by Di Pearson
Sydney Harbour Regatta 2014 organiser, Middle Harbour Yacht Club (MHYC), is encouraging prospective competitors in Sydney’s largest regatta to enter now and save; the ‘early bird’ entry fee offer expires at midnight this Friday evening.
Sailing - Sydney Harbour Regatta 2013 - 9-10/03/2013, Middle Harbour Yacht Club, Sydney Balance
To be held on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 March, the ninth edition of the event attracted some big names in the first handful of entries. Darren ‘Twirler’ Jones entered the defending Melges 32 champion, 2 Unlimited, on behalf of owner and mate, Greg Prescott from Tasmania.
SAILING - Sydney Harbour Regatta 2013 - 9-10/03/2013, Middle Harbour Yacht Club, Sydney photo credit: Andrea Francolini 2 UNLIMITED
Jones, who recently moved from the Northern Beaches to farmland in South Australia, spends most his time competing in various classes internationally, can claim a Farr 40 world title and five Farr 30 world titles, including 2013.
Originally from Tasmania where Prescott lives, the predominantly Tassie crew won the Melges 32 title in 2012 (the first time the Melges class sailed at the Sydney Harbour Regatta), winning every race bar one, in which they finished second. In 2013 they made an emphatic statement by winning every race before going on to claim the Australian title the following week.
'We expect to see seven or eight Melges,' Jones said. 'We’ve had a pretty good lead-up winning the East Coast and NSW Championships late last year. In between, all the guys have been sailing on various boats to stay fresh.'
SAILING - Sydney Harbour Regatta 2013 - 9-10/03/2013, MIddle Harbour Yacht Club, Sydney photo credit: Andrea Francolini 2 Unlimited
Greg Prescott’s crew is pretty much the same as won the Sydney Harbour Regatta last year, and Jones says the crew 'will use the SHR to get the boat set up and get things right for the Australian Championship,' also to be hosted by MHYC.
'It won’t be as straightforward as in the past - it’s getting very tight in the class – everyone’s catching up in terms of performance,' he said.
Sailing - Sydney Harbour Regatta 2013, Middle Harbour Yacht Club, Sydney, photo credit: Andrea Francolini, Balance
Among the other defending champions entered are Mitch Miller (Rock Solid) in the Adams 10s; Peter Woodhead’s 2Xcess in the Super 30s; Bruce Tavener (Ophir) in the Flying Tigers; Jack Stening’s Stormaway (Ocean Passage IRC) and Paul Clitheroe with his Beneteau 45, Balance, this year entered in IRC Passage after claiming IRC Division one last year.
The SHR takes place over the Victoria, ACT and South Australia long weekend, so it is anticipated some may bring their boats across, while others will come fresh from Geelong’s Festival of Sails.
New yachts from NSW, Patrice (Tony Kirby) and Ichi Ban (Matt Allen) finished second and third respectively in IRC Division one at Geelong. Kirby had already racked up some great results after launching his Ker 46 in November, inclusive of winning MHYC’s Sydney Short Ocean Racing Championship (SSORC). It is likely both will be entries in the Sydney Harbour Regatta.
SAILING - SSORC 2013 - Middle Harbour Yacht Club, Sydney - 30/11/2013 ph. Andrea Francolini PATRICE SIX
Kirby was disappointed having to retire from the Rolex Sydney Hobart when Patrice suffered hull damage while settled into the top five overall. Allen got his Carkeek 60 to the finish in an impressive eighth place – and also finished eighth overall. The Yachting Australia president has kept the momentum going and hopes to add a win to Ichi Ban’s name in March.
On a roll since taking out the Sydney Hobart overall since winning the SSORC’s Lion Island Race in November, Darryl Hodgkinson is also expected to enter his Cookson 50 Victoire. The SHR is the ideal last opportunity for Hodgkinson and others to be race-ready for the NSW and Australian IRC Championships in April.
Ashore, competitors will enjoy the Club’s beach barbecue and drinks, along with live entertainment and fashion parades by Helly Hansen – what better way to celebrate the end of the summer sailing season.
Recommitting their support for the Sydney Harbour Regatta are leading water sports and technical apparel supplier Helly Hansen, Sydney Ports, Sydney City Marine and Robert Oatley Vineyards.
We take this opportunity to congratulate Bob Oatley, a respected businessman and yachtsman, who was bestowed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for distinguished service to the Australian wine and tourism industries, to yacht racing, and to the community as a supporter of medical research and visual arts organisations in the 2014 Australia Day Awards.
Middle Harbour Yacht Club officials are thankful for the assistance of the CYCA, MYC, RANSA, RPAYC, RPEYC, RSYS, SASC, and SFS in holding this mammoth event each year.
Event website: click here