The record 267 crews contesting the annual Audi Sydney Harbour Regatta faced a more relaxed second day as conditions were more user-friendly. The winners of each of the 20 racing divisions have been decided and one, the winner of the final Audi Drive Challenge on Monday 3 March, will take home a new Audi A4, due for release in Australia this April.
The winner will be announced at the official Prizegiving Ceremony at MHYC on Monday 3 March 2008.
The IRC Divisions sailed on the slightly more difficult offshore course off South Head today. Bob Oatley’s Wild Oats X with Mark Richards skippering staved off a strong challenge by rival and Audi Hamilton Island Race Week winner Yendys (Geoff Ross) to take first place by four points. Wild Oats’ two wins today changed the scoreboard. Melbourne entry Living Doll (Michael Hiatt) was a solid third, just one point away from Yendys.
Division 2 spoils went to Stephen Ellis and his well-sailed Splash Gordon crew, four wins from six races too much for second placegetter Le Billet (Bill Ebsary) from Pittwater who finished on 16 points, seven behind the winner. Third place went to Ian Box’s Toybox.
“We had a good day. The big swell this morning dropped away throughout the day and the breeze was at 15 knots – very different to yesterday which was more about how much risk do you take? Today was pleasant – easy on crew work, but hard on tacticians. Our fleet behaved well too – there were no recalls,” said Middle Harbour’s past Commodore, Ian Box.
Peter Sorensen and his crew on Philosophers Club have confirmed their strong position as a serious contender for the Audi IRC National Championship with a solid seven point win in Division 3 today. Out of the six races sailed, Sorensen won four. He was the co-leader of the Audi IRC Championship coming into this series and has made it clear he would love to own an Audi.
Second in Division 3 was Anthony Dunn’s Equinox, with Geoff Pearson’s Arajilla third.
The Sydney 38 One-Design Division came down to a protest between the top two boats; Rush (Cameron Miles) and Transfusion (Guido Belgiorno-Nettis).
This is the second time this year Miles has found himself in the Protest Room after provisionally winning a Sydney 38 regatta.
Transfusion came into today the leader following two wins yesterday, then notched up a further win, a second and a third today. Rush’s scoreboard for the six race series read 3-2-2-1-1-2 for a two point lead, then came protests by both boats involving contact with each other.
In the first protest the jury disqualified Rush and subsequently Transfusion withdrew their second protest and won the series.
“We had a bit of a throw together crew,” said tactician Tom Slingsby. “I’ve sailed with Bobby Wilmot for a few years since the Cydon days, but not so much with Carl (Crafoord) and not at all with the other guys until this weekend. We’re really happy with our win, especially against Cameron (Miles). He runs a very professional crew.
“John (Herman Winning) did a great job steering the boat. He was on the boat as crew and when Guido couldn’t make it today, John was the natural choice to steer. He did a great job; the waves were big and there was a bit of chop – you had to chop wood upwind. Daniel Turner was put on the bow in 25 knots yesterday – his first time. We did really well under the circumstances. “
On the opportunity of winning the Audi A4, Slingsby said: “Audi is a sponsor of the Australian Sailing Team, so I get to drive one pretty regularly. They’re great cars and as I keep telling people, I’m just a poor sailor! I’d love to win the car. Guido is very generous to give us that opportunity.”
Belgiorno-Nettis commented: “I thought “we don’t really need a car.” The guys work hard, they put a lot into sailing the boat. If we win, the crew names go into a hat and whoever comes out wins.”
Rush’s disqualification lifts The Tavern (Shane Guanaria) up from third place into second and Rush moves down to third overall.
During the day, breezes increased from around 5-8 knots up to 15 knots on flatter seas. As Tony Bates, owner skipper of Viva La Vita in PHS Division 2 stated: “Yesterday was horrible; too gusty with too many dramas and disasters.”
“By comparison, today was fantastic,” said Bates who received the Audi A4 Avant after winning Cruising Division 2 and then taking out the Audi Drive Challenge at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week last year.
“We’re delighted with Audi’s involvement in this regatta, it adds more sparkle,” said Bates who is a Chairman of host Middle Harbour Yacht Club.
Former America’s Cup sailor Jervis Tilly (Bushfire) won the six-race Etchells pointscore by three points from yesterday’s leader Nick Kingsmill (Vincero) and Mark Johnson (Roulette), so finds himself heading to Eastern Creek Raceway tomorrow.
In the all Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron Dragon fleet, Martin Burke (Riga) overcame Adrian Dunphy (Shiva) and Robert Alpe (Toogara) by a sizeable six and 15 points respectively over six races.
