Sydney Harbour Regatta – It’s a wrap!

Today’s weather was a turnaround from yesterday’s wet blowy day at the 2024 Nautilus Marine Insurance Sydney Harbour Regatta, a glorious north-north/easterly wind on a sunny hot day made a difference to many results of yesterday – but not all.

Competitors have had a fabulous weekend in the Middle Harbour Yacht Club’s (MHYC) annual regatta and at the time of writing were back at the Club recalling the last two days with mates over a couple of drinks. Many chose the beach in front of the Club to relax, as it is a beautiful late afternoon.

Firecracker first Fareast 28R One-Design Australian Champion

Scott Lawson fired up his Firecracker crew to win the opening and final races, adding a couple of second places in between on the six windward/leeward courses to win the Championship. Peter Higgin’s Sparrow, which scored a pair of wins and a second today, gazumped Conrad Johnston’s Wildling 3 for second place. Johnston settled for third.

Lawson said, “We had a lovely final race. We had a horror start, tacked to port ducking all others, tacked onto a massive right hand shift and took about a minute and a half out of the fleet within 5 to 10 minutes.

“I think God waved his magic wand over us in that race.”

“It’s fabulous to win the first Nationals in the class and be the Australian Champion. I want to thank Middle Harbour Yacht Club, its race management committee and the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron crew who looked after our course, they did a great job.”

J/99 One-Design Australian Championship goes to Disko Trooper_Contender Sailcloth

Defending champion, Disko Trooper_Contender Sail Cloth (Jules Hall), ended the day in front, but Ian Smith (Jupiter) did not make it easy for Hall by any means in their six windward/leeward races. Counting three wins in his score, Smith’s crew finished four points behind Hall’s.

“It’s been a fabulous regatta,” Hall said. “The class has come on in leaps and bounds since last year. It was very close racing. We were delighted to win, but huge congratulations to everyone in the class.

“Yesterday we had a 29 knot gust and today we found a hole in the course. It’s been a true test of abilities. I have to say the camaraderie and atmosphere in our fleet is fantastic – and that’s the best part of the class.”  

Challenge the new Sydney 38 One-Design NSW Champion

Greg Croak and his Challenge crew from Lake Macquarie have gone where no others have before – they cracked the Conspiracy’s winning streak to take out their first Sydney 38 One-Design NSW Championship. 

Croak and crew were at the top of their game throughout, their scorecard reading 1-2-1-1-3 to Conspiracy’s 2-1-2-6-5 after sailing six after the six windward/leeward races. Defending champions David Hudson and Peter Byford stumbled today, a rarity for them – and it proved costly as there are no drops.

Croak was over the moon: “We came close before but couldn’t quite put it together. Words can’t describe how we feel. We’re very excited and happy for the whole crew, family and friends from the Lake, which makes it doubly special. They put in so much,” he said.

“Conspiracy’s crew is very happy for or us, they came and congratulated us.”

Serial winner, Conspiracy, won the last two titles in a row, but improving competitors came to this Championship determined to overcome her. 

Adams 10 win to Artemis

There was no beating Tracy Richardson’s Artemis. The Sydney yachtswomen and her crew were ‘on fire’ as sailors say, winning four out of six windward/leeward races. Artemis’ nearest rival, Geoffrey Charters’ No Friends, finished five points adrift and counted a win in its tally.

“We had a great day. We’re exhausted though. Yesterday was even better than today, we won all three races. That’s the beauty of one-design racing – you win some you lose some.

“We picked good lanes yesterday and executed manoeuvres well in wild conditions. We had difficulty finding the top marks. It pays to read the Sailing Instructions. Today was closer. A lot of fun. Our crew was incredible,” Richardson said.

Open Class

A trio of DK46’s went at it hammer and tong in Division 1. Yesterday Khaleesi (Rob Aldis/Sandy Farquharson) came out on top and was two points ahead of Nine Dragons (Bob Cox) and a further point ahead of LCE Old School Racing (Mark Griffith). Today, the order changed, with Cox taking the trophy from Griffith, Aldis and Farquharson were third.

Division 2 went to Garry Holt’s Let’s Get It On from Queensland. Holt’s always well sailed Corby 36 won five out of six races. This comes on the back of his recent Division 2 victory at RPAYC’s ORC Championship on Pittwater.

Performance Spinnaker

The Performance Class divisions undertook four Harbour passage races over the two days. John Amos’ Chainsaw was out on top in Division 1.

“The organisation is excellent at this regatta and we’ve had two fantastic days of racing,” Amos declared.

In Division 2, David O’Loughlin drove Siena to a win over Gary Carless’ Renaissance.

“I’m a huge fan of Middle Harbour Yacht Club and the other clubs that give their time for this massive undertaking. I’ve been involved in race management so completely understand how hard it is,” O’Loughlin said.

“We had an awesome day yesterday and today was great too. We had tactical and competitive racing today. The Harbour was very tricky. Teamwork skills were needed. My kids Sophie (22) and Jack (19) sailed with me. It’s great to sail with your kids.”

Division 3 went to Martyn Colebrook with Slac-N-Off from Dean Dransfield’s Escape.

So many divisions to cover, so in short, Ross Hennessy conquered the Super 40 class with his Ker 40 Mk3, Condor, with David Ross’ Kukukerchu second. Michael Nash and Maybe-J won the J/70 competition from Kary Gojnich’s Jabiru and John Crawford’s Innamincka won the J/24s. 

Gordon Ketelbey from the host club won the Super 50 division with Zen. Accolades to Ketelbey from the host club, he is a great supporter of races and regattas on the eastern seaboard. 

Organisers at Middle Harbour Yacht Club are thankful to the clubs that continue to support the running of the Regatta: Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, Sydney Amateur Sailing Club, Manly Yacht Club, Royal Australian Navy Sailing Association, Royal Prince Edward Yacht Club, Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, the Sydney Flying Squadron.

“The Club is eternally grateful for the numerous skilled and committed volunteers who help each year. We couldn’t do it without them,” MHYC Commodore, Rob Aldis commented. 

“Finally, we thank the over 1000 sailors who’ve come from all over NSW and interstate to take part and hope everyone enjoyed themselves,” the Commodore ended.

Full results and all information: https://www.shr.mhyc.com.au

Di Pearson/MHYC media

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