Upset results and last-gasp victories were the order of the day on Sydney Harbour as competitors at the Yachting NSW organised Sail Sydney battled with each other and fading winds.
Competitors ranged from Olympians and world champions to beginners, with a guest appearance from the third-ranked Open match racer in the world, Torvar Mirksy and one of his crew Kinley Fowler, who flew in from Malaysia to sail on separate 49ers.
There were Black Flags, collisions, breakages and even a DQ under rule 69 for unsportsmanlike conduct. Spectators were treated to 49ers and Moths racing at more than 20 knots, while at other times boats drifted aimlessly and had to be towed ashore when racing finished.
Every state and territory of Australia was represented, while a big number of internationals from Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Netherlands, Finland, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, USA, Norway, India, Denmark, Canada, Korea and Croatia. It was wonderful, too, to see sailors here from Poland, Cook Islands, Moldova and Slovenia.
Going into the final day, 49ers Nathan Outteridge/Iain Jensen were facing a very rare defeat. They had won 10 out of 11 regattas since they teamed up, but had a five point deficit to their Kiwi training partners, Peter Burling/Blair Tuke.
Effectively, the Australians needed to win every race and put at least one boat between them and the New Zealanders. It wasn’t to be. As Nathan commented afterwards, “It was one of those days where nothing was going right all day long.”
Choosing to start the first race on port tack, they ducked the field at the boat end and screamed away upwind, often reaching speeds in excess of 10 knots. Reaching the layline in total control of the fleet, they tacked on the starboard layline – and the jib sheet broke.
“Goobs (Jensen) was dragging out the back of the boat and we just stopped,” Outteridge said. Jensen scrambled back on board and re-attached the sheet, but the damage had been done. They rounded the top mark in fifth place, fought back to fourth on the next windward beat – and the jib sheet broke again.
Laser sailor Tom Slingsby (AUS) decided not to sail the last race of his series. The three-time world Laser champion had done enough to win, with a fifth and third in the first two races.
The other Laser Olympic event, the Women’s Radial, was one of the most keenly contested at the regatta, with 22 boats from nine countries.
While Australia’s best Olympic hopes, 17 year-old Alex South and Krystal Weir sailed strongly to finish second and third, they were no match for the genius Marit Bouwmeester, who is the top ranked sailor in the world.
The Laser 4.7 was a close contest between Dylan Gore, Madison Kennedy and Kailas Johnson, all from Australia. Gore won only two of the 10 races, but with a worst placing of sixth in an 18 boat fleet, his consistency was rewarded with a two point win over Kennedy.
Scott Babbage (AUS) dominated the Moth event, winning seven of 12 races. In second place was 18ft skiff legend, John Harris (AUS), who put together a solid regatta. He didn’t win a race, but was never lower than sixth for a final score of 37, three points clear of Robert Gough (AUS).
Perennial Finn Olympian, Anthony “Nocka” Nossiter (AUS), had to settle for second place in the series, as promising talent James Patterson (AUS) raced to a seven point victory. Shaun Wells (AUS) was third.
The 29er class is one where mixed crews are a regular feature. However, the first two crews in an all-Australian cast were all male, with Byron White/Ashlen Rooklyn triumphing over Lewis Brake/Josh Franklin.
In the Skud 18 class 2011 Australian Sailing Team members Ame Barnbrook and Lindsay Mason finished third, behind the Great Britain and New Zealand crews.
Sail Brisbane gains momentum
A week previously Sail Brisbane attracted international entries from eight countries, with 103 sailors aged from 11 to 71 taking part.
In the Olympic classes the very promising Queensland 420 duo of Angus Galloway and Alex Gough had a convincing win. With a scorecard of seven firsts and a second place from the first eight of 10 races, they chose not to sail the final two races.
The RS:X sailboard class also had an early end. The light winds meant that the two races which were sailed were classified as ‘pumping’ events, and no more than two ‘pumpers’ can be sailed in a day. The series was won by Chang Hao from Taipei, whose reasons for competing at Sail Brisbane included improving his English.
