by Di Pearson
The Sydney Harbour Regatta 2013 will mark the first race of Grant Wharington’s newly revamped and lengthened super maxi, Wild Thing, at Middle Harbour Yacht Club from 9-10 March.
Grant Wharington’s (Maxi Wild Thing) in 2011 before rebuild.
'This is our first race since lengthening the boat to 100 feet and making other modifications, so we’re very excited,' Wharington said from Queensland this morning, referring to himself and some of his crew who are regulars.
Wild Thing is just one of a strong field of grand prix IRC entries expected on the start line for the eighth running of NSW’s largest annual regatta.
'It’ll be fantastic to go out and race against some of the other great IRC boats,' Wharington said, adding: ' We've got a couple of big years planned for Wild Thing.'
Following on from MHYC’s regatta, Wharington’s program for 2013 includes the Club’s Property Industry Foundation charity regatta, then the Brisbane Gladstone, Sydney Gold Coast and Brisbane Keppel races. Telcoinabox Airlie Beach and Audi Hamilton Island Race Weeks are also on the agenda. In 2014, he will compete on the Mediterranean and Caribbean circuits.
Marcus Blackmore’s all-conquering TP52 Hooligan, which was beaten on count back at the Festival of Sails in January, costing him his Audi IRC Australian Championship crown, is among the high-profile IRC entries.
The Sydney yachtsman and crew, along with the other top TP52 crews, are racing in the inaugural TP52 Southern Cross Cup at the end of this week in Melbourne.
Among the myriad 24 classes/divisions, including production boats and one-designs, Middle Harbour Yacht Club’s signature event will also host the 2013 Sydney 38 Nationals, in which in excess of 15 boats are expected to compete. The Nationals will commence one day earlier than the main event, on Friday 8 March.
Entries include Mark Griffith’s Old School, convincing winner of the past two CYCA trophy one design series’. Some of Griffith’s main rivals from the 2012 event are already entered, including: Outlaw (Alan and Tom Quick) and Whisper (Bruce Ferguson), second and third at last year’s nationals, along with Thirlmere (Sally Warneford/Larry Jamieson) and The Goat (Bruce Foye).
Interstate entries filled the winner’s podium in many classes last year, including Greg Prescott’s Melges 32, 2 Unlimited from Tasmania. The mix of Tassie and Sydney crew, thrown together late in the peace, produced an almost flawless scorecard that revealed five wins and a second in the six-race series. The lure proved irresistible and the Tasmanians have signed up again.
With Melbourne and the ACT enjoying a long weekend during the regatta, many high-profile entries are expected, including those from the Melges 24 and 32 classes.
Victoria’s Penfold Audi Sport was one of many interstate winners in 2012
Middle Harbour Yacht Club Commodore, John McCuaig, commented: 'We are very excited with the quality of entries to-date and are again confident of delivering great racing and competition for participants in what is Sydney’s premier regatta event.
'I would encourage anyone who has not yet entered to get their entry in and be a part of this great regatta,' he added.
Take a step back in time with the replica historic 18 footers and classic yachts. ‘The 18’s’ crews even wear identical rugby jumpers to those of the original crews and are just as competitive. The classic yachts will feature the likes of Tiare Tomaszewski’s Maris, originally owned by her famous grandfather, marine artist Jack Earl, and named for Tiare’s mother.
Maris will be joined by the likes of Carl Sriber’s beautiful timber S and S 37, Suraya, and others of its calibre, many of which are about to go on show at the Australian Wooden Boat Festival in Tasmania.
On the final day, starting from 4.30pm, competitors will rock the night away to the legendary award-winning country band, The Wolverines, ahead of the official prize giving. The band is world renowned, even performing for Australia and UN troops and the US Marines in the Middle East, amidst war.
The fun group, whose vocalist/drummer John Clinton is also an avid yachtsman with his Beneteau, ‘Holy Cow’, also sails major events on the east coast of Australia raising money for children’s charities along the way.
The Sydney Harbour Regatta could not be held without the valuable assistance of the CYCA, MYC, NCYC, RANSA, RPAYC, RPEYC, RSYS, SASC, and SFS.
The Sydney Harbour Regatta is sponsored by leading water sports and technical apparel supplier, Helly Hansen, and supported by Sydney Ports, Robert Oatley Vineyards and Sydney City Marine.
2 Unlimited Seven Star in top form last year
Electronic entries close at 2400 hours on Friday 22 February, so enter now via the official event website.
Sydney Harbour Regatta 2013