NEWS - Audi Sydney Harbour Regatta Winners

By: Di Pearson, Photography by: Andrea Francolini

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Rod Jones' Alegria (foreground) .jpg
Erin Mander and Lady Bug.jpg
Quest (Bob Steel) won IRC Division 1.jpg

Review and results from last weekend's Audi Sydney Harbour Regetta. Story: DI PEARSON Photos: ANDREA FRANCOLINI

NEWS - Audi Sydney Harbour Regatta Winners
udi Sydney Harbour Regatta Winners

It is all over for another year — another successful Audi Sydney Harbour Regatta — and with a record 308 entries, Martin Hill, commodore of Middle Harbour Yacht Club which conducts the event, is over the moon because of the record numbers and the quality of the fleet and the racing this past weekend.

QUEST BEST IN IRC DIVISION 1
After leading the series yesterday, Bob Steel and his Quest crew nearly came a cropper when they dropped down the leaderboard in Race Five with a sixth place finish, letting their nearest rival Wot Now (Graeme Wood) which was two points behind them, into the top spot.

But the man of steel fought back, finishing Race Six in third place while Wood, just like he did at Skandia Geelong Week in January, had to watch his chances slip by again with a seventh placing in the final race relegating him to the bridesmaid position.

Steel, from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia in Sydney, last December notched up his second overall win in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race and his success continues. Quest finds the heavier conditions more to its liking, and revelled in last Sunday’s racing which averaged 15 to 19kts with squirts up to 20kts in the showers.

Although they were unable to complete Saturday’s Race One after breaking their vang, Stephen Ainsworth and his new Reichel/Pugh 63 Loki crew fought back valiantly to claim third place overall, finishing equal second in Race Five and winning the final Race Six. One wonders what might have been had they finished Race One.

Denis Thompson, the race officer on the IRC offshore course, said at times the breeze dropped out to five to six knots and then shot up to 18 to 19kts again.

"It varied when it started to rain on and off. There were 20-degree wind shifts and the pressure was up and down; it was a difficult day for all," Thompson said.

ALEGRIA DOES IT AGAIN IN IRC DIVISION 2
Queensland competitor Rod Jones, Alegria,
has backed up his Division 2 win at Skandia Geelong Week with a win at the Audi Sydney Harbour Regatta on Sunday (March 8) beating Saturday’s leader, Le Billet (Bill Ebsary) by five points and Audi IRC Australian Championship rival Peter Sorensen, at the helm of Ruth Magic, Peter Hill’s Beneteau 45 from the host club, by a further point.

Ironically, Jones won the inaugural Audi IRC Australian Championship in 2007 and Sorensen won it last year. Both are adamant they will win the event again this year and there is an even odds chance that this could happen. We will see, as the battle will continue with the Audi Sydney Gold Coast Race and closing event, Audi Hamilton Island Race Week in August.

"We found the first couple of races a bit of a struggle, but it got better and better from there. We had just great racing — in a great fleet of boats. It was difficult, we got wind speeds from 5.9kts up to 18 — it was up and down all day. Everyone onboard worked extremely hard — there’s a great group of people on the boat," Jones said.

A BRILLIANT WIN IN IRC DIVISION 3
CYCA member Howard Piggott, the winner of a stunning Audi A4 Avant at the inaugural event in 2006 following a divisional win with Cloud IX, has won Division 3 this year with his updated Beneteau, Brilliant.

The heat was on Sunday as the wind strength increased throughout the day and on the three IRC divisions’ racecourse just outside of Sydney Heads, the seas were definitely lumpier and bumpier than the previous day’s. In fact conditions were the polar opposite. Saturday offered warm sunshine and light airs; while on Sunday there was showering overcast skies and heavier winds.

The oldest competitor at the Regatta is ‘gentleman’ John Walker, an 86-year-old who is just as competitive today as he was 25 years ago when he first started sailing. Yes, Walker was a young 61 when he took up sailing with his Doug Peterson designed three-quarter tonner, Impeccable. The two have contested 25 Rolex Sydney Hobart races together.

