Sydney Harbour Regatta entries rolling in

Fast pace action from last year’s regatta.
Entries for the 2012 Middle Harbour Yacht Club’s Sydney Harbour Regatta continue to flow in, and already 115 boat owners have signed on the dotted line for the seventh edition of the annual event, but with entries closing this Friday 24 February, competitors are being urged to enter now.

Enter online at the official site where the Notice of Race is also available. To entice prospective entries to the regatta, which will be held over the weekend of 10-11 March, Mariner Boating Holidays has generously donated a trip for two in the 2013 ‘Italian Job Yacht Rally’, valued at $15,000 (including international airfares and domestic transfers).

Winners will take part in the fourteen day rally along the Amalfi Coast in Italy. Entry is open to everyone competing in this year’s Sydney Harbour Regatta, the only stipulation being the winner must be at Sunday’s presentation when the prize will be drawn.

With a strong focus on the one-design classes this year, all the best have come out of the woodwork. Warwick Rooklyn (Bandit) and Kevin Nixon (Accru) are the headline acts in the Melges 24.

Rooklyn, a sailor of note, won a second successive Melges 24 title in January with a first class crew, while Nixon last week won the inaugural Melges 24 South Australian Championship, crewed by his family; wife Glenda, daughter Bonnie (23) and son Daniel (21).

'Warwick (Rooklyn) will be our main threat at the regatta,' says Nixon, who explains: 'He’s been trying to get us up to speed - he’s really helped us – so I feel a bit guilty when we do beat him.

'He has a full-on racing crew and I have my family, so it makes it a bit awkward when we get close to him on the racetrack,' adds Nixon, a former 18ft skiff champion, who sailed various boats from 1981 until 1996, including Colorbond as skipper and finishing with crewing on Ella Bache for Michael Walsh.

'I got into the Melges because it sails like an 18 downwind – I like the whole concept,' adds Nixon, whose son Daniel is sailing sheethand on Beko in the J.J. Giltinan 18ft skiff championship right now, after he sailed the Warren Jones match racing regatta with Jay Griffin, so should be in good shape for the Sydney Harbour Regatta.

Greg Prescott and Kim Williams with 2 Unlimited and Rock N’ Roll will be hard to beat in the Melges 32, but one can never underestimate the considerable talents of Darren ‘Twirler’ Jones in the ‘32’s (2 Unlimited), who has won the Mumm 30 and Farr 40 Worlds’ as crew and coach and is contesting the Etchells Worlds this week to warm-up.

In the Adams 10, Ben Nossiter, whom triple Olympian son ‘Nocka’ inherited his competitive spirit from, is back with Sirius. From the host club, Nossiter has not missed the regatta since its 2006 inception and is ‘the man to beat’, having just won the Nationals, and with six races remaining, has already done enough to win a record 15th Gun Boat Trophy from MHYC.

SAILING - Audi Sydney Harbour Regatta 2009, Middle Harbour Yacht Club, Sydney (AUS) - 07/03/09 - ph. Andrea Francolini SIRIUS - Sydney Harbour Regatta

With his regular crew including mainstays, Jimmy Vaughan and Stuart McKinlay, who have helped Nossiter to many victories for over 20 years, the MHYC member is revved up and ready. 'I love the Sydney Harbour Regatta; the competition is always the best. I expect Let Loose (Paul Saunders) and Rock Solid (Mitch Miller) to give me a hard time,' he said.

'Contentious is also hard to beat. She sank at the Nationals, but Brian (Lees) is trying hard to get her repaired in time for the regatta,' Nossiter said.

Of his track record, Nossiter says: 'I’ve always had a good boat, good sails and good crew; it’s not rocket science!'

Roger Hickman will switch from an SB3 sports boat and into an Etchells for the regatta. Both boats are called Sun Tzu, and yesterday, ‘Hicko’, a multi-talented sailor, finished sixth overall at the SB3 Nationals in Tasmania, so should be primed for the Sydney Harbour Regatta.

The IRC series is already shaping up to be an interstate rivalry humdinger with Queensland’s Reichel/Pugh 66, Black Jack (Peter Harburg), and Victoria’s Shogun V (Rob Hanna) ready to take on the NSW yachts; Hooligan (Marcus Blackmore), Loki (Stephen Ainsworth), The Philosopher’s Club (Peter Sorensen) and Exile (Rob Reynolds).

MHYC Commodore Julie Hodder and Peter Sorensen aboard his entry The Philosopher's Club

Harburg’s Reichel/Pugh 66 will be skippered by Mark Bradford, the Rolex Sydney Hobart line honours winning helmsman who is contesting the Etchells Worlds this week. At the Sydney Harbour Regatta, Bradford will once again come up against Loki, the overall winner of the Hobart.

The TP52’s; Hooligan, which has won almost every event she’s entered in the past two years and Hanna’s newer Shogun V, which took the wind out of a few sails in her first Australian regatta in December are in form. MHYC entrants of note are Sorensen who has twice won the Audi IRC Australian Championship, and Reynolds, a former SSORC winner and 2011 Australian IRC Championship runner-up.

Sydney Harbour Regatta 2011, Middle Harbour Yacht club, Sydney HOOLIGAN

Entries are open to IRC classes which will sail windward/leeward races and an ocean passage race; One Design- Farr 30 and 40, Adams 10m, Flying Tiger 10m (incorporating the latter’s Australian Championship), Dragon, Endeavour 26, Etchells, Folkboat, J24, Melges 24 and 32, SB3, Yngling (incorporating NSW Championship); Sports Boat (incorporating ASBA NSW Championship), Super 30; Production and the Historic 18ft skiffs.

PHS classes will include Ocean Passage, Spinnaker, Non Spinnaker, Cavalier 28 (incorporating NSW Championship) and Classic and Gaff Rigged Classics Boats; so there is a category for all.

Middle Harbour Yacht Club will be providing a full weekend of fun shoreside entertainment for competitors and their guests, with a beach party BBQ post-racing both days.

Atomic (on Saturday) and our own ‘Wolverines’ (Sunday) will provide the dance music. Band member of the latter, John Clinton, is also entered to race with his ‘Holy Cow’, so will be warming up the vocal chords as they go around the race track.

With electronic entries closing at 2400 hours Friday 24 February, prospective competitors have only four days left to sign on, so enter online now at the Official Website where all pertinent information can be found.

The Sydney Harbour Regatta is sponsored by Helly Hansen and Sydney Ports Corporation. Helly Hansen, which has supplied great prizes for the regatta, will put on a fashion show on the final evening after racing.