As the board sailors de-rigged on the grass in front of the clubhouse, his new Australian friends were busy convincing him that it was traditional for the winner to give a speech at the prize-giving, then get thrown into the water. ‘Henry’ was unimpressed.
In the other Olympic class to be sailed, the cream continued to rise to the top. Ryan Palk, who dominated early, held off a fast-finishing James Burman to win by three points, with Klade Hauschildt third.
All three sailors are members of the Australian Sailing Development Squad and showed the benefits of the extra competition this offers. Ryan finished sixth at the Kiel regatta in Germany and both Ryan and Klade made the Gold fleet at the 2010 Laser World Championship.
Madison Kennedy sailed a very consistent series in the Laser 4.7, winning the final race to hold off the challenge from Nicholas Connor and Jacqueline Van Soest.
Benjamin Rankine continued his dominance in the foiling Moths. His scorecard included seven bullets from 10 races. Jack Sherring was second and Nick Flutter third.
The 11 boat Optimist Dinghy fleet saw very close competition at the front. Kyle O’Connell took the title by finishing in the top three in every race. Kye Evans managed two wins to finish second with Xavier Winston Smith third.
A famous sailing name appeared at the top of leaderboard in the Bic Techno, where Samuel Treharne from Middle Harbour YC was dominant, winning six of the ten races and finishing first in the series by 12 points from Shari O’Brien, with Reece Baillie third on a countback.
From Brisbane, the Sail Down Under Series went to Sydney before concluding with the ISAF World Cup event at Sail Melbourne.
In the lead up to the Rolex Farr 40 Worlds, reigning World and European champion Nerone (ITA) has eaten the rest of the competition alive to take out the Rolex Trophy One Design Series that wound up off Sydney on 12 December after another day of waiting around for fickle light winds to breathe a bit of life into sails.
From the start, there was no doubt that that Massimo Mezzaroma and Antonio Sodo Migliori’s boat was the one to beat, but nobody, including themselves, expected the Italians to win six of the eight races to leave the rest of the fleet reeling with their 25 point victory over nearest competitor, Brett Neill on White Cloud from New Zealand.
“We will go to the World’s now with a great buzz, but we know we are starting all over again. We are confident, but the sailors and boats in the Farr 40s are the best in the world, so we cannot take for granted that we will win. And I know we cannot possibly win so many races – this is very unusual. We still cannot believe it,” said Nerone tactician Vasco Vascotto.
Principal Race Officer Denis Thompson was forced to cut short the CYCA’s nine-race series by one race, after a general recall because of a major wind shift.
On the final day of racing, the 11 yachts in the Rolex Trophy were left like ducks bobbing on a pond as they waited and waited in light breezes unfit for racing that kept going around the dial in dizzying fashion.
“The sea was very flat. It’s not often you get to see that, and we had a strong flowing north current, making it hard to lay the course,” Thompson said.
Meanwhile, Guido Belgiorno-Nettis (AUS) pulled a rabbit out of the hat to move into third. The World’s runner-up, he and his Transfusion crew seemed to struggle this week and did not look good to even make the top five going into the final day.
The big losers were Martin and Lisa Hill on Estate Master (AUS). In the morning they were sitting second overall, but an uncharacteristic 10th in Race 7 changed the landscape.
Pragmatic as ever, Hill said, “We thought the wind would go right – it went left – then we thought it would be left – and guess what! It was like that all through the race. It happens sometimes.”
Behind Nerone, the scores were so compacted it could have gone to any of the next four yachts in what looked like the luck of the draw in the conditions faced by the fleet.
Disappointment for Voodoo Chile, which had been having an excellent series, but her chances were diminished in the protest room when Tasmanian Andrew Hunn and his crew were disqualified from Races 3 and 4 in port and starboard incidents.
Supermaxi Wild Oats XI took the gun in the SOLAS Big Boat Challenge, the fourth line honours win in this event for the Oatley family patriarch, Bob Oatley, who steered his silver-hulled 100 footer around most of the Sydney Harbour course.
