australians in action in a medal race were 470 men’s pair Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page who were out to win their first regatta in Weymouth. The pair, who have won the last three 470 World Championships, have finished second on three occasions in Weymouth but are in stellar form at the moment, winning their last seven regattas straight.
Belcher and Page sailed consistently well all week, finishing in the top four in all nine races to eventually take the win by five points.
“Going into this week we weren’t too worried about our Weymouth record,” said Page. “The last nine months have been phenomenal for us, our competition didn’t care that we hadn’t won here and to win this event wasn’t the main focus, it was all about learning the conditions and honing our racing skills, making Weymouth our home.”
Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen made it five wins from five 49er regattas in Weymouth, though it was an incredibly tight medal race.
The Australians, who last month won their third World Championship together, went into the final race with an eight point lead over the French crew of Emmanuel Dyen and Stephane Christidis.
Outteridge and Jensen found themselves deep in the fleet at the top mark with the pair sailing exceptionally well to work their way back through the fleet. Eventually the pair fought their way back to fourth, holding off fifth by the smallest of margins, doing enough to win the gold, just two points ahead of the French.
“It’s great to get a fifth win here, especially so close to the Games,” Outteridge said. “We came here to work through a number of things, one of those being to go undefeated here in Weymouth, now we just need to make sure that doesn’t change at the Games.”
While their fellow Australians were competing in one medal race each, Women’s Match Racers Olivia Price, Nina Curtis and Lucinda Whitty were in the midst of a full day of racing.
Price, Curtis and Whitty first took on Great Britain’s Lucy Macgregor in the quarter finals, progressing to the semis following a two-one victory. They came up against Russia’s Ekaterina Skudina next, with Price and crew getting past the Russians in two races, booking themselves a spot in the final against France’s Claire Leroy.
The Australians started with a win before the French bounced back, forcing a third and deciding race. Price, Curtis and Whitty came out on top, winning their first ISAF Sailing World Cup round together.
“It turned out to be a long day but totally worth it,” said Price. “At the moment I can’t even begin to describe the feeling. It’s always good to come away with a win but to do it at the Olympic venue, we couldn’t ask for any more than that,” said Price.
Australian Women’s Keelboat Regatta
Nothing could be more of an emphatic closure than the efforts of the crew on board the Archambault A31, Penfold Audi Sport at the 2012 Australian Women’s Keelboat Regatta (AWKR) on Melbourne’s Port Phillip and hosted by the Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron (RMYS) in St Kilda.
Mostly, they sail against each other down on the Derwent River in Hobart on some of the top boats there. They came together as great friends for this all women event and, by far, 2012 has been their best ever performance. Colleen Darcey (skipper), Lauren Davison and Caroline Walker represent the Bellerive Yacht Club. Sally Rattle (Archie, A35), Michelle Edwards and Heather McCallum the Derwent Sailing Squadron, with Sarah Baldwin from the Geilston Bay Yacht Club.
“I am happy now! Never been so stressed in my life,” Caroline Walker said of the crew’s wins in each of IRC, Australian Measurement (AMS) and Performance Handicap System (PHS). “Not a good start for this last race, but we pegged the leaders back enough, so we’ll take that. Crew did an awesome job in the light and variable winds.”
Second in each of IRC, AMS and PHS divisions was Top Gun, skippered by Erin Foster and crewed by Megan Aulich on the bow, Cass Steers at the mast, Steph Robson in the office, Freya Vickery on for’ard sail trim, Stephanie Strong on main and Claire Hunting as tactician.
“I am so very proud of them – brilliant job,” said a jubilant Erin.
Janet Dean and the crew of Jungle Juice collected a pair of thirds in IRC and AMS. Janet said she was simply delighted to have such a strong and competitive Interstate contingent here for 2012, which really helps to make a truly Australian Women’s Keelboat Regatta.
“We had a ball. It was great fun, but we were just not quick enough. You know, the other crews have done so well and my girls were just great!”
