Main photo: The downpour drenched all. Photo by Andrea Francolini / SHR

Middle Harbour Yacht Club’s (MHYC) Sydney Harbour Regatta (SHR) concluded with winners decided after competitors dealt with big gusty winds, heavy downpours interspersed with a teasing watery sun for a short spell, before the clouds closed over and visibility became limited. 

All courses were sailed on Sydney Harbour today, including the Open IRC and Super 50 fleets. The two divisions started and finished their three races at Watsons Bay. All bar the Super 40s were away on time in a 15-knot breeze, gusting to 18 knots, substantially more than the forecast 10 knots.

The Super 40 start was delayed when Adrian Walters’ Little Nico broached and lost two crew members overboard. This is an experienced owner and crew, so both were crew retrieved quickly and are fine. From there, Walters decided to abandon racing for the day. 

The view from Very Tasty. Photo by Peter Lowndes

IRC Open

Nine Dragons (Bob Cox) led Keiran Mulcahy’s Soozal by one point, with Mark Hellyer’s Cicero is a further four points behind in third place when they headed to the race course today for two more races. Cox’s win and a second means he is the clear winner by seven points from Cicero. Soozal placed third, a further point behind. It was a delayed gift, as Cox had a birthday on 3 March.

“I’m very happy with our result,” Cox said. “It was a shame a couple of boats from RPAYC couldn’t make it, especially Bushranger, it’s so competitive. It was still very close competition, especially with us and Khaleesi at the bigger end and Soozal at the smaller end. Soozal never gives up.

“It was very shifty today. The windward/leeward races were good to get our crew work sorted out. It’s been good practice for Sail Port Stephens. We’ve had five wins there in the past, and we’re going back to try again,” Cox ended.

Super 50

The new kid on the block, David Doherty (Matador) has carted off first place in the Super 50 division, which also doubles as the first event of the inaugural TP52 Series. Matador beat local boat, Zen (Gordon Ketelbey) to the punch by four points. Matt Donald/Chris Townsend’s Gweilo carried over their third place from yesterday, a further four points in arears.  

Super 40

Revolver’s (Michael Ritchie) fourth place today was enough to give her the series win after she led into the day with two wins. With Little Nico (Adrian Walters) out of the picture, Darryl Hodgkinson moved up to second overall with his Carkeek 40, Victoire, his Race 3 win lifting him up. 

Super 30

Peter Woodhead’s XC3SS led from Brian Tavener’s Ophir coming into the day and Woodhead followed through. Seventh and fourth places gave the local sailor a three-point buffer over Ophir. This is not the first time Woodhead has landed on the top of the podium and it won’t be the last.  


New NSW J/70 champion, Reg Lord (Juno) has made two on the trot, winning the class at this Sydney Harbour Regatta. Runner up at the Championship, Tim Ryan and his Vamos, made a comeback to finish runner-up here as well. It shows how consistently well these two boats sail.

Adams 10

Tracy Richardson’s Artemis led Brian Lees’ Contentious on countback coming into the day, but Lees bounced back to claim the overall win from Richardson by three points. The competition between the two was thrilling.

“Last time I won, I won an Audi. We’ve won here a couple of times. Looks like we’ve come good again – older and smarter,” Lees said laughing.

“I was pleased to see Tracey do well – she hasn’t been sailing very long. We didn’t find the conditions too hard to handle. On our course the breeze was pretty consistent. It was very tight racing and we had a few close calls. The boats were doing 10 and 11 knots quite a lot of the time.”

Black Adder new Yngling NSW champion

Gary Pearce (Black Adder) had the bit between the teeth, unwilling to relinquish the 2-point lead he carried into the day from Gary Wogas (Karma) in the Yngling NSW Championship. Pearce and crew fired off three more bullets from three races. He claimed the title from Wogas, who scored a trio of second places. Jan Newland’s Yertl held onto third overall, scoring a trio of third places.

Performance Spinnaker Divisions 1 and 2

Peter Sorenson (Advanced Philosophy) kept the pressure on Brendan McAssey’s S1 to win overall by two points, the same margin he led by yesterday. It seemed likely the win would be between the pair – and so it was. Sorro was always going to be the benchmark, but he is still tinkering with his Sydney 38 and changing crew around.

“Rain, wind, it was very unpleasant,” Sorensen commented. “In the second race we got pushed over the line early, had to come back, then broached gybing the spinnaker in 20 knots – and nearly ran into a start boat – not the one for our course though.

“It was a terrific race otherwise,” he said without a hint of sarcasm. “It was very fast. We saw 32 knots, but generally it was under 25, it was coming and going.”

Sorensen owed his success, he said, “To changing the crew around a bit and it worked pretty well,” he said. “I’m pretty pleased with how we went, especially after finishing second to Conspiracy at the Sydney 38 NSW Championship a couple of weeks ago.”

In Division 2, it was unusual to see the Jack Stening/Colin Gunn sailed Stormaway out of the top placings at the end of yesterday, but the pair ‘stormed’ home with third and fourth places to steal the series from under the noses of the rest. Graeme Neuhaus, who sat in second place coming into the day with Crowded Haus, finished the regatta the same way, two points adrift of the victors.

However, neither of the top two won a race today. Simon Oliver’s Odyssey claimed Race 3 and Rumba (Rob Carr/Steph Cook/Kerry Burke) won Race 4.

Performance Spinnaker Division 3 and Non-Spinnaker Division

John Crawford finished the way he started. Innamincka led the Beth Abbott skippered Rapid Transit in Performance Spinnaker Division 3 coming into the day and has won the series from Abbott cleanly, six points separating the pair after a further two races were sailed.

Neither won a race today, those honours went to Dean Dransfield’s Escape (Race 3) and Michael Bleakley’s Scaramouch (Race 4), lifting the two up to third and fourth places overall respectively.

John Crawford came ashore unaware Innamincka had won. “Are you sure? I didn’t think we had that good a day. The weather suited the bigger heavier boats. We’re very happy to win. The forecast was miserable, we got a bit of rain, but nothing horrendous,” he said.

MHYC did a good job with this regatta. Sydney Amateur Sailing Club and RANSA ran our courses and did a good job too.” 

In the Non-Spinnaker division, yesterday’s leader, Sea Change, skippered by charterer, Angus Ekberg, held on to win overall – just. Sixth and third places meant he won on countback from Nathan Lockhart’s Scarborough, which scored fourth and second places today. John De Meur’s Elysium won Race 3 to finish third overall, while the Race 4 win went to Martin Blake/Mark Bothwell’s Sol.

Post-race festivities included a DJ on the beach in front of the Club as crews made the most of a sausage sizzle and drinks, including at the Fever Tree Gin Bar.

The official presentation and prize giving will be held tomorrow (Monday) evening at 1900 hours at Middle Harbour Yacht Club. The Grand Prizes will also be drawn at this time.

Middle Harbour Yacht Club acknowledges the support of Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, Sydney Amateur Sailing Club, Royal Australian Navy Sailing Association, Royal Prince Edward Yacht Club, Manly Yacht Club, Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club and the Sydney Flying Squadron. 

MHYC wishes to thank key sponsors: Club Marine, Robert Oatley Wines, Short Marine, Quality Marine Clothing and Telstra Business Technology Centre.

All information on the Sydney Harbour Regatta, including results at:  

By Di Pearson,
MHYC media