Strong westerly winds blew away the winter cobwebs as the combined fleets of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia's Grant Thornton Short Haul and Short Ocean Pointscore Series' took to Sydney Harbour today.
Jon Short and Miles Bastick's Farr 34 MRX notched up
their first IRC win for the season in the Grant Thornton Short Haul
Pointscore Series (SHPS). "It was a really good breeze that
definitely blew away any cobwebs left from the Winter Series.
"We don't normally see a howling westerly in the Harbour during
summer - it's something we normally see in winter. It was a bit
rough off Shark Island - I saw 10 foot waves," Short said.
Race Office Robyn Morton sent the 14 boat Short Haul fleet on
their course seven which took the fleet from the start line just
off Shark Island up the Harbour to Manly and then to Clarke Islan
and Cannae Point before finishing in Watsons Bay.
"At times throughout the day, I was happy that we didn't have a
reef in, but then other times wished we had. Our little boat had a
real boat speed that exceeded 10 knots," Short added.
"It was great to see some new boats in the IRC division and
there was some great competition. It's good to get a win on the
scorecard early in the season."
Lady Ann (John & Ann Kirkjian's Jarkan 38) placed
second behind MRX with Quatre Quart (Rob and Sue
Segaret's Beneteau 44.7) third. There was only one second
separating Quatre Quart and Wax Lyrical (Les
Goodridge's X50) on line with the latter the victor.
"We weren't sure if we'd won or not - there was barely a nose in
it," Les Goodridge said.
"We had a couple of issues that included shredding the reef line
and a few other small breakages, but we're more than happy
when there's plenty of breeze.
"There were some big bullets of breeze on the way down to Clarke
Island as well of a couple of big funnels of breeze which made
winds vary slightly. All in all we seemed to revel in the breeze -
it was a nice brisk start to spring racing," Goodridge
The strong winds did drag the finish mark closer in to Watsons
Bay with Robyn Morton noting that "the finish mark had decided to
go to Watsons Bay Hotel for a late lunch".
Patrick and Roberta Easton's Beneteau Oceanis 50
InCahoots had a fantastic race, winning
the PHS Division of the Grant Thornton SHPS.
"After a really bad start, we recovered, hanging in with the
rest of the fleet and had an enjoyable race," Patrick Easton
"It was a day that really suited our boat - she's set-up for
heavy weather and it was a reaching course. We just had to wind the
boat up and off she went.
"It's the best heavy weather races we had - 30 knots of breeze
and the boat was under control! Great crew work," Easton added.
Paul O'Connell's 32 year old Cole 35 Katinka finished
second to InCahoots with Warren Grounds' Jeanneau 40.3
Mr Bojangles third.
Last season's rivalry between Quest(Bot Steel) and
AFR Midnight Rambler (Ed Psaltis, Bob Thomas and Michael
Bencsik) showed no sign of letting up with Quest gaining bragging
rights today taking the trifecta of line honours, IRC and PHS
division 1 wins, in the first race of the Grant Thornton Short
Ocean Pointscore race.
"It's good to see we won and so did the Swannies," Steel said
"Last season we didn't do the first race of the series and it
came back to bite us," he said, when referring to Quest's
second place in the 2011-2012 SOPS series. There was only 0.6
points the difference between Quest and AFR.
"We sailed conservatively today - not doing too much out of the
box and I did wonder if we'd done enough," Steel
"The conditions suited our boat and we had a bit of luck.
Conditions today tested crews out but all in all it was a good day
on the water.
"It's great to beat Ed by 6 seconds on PHS - that doesn't happen
very often," he added.
AFR finished second to Quest in both divisions
with Robin Hawthorn's Beneteau 47.7 Imagination rounding
out the IRC and PHS Division 1 podium. Ed Psaltis reported that
they had a couple of issues onboard that included having problems
with their runner winch, which went over the back of the boat.
"I'm happy with the result - it was a tough race," Hawthorn
said. "It was just beautiful outside of the Heads with a reasonably
consistent breeze that gusted up to 32 knots and stayed within the
20 -30 knot range all afternoon.
"We had a few problems with the spinnaker gybe on the last run
but we managed to recover from that to finish strongly.
"Congratulations to Bob (Quest) and Ed (AFR) on their results -
it was planing speeds for them today. Both those boats are
extremely well sailed," Hawthorn added.
King Billy, skippered by Bill Wright in owner Philip
Bennett's absence, won IRC Division 2 and placed second in PHS
Division 2 behind Marigot Bay (Merryl Semple) with
Limelight (Alan Husband) third.
The 16 boat fleet of the CYCA's Grant Thornton Short Ocean
Pointscore Series, sailed an offshore windward/leeward course east
south ease of South Head with a bearing of 265 degrees.
The next race for the Grant Thornton Short Haul fleet will be
the Night Harbour race next Friday 5 October commencing at 1830hrs,
whilst the next race in the Grant Thornton Short Ocean Pointscore
fleet is on Saturday 13 October.
here to view Short Haul Race Results & Series
By Jennifer Crooks