Crewing on Jungle Juice with Janet were Christine Pfeifer on the bow, Janina Goethel at the mast, Ginnie Lhermet in the office, Georgie Labb trimming, Monica Tonner as tactician and also on trim, Celia Dymond on the main.
McKenzie Charlton from Duckmobile who were third in PHS, thanked David Seaman, Rear Commodore at the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria, for the use of his boat.
“Good to get on the podium on the last day with a terrific, fun crew and we certainly had a blast. We have improved every race of every day and hence the result, which is really cool.
Probably be a scramble to get the silverware, but I think our skipper, Kathy MacFarlane, will get the nod.”
Rod Austin, General Manager of the RMYS, was happy they had a complete series finishing with everyone having a really huge time.
“We had great crew of volunteers and without them and our sponsors, Helly Hansen and Nautilus Marine Insurance, it just would not happen. Similarly, without Janina Goethel and her committee, the AWKR would not even get afloat,” he said.
The VJ turns 80
The 2011-2012 sailing season has seen one of the great icons of Australian small boat sailing, the Vaucluse Junior (or Vee Jay) turn 80 years old.
To celebrate this milestone the VJ Amateur Sailing Association are holding an 80th Birthday Reunion Evening on Saturday 25th August 2012 at Teralba Amateur Sailing Club (at northern Lake Macquarie NSW).
The 11ft 6ins VJ was developed at Vaucluse in Sydney during the Great Depression by sports store owner and sailing enthusiast Sil Rohu as an easy to build at home boat specifically aimed at teaching children and teenagers to sail and to race. This occurred at a time when there were no boats built for teaching youngsters to sail, and the plans were drawn up in seven days by fellow Vaucluse 12 ft Sailing Club member Charles Sparrow.
The idea quickly caught on. The VJ was fast, exciting to sail, unsinkable and importantly could be righted easily after a capsize, something which was not uncommon in the open skiff classes of the day which the teenage boys would often graduate to after learning their skills on the VJ.
Within a few years the VJ became popular across Australia and from the 1940s to the 1980s it seemed that wherever there was water in Australia there were VJs sailing.
“The VJ changed the sailing scene in Australia. It was the first ‘unsinkable’ and inexpensive sailing skiff and taught generations of sailors their trade,” said marine historian Graeme Andrews.
Many well-known sailors learnt their skills on a VJ, including Ben Lexcen, Kay Cottee, Ian Kiernan, 18ft skiff sailors Bob Holmes and Chris Nicholson. Even Johnny O’Keefe and his brother Barry O’Keefe (the former judge and ICAC commissioner) were keen VJ sailors at the Vaucluse club in their younger days.
John Bertrand who skippered Australia II to its historic America’s Cup victory in 1983 was the 1963-64 Australian Junior VJ champion aboard his boat Triad.
Contact George Probert (02) 49 581321 or Greg Fryer on 0401 307 367. For Teralba club location map and other details of the reunion see the VJ website http://vauclusejunior.wordpress.com/news/
The threat of inclement weather loomed large over Shorncliffe on the weekend 9-10 June. For most well found yachts, 20-plus knots is not a problem, but for some smaller vessels it can be, none more so than for Fiona, a 12sqm heavyweight Sharpie built in 1956 for the Melbourne Olympics.
In the Jeay’s family since 1957, Fiona had been readied to race by patriarch and sheethand Albert (92), with original crew, cousins Andrew (82) skipper, and Laurie (76) forward hand. With a total of 250 years between them, around 10 knots would have been ideal.
Division 3 (Modern Classics) yachts got away well with Hank Kaufman’s powerful self-designed sloop Seraya leading the fleet from schooner Marriah, Peter Holm, Manitou Nick Martin and the Duncanson 35 Inisheer, David Farmer.