Oatley took the helm once the ‘king of pin’, skipper Mark Richards, had put the boat in the box seat following a crowded start at the pin end of the start line, which was crowded by a sizable spectator fleet enjoying their front row seats.
It was essentially a one horse race around the 14nm course, which had its traditional finish off the Sydney Opera House, despite earlier concerns that it might interfere with Oprah Winfrey’s filming schedule.
Sean Langman and Anthony Bell’s 100ft Elliott design Investec Loyal stayed in touch early, but couldn’t hang onto Oats’ wash and slipped back to finish six minutes 23 seconds behind.
Alan Brierty’s RP62 Limit, with its contingent of New Zealand America’s Cup sailors, including helmsman Gavin Brady and tactician Chris Dickson, was crowned overall winner on handicap, beating near sistership Loki, but only just.
Grant Wharington’s 98 footer Wild Thing finished third over the line after recovering from an internal oil spill, which meant the crew couldn’t cant the keel in the early stages. Overall Wharington was pleased with the boat’s performance, once they were able to weave their way back through the fleet to be back in touch with the leading supermaxis.
Conditions were very pleasant on Sydney Harbour with a south to south east breeze of 10-12 knots. Christmas was in the air thanks to Bob Steel’s crew on the TP52 Quest who were sporting Hawaiian shirts and Santa hats.
While the SOLAS Big Boat Challenge is largely a fun race, it does tell the skippers where they are ranked in the final countdown to the Boxing Day start of the Sydney–Hobart.
“Like everyone else, we need all the practice we can get, the more the better,” said Wild Oat’s XI skipper Mark Richards.
The event was dedicated to the CYCA’s Safety of Life at Sea Trusts (SOLAS) which were established following the stormy 1998 Sydney Hobart Yacht Race and support search and rescue organisations Australia-wide with more than $550,000 donated so far.
The CYCA’s Jay Griffin and his team of Henry Kernot and Hamish Hardy, have clinched victory from Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club’s Tim Coltman in an epic grand final of the Musto International Youth Match Racing Championship, hosted by the CYCA at the end of November.
Griffin would need all five of the grand final matches to overcome Coltman, winning the final match by a mere three seconds, after receiving a pre-start penalty.
Fearing he would cross the start line early, Griffin tacked away with Coltman following. In a last ditch attempt to break control, Griffin went for a gybe in close quarters. Coltman protested and the umpires deemed that Griffin had infringed. Griffin then carried this penalty throughout most of the race trying to engage Coltman and wipe his penalty. Griffin trailed at the top mark, but the gap had closed at the bottom mark.
“By the time we got to the bottom mark, I had inside advantage and managed to get in front,” Griffin said. “We tacked and extended right, taking Coltman past the layline, which allowed us to round the top mark ahead of him.
“We slowed the boat down, dropping our kite, trying to see if we could get a port/starboard infringement, but with no luck, so we did our penalty turn, and lost our lead.
“We chased Coltman down, managing to get a windward lead and roll him just before the finish line to claim the win!” Griffin said.
Griffin had started the grand final in strong form taking an early 2-0 lead over Coltman but not without a tough fight. In match three Coltman controlled the race from the start forcing Griffin to the left hand side of the course and did a great job of covering Griffin to maintain his advantage. A poor mark rounding cost Griffin dearly with Coltman finishing two boat lengths ahead.
In the equalising match, in an effort to avoid being called OCS Griffin tacked shortly before the start losing precious boat speed and Coltman pounced, catching a nice right hand windshift that pushed them both into the middle of the course. Coltman maintained his lead throughout the first leg with a tacking duel on the last leg handing Coltman the win on the final downwind leg.
Earlier in the day, Griffin beat his fellow clubmate Olivia Price 2-1 in the semi-finals, while Coltman defeated fellow countryman David Hazard 2-0 to take their places in the grand final.
