Great Veterans and Ladies Day Race, the traditional opening of the Audi Winter Series was conducted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia on Sydney Harbour. The Harbour returned to its picturesque best today with mild winter temperatures and sun shining, after a week of rain.
Gusto wins the Great Veterans race 2011 - Great Veterans and Ladies Day Race
Phillip Denison’s Cavalier 39 - Salthouse Gusto won the Great Veterans race and will have his name engraved on the historic Windward trophy. This year is Gusto’s first Great Veterans race having ‘come of age’ recently and qualifying by having competed in the 1989 Sydney Hobart.
'We’re very surprised to come away with the win today – a great result for the boat’s first Veterans race,' Denison said. 'We benchmarked ourselves against Southerly and we stayed with her for most of the race but she got away from us in the last leg beating us over the line by 4½ minutes.'
Simon Kurts’ Sparkman & Stephens-designed 47, Love and War, secured the line honours win in a race time of 2hrs, 0 minutes and 43 seconds, with David Champtaloup’s classic Caprice of Huon second on line seven minutes later.
Amon Ra, Nicholas Jones’ Farr 1104, lived up to her namesake – the Egyptian sun god bringing out the sun for the fifteen competitors in the Great Veterans race and 54 yachts in the Ladies day race. She was to finish second overall to Gusto with Don Mickleborough’s Southerly taking third.
Don Micklebourough's last race as owner of Southerly - Great Veterans and Ladies Day Race
An emotional Mickleborough said at this afternoon’s prizegiving that 'today was my last day as the owner of Southerly. I’ve owned the boat for 53 years of her 73 years and it was a pleasure to sail her today just as I did when I first purchased her. We did very well against the ‘modern boats’ in the race with our crew that had 138 Hobarts between them.'
'I now hand Southerly to her new owners Rob McCauley and John ‘Sherro’ Sheridan,' Mickleborough said on the dock this afternoon whilst making sure that he farewelled his old girl in style.
All yachts sailed on their respective course A which had them sailing to a laid mark near Garden Island before heading up the Harbour to the Junction Bell mark and back though the gate and up the Harbour again before finishing in Point Piper.
Principal Race Officer Robyn Morton got the fleet away on time in a breeze that was somewhat flicky just prior to the start but settled into a 10-12 knot southerly breeze.
Julie Plant helmed David Mason’s Wauquiez C45 Europa to victory in Spinnaker Division A with Jenifer Wells in charge of Roger Hickman’s Farr 43 Wild Rose second and Elena Wise on Michael Selby’s x-412 Cyrene 3 third. 'This was my first time at the helm of Wild Rose during a harbour race, even though I’ve helmed her before on deliveries, and I’m pleased with the result' Wells said.
Chiming in ‘Hicko’ said 'On our boat on Ladies Day, the ladies have all the important positions at the front & back of the boat whilst the rest of us idiots are in between.'We couldn’t have asked for a better way to start the Audi Winter Series,' Hickman added.
In Spinnaker Division B, Merryl Semple onbard Margiot Bay secured the win with Juliet Pegler (Perfect Match) second and Lindsay Golenia (Sabre) third.
Lisa Wilkinson helms Out of Sight to win in Non spinnaker division B of Audi Winter Series opening ladies day - Great Veterans and Ladies Day Race
Lisa Wilkinson now has bragging rights over her husband Matthew after winning non-spinnaker Division B in their Masrm 920 Out of Sight. 'I’ll have my name engraved on a CYCA trophy before my husband, and he has been trying to get his name on one for a number of years now.'
All Ladies Day race divisional winners have their names engraved on the Jill McLay Ladies day Trophy. Jill was a long-term employee of the CYCA and died from cancer. She is still missed by many members of the Club who have fond memories of her.
'I kept yelling at the crew to get on the rail and hike harder and they took it all in good spirits doing a fantastic job,' Wilkinson added. Katherine Camilleri finished second onboard Primal Farr with Rachel Mason third on Wallop.
Maureen Mitchell led Arthur Lane’s Beneteau Oceanis 46 Inkonkoni to a win in Non Spinnaker Division A despite being short-handed. 'We had a good clean start on what was a very busy start line. The crew worked with me well and there were no errors which lead to our great result,' Mitchell said. Sharon O’Connor helmed Livewire into second place with Bless Sicat in charge of Tony Kirby’s X-412 Patrice Six third.
The team onboard Perfect Match were the lucky winners of the luxury Audi A5 Sportback for the week.
The Audi Winter Series pointscore starts on Sunday 8 May with ten pointscore races for nine spinnaker, two non-spinnaker and a Sydney 38OD division. The pointscore series consists of 10 races, with up to three drops allowed, if all races are completed. The opening and closing Ladies Day events do not count towards a yacht’s overall series pointscore.
Click here to enter the Audi Winter Series today. Series block entries must be lodged prior to race four with casual entries being accepted throughout the season.
For Great Veterans race results click here.
For Opening Ladies Day results click here