A halyard problem held up Peter Kerr’s Tasman Seabird Pagan among the Div 1 yachts, allowing the Bluey Williams sloop Tequila, skippered by the Walker brothers, to take the lead. Jonno had flown in the day before to join brother Josh on the yacht, given into their care by grandfather and noted local 18ft skiff and offshore sailor Kevvie Martin.
Further back, the two Dragons were dicing as Ivan Holm came to grips with his new acquisition Westerly, but trailed Chris Roberts in Fairwyn. Gary Bradshaw’s Randel ketch Fourwinds was the best performed gaff-rigged yacht.
Div 2 was a battle between the Graham Elliott’s Flying 15 Seamist, the classic double-ender Tom Thumb (Paul Aroney), and Bruce Wales’ Hartley 16, Plan B. Meanwhile, the old salts in Fiona went for a swim near the wing mark and after righting the old girl and finding the gaff halyard broken, headed home for a hot shower.
Sunday’s weather was similar to the previous day and in Race 3, Pagan took advantage of a good start in to hold the lead all the way to cross the finish line just rwo seconds ahead of Tequila. John Richardson’s Finisterre yawl Balamara, revelled in the conditions coming in third, while Fairwyn beat Westerly home by less than a second. Carmen Mira’s Folkboat Tern, put in a good performance for second behind Plan B in Div 2.
The trophy presentation was well attended. Peter Kerr won the Deagon Slipways trophy, one that he had donated, while Pagan took out the Regatta’s overall Div 1 Line honours victory. In Div 2, the Australiawide Boat Sales trophy went to Plan B.
When it came to handicap honours, Dinah Hall was very chuffed when her little gaffer Pingu won the Williams Trophy in Div 2, ahead of Tahua, Rick Humphries and Carouse, Michael Franklin.
Tequila’s success in the Ted Rice Shield for Div 1 handicap honours was not unexpected. Josh Walker’s first call after the win was to grandfather Kevvie who had been watching their every move all weekend from his waterfront veranda. The third Holm brother, Tony steered his Clansman Merrymac to second with Pagan third.
Retired local shipwright Brian Hutchison was again called on to judge the best presented awards. Seraya won the Albert Jeays Shield for Best Presented Overall Yacht. Other awards went to Balamara, the Marco Polo Shield (vintage yachts), Fourwinds the National Trust Shield (gaffers) and Westerly the Wasson Shield (small yachts).
Allan Jones donates Couta Boat to Blairgowrie Sailability
About two years ago 85-year-old boatbuilder, mariner and engineer Allan Jones decided to build a Couta boat, so with a set of plans acquired from Tim Phillips and help from a neighbour they built the keel and set up the frames of a classic 26ft Queenscliff Couta boat.
His neighbour had to retire from the project and Allan then single-handedly finished the boat which he has decided to donate to Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron Sailability.
Allan was born and raised in Bowen in Queensland where he messed about in boats from an early age, building small boats and racing in 18ft skiffs. He describes seeing traditional luggers being built in Bowen where he would take note of all the techniques used.
He signed up for the RAAF when he left school and was undergoing training to become a fighter pilot when the war ended. After he was demobbed he completed his year 12 and then went on to the University of Queensland where he obtained a degree in civil engineering.
His main work was with Rocla and he was involved in pipeline construction in almost every corner of the world. There was always the need for innovative and practical engineering solutions and this is where he excelled.
When he moved to Mt Eliza he sailed from Mornington yacht club with Alf Neate and they competed in all the major Australian offshore races in including Sydney-Hobart, West Coaster and Melbourne-Devonport.
Eleven years ago he lost his sight due to macular degeneration. Margaret, his wife of 58 years died about five years ago. He has overcome cancer as well. With all these setbacks in life many people would quietly give up, but Allan has not, and he is one of the most inspiring people you could ever meet.
He uses his own saw bench to cut the planks and has mainly used traditional boatbuilding techniques with the odd addition of modern technology.