In the petit final, Hazard asserted his dominance early taking the first match by 12 seconds and the second by a slim margin of five seconds; securing himself third place in the Championship.
Jubilee 75th Anniversary
Royal Brighton Yacht Club celebrated the 75th Anniversay of the Jubilee Class by relaunching the first Jubilee Freydis on 13 November.
Originally built in 1935 for the Linacre family after passing through many owners Freydis is now back in the family, owned by Brian Linacre. Freydis is still actively raced and currently sports a ‘modern’ aluminium mast.
The Jubilees are experiencing a resurgence with a keen following on Pittwater where in 1938 the Jubilee fleet helped establish the first RPAYC clubhouse; celebrating with a fleet of 22 on the opening day regatta.
Currently 30 of the 121 Jubilees built (85 Timber plus 36 GRP) are actively raced, with 10 on Pittwater.
Since 1946 the Huntingfield Cup (deeded by Lord Huntingfield) has been run to encourage a competition between NSW and Victoria. The venue alternates between the States and last year was run at Sorento with Wataworrie from RPAYC winning the Cup from a competitive fleet of 17.
The 65th Huntingfield Cup is to be held at Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club January 20-23 with visiting boats expected from Ballarat and Melbourne and a fleet size approaching 20. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Cunard appoints first female captain
When Inger Klein Olsen assumed command of Cunard’s Queen Victoria on Wednesday 1 December 2010, she made history by becoming the shipping line’s first female Captain.
The 43-year-old Captain Olsen, who now lives in Denmark, was born and brought up in the Faroe Islands, which goes some way to explaining her maritime abilities.
She joined Cunard in 1997 as First Officer on board Caronia. In 2001 she transferred to the Seabourn fleet – at that time part of Cunard and sailed on Seabourn Sun and Seabourn Spirit before being promoted to rank of Staff Captain on Seabourn Pride in 2003.
Following some years with other companies within the Carnival group, Captain Olsen returned to Cunard in August this year as Deputy Captain of Queen Victoria.
“While we are far from being the first shipping company to have a female Captain, it is nonetheless noteworthy when such a long-established British institution as Cunard makes a break with its captaincy tradition,” said Cunard’s President and Managing Director, Peter Shanks, said
Sydney and Hobart are Australia’s two oldest seaports, with colonial sailing and rowing enthusiasts organising the nation’s first regattas on Sydney Harbour on the River Derwent back in the early 1800s.
The Australia Day Regatta on Sydney Harbour on 26 January 2011 will celebrate 175 years of unbroken tradition since 1837. It is the world’s oldest, continuously-conducted sailing regatta.
While the Sandy Bay Australia Day Regatta will mark 162 years since the first Sandy Bay Regatta was held on the River Derwent. Of course, the first Royal Hobart Regatta was held in 1838 and is still a public holiday in February each year.
The Sydney and Sandy Bay Regattas will be linked to mark the historic occasion, with 175th Australia Day Regatta management committee member and yachting journalist Peter Campbell announcing that commemorative medallions will be presented to the winners of sailing races at the Sandy Bay Australia Day Regatta.
In addition, a special trophy and medallions will be presented for the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania’s Australia Day Green Island Race. Campbell said the fleet of yachts in the Green Island Race would add to the colour of the Sandy Bay Regatta by starting from a line off Long Beach before sailing down the Derwent.
Hobart’s Lord Mayor, Rob Valentine, launched the 2011 Sandy Bay Australia Day Regatta on the expansive recreation area at Long Beach, recalling that the first Sandy Bay Regatta was held in 1849 at Lumley’s Point, coincidently now the site of the regatta’s major sponsors, Wrest Point.
International Cadet dinghies from the Sandy Bay SC helped launch the regatta with a sail past and the regatta organisers hope to attract Cadets, Lasers, 420s, Sabots and Optimist dinghy classes racing on Australia Day. In addition to the RYCT’s Green Island Race, other yachts are being invited to compete in river races.
