CYCA's Audi Winter Series has become Australia’s largest ongoing series, with fleets averaging 140 plus boats last year. Every Sunday morning, crews can head onto the water in one of the 10 proposed divisions, including two non-spinnaker, and one-design scratch division.
Another warm and beautiful sun drenched winter’s day greeted the 126 competitors in race nine of the Series, with moderate afternoon breezes kicking in and giving those slightly heavier boats in the fleet, podium places.
After a short AP due to lack of consistent breeze, the Sydney 38 fleet started off Point Piper at 11:40hrs, in a light 5-7 knot north nor’ westerly breeze on Course A. The remainder of the fleet started from 11:45hrs in a more northerly breeze which had dropped to 3-5 knots.
PRO Robyn Morton described today’s conditions as 'another lovely day on Sydney Harbour with a full course able to be sailed with the breeze picking up to 10-15 knots over the course of the afternoon. It got a bit noisy and congested on the start line when the main part of the fleet got away, but there were no incidents.'
For the non spinnaker Division K boats, what they might lack in size and spinnakers they make up for tough competition. Jon Short and Miles Bastick’s Farr 34 MRX holds a narrow one point lead in the overall series pointscore from Jeffrey Taylor’s C&C 41 Nemesis and the competition between the two boats has been nothing short of interesting.
Both hold four firsts on their respective scorecards, but the difference is that MRX’s holds two second places and one third, dropping her two worst results (fourth and eighth); whilst Nemesis holds one second and two thirds (dropping her worst results: fourth and fifth); meaning a nail biting finish to this divisional pointscore next week.
'It’s definitely down to the wire,' said MRX’s Jon Short. 'It has been pretty tough competition between us and Nemesis, but this is one of the nicest day’s sailing so far in this season. There was plenty of breeze, but not too much, and the sun was shining,' Short added.
For Taylor, it was his second consecutive win in the division and he was ecstatic. 'Last week was the first time since I had owned the boat that we scored a line honours (divisional) win, and boy did the crew celebrate!
'To win again today was icing on the cake. In the light wind start, we stayed low on the pin end of the line watching the tides. We got out into the channel as far as we could and were able to ease below some of our competitors at the first mark.
'A nice work up the harbour to the top mark, followed by a shift in the breeze near Shark Island allowed us to get our leeward rails wet and pick up a little more boat speed, giving us a nice run into Rose Bay' Taylor added.
'Capella gave us a great run for our money on the second lap – we were match racing each other all the way back down the harbour from Goat Island, but managed to get underneath her at Nielsen Park. MRX was also trying to chase us down but we managed to hold her off.
'I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the Audi Winter Series and the competition within our division. Some of our crew were sailing novices at the beginning of the season and I can see that their experience has grown every time they’ve competed and we now have a tight knit crew which makes it all the more enjoyable,' Taylor concluded.
Paul Clitheroe and his totally Balance’d crew aboard his Beneteau 45 did not let a mis-read of the sailing instructions thwart their Division A2 victory today. 'It’s a miracle,' Clitheroe quipped this afternoon. 'It was a gorgeous day out on the Harbour apart from getting lost a few times. We quickly realized our error on completing our first lap – not sailing through the gate; and promptly corrected the error.
'Anytime the breeze gets above 12 knots, it gives us big heavier boats a chance. Sinatara kept us on our toes today, finishing about a boat length behind us.' There was only 11 seconds between the two as they crossed the line. 'We’re using the Audi Winter Series as a bit of a warm up for the upcoming Gold Coast race,' Clitheroe added.
Another big heavy boat to win today was Andrew Wenham’s Volvo 60 Southern Excellence that took Division A1 honours, Wenham’s first win of the season. 'These were our type of conditions today,' said Wenham. 'We just pipped Vanguard on the line.'
Grant Pollock (L’Eau Co) won the use of an Audi A5 Sportback 2.0T multitronic for a week after winning Division F.
For the crew of Kelly2N, the opportunity to drive an Audi for the week was something to brag about to Michael Ewings, the owner, who was unable to grab the keys to the Audi as he was away in Malaysia on business. 'The Kelly2N crew certainly enjoyed the Audi A5 with trips to Bilpin, Audley inside the Royal National Park and Palm Beach. The car was fantastic; you hardly knew the engine was running.
'It stopped on a sixpence, the seats fitted like a glove, all the luxury inclusions are there and the turbo engine provided the power. Thank you to Audi for the use of the car and supporting the series. It was certainly a prize worth winning,' Chris Durman, crew member of Kelly2N said.
Other winners today were Quatre Quart (Rob and Sue Segaert) Division B; Solahart Rum Jungle (Scott Russell and Tony Johnson) Division C; Amante (Dennis Cooper) Division D; Jet (Justin Graham) Division E; L’Eau Co (Grant Pollock) Division F; Attitude (Robert Hunt) Division G; Katinka (Paul O’Connell) Division H; Elusive (Paul Billingham and Pete McGee) Division J; and The Goat (Bruce Foye) won the Sydney 38 Division.
With only one race and one drop to come into play, the current Audi Winter Series divisional pointscore leaders are: Quest (Bob Steel) Division A1; Ichi Ban (Matt Allen and Walther Lewin) Division A2; Mr Beaks Ribs (David Beak) Division B; Solahart Rum Jungle (Scott Russell and Tony Johnson) Division C; Eye Appeal (Michael Delaney and John Markos) Division D Skeeter (Sandor Tornai) Division E; Perfect Match (Alun Lewis) Division F; New Territories (James Francis) Division G; The Holy Gale (Jason Klaas) Division H; Elusive (Paul Billingham and Pete McGee) Division J; MRX (J Short and M Bastick) Division K; and Wild One (Larki Missiris) Sydney 38 Division. Full results and pointscore Sydney 38 results and pointscore CYCA website