Nothing is too difficult. On his own without assistance, he installed the 30hp Yanmar diesel engine and also the 200kg steel centreplate after working out innovative engineering techniques to move these very heavy objects.
Allan and Bill Robinson drove over to Goolwa in S.A. for the wooden boat festival and he was able to lay hands on the great craft on display and gained a lot from the experience
Extremely fit and strong, Allan attends the Mt Eliza gym and occasionally gets in the front seat of Bill’s double sea kayak and they paddle from Canadian Bay to Mornington Harbour where all the moored Couta boats are felt in detail before returning.
“I have found it to be a wonderful experience to work with Allan as I am able to assist him in travelling around to collect materials and I am building the mast, spars and rudder from both new material and from some parts we have salvaged,” Bill said.
“I am constantly learning from him and it is a great honour to be involved with a person who I consider to be one of the great wise elders of the boatbuilding world.”
Sydney’s 2012 Classic & Wooden Boat Festival
Boat owners are being encouraged to showcase their vessel in front of hundreds at the Australian National Maritime Museum’s 2012 Classic & Wooden Boat Festival on the weekend of 13 and 14 October.
This year’s festival will be more intimate, allowing visitors to explore a selection of heritage vessels in more detail. This is a chance to network with other classic boat owners including representatives of the NSW Wooden Boat Association and the Halvorsen Club.
Visitors to the festival will see a diverse range of privately-owned heritage vessels, from graceful yachts and streamlined speedboats to tugs and workboats and tall ships James Craig and HMB Endeavour.
Hailed as one of the most accurate historical ship replicas in the world, Endeavour has recently returned from its 13 month circumnavigation of Australia.
When berthed at her home on Darling Harbour, Endeavour is presented as a floating museum, with all the evidence of an 18th century crew going about their tasks. There’s a half-eaten meal in the mess deck, Joseph Banks’ journal lies open on his bureau and botanical samples are visible in baskets in the Great Cabin ready for analysis.
There’ll be a range of activities including children’s crafts, talks and demonstrations.
For more information on the festival or to register your vessel contact the Festival Coordinator on (02) 9298 3777 or email email@example.com
Lots of life left for two-strokes
Australian boat owners shouldn’t hesitate to buy a 2-stroke engine if it suits their needs, according to the Outboard Engine Distributors Association (OEDA).
“It’s time to clear up some confusion which is circulating in the boating community at the moment,” said OEDA’s Executive Officer, Lindsay Grenfell.
“Some people believe, and others have been lead to believe, there’s no point buying a 2-stroke outboard because they’re about to be outlawed by the Federal Government. That is simply wrong.”
OEDA – which represents companies that produce conventional 2-stroke, 2 -stroke Direct Injection and 4-stroke engines – has been closely following and assisting Canberra’s current deliberations on ways to reduce emissions from marine engines.
“The latest we have from the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities is that any decision is effectively a number of years away,” Lindsay said.
The Department is still considering which of three options is the best way to proceed. If the Department decides to take action, then new legislation and supporting regulation will have to be drawn up and approved – a lengthy process in itself.
Then, depending on the decision, all state and territory jurisdictions would need time to implement those regulations.
“Even then, the new rules will be focused on the sale of new engines. No-one is suggesting people will go around confiscating existing 2-strokes,” Lindsay said.
OEDA strongly supports the move to low emission technology and its members (Mercury, Yamaha and Tohatsu) have introduced more than 64 new generation 3-Star Ultra Low emission engines into the Australian market over the last few years.
“There are still some applications which require the traditional 2-stroke outboard,” Lindsay said. “And it’s these people who shouldn’t be confused or bamboozled into thinking they shouldn’t get the best engine for the job.”
Sea Scoopa receives a NATO stock number
As a result of recent testing, Sea Scoopa and the SeaScoopa stretcher have been allocated NATO Stock Numbers by the Royal Australian Navy.
The Sea Scoopa is a compact man-overboard recovery system which has been designed for the saving of lives at sea whilst minimising harm to both the rescuer and the victim.