Botany Bay Australia Day Families Afloat
The annual Botany Bay Australia Day regatta incorporates all sailing clubs associated with Botany Bay, with each club starting and finishing in front of its respective club. The course is designed so that all sailors pass all sailing clubs, providing a great spectacle for club and beach viewers. Participating clubs are Kogarah Bay, St George, Georges River, Botany Bay YC, Yarra Bay and Kurnell Catamaran Club.
Later, boat owners and crews are encouraged to dress up for Families Afloat, which has been reformatted as a competition for all boats that assemble in Kogarah Bay for the annual Australia Day fireworks display. Prizes will be awarded to the category winners. Categories are best dressed boat, best dressed crew and best flag display.
Judging will occur between 6-7pm, followed by fireworks at 9.00pm. Prizes are worthwhile, so come along, dress up and enjoy the fun.
Kiwi girls too good for Aussies in match racing
The New Zealand Sailing Team crew skippered by Stephanie Hazard have underlined their London 2012 Olympic Games medal-winning prospects by winning the Hardy’s Australian women’s match racing championship on Hobart’s River Derwent in November.
Hazard, sailing with Susannah Pyatt (bow), Nichola Trudgen (trim and pit) and Jenna Hansen (main), progressed through a double round robin to the semi-finals and then winning the final in convincing style.
After finishing a close second overall in the two round-robins to Australia’s high ranked Olivia Price and her crew from the CYCA, the New Zealand women fought back through the semi-finals and final to win the title.
The four semi-finalists, in ranking order, were Olivia Price (AUS) on 16 points from the double round-robin, Stephanie Hazard (NZL) 15, Nina Curtis (AUS) 14 and Amanda Scrivenor (AUS).
Both Price and Hazard won their semi-final clashes with the other Australian crews and in the final Hazard proved too strong for the young Sydney crew led by Price.
The regatta, hosted by the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, was staged over four days, with ten teams of four women battling it out on the River Derwent. Racing was conducted in Elliott 5.9s.
Alan Lucas awarded NSW Maritime Medal
Cruising yachtsman, author and Afloat contributor Alan Lucas of Point Clare has been awarded a NSW Maritime Medal for tireless support of the marine community, especially his commitment to producing coastal guides for the safe navigation of the east coast.
NSW Maritime Chief Executive Steve Dunn presented the medal aboard the Tall Ship James Craig – at the official presentation of the 2010-11 Maritime Medals.
Mr Dunn said Mr Lucas’ work benefited the marine community by improving safety and reducing the threat of potentially dangerous situations for boaters.
“Even today, at the age of 70, Alan is constantly resurveying the coast and river entrances in his boat to revise and update his books and website,” Mr Dunn said.
“He has become so well known and respected that there is seldom a boat travelling the east coast without the relevant ‘Lucas Guide’.
“Alan is also a prolific author on maritime history and boat maintenance – another of his contributions to boating safety.”
Mr Dunn said Alan had given up a career as a graphic artist to dedicate himself full-time to navigation and seamanship, using his unique skills in writing, photography, cartography and meteorology.
The Maritime Medal is designed to acknowledge individuals and groups who made an outstanding contribution to the maritime community.
Seven Maritime Medals were awarded in three categories for 2010 – Safety, Environment and Community. These recipients were chosen by an independent panel from 25 worthy candidates.
“Each year people do things that benefit others in the maritime community,” Mr Dunn said.
“This award scheme provides an opportunity to recognise these role models.”
Other recipients were:
• Mr Arthur ‘George’ Tedds for his involvement in marine rescue since becoming a radio watch operator at Camden Haven over 22 years ago;
• Some 600 Sydney Heritage Fleet volunteers for their more than 100,000 hours of recorded volunteer time to ensure maintenance of the best collection of active historic vessels in Australia;
• Mr Robert Dyer for initiating the Broughton Island Marine Radio Base which has provided direct communication during emergency situations since 2004;
• Mr Neil Grieves for his many years of unselfish contribution and service to recreational boating in the Shoal Bay area;
• The Broken Hill Speed Boat Club for creating and maintaining a recreational space in the far west of NSW for boating enthusiasts since 1961; and
• Mr John Winning for extraordinary service and support to boating, and in particular, the sailing community.
