It was another spectacular sun drenched winter’s day on Sydney Harbour for the 50 competitors in the Closing Ladies Day race of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Winter Series.
Iceman was onboard Nocturne for today’s race.
Conditions were variable with the earlier starters commencing racing in 4-5 knots of mostly westerly breeze that flicked either side of west on the compass dial and dropped to 1.5 knots as the back markers crossed the start line.
Within an hour of racing starting, yachts were bobbing like corks as the breeze glassed out. Race Officer Robyn Morton reported that 'yachts are pointing every conceivable direction trying to find breeze and the tide has just turned. Nobody’s moving anywhere – spinnakers have just gone limp. That’s Winter sailing for you.'
Shortly after 1pm the breeze picked up again but only to three to four knots and Morton opted to shorten the course. As predicted the breeze swung around to the north east and those that had found breeze managed to keep moving and those that hadn’t were forced to try and catch up and make gains where possibly.
Pirates, an Ice Man lookalike from the movie Top Gun and a few other colorful crews were seen out on the Harbour today but it was the pirates onboard Krakatoa that were triumphant in non-spinnaker Division B.
'We were one of the last boats to start and we staggered for about one and a half hours before we found a whisper of breeze and managed to move against the tide,' ‘Captain’ Brenda Wilkins said. 'It was pure sailing from then on.'
In keeping with the pirate theme 'we bolted cannons (albeit toy ones) to the side trying to down our quarry as we headed to the finish line,' Wilkins added with a pirate argh. 'Thanks to Don Young for his superb coaching and the pure patience of the crew (scurvy dogs they are).'
Jan Newland was at the helm of the smallest boat in the fleet, Sea Rug Hoo Ha (Peter Howes’ Halvorsen 25), and was the winner of Division B (Spinnaker). 'We lucked out at the end of the day. We got caught in no wind but then managed to be on the right side of the Harbour as the breeze filled in,' Newland said.
'The crew of four all worked together well, having some fun along the way and I was happy with our performance.'
Michelle Gilfoyle took total control of Orbit and won Division A Spinnaker.
Michelle Gilfoyle fitted perfectly into the crew of Orbit, Matthew Brown’s Shaw 10, it was her first time on the boat, she only found out she was helming via text message on Thursday evening after meeting the owner last weekend and she secured the Division A (spinnaker) win. The crew nicknamed her 'Mich the Kiwi' and the fun and laughter continued all afternoon.
'Matt handed full responsibility of the boat over to me and he and the crew were fully supportive of every call I made,' Gilfoyle said.
'The light airs were frustrating. We had to do a penalty turn at the first mark, as we just glanced the mark coming in on a slow tack and after completing the turn in no air, we had a starboard set to Bradleys Head.
'At the Bradley’s Head mark, we did a buffalo girl – I saw the breeze coming out of Manly and went right – a few of the crew thought I was nuts but they hadn’t seen the breeze. We got into a tacking duel with Calibre heading up to Junction Bell.
'We managed to get ahead of Calibre at Nielsen Park, after we got some great angles on our gybes. We extended our lead at Shark Island and held off Calibre to the finish,' Gilfoyle added
Lauren Walsh’s feminine touch gave Trim the win in Div A Non Spinnaker.
It was a double win for Lauren Walsh: she helmed her aunt’s Shaaron Walsh’s Ns 369 Trim to a win in non-spinnaker Division A, and Trim was drawn as the lucky winner of the Noakes Group Lift & Stand package.
'It was very exciting but also frustrating,' Lauren Walsh said. 'On the second leg I think we were going backwards at one point (no breeze and the tide changed). Once the wind picked up, my determination and perseverance kicked in and we worked our way around the course.'
'Trim must like a feminine touch – we won the Opening Ladies Day and now we’ve finished the Winter series with a win on Closing Ladies Day,' Walsh added.
All divisional winners will have their names engraved on the Chris Lee memorial trophy. The trophy is dedicated in memory of Christine Lee who was a Vice President of the CYCA Associates Committee, a member of the House Committee and actively sailed with her late husband Geoff.
All divisional winners and placegetters in the CYCA Winter Series 2013 will be congratulated on their season performance at the series prize giving, Friday 19 July, at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia. Tickets are available to purchase online via CYCA website until 12noon Monday 15 July.