This multi-purpose rescue system reduces the risk of rescuer back injury and also reduces the threat of the person overboard limb entrapment in large apertures that can increase the possibility of drowning.
Importantly, the design also incorporates a stretcher to facilitate the movement of the victim on board the vessel and subsequent transfer.
The Sea Scoopa is manufactured by SOS Marine, Australia and designed by an Intensive Care Medicine Specialist, Professor Bob Wright who has over 40 years of ocean experience.
Messenger on the move
Chris Messenger Rigging has moved to Port Macquarie to service the mid-North Coast area. Chris will continue to service the Sydney Harbour area for major rigging requirements.
You can contact him on 0414 895 262; email firstname.lastname@example.org; www.chrismessenger.com
Sunset and evening star
From apprentice boy to chairman
Captain John Evans
a great fighter for Australian shipping.
Australia has lost one of its most distinguished Master Mariners with the death of Captain John Evans AM at the age of 84.
Bruce Stannard pays tribute.
As evidence of the extraordinary impact John Evans had on the lives of so many in the maritime sphere, more than 200 close friends and shipmates attended a splendid sailor’s farewell for him on 15 June at Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron where he was a senior member.
Looking around the crowded Careening Cove Room, I was deeply impressed not only by the number, but the variety of those who came to pay their respects.
There were craggy, weather-worn men from the Seamen’s Union as well as a Who’s Who from the Big End of town, corporate chief executives and senior figures in Australian industry and business.
John Evans had touched all their lives with his quiet good humour, his high intelligence, his honesty and sincerity and his abiding love for ships and the sea. At one end of the room stood a neatly knotted rope anchor in a frame – the work of the veteran seaman and World War Two commando Bill Langlois.
It was inscribed: “To Captain John Evans, a great fighter for Australian shipping.”
John Graham Evans was just 14-years-old when he left Melbourne High and joined the Norwegian Wilh. Wilhelmsen Line’s freighter Temeraire as a junior seaman. In August 1944 he joined the Seirstad. He spent the next 15 years at sea on a wide variety of ships, rising steadily through the ranks on the back of his own outstanding ability.
He saw distinguished service in the Atlantic, the Pacific and the Indian Oceans as well as in the Caribbean and the Persian Gulf.
In 1946 he was aboard the American freighter Charles W. Pasley, a concrete vessel deeply laden with bombs and high explosives en route from the Philippines to Japan. Off Okinawa, the Pasley was struck by the full force of a typhoon that tore off her rudder and threatened to sink her.
In one of his rare written references to his harrowing wartime experiences he told how the ship was “rolling and shipping huge seas”.
“As I was being swept overboard,” he wrote, “a young American rating held onto me and I survived.”
In 1959 Captain Evans came ashore as Marine Superintendent for Howard Smith, which was then one of Australia’s biggest shipping lines. He continued his rise up the corporate ladder, serving as General Manager, then Managing Director from 1976, a position he occupied with distinction until his retirement in 1989.
I came to know John Evans well when we served together on the Council (the governing body) of the Australian National Maritime Museum.
I still cherish vivid recollections of his crucial backing for my proposal to build the Endeavour Replica. While most of the Councillors saw the concept as little more than a pipedream, John Evans embraced it and stiffened my resolve with his unflagging support.
Ten years later, when Endeavour was preparing to sail on her maiden voyage from Albany 1,000 miles across the Great Australian Bight toward Adelaide, it was Captain Evans who insisted that he and I should both be shipmates on that historic passage.
The captain turned down an offer of a berth in the Great Cabin and instead elected to swing his hammock in the Orlop deck like any of the ordinary seamen. With a 30 knot westerly at our backs we huddled together beneath the break of the poop and watched the great cloud of sail aloft with the ship reeling off the miles in glorious fashion.
“We won’t see the likes of this again,” he said. The same might be said of the man himself.