Maritime Medals are awarded each year for exemplary environmental work, or other activities to make the oceans and waterways safer, cleaner or more accessible.
Kiwi wins Sunseeker Australia Cup
Rising young Kiwi sailing star Phil Robertson put in a magnificent performance on the last day of the Sunseeker Australia Cup to lift the trophy, defeating British skipper Ian Williams 3–0 in the final hosted by the Royal Perth Yacht Club and run by Swan River SC.
Robertson, who is a graduate of one of the toughest match racing academies in the world, run by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, had a roller-coaster ride through this regatta, going through the first day undefeated, before crashing to seventh place at the end of the round robin.
However, he and his crew picked themselves up off the mat to win their quarter-final against current World Tour leader Mathieu Richard (FRA).
He lost his first semi-final race to Britain’s golden boy of sailing, Ben Ainslie, but came back again to win the next three, and finally outclassed Williams in a display of cool, calm sailing that defied his 23 years.
The petit-final to decide third and fourth places was a repeat of last year’s final, local skipper Torvar Mirsky against Ben Ainslie (GBR), but the result was reversed, with the British sailing superstar taking the contest.
On their own – Britain’s child migrants
Many would consider them too little to cross the road on their own and yet, from the late 19th century more than 100,000 British children travelled alone to the other side of the world to begin new lives.
British child migration schemes changed the lives of these children dramatically. Some succeeded in creating bright new futures. Others suffered lonely, brutal childhoods.
The exhibition On their own – Britain’s child migrants explores the government endorsed schemes and the motivations behind them. Through detailed case studies, visitors will meet a number of former child migrants and find out more about their different experiences.
Child migration schemes existed from the 1860s through to 1967, when British children were sent to Australia, Canada and other Commonwealth countries.
Few were orphans. Many came from poor families who could no longer look after them. Sending them overseas, it was thought, would improve their lives while also increasing the population of ‘good British stock’ and labour in the colonies.
While children left under different schemes and at different times, they shared powerful experiences: separating from family and country, boarding a ship, facing an uncertain future, meeting new friends on board and visiting foreign ports.
The voyage was often the highlight of the child migrant’s journey ... full of excitement and hope for what the future would bring. A charmingly illustrated diary by 12-year-old Maureen Mullins captures this sense of excitement and wonder. She records all the sights and sounds of her voyage from Britain to Australia in 1952 from eating spaghetti in Naples to tasting sugar bananas and coconuts in Colombo.
On arriving in Australia, however, the reality of their new lives quickly set in ... children were separated from their siblings and friends and taken to remote farm training schools and religious institutions operated by organisations such as the Fairbridge Society, Barnardo’s and the Christian Brothers.
Boys were expected to become farmers and girls were expected to become domestics or wives on the land. There was little room for education and schooling, instead the children faced long days of hard work and discipline.
Four-year-old Stewart Lee and his three brothers were separated on arriving at Fairbridge Molong in 1955. Photos of the little boys are featured in the exhibition together with a metal bowl and plate from which they ate their meagre meals.
Other items include a boy’s drawing which formed part of his intelligence test to come to Australia, and a canvas bag issued in Britain to the children together with new clothes and shoes, and then taken from them on arriving in Australia to be used with the next load of child migrants.
Child migration schemes received criticism from the outset. The schemes finally ended in Australia and the institutions closed from the 1970s. For many former child migrants, however, the legacy of their experience remains. Many still struggle to cope with the hardships and abuse they endured.
In November 2009 the Australian Government issued an apology to children who suffered in institutional care. And the British Government also apologised to former child migrants in 2010 for the “shameful” child resttlement programs. Recordings of these apologies are featured in the exhibition.
The ANMM, Darling Harbour, is open daily from 9.30 am to 5.00 pm. For more information visit www.anmm.gov.au or call (02) 9298 3777.
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