After a week of tight racing, Finn Tapper of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia prevailed to win the 2021 Hardy Cup, held at the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron. Teams gathered at the Squadron to celebrate the week’s racing and Tapper, with teammates Harry Hall, George Richardson and James Hodgson, were in high spirits after receiving the prestigious trophy from event patron Sir James Hardy OBE.
Sydney Harbour provided champagne racing conditions for the regatta’s final stages with a steady 15knot to17 knot nor’easter and bright sunshine. The winning team’s consistency and boat speed across all races rendered them victorious over Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club’s Alistair Read and crew Tom Quarrie, Cam Whiteside and Antony Hawke.
Ashlen Rooklyn of Vaucluse Amateur 12ft Sailing Club and his team Rhys Mara, Sean O’Rourke and Harry Bethwaite were awarded the Hardy Shield as the highest placed Open team and third boat overall.
Tapper has notched up significant results: he triumphed in the 2019 Australian Match Racing Championship and turned in outstanding performances with 4th place in both the 2019 Hardy Cup and the 2020 World Youth Match Racing Championship.
It was smooth sailing for the CYCA team, with a staggering 15 wins after the double round-robin series, followed by three wins over Middle Harbour 16ft Skiff Club’s Harry Lawson in the quarter-finals, demonstrating a sustained and coherent performance over the week.
“The week was about improving our teamwork, boat work and communication; it’s a big step towards our goal of winning the Youth Match Racing World Championship at Balboa Yacht Club (California) in August,” Tapper said. “We really enjoyed racing against skippers who have previously won the Cup, like Ash Rooklyn and Dave Chapman, who are first class sailors,” he added.
For the first time in five years, the Semi Finals were contested by four yacht clubs. In the Petit Final, Rooklyn of VA12SC beat the Squadron’s Jed Cruickshank. It was a closely wrestled contest featuring intense pre-start battles, strategic gybe duels for the best pressure, and tight mark roundings. Strong nor-easterly conditions made for fast racing and a masterclass for spectators in efficient kite hoisting, which tested umpires’ reaction times.
Race Officials Ian Kingsford Smith and Rob Ridley ran an impressive week of sailing with more than 125 races completed. A team of internationally and nationally recognised umpires spent the week following the boats in RIBs making rapid on-water decisions to ensure the highest quality racing conditions for competitors.
RSYS Captain Karyn Gojnich said, “This year’s event wouldn’t have been possible without the commitment and dedication of our volunteer race committee, the umpires and the wider club membership that helped by providing support vessels. It’s been a wonderful week to bring our community together after the recent hiatus in sailing activity.”
The Squadron looks forward to welcoming back teams next year for the 2022 Hardy Cup, due to be held 6-10 February.