Prince Philip Cup 2013 – Big Dragon fleet on Botany Bay
by Peter Campbell on 16 Jan 2013
The Prince Philip Cup 2013 has come to a great end as squadron member Matt Whitnall powered Akula to an overwhelming victory, besting 25 other International Dragons from New South Wales, Tasmania, and Western Australia on Botany Bay last week.
Prince Philip Cup winner Akula powering downwind to victory. © Andrea Francolini Photography http://www.afrancolini.com/
Matt's consistent performance was to the point he did not need to sail on Friday - which was a good thing as his toddler son had covered the house in honey and Matt spent the day cleaning up ...so much for glory!
Matt and his crew of of Rob Bishop and Christian Brook, the Squadron Club Captain, sailed a near faultless series, notching up four wins, a second and a third to finish with a net 17.4 points under the old Olympic scoring system.
It gave Akula a huge winning margin from runner-up Whimsical, helmed by Gordon Ingate, in itself a remarkable effort by the octogenarian yachtsman, a past Prince Philip Cup, America’s Cup, Admiral’s Cup and Olympic yachtsman. Whimsical, with Gordon’s crew comprising David Giles and Bruce Hollis, won race six of the regatta and finished with 35.0 points.
A close third overall, on 35.4 points, was Sidewinder, helmed by another past Olympian, Carl Ryves, along with Dick Sargent, his co-Olympian in the Flying Dutchman class, Kevin Burman and Lindsey Burman.
Squadron members and their boats filled six of the top ten placings in the fleet, with with Martin Burke’s Riga, helmed by Ian McCrossin, fourth on 47.7 points, followed by Hoolign (Marcus Blackmore) on 42.7 points and Shapes (Wolf Breit) on 53.1 points. Anthony Armstrong helmed French Connection into ninth place on 83.7 points.
The regatta was a huge success with no days lost. In fact, only one race was delayed in either the seven races of the Prince Phillip Cup or the Archie Robertson Memorial lead up three races. The interstate view was that Botany Bay is among Australia's leading race courses with true breezes, no power boat or Ferry traffic and the ability to run long windward legs of around 2nm
Thursday saw one race in nor’wester in 14 knots. Again some strong shifts made it interesting and saw Gordon Ingate win from Marcus Blackmore who improved consistently throughout the regatta as he builds momentum for a European Campaign starting in Cascai next month.
Friday’s race started in around seven knots at 11am and slowly build to mid teens shifting left all day, with Matt Whitnall out of the race cleaning up honey, Wolf Breit won after a hard fought battle with Ian McCrossin on Riga.
Winner of the Charles E Davies Memorial Trophy for the winner of race one of the Ted Albert Memorial Race Series was Wolf Breit in Shapes. The overall winner of three race series was Akula which also added the Jack Linacre Memorial Trophy to its collection as winner of the first race of the Prince Philip Cup Australian Championship.
The Botany Bay Yacht Club, a entirely volunteer club, worked well with the Pro Rob Lowndes with Apro Daryl McManus adding local colour to Rob's superb race management.
BBYC members made the 66 Dragon sailors who invaded their club most welcome. The Dragon Association thanked them by presenting a model of a Dragon to Commodore Brian Christenson and his club.
The Sydney International Dragon fleet is now one if the youngest in Australia, with new owners and a highly active program which includes the National Dragon Circuit, made up of all the States.
Attendance and success in these Super States is now recognised by a National Ranking List ( part of the global Dragon ranking list). Gordon Ingate presented the Wingnut Trophy to the first winner of the Australian Ranking List for 2012, Sandy Anderson from West Australia.
Sandy, skipper of Linnea, races successfully on the Super Circuit as well as having a active international program. She placed seventh overall in the 2013 Prince Philip Cup.