Six years ago, Sydney yachtsman Gordon Ingate became the oldest yachtsman ever to win an Australian championship, the prestigious Prince Philip Cup for the International Dragon class. Today, six years on, he did it again – at the age of 88!
Ingate, helmed Whimsical to a one point victory in the 2015 Prince Philip Cup, sailed out of the Royal Brighton Yacht Club on Melbourne’s Port Phillip, narrowly outsailing a fleet that included boats from Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania, Western Australia and Great Britain.
In a last day duel, sailed in steady rain and light winds, Whimsical finished just one point clear of British yachtsman Robert Campbell, sailing the borrowed Sydney boat Indulgence.
Third place overall went to another RSYS entry, skippered by Wolfe Breit with an experienced crew that included Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race winning skipper Roger Hickman.
The victory climaxes a remarkable sailing career for Ingate spanning some 75 years, including 58 years sailing in Dragons, which has seen Ingate represent Australia at the Olympic Games, the Admiral’s Cup, the America’s Cup and at world championships in the International Dragon and 5.5 metres classes.
He also finished a close second overall in the 1972 Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, skippering the famous yacht Caprice of Huon, beaten by USA America’s Cup sailor Ted Turner sailing a converted 12-metre, American Eagle.
Despite his long career in the Dragon one-design class, Ingate had not won the Prince Philip Cup until the 2008 regatta on Hobart’s River Derwent.
The Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron member began the 2015 Prince Phillip regatta, the Australasian championship for the Dragon class, with a 4-3 result but went into the lead with a 2-1 score on day two, just one point ahead of fellow RSYS member Wolf Breit, helming Shapes.
Today, with discards coming into effect, the major opposition came from Breit and Robert Campbell, a past international president of the International Dragon Class Association who had until today had carried a 17-point penalty incurred from an OCS in race two.
A regular visitor to Australia for the Prince Philip Cup, Campbell had already made a cleansweep of the Albert Memorial Cup, a precursor to the Prince Philip Cup but the OCS made it a question of catch-up in the major event.
Day two saw Campbell and his crew of Sydney Dragon sailors Robert Alpe and Richard Franklin fight back with a 1-3 score, but still carrying the 17 penalty points.
Discarding the OCS result Indulgence and Whimsical on net 6 points each with Shapes on a net 5 points going into the final day after day three racing had been abandoned because of extremely stormy weather over Melbourne.
Today’s racing started in pouring rain and light wind. Ingate posted a win in the first race of the day, race 5, from Shapes and Indulgence with the overall scores then being Whimsical and Shapes 7 each, Indulgence 9 points.
Indulgence won the sixth and final race but Whimsical’s second place gave Ingate and his crew of Brad Sheridan and David Giles the winning margin and his second Prince Philip Cup in 58 years of racing Dragons. Final scores were:
Whimsical (Gordon Ingate, RSYS) (4)-3-2-1-1-2, net 9 points.
Indulgence (Robert Campbell, Burnham-on-Crouch Yacht Club, UK) 2-(OCS)-1-3-3-2, 10 points.
Shapes (Wolf Breit, RSYS) 1-1-3-(6)-2-3, 10 points
Wizzzardry (Raymond Chatfield, RFBYC) 5-4-52-4-(8), 20 points
Ridgeway (Jeff Rose, RTYC) 3-5-4-5-5-(9), 22 points.
From Peter Campbell