"This is a great regatta; I did it last year and I’ll do it again next year," said Walker, a Middle Harbour YC member who sailed in PHS Division 2 this year. "It was better conditions for my heavy yacht today. We got a fluctuating 15 to 19kts with gusts up to 20kts — better than yesterday, which was a bit soft for us."

GIRLS BEAT THE BLOKES IN THE PHS SPORTS BOATS
Erin Mander and her 50 per cent female crew showed the blokes how to do it in the tough go-fast PHS Sports Boats class on Sunday afternoon, taking out the six-race series.

Sailing her Lidgard 9m called Lady Bug, Mander, from Hunters Hill, defeated nearest rival Kevin Karaloff and his Elliott 7 Chameleon crew by 9½ points, and Peter Gale and his 11 metre one-design boat Ozad in the six-race series which was sailed in the vicinity of Vaucluse on Sydney Harbour,

"It was great. I’m amazed to beat this sort of competition," said Mander who only purchased Lady Bug one year ago after sailing on Raging Bull with Mark Griffith (he finished third in IRC Division 3 this year). Steve McConaghy (11 Metre One-Design double world’s winner) got me into sailing these sorts of boats," an excited Mander said.

She also paid tribute to her tactician, Carl White, and mainsheet hand Ian Fenner, a friend who is visiting from the UK. "He was just great," said Mander who added, "We cleaned and anti-fouled the boat last week and it made it 0.5 of a knot quicker — fast enough to win." She also confessed: "We missed a mark in the second last race, but we realised and went back around it and made the ground up."

Just after 4pm, the rain gods got serious and breezes started to die in the Harbour, but still held some grunt offshore, according to the principal race officer, John Hurley.

PROVISIONAL RESULTS:


IRC Division 1 top five after six races
1
QUEST Jamie MacPhail CYCA 18 3
6
2
5
1
1
2
WOT NOW Graeme Wood CYCA 20 7
1
3
4
3
2
3
LOKI Cameron Miles CYCA 20.50 1
2.50
1
2
2
12S
4
WILD OATS X Robert Oatley RPAYC 24 4.50
2.50
5
1
8
3
5
YENDYS Geoff Ross CYCA 29 2
8
7
3
4
5


IRC Division 2 top five after six races
1
ALEGRIA Rod Jones MYC/RQYS 15 1
2
3
4
2
3
2
LE BILLET Bill Ebsary RPAYC 20 4
4
5
5
1
1
3
RUTH MAGIC R & P Hill MHYC 21 2
1
2
7
7
2
4
CARBON CREDIT Geoff Pearson MHYC 26 7
3
1
3
4
8
5
PERPETUAL MOCEAN Bruce Hogan RPAYC 31 3
7
7
2
6
6

IRC Division 3 top five after six races
1
BRILLIANT Howard Piggott CYCA 17 2
5
2
5
2
1
2
RAGING BULL Mark Griffith RPAYC 27 1
6
7
2
6
5
3
CRUSHER Brent Lawson MHYC 28 7
7
6
4
1
3
4
LOCAL HERO Peter Mosely MHYC 29 6
1
8
7
5
2
5
EQUINOX Anthony Dunn CYCA 30 3
3
4
11
3
6


PHS Sports Boats after six races
1
LADY BUG Erin Mander HHSC Lidgard 9m 24.50 1
4
3.50
6
8
2
2
CHAMELEON Kevin Karaloff RANSA Elliott 7 34 8
15
6
3
1
1
3
OZAD FORCE 8 Peter Gale RPAYC 11m one design 42 12
7P
10
4
4
5
4
NO COMMENT Heath Walters RPAYC Melges 24 44 13
2
8
1
9
11
5
ZIP Bruce Hollis RPEYC Thompson 7 48 11
1
7
15
6
8

For all information, including full results, visit www.audisydneyharbourregatta.com

 


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