Hardy Cup - Intense competition on Sydney Harbour

Josh Junior leading David Chapman on up wind - Hardy Cup 2012
Aline Van Haren ©
Hardy Cup 2012, an ISAF Grade 3 under 25 match racing regatta, finally got underway today, Tuesday 7th February, on Sydney Harbour after Monday’s abandonment due to strong southerly winds.

Despite a light and flukey morning breeze and a later shift in wind direction the event produced intense competition between the young sailors from Australia and New Zealand and saw the completion of 11 flights.

New Zealand Josh Junior, with his Wellington Spirit team from the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club, came out at the top of the leader board with nine wins. His only loss was to David Gilmour, from Perth’s Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht, after the Kiwis sailed around a wrong mark when in the lead.

Jordan Reece (RSYS) leading Jay Griffin (CYCA) - Hardy Cup 2012
Aline Van Haren ©

Close astern on the leader board, with seven wins each, are Gilmour, Jordan Reece’s True Blue Racing team representing the host club, the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, and Jay Griffin’s Match Stick Racing team from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia.

The top four finished the day well in front of the other three teams: Tim Coltman (RPNC Youth Scheme, NZL) who had two wins, David Chapman (RSYS) with one win, and Ashlen Rooklyn (CYCA) who lost every flight.

'A very satisfactory day on the water…. it was good to be back in the Elliott 6s which we had sailed quite a lot a few years back,' said Junior who last week won the Warren Jones International Youth Regatta in Perth, sailed in larger one-design keelboats.

'We had a couple of penalties against us but we manage to clear them and still win the flights,' Junior added. 'However, most of our wins were close.'

In the first round-robin, Junior defeated his Australian rival Jordan Reece by just nine seconds but in their second meeting the winning margin was 19 seconds. His closest race was against fellow Wellington sailor Tim Coltman by just four seconds.

Reece described his position with seven at the end if the two round robins as 'very positive'.

'What worked in our favour early was keeping a close watch on where the Sydney Harbour ferries were heading, and also on the cruise boats,' Reece explained, with the racing area within Kurraba Point and Kirribilli Point where Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard has her Sydney residence.

Racing was restricted to this area because a large celebrity cruise ship was moored in Athol Bight, limiting use of the wider Rushcutters Bay/Athol Bight area of Sydney Harbour.

'We also realised the light morning breeze was bending to the left and we used that to our advantage…until the others woke up to it,' he added.

True Blue Racing Team all smiles - Hardy Cup 2012
Aline Van Haren ©

At the end of the first round-robin, Reece and Junior each had five wins apiece, with Griffin and Gilmour notching up four wins.

In the afternoon, with the breeze backing from the south to the south-east, Reece managed only two wins while Junior added another four wins to his total. Gilmour and Griffin each had three wins in the afternoon.

A moderate east-south-easterly sea breeze is forecast for tomorrow with race officers confident of completing a third round-robin to decide the four finalists for this 10th Hardy Cup conducted by the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron.

The Hardy Cup is one of the feature yacht racing events on the calendar of Australia’s senior yacht club which this year is celebrating the 150th anniversary of its formation in 1862.

The Squadron has already conducted the World Championship for the International Yngling class and later this month will host the World Championship for the International Etchells class.

Event website
http://www.sail-world.com/93674