Picture perfect sailing for Audi Winter Series Race 7
Photo: As Dennis Cooper said they had kite problems on Amante. Photo by David Brogan, www.sailpix.com.au
A brisk westerly that produced close racing on a picture perfect sunny day set the tone for the record 134 starters in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Audi Winter Series Race 7 on Sydney Harbour.
Competitors have been spoiled for choice as far as conditions have gone in the 10-race series so far, with a blend of light winds on warm balmy days and moderate breezes and stronger winds; one of the best series in memory for a few years.
From the CYCA’s finish boat, Principal Race Officer, Denis Thompson reported, “We had them all finished before 2.30pm – so that’s an early mark for everybody.
“Competitors sailed in what was mainly a westerly all day; although at times it flicked to the west/south-west. It was around 12 knots at the start (off Point Piper) and pumped up to 20-22 knots, but averaged around 12-15 knots,” he said.
As Thompson quite rightly pointed out, “It was pretty exciting racing – not just because it was close – but because after all the rain, it was good to get on the Harbour under a sunny sky.”
Despite all the drama aboard his Sydney 36CR, Dennis Cooper made the best of the conditions to score victory in Division D. “I had a pretty inexperienced crew aboard, so our two kite drops at Bradley’s Head didn’t go too well – it was a bit of consternation,” he said of the crew work on Amante.
“We managed to keep Razors Edge (Ray Stone’s Sydney 32) on the edge all day and right to the finish line. Ray’s been around a long time and he’s a good sailor, but our boat likes a bit of breeze, even though it was a bit up and down today.
“With three more weeks to go, we’re hoping for three Sundays of 18 knots – that would be brilliant. I’m doing the Gold Coast race, so I guess I’ll have to lift my game even more – but I’ll have more regular crew for that one,” he said of the Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race which starts on July 28.
Division F winner, Greg Maughan, was more thrilled about the handicapping than the actual result. “The handicapper’s done a great job – three of us finished within seconds of each other and a fourth wasn’t too far away,” he said of his two second win over Neville and Jo Blair’s Sports Bar and Robert Hunt’s Attitude, which was a further 22 seconds behind.
“Of the three boats, we are off first, so they have to catch us, but in today’s winds they couldn’t catch the old timber sloop,” he said of his Swanson Custom designed Syonara, which he describes as: “The prettiest boat in the fleet.”
Maughan added: “It was a fabulous sail today - a sparkling, sunny, winter day - I hope we get more of them.”
Amazingly, across the 11 divisions, only three boats leading their respective pointscores going into Race 7 finished in the top three today, which has had the roll-on effect of making the series’ more challenging with just three pointscore races remaining.
Rod Gibbs’ Shere Khan was second in Division E today, which moves it up from second overall and into the lead, while Chris Antico’s Division G third with Selkie, was enough to move it from second overall into the lead.
Sally Warneford and Larry Jamieson won the Sydney 38 Division with Thirlmere to overtake Richard Holstein’s Next to lead that pointscore. They had a double celebration when they also won the Audi Drive Weekend, so will experience the luxury of an Audi of their choosing for a weekend.
With racing coming to a close early this afternoon, most crews enjoyed a late lunch back at the CYCA, some staying aboard their boats, relaxing in the warm sunshine.
The Audi Winter Series continues next Sunday from 11.25am. Once next week’s Race 8 is completed, a second drop will come into play, which will no doubt change the landscape in some classes where the points are extremely close.
Other winners today were: Southern Excellence (Andrew Wenham) Division A1; Never A Dull Moment (Colin and Denise Wilson) Division A2; Honeysuckle (Ray Harris) Division B; Wave Sweeper (Morgan Rogers) Division C; Orbit (Matthew Brown) Division E; Itchy (Jamie Watson) Division G; Sea Rug Hoo Ha (Peter Howes) Division H; Baltic Lady (Niel Burling) Division J; Gusto (Phillip Dennison) Division K and Thirlmere (Sally Warneford/Larry Jamieson) Sydney 38.
By Di Pearson,
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