Entries for next week’s Sail Sydney are closing in on the 300 mark and the decision to waive the late entry fee and final surge in registrations is pushing organisers of the annual sailing regatta hard to process the resulting paperwork.
The 2014 regatta is based at Woollahra Sailing Club at Rose Bay with the competition to play out on Sydney Harbour 2-7 December 2014, just one of the maritime events under Sydney’s Festival of Sails banner for the month of December. Olympic classes race Tuesday December 2 to Thursday 4 and the youth and open classes from Friday 5 to Sunday 7.
A healthy international fleet will fly their corresponding country flag for Australia, Canada, Switzerland, New Zealand, Brazil, Finland, Italy, Russia, Great Britain and Belgium.
The International Moth class is readying for its world championship next January at Sorrento Sailing Couta Boat Club in Victoria and the local Sydney fleet is taking advantage of the chance for valuable regatta practice in the run-up to the title.
Moth world champion from 2012 Josh McKnight, sailing for the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, is gearing up to regatta mode after his last major competition, the Moth worlds at Hayling Island in the UK in July. “It’s good to race in a proper regatta setting. Sail Sydney is important for getting my regatta experience back up,” he says. McKnight maintained his fitness over the cooler months running in soft sand and swimming with the Bold & Beautiful swim squad at Manly Beach three times a week.
A second high profile Moth sailor on the all-Australian Sail Sydney Moth starter’s list is Scott Babbage, McKnight’s training partner and the current Australian champion. “Scott and I are pretty close competitors as well as training partners,” McKnight says. “Sail Sydney and Sail Melbourne will be good previews for the worlds. The Americans have just shipped their boats and they and the other internationals will be watching both events pretty closely to see who is quick and in the top bunch,” he suggests.
The Olympic classes open proceedings next Tuesday, December 2 so competitors have the choice to challenge for two ISAF graded events. Sail Sydney earns sailors 100 points towards their world rankings and then they can head south to Sandringham Yacht Club on the shores of Port Phillip for the 200 point ISAF Sailing World Cup – Melbourne December 7-14, 2014.
Along with the Moths, Nacra 17, 470, 49er and 49erFX classes, the 2.4m Paralympic class is scheduled to contest their eight-race series during the first half of Sail Sydney, which is conducted annually by Yachting NSW. The Flying 11s, 29ers, 420s, Optimists and other youth and open classes take their turn in the second half.
To make the boat, trailer and car park situation at Woollhara Sailing Club as painless as possible, extra parking is available in Lyne Park for the first time. Organisers have published this traffic plan which details temporary changes to traffic conditions to assist with arrivals and departures from the host club.
“In order to ease the flow of traffic in and around WSC, specific rigging areas have been allocated for each class,” says event manager Andrew Hawkins. “Volunteers will be on hand to assist with traffic management and will be identifiable by yellow high visibility vests.”
The NSW Government is a key Sail Sydney supporter along with Nautilus Marine, Gill Marine clothing, Steve Jarvin Motors, Lejen Marine, Tohatsu Outboards and Sydney Harbour Boat Storage.
Transport for NSW has important safety messages for competitors, spectator craft and coach boats for Sail Sydney and the broader Festival month of December, a hectic time on the major city’s popular harbour.
Their primary message is ‘Wear a lifejacket – it never ruined a day on the water’.
The department and organisers encourage all Sail Sydney competitors, coaches, support craft crew and on-water spectators to make a habit of wearing lifejackets during competition and whenever in small boats.
Equally important is the advice to keep clear of larger vessels, especially large ferries on the busy waterway.
The total number of Sail Sydney entries so far is 293 made up of the following classes:
470 (M & W)
Laser (Olympic) 2-4 Dec
Laser (Standard) 6-7 Dec
Laser 4.7 5-7 Dec
Laser Radial (Olympic) 2-4 Dec
Laser Radial 2-4 Dec (open & youth)
Laser Radial 6-7 Dec (all divisions)
Sabot (1 up)
Sail Sydney 2014 entry is open here right up until the eve of the regatta.
– Lisa Ratcliff