A boat with no defence and one with a lot of attitude were the winners of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Sydney Pittwater and Pittwater Sydney races respectively, both of which are included in the Grant Thornton Short Haul Series.
Hugh O’Neill’s Cavalier 37, Indefensible, defeated Jon Short, Rob Hunt and Miles Bastick’s Beneteau 40.7 L’Attitude by exactly one minute overall to claim the Sydney Pittwater Race on Saturday afternoon, with Bill Mirrow’s Beneteau F345 Privateer in a close third place.
Assassin, the Farr 40 One-Off skippered by Phil Cutts, took line honours and fourth overall in the race (decided under PHS), in just under three hours – a very quick ride to Pittwater for the 12-boat fleet.
“Despite our incompetence, we sailed quite well,” quipped O’Neill, who is the former owner of Mark Twain, a Sparkman & Stephens 38 which he sailed to her 25th Hobart in 2002, for a record Hobarts by a boat.
Asked who his closest competition was, O’Neill said: “We didn’t see our competition, they were so far ahead! Actually, we could see them, but we couldn’t see who was who.”
O’Neill agreed the race was a very enjoyable one. “We only had to gybe once, so it was a lovely run to Pittwater once we left the Heads.
The entire fleet appreciated the southerly that averaged 15-20 knots and gusted to 25 at times and the comfortable sea that accompanied it.
“I’m 76 now, so this is perfect racing for a geriatric. I see a few of my old geriatric enemies racing again. I gave up sailing for a while when we had grandchildren, but they grew up and I grew bored, so I bought this boat and called it ‘Indefensible’ – that’s what I said to my wife when I bought it,” explained O’Neill, who was hoping to win Sunday’s return race, but instead was one of the casualties of the extremely light conditions.
Principal Race Officer Denis Thompson started the race to Pittwater on time at 11am in a pressured up southerly on Saturday morning, with the return race also starting at 11am, but in much reduced conditions.
L’Attitude won the return race, patience paying for the six boats that stuck out the light and fluky conditions experienced, which the other half of the fleet retired from.
Initially, L’Attitude was announced winner of the race north, and of course Jon Short and his fellow owners and crew were happy. Short described it as “The fastest Pittwater Race ever. It was a beautiful race.”
However, they were displaced and relegated to second place, but no such mistake on the race back to Sydney.
“We were booked in at the Royal Motor Yacht Club for dinner last night – 75 of us. Then we were back for breakfast, which started from 8am. They are very accommodating at the Club and the food is awesome,” Short said.
Breakfast obviously worked a treat and L’Attitude’s crew made up for Saturday’s second with their determined win on Sunday, completing the course in just over four and a half hours. Assassin, which again took line honours, was second overall and Ian Guanaria’s One More-No More filled out the final three.
For full race results and provisional Grant Thornton Short Haul standings log on to: www.cyca.com.au/sysfile/downloads/2016_summer/GrantThorntonShortHaul/series.htm
By Di Pearson, CYCA Media