Sydney Harbour Regatta day one smiles and spills

Sydney Harbour Regatta’s opening day brought together a multi-club effort spanning the Harbour and offshore for the 185-strong fleet from around NSW and Victoria.

Conditions offshore made it harder for the Open Class and Sydney 38 fleet to sail cleanly – the crew of some boats caught out on in gusty south/south-westerlies and swell off Sydney Heads.

Boat manager on John Newbold’s Victorian entry, Primitive Cool, David Sudano, said: “We had a puff at the wrong time and had to smoke the halyard. We weren’t the only ones with the odd issue.

“The big boats were doing 18-20 knots downwind on those short legs in a seaway that wasn’t helping. We have to work the angles under asymmetric, unlike the symmetric boats that can sail deep.”

Across the inshore courses, spread from Manly to Garden Island near the city, boats of all sizes, from Historic 18s to Sydney 36s to sports boats, weaved their way through the traffic on their own courses. They contended with other racing fleets, plus the usual weekend traffic in the 10 knot building to 20 knot south/south-westerly.

Middle Harbour Yacht Club members fared well across the divisions, Peter Sorensen’s Advanced Philosophy leading the Sydney 38 division three races into their series. Bob Cox’s DK46, Nine Dragons, led the Open Class fleet from Gerry Hatton’s Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club based Mat 1245, Bushranger.

The Adams 10 fleet is heavily weighted by MHYC boats, and fronting the division by two points, is Patrick Delaney’s Powerhulk.

RPAYC based Melges 24 +GST, skippered by Andy Wharton, had a couple of newcomers on the boat, but this didn’t stop them posting a win, a second and a fifth to lead the Super 30 pointscore.

“Conditions were great and we went the right way. It’s a borrowed boat – I haven’t sailed a Melges for a year – I put together a scratch crew and we had fun,” Wharton said.

Saturday’s player’s player award went to the hardy Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s race management team on start boat Offshore, which had some serious roll on out on the Macquarie course.

Sunday is International Women’s Day. Middle Harbour Yacht Club will mark the occasion with a W Salt Flag Helly Hansen jacket going to the top performing female skipper and with a photo gallery tribute by photographer Andrea Francolini. Up to 10 female skippers are in the hunt for the jacket, which will be presented once the series results are complete.

The forecast for day two is a 15-20 knot southerly breeze, and racing is due to commence from midday.

Key sponsors for Sydney Harbour Regatta’s 15th edition include Helly Hansen, Air New Zealand and Robert Oatley Wines. Supporting sponsors are Club Marine, Coral Sea Marina Resort, Stamford Plaza Auckland, Mercure Resort Hunter Valley Gardens, Vittoria Coffee, Fisherman’s Friend, KeySun Zinke, Antal and the host club welcomes new supporter, Mercedes-Benz North Shore.

Full results:

Lisa Ratcliff

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