Father and son to share Rolex Sydney Hobart race start

  • Racing
  • NEWS
  • By Jennifer Crooks
  • 14 Dec 2007 16:41:00
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Official starter Michael York and son Andrew York who will be sailing south on Alacrity

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As the sound of cannon fire rings out over Sydney Harbour, Michael’s son Andrew will commence his fifth race south, this time as a crewmember on Queensland entrant Alacrity.

Rolex Sydney Hobart starter Michael York, who has the honour of firing the starter’s cannon on Boxing Day, will have double the pride.

As the sound of cannon fire rings out over Sydney Harbour, Michael’s son Andrew will commence his fifth race south, this time as a crewmember on Queensland entrant Alacrity.

At 80 years of age, Michael is the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s longest serving member, joining the fledgling club in 1945.

Making his Rolex Sydney Hobart debut in 1946, Michael has contested 15 bluewater classics and has also been heavily involved in a number of America's Cup campaigns, including being the bowman on Gretel in Australia’s first challenge in 1962. He was also bowman aboard Gordon Ingate’s Caprice of Huon in Australia’s first Admiral’s Cup challenge in 1965 (they won all races bar the Fastnet).

Michael’s passion for sailing was passed onto his son Andrew at an early age. One of three children, some of Andrew’s first memories are of sailing trips and spending Christmas holidays aboard the family yacht at Broken Bay.

“We have spent most of our lives on the water and much of the conversation at home has always been about sailing. My wife is also a very good sailor and my other two children are known to dabble in the sport,“ said Michael York from the CYCA today.

“Being asked not only to start this year’s race, but to know I will also be sending Andrew off to Hobart is really special for me.

“The double reward will make it a day to remember,” said Michael.

Andrew made his Rolex Sydney Hobart debut in 1975, coincidentally the same year Michael hung up his Hobart sea boots after sailing aboard the 83-foot maxi Kialoa III. That year the yacht set a line hours record that would stand for 21 years.

Like his father, son Andrew has a competitive nature and is aiming for a divisional win in this year’s race.

“Matt Percy our skipper has spent the last year working on Alacrity’s racing performance. In 2006 we came third in our division. This year we intend to finish first,” said a confident Andrew York today.

“The boat is faster this year, we have a great crew and if the conditions work with us we will definitely cut down on time.

“It will be fantastic to know that when we are on the start line and we hear the cannon go, that it is dad firing it.

“It will make for a terrific race start,” said Andrew.

There are currently 84 yachts preparing for the 1pm Boxing Day start on Sydney Harbour with talk around the docks of a moderate reaching and running race ahead of nor’easterly sea breezes. - Anna Wallin

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