The Audi Sydney Harbour Regatta is one of the biggest sailing events on the Australian calendar with more than 200 boats contesting the series across 20 different divisions, all vying for sailings top prize, a brand new Audi.
True Blue Racing sailing downwind in the Audi Sydney Harbour Regatta 2011
Yachts as big as 60 foot sail offshore whilst the bigger fleet of smaller classes sail within Sydney Harbour's Heads. True Blue Racing's Yngling team of helmsman Jordan Reece, father Alan Reece and twin brother Michael Reece were using the ASHR to test out their new set of sails and as a final preparations before the team heads to Lake Garda, Italy for the Europeans in May. The Yngling division saw racing take place between Sydney Harbour Bridge and Bradley's Head.
The first day of the event saw a building south-easterly breeze with racing starting in Atholl Bay. The first race of the series turned out to be the more interesting races across the series. AUS 60 took a sizeable lead after the first lap over the fleet but the real story came as the fleet rounded the bottom mark. With a gate option being layed as the race started the 11 strong yngling fleet came down to the leeward expecting a gate, but the race committee took the decision to remove of the gate markers meaning the mark had to be rounded to port. AUS 60 and the majority of the fleet including True Blue Racing who were in fourth position, took the mark to starboard but AUS 59, helmed by 2008 Australian Yngling Olympic representative Karyn Gornich rounded the mark to port.
Reece realised their mistake and turned back to re-round the mark but fell back to last in the race. On the provisional results it looked like a terrible start for True Blue Racing. Race 2 saw True Blue Racing in trouble early on again being OCS as the start gun went. By the time the team had restarted they were more than 80 metres behind the fleet but over the three lap course sailed through the fleet to finish in second. Another poor start by Reece saw them struggle for clear air up the first beat and from there couldn’t challenge the leaders to finish the race in fifth. As the fleet came ashore both AUS 59 and AUS 43 (True Blue Racing) lodged protests against the fleet for race 1. After a long protest hearing the jury did find in favour of AUS 59 and AUS 43 meaning the rest of the fleet got disqualified for not completing the course properly. The result lifted True Blue Racing from sixth to second overall, four points behind Gornich and her team.
Day 2 saw the wind come from the same direction but lighter in strength with an average of 10knots across the day. True Blue Racing started the day strongly to win race 4 of the series by 100 meters from AUS 59. Both teams applying the pressure on each other till the end. Race 5 turned out to be the teams worst race of the series as they fell out of phase early on leg one and couldn’t recover from there to finish a disappointing seventh. The final race of the series saw very shifty conditions with lead changes throughout the race.
True Blue Racing did well to read the shifts to finish third with AUS 59 back in sixth. AUS 59's overnight lead was still held but cut short with True Blue Racing finishing only 2 points behind. AUS 57 took the finial spot on the podium to finish third. 'We had a pretty good regatta, we were testing out our new set of sails which performed really well. Yesterday I really struggled to get the boat off the line and in clear air so that put us on the back foot coming into today’s heats but today the team sailed really well, we proved that we are very competitive and it was good preparation for us before we head to the Europeans in April' commented Reece after racing.
True Blue Racing's yngling team will continue to train hard before they travel to Europe in April whilst the teams match racing team will also take shape and train for their upcoming regattas in Europe at the end of May.