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Centenary Regatta and State Keelboat Titles at Sandringham Yacht Club

by Mike Sabey on 2 May 2011
SYC’s Commodore Steve Richards (reefer jacket + tie front to left of the cake) with some of the 1,000 members and guests enjoying the sunset after party. Club Marine Centenary Regatta and State Keelboat Titles Alex McKinnon ©
Club Marine Centenary Regatta and State Keelboat Titles were held at Sandringham Yacht Club on Saturday, 30th April 2011.

In a picture perfect day on the bay, the Sandringham Yacht Club ran three separate courses designed suit everyone from the fussy grand prix crews down to the power boat fun rally drivers.

Kate Mitchell and Peter Blake’s Farr 52 Goldfinger put in a blinder of a day with two bullets and a second from the three races to strike gold, snaring the converted state IRC division title, which was one of their one day finest wins in recent times.

Nigel Jones who steered the nine year old Goldfinger for race three said, 'We set up our title victory in race one when we found the top mark first and sailed away a clear winner in the 10-12 knot breeze.'

The Royals based Archambault 31 Penfold Audi Sport dominated proceeding in division two, winning both state IRC and AMS titles, much to the delight of its skipper David Ellis.

His Club colleague Alex Gilbert’s Borresen Bb10 Surprise also scored two titles in division three, winning both IRC and AMS in great style.

At the after party David Ellis said, 'It was really great to see two Royals boats scoring four titles on a day that had plenty of light air challenges!

'I think this new season ending regatta with everyone gathering afterwards for a big party is a fantastic concept, which I expect will grow to be a not to be missed event at the end of each summer,' he added.

Commodore Steve Richards says 'The Club was absolutely delighted with the massive on water turn out from the hot shots right through to the recreational power boaters, who all stayed on for the presentations and wonderful after party.

'Next year's Centenary Regatta will be bigger and even better, so we call on all bay sailors to put it down in their diary as a not to be missed event.'

Bluewater veteran and dual Sydney-Hobart winner Lou Abrahams crewed aboard his Sydney 38 Challenge (10 pts) coming from behind in the final race to snatch the honours in the AMS division one by a slender one place, from Mark and Mike Welsh’s Beneteau 40 Wicked (11 pts).

Chris Fury and his Thompson 980 Sportscar syndicate sailed a brilliant light weather race in the northerly breezes that were replaced as the afternoon developed by a light south easterly, finishing 22 seconds on corrected time ahead of Stephen Hunter’s Hick 30 Zuten. And in performance division 2 Phil Spry-Bailey’s veteran S&S39 Magic took the honours ahead Andrew Telford’s Etchell 22 Never Enough .

In the J24s four race sprint series that saw some thrilling close quarter encounters that had spectators on the edge of their deck chairs, Adam Evans SDM (8 pts) finished with a first and two seconds being two places ahead of Hugo Ottaway’s brand new Bruschetta VI on10 pts.

In the Pursuit division that attracted 37 starters, Bob Reeves’ Mottle 33 Cassandra of Melbourne sailed through the front runners to take the gun holding off Mark Burton’s Jeanneau Redline which came home second just 27 seconds astern.

A large team of on water volunteer race officials including assistance from Royal Brighton YC’s committee boat Bluegum, put in a very polished performance despite the fickle breezes, delays and hundreds of craft racing.

The revered gold plated former Great Circle Race - Lady Nelson trophy was presented by Yachting Victoria as the new IRC and AMS division’s State Titles’ perpetual trophy.

The titles were a major part of the inaugural Club Marine Centenary Regatta, which marked the end of the summer season. The regatta attracted over 180 of the Bay’s top grand prix racers, serious inter club sailors, a fleet of Lasers plus a flotilla of power craft that filled the bay off Sandringham with a sea of white sails in sunny autumn ‘champagne‘ conditions.

The legends included 1999 around the world teenage sailing hero Jesse Martin together with Sydney 2000 Olympics gold medallist Mark Turnbull plus former Sydney to Hobart winners Lou Abrahams and Giorgio Gjergja with veteran former commodore Ron White.

Jesse Martin said, 'Coming back today after ten years, so many of the facilities have changed but the feeling and warm welcome from my friends here has not.'

Mark Turnbull added, 'This club is where I prepared for the Sydney Olympics and it always remains my sailing home. I’m proud to be part of its centenary celebrations.'

Eighteen Japanese from the Osaka HOKKO Yacht Club led by Vice Commodore Tsutomu Kondo flew in specially to celebrate SYC’s milestone and to race.

At morning reception in the Olympic lounge they were warmly welcomed by the Club’s Commodore Steve Richards, Bayside City Council Mayor Cr Alex Del Porto and Local Member the Hon Murray Thompson.

Commodore Richards invited the gathering to pause in silence to remember and honor the Japanese who died or were made homeless by the tragic events surrounding the March earthquake.

Cr Del Porto told the visitors, 'I have had reports of how gracious and friendly Osaka people have been towards Australians visiting their city.'

Former Vice Commodore of the HOKKO Yacht Club Tsutomu Kondo said, 'We appreciate deeply your support and thoughts following our earth quake. We congratulate Sandringham on reaching its centenary and thank you for having us visit.'

The Osaka visitors borrowed two of SYC’s Beneteau yachts to race in the afternoon regatta, and made a grand sight tacking through the fleet, finishing eighth and ninth in the performance division two.

At the end of the day after nearly a thousand competitors formed up on mass on the deck for a mass Centenary Regatta group photo followed by the trophy presentations and huge sunset party with dancing until late into the evening.

The Club's history dates to 1911 when a handful of locals formed the Sandringham Yachting and Angling club near the Hampton Pier. Within a year it changed its name to the Sandringham Yacht Club conducting its first races during the summer of 1913-14. One hundred years on with his Royal Highness Prince Phillip as its Commodore in Chief, it has grown to be Australia’s premier club with nearly 2,600 members enjoying a world class marina, off the beach dinghy centre and state of the art club house facilities.

State IRC champions:
Division 1 Gold Finger (Peter Blake and Kate Mitchell)
Division 2 Penfold Audi (David Ellis), Div 3 Surprise (Alex Gilbert)

State AMS champions:
Division 1: Challenge (Lou Abrahams)
Division 2: Penfold Audi (David Ellis)
Division 3: Surprise (Alex Gilbert)

Other divisions:
Div 1 Sportscar (Chris Fury)
Div 2 Magic (Phil Spry Bailey)

J24s: SDM (Adam Evans)

Pursuit: Cassandra of Melbourne (Bob Reeves),

Powerboat Fun Rally: Eye Candy (Andrew Knight)

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