Gretel II wins 177th Australia Day Regatta on Sydney Harbour

More than 43 years after her historic challenge for the America’s Cup at Newport, Rhode Island in the USA, the International 12-metre class yacht Gretel II yesterday showed her class with a fine win in the 177th Australia Day Regatta on Sydney Harbour.

Gretel II, the last 12-metre class yacht to be built of wood, challenged for the America’s Cup in 1970, losing 4-1 against the US defender Intrepid in a controversial series.

Yesterday there was no challenge to her supremacy on Sydney Harbour as the beautifully restored Gretel II, skippered by Michael Maxwell, outsailed the Classic 1 Division  fleet, getting the gun and also winning on corrected time from two other ‘metre’ style yachts, Antara (Ian Kortlang) and Defiance (Nicole Shrimpton and Gordon Hinds).

The 177th Australia Day Regatta was sailed in a freshening 15-20 knot nor’easter, gusting to 25 knots, providing ideal sailing conditions for the 90 starters in the traditional Harbour Regatta.

A further 21 ocean racing yachts raced for the City of Sydney Cup in the short ocean race from the Harbour to Botany Bay and return, with victory going to Balance, skippered by Paul Clitheroe.

Balance won on corrected time from Laurence Freedman’s Expresso Forte and Richard Cawse’s Vanguard, which beat Bob Steel’s Quest for line honours by just seven seconds.

The Classic 2 Division saw another outright win,  with the wishbone ketch Sana (David Mathlin) outpacing the 16 boat fleet to also take handicap honours from John Diacopoulos’ ‘couta boat, Yeromais V,  and Tia Hia, helmed by James Bevis.

Australia Day Regatta president Charles Curran watched from aboard the flagship,  HMAS Sydney,  as his 60-footer Sydney took line and corrected time honours in Division 1, winning from Akela (Alan Mather) and Scarlett O’Hara (Robert Skol).

Division 2 went to Jedi (Sandra Entwistle) from Silky (Tony Hirst) and Ambitious (David Matthews) with the Folkboat, Dreamtime (Lyndsay Brown and Jim Littlefield) revelling in the fresh breeze to win Division 3 from Witchway II (Jeff Finnegan) and Vitamin Sea (David Coleman).

Only 16 seconds on corrected times separated Division 1 non-spinnaker fleet winner As You Do (Ross Littlewood) and Molly (Frank Hetherton) with line honours winner Margaret Rintoul V (Graeme Wilson) a close third on handicap.

John Conroy sailed his Adams 10, Star Ferry, to an outright win in the Division 2 non-spinnaker fleet, second place going to Flying Circus, third to Waimota (Peter Hamilton).

In the CYCA Ocean Pointscore results for the Botany Bay race,  the IRC category went to AFR Midnight Rambler, skippered by Ed Psaltis, from About Time (Julian Farren-Price) and Imagination (Robin Hawthorn).

Under ORCi scoring,  AFR Midnight Rambler also won, second place going to Balance, third to About Time. Balance won the Ocean Pointscore PHS category from Vanguard and Imagination.

- Peter Campbell

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