Audi Sydney Harbour Regatta day 1 and for the the 321 boats onwater today, lumpy seas and gusty breezes made for some interesting sailing across the many divisions.
Warwick Rooklyn’s Bandit in the One Design Classes Division - Audi Sydney Harbour Regatta
Harbour dwellers had to deal with shifting breezes and some swells on the courses near Sydney Heads.
The Flying Tigers class, who were sailing alongside South Head, were led around the race course by Hello Tiger, Balmain Tiger and Ophir for most of the day. Hello Tiger is currently leading the fleet overall after three races, followed by Ophir and Balmain Tiger.
Current Men’s 470 World Champions, Mat Belcher and Malcolm Page, who are sailing with Olympic Bronze medallist Ian Brown and 12 year old Finn Gilbert aboard One Design Sailing are leading the SB3 class after winning all today’s races. For Belcher, today was his first outing in an SB3 and he revelled in the close racing.
'We had a fantastic day out. We led to every mark and really enjoyed our day,' said Belcher.
'We had 12-16 knots from the south to south-east, typical conditions for Sydney harbour at this time of year. The breeze shifted up to 40 degrees and died mid-way through the day but came up again.'
The Etchells class, which was also contested off Bradleys Head, experienced similar conditions. Alinghi America’s Cup sailor Will McCarthy, three-time Olympic sailor Anthony Nossiter, and past 18 foot skiff world champion Chris ‘Rissole’ Cleary had a mixed day aboard ¬North Sydney. After finishing first and second in the first two races, gear failure just after the start of the third race saw them sailing without a headsail for some time.
'They were very messy conditions,' said McCarthy after racing.
'The race committee did a great job setting courses in such shifty conditions and across the fleet we had some very tight racing.
'Unfortunately our third race result will hurt us in the overall placings as we don’t get a drop.'
Winner of the 2008 Audi car at this event, Ben Nossiter, is again competing in the Adams 10 division in Sirius. After three races today Sirius is in third place overall behind Jungle Juice and Rock Solid. Racing in this division is set to be close tomorrow as Jungle Juice and Rock Solid are proving close competitors, both having won races today.
The historic 18’ Skiffs were also competing on the harbour today and revelled in today’s conditions. The sentimental favourites were out in force with 10 boats making up the fleet, and most were clothed in their traditional ‘team jerseys’.
For full results in each of the 23 divisions: Sydney Harbour Regatta website.
*The Audi Sydney Harbour Regatta is the largest, competitive keelboat regatta in Australia. It is presented by Audi and hosted by Middle Harbour Yacht Club and offers an Audi A1 to the winner of the Audi Final Drive Challenge.
Inaugurated in 1996, racing is open to all Australian and International yachts, from IRC and PHS racing and cruising classes to the very popular international classes and is conducted on the waters of Sydney Harbour and offshore for the IRC grand prix yachts.