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Doyles Sails - Onfire

Four things that matter with the Vicsail Pittwater Beneteau Cup

by John Curnow on 28 Apr 2013
Heading uphill for the first time and yes, it was competitive. - Vicsail Pittwater Beneteau Cup John Curnow ©
If you collect a large group of Beneteaus in the same area, you’re pretty much assured of four things. First, there’ll be some very civilised greetings and perhaps a glass of bubbly. Next there’ll be an equally civilised race, starting not too early in the day. Additionally, there’ll be the pre-requisite party with great times and lively band at the end.

Yes, the Vicsail Pittwater Beneteau Cup was on again, with 2013 being its 13th rendition. Fully delightful, sunny skies and something like 25 degrees is a wonderful way to start. An eight-knot Nor’easter, which then climbed in towards 15 by race’s end made for an even better time.


Shane Crookshanks and the Vicsail team always put on a collection of terrific prizes and giveaways, as well, which creates a fourth and very specific reason to be a part of this particular Beneteau gathering.

From early morning, when sailors started to appear and coffees with breakfasts started to roll out of the kitchen with increasing speed, you could sense that it was going to be a good day. The joie de vie of the participants was certainly going to make it so.


Rob Brown OAM, the Starboard Trimmer aboard Australia II, with the campaign team currently enjoying the 30th anniversary of their monumental win, was once again Master of Ceremonies for the day. 'It’s always good here on Pittwater. This is my home club, Shane is a good friend and this is a great opportunity to see all the people with varying degrees of sailing level and skill, having a race and good time. The social aspect of the Beneteau Cup shows how to have a healthy get together of people with a common interest. I’m really glad to be a part of it all.'

During his introductory speech, Rob offered these three items for the skippers and crews to remember. '1. Don’t go where the breeze is not. 2. Practice some timed runs at the line, so as to arrive with pace and be on time, not over. 3.Be kind to each other out there, because I know you’re a competitive bunch.'


Shane Crookshanks said of this particular Beneteau Cup, which had the honour of holding the additional title of Lucky 13, 'It has been fantastic to have an event grow like this one. We have had up to 35 boats and some 250 participants in some years. This year we’ve got the most breeze we’ve seen in years, so naturally, everyone is pretty happy about that.'

'Certainly a highlight has been the fact that we have had great sponsors from day one, when Ivor Burgess was instrumental in creating the Metal Mesh Cup, as it was known then. The original trophies are now the perpetual ones we are able to present to each year’s victors in both the No Specials and Spinnaker divisions. In more recent times, David Boekemann with J. L. Lennard and Zanussi has been continuing the tradition. This is truly awesome support from great people.'


From out on the course Shane added, 'Just stunning conditions out here on the majestic Pittwater. We had a light start in maybe eight knots and at the moment we have 12, with a few holes and the area’s legendary flukiness, to add some to the Nor’easter’s efforts. Everyone is having a good time and no one is drifting as they work up and down between the area near our base at the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club and the top marks up off Palm Beach . I would really like to thank Alfred’s for their Race Management team and the volunteers who are such a big part of making this event happen.'


The right side of the course was favoured after start and then it was the turn of the lefties in the building breeze, but overall, working the shifts was key, as many paid huge prices with enormous tacking angles if they chose poorly.
The Spinnaker Division boats were held up on an Answering Pennant for a few minutes and then Alibi, the first, First 40 into Australia, got serious about their pace and would stay that way for the whole race to go on and collect the gold. Two 40.7’s, Seas the Day and Bombolo would take out the minor places.

For those preferring not to have to concern themselves with the complications of a spinnaker, there was the No Specials division, which was actually the larger of the two. The Oceanis 423, Still Dangerous, was a popular winner, with the Oceanis 381, Le Mika in second and then the Oceanis 37, Vamonos in third place.


Ivor Burgess took Still Dangerous out for her last Beneteau Cup, as he will soon collect his new Oceanis 45. What a great commemoration it was then to win, for the first time no less, the regatta he started all those years ago. This would go some way to explaining why he was so chuffed.

Capitalising on a great start and first work, Burgess commented, 'I hope we can be even more dangerous out on the track when the new boat arrives. I do feel proud that the Beneteau Cup is still going after all these years and that the original trophies are still being presented. One of my team at my old business spent ages building them and he hadn’t set foot on a boat before. We have had some great crews and boats win these trophies as part of the overall journey and then there have been the fantastic parties along the way, too. The regatta is just a wonderful day.'


One soul to certainly get behind the 2013 Vicsail Pittwater Beneteau Cup, is Graham Raspass from SailTime. 'We’re delighted to be here in force with three vessels, in this our third year. Congratulations to Shane and the Vicsail Team for continuing to hold such a wonderful event, which we really do get something from. Glad it is this weekend and not last, when it was just a little less stunning and would have been nowhere near as enjoyable.'


Brendan Hunt is the Principal of the Vicsail Group and was on board the sole Lagoon catamaran that joined in the fun. Her owners had just taken delivery of the new 400 S2 in the last week and everyone could not think of a better way to have a shakedown cruise than at one of these terrifically fun events. 'The sun always shines in Pittwater. We call it Club Vicsail up here because it is a joyous way of life, so today’s weather could well take it from perfect to heavenly', commented Brendan. Personally, I think they may have to start calling it Club Alfred’s, perhaps.

'There have been wonderfully supporting sponsors involved here, from Ivor originally to David Boekemann now. These people are fantastic owners and are so loyal to what we are offering as an ownership experience. Many thanks to those two in particular, as well as all the owners who have participated over the years.'

The Beneteau Cup on Pittwater is proudly sponsored by J. L. Lennard, the engineering, food, graphics and packaging machines group, along with a collection of minor, but equally as important organisations. See vicsailpittwater.com.au or call 02 99990944 to talk all things Beneteau with Shane Crookshanks. You’ll definitely enjoy the experience, just like all of today’s participants.

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