Champion sailor Doug McGain and Tony Reynolds (Code Violation) skated home by two points in the J24 keelboat from champion West Australian skipper Sean Wallis (Kaotic), with a further three points to Edward Cox (Duck for Cover) in a six race series .
Yngling World silver medallists Krystal Weir/Karen Gojnich/Angela Farrell went the distance in the Yngling keelboat to win over Hamish Jarrett’s Pour Quoi crew by two points, with a further six point gap to Jordan Reece’s Meridian crew in the all Royal Sydney YS six race series.
As part of the Australian Sailing Team, Weir and crew already know the value of driving Audi cars due to Audi’s sponsorship of the team. With former skipper Nicky Bethwaite, the crew also faced off in the challenge three years ago and were disappointed not to win the car.
Scott Lamb and his crew on Trickerie Bay did all that was required to come up trumps in the Cavalier 28 division. Three points away, Richard Pearse’s Dancelot was second, with Brian McConaghy (U2) third in the five race series.
In the PHS divisions, Matt Wilkinson (Out of Sight) won Division 3 by two points from Greg Mason (Sinewave) with James Francis (Mind Over Matter) third.
Andrew Mathers’ Petite Bateau won Division 4 from Lyndsay Brown’s Dreamtime and David Lowe’s Fat Lady Sings, while Ben Stoner’s Weene was triumphant in the PHS Classic yachts from Doug Sturrock (Wind Flyt) and Ian Kortlang’s Antara.
Onboard seventh placegetter Saga, owner Greg West commented: “We’re the forgotten tribe – we haven’t seen our division on the video at all! But seriously, we’ve had a fantastic regatta. We’ve seen the highs and lows of sailing!
“We had a better day yesterday; we revel in heavier winds – Saga’s a Currawong 30 and she’s heavy. What we’ve enjoyed most is being able to compare ourselves to other similar boats. We had good competition and everyone behave well,” West laughed.
Ben Nossiter with Olympian son Anthony aboard his yacht Sirius overcame the competition for honours in the Adams 10 division by two points from Jim Curtis (Another Dilemma), with Mark O’Connor (Jungle Juice) third in a five race series.
The Sydney 32’s also had five races and after a tough weekend long battle, If (Martin Cross) was declared the winner from Reality (John Groves) after the two finished on equal points. Despite some pushing and shoving on the start line today and having to restart one race, Wirrajurnd (Andy Kearnan) stayed strong to finish third overall.
In Sports Boat Division 1, David Mundell and his Echoes crew brought home the bacon by a lone point from Guy Stening (Optimum), with a Bitter & Twisted David Price claiming third place, two more points away.
Seventh placegetter, Geoff Masters from Melges Asia Pacific commented: “We had a great day. We got three line honours wins and a third on line – not sure how we did on handicap though.
“Today was ideal for us. We enjoyed the consistent breeze and the close competition with the other guys. We had really good runs with big kites up. We were all racing our boats rather than surviving like yesterday. We had four good tight races and that meant we could all enjoy ourselves and that’s what life’s all about,” Masters said adding: This is a well organised regatta with a great committee.”
In Division 2, the spoils went to Andrew Waugh (Zippier) with 2008 Skandia Geelong Week winner Chris Williams (Team G.U.E.) second trailing the winner by two points and Matthew Fisher Greengate third.
The Commodore of Middle Harbour YC, Martin Hill and wife Lisa (Estate Master) made a last minute run to the front today to claim first place in PHS Division 1 by three points to Scott Russell (Rum Jungle) and Rob Reynolds Pla Loma IV in a four race series.
“It was a very enjoyable day – nice to step back from the intensity of Farr 40 One Design racing,” said Martin Hill.
Onboard Hill’s Sydney 38, Olympic sailor turned the tables on his coach. “I gave it back today, I ordered Victor around, I gave him heaps and I enjoyed every minute of it,” said 470 crew Malcolm Page, of coach Victor Kovalenko.
Division 2 went to Neil Padden’s Wailea by eight point to Donald Swanson’s Just Quietly. Ian Uther’s FKP Mean Machine was third.
On Division 2 Beneteau Ticket of Leave, owner Campbell McKay commented: “We did well yesterday and did alright today. We had a solid start and a wobbly finish! All the other beach balls (Beneteaus) were behind us, so that’s always a good look.”
Paul Billingham (Elusive) took homes the PHS Non-Spinnaker trophy from Andrew Wenham sailing an old favourite Inch By Winch and Graham Jennings Blue Manna.
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