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Winners declared after stunning weekend of racing at Sydney Harbour Regatta

by Di Pearson, MHYC 3 Mar 01:40 PST 3 March 2019
Melges 24's underway - Sydney Harbour Regatta 2019 © Andrea Francolini

Winners were crowned on the final day of the Sydney Harbour Regatta, conducted by Middle Harbour Yacht Club (MHYC), over three days for the Sydney 38s and the weekend for all other classes.

This is the 14th running of the regatta for MHYC, which is in the throes of celebrating 80 years. All competitors were flying Clean Up Australia flags from the backstays in support of the 30th Clean Up Sydney Harbour today. The late Ian Kiernan AO, who would be thrilled to see his legacy continuing to grow.

The Jackal new J70 NSW champion

Jervis Tilly has won his first sailing title as a skipper, sailing The Jackal to a four-point win over the ever-competitive Juno, owned by Reg Lord.

Tilly commented: This is my first title in this class – or any class – and my first year in the J70. This is the boat you want to have for this type of racing. It's strictly one-design, it leaves you to concentrate on the sailing aspect.

"The boat is lots of fun and technical to sail. We had six great races in tricky conditions and close competition. The fleet has improved a lot. The back end is finishing within one and one and a half minutes of the front end these days. "Reg Lord is heading off to the Worlds at Torquay in the UK at the end of August, and that will be good for bringing the rest of us up to standard when he gets back."

Chris Way all the way in last race to claim Super 12s spoils

Chris Way, renowned for his various boats named 'Easy Tiger', won the Super 12s on countback with his MC38, Easy Tiger VI. It was Way all the way in the final race, which nailed the top spot for him after three boats came into the final day within a point of each other.

Adrian Walters' Rob Shaw 11 Meter, Little Nico, finished second overall on equal points with Easy Tiger VI, finishing ahead of three other MC38s.

"It all came down to the last race – four boats could have won. Three were within a point of each other coming into today – us winning the final race was crucial. Dark Star (John Bacon) didn't have such a good day in the last two races, which cut her out of the running," Way said.

"It was very close racing and a good tune up for the MC38 Nationals in two weeks on Pittwater. We've been on a steep sail development program and we will have to keep it up for the Nationals, but the new combination seems to be working.

"Steve McConaghy was on tactics – he was with me in Pattaya (Thailand) last weekend when we won the Platu class at the Trans Worlds," ended Way, who is obviously on a roll.

Adams 10 NSW Championship goes to Powderhulk

Despite not being able to maintain a top performance in the past, according to Powderhulk's owner, Patrick Delany, he has defied his own statement and sailed Powderhulk to a NSW Championship win in the Adam's 10. Delany beat nearest rival, Backchat (sailed by gun offshore racer Tom Braidwood) by two points. Delany and Braidwood won two races apiece, but Delany, from MHYC, was the more consistent of the two.

"Rocky Balboa won by trying hard against the big fellas," a laughing Delany said. "It was a good day, but a day of two stories. The left side of the course had less wind, but great lifts. Downwind was a challenge as well; the lead swapped a lot.

"Backchat did very well today, it's sailed by the King of the North (Tom Braidwood) who brought his diamond glass down from the Lake (Macquarie) to fight to the dead. The Aussie champ (Delaney) overdosed on massages and green juice. I'm pleased to say we didn't choke – the little Aussie Battler from MHYC came through!"

NSW Cavalier 28 Championship goes to Scuttlebutt

Greg Purcell has won the Cavalier Championship over John MacLeod's Quambi by three points. Purcell said the racing was, as always, competitive.

"And both days the weather has been fabulous. It was a special event on the Harbour. It's always good to be out there. Could the weather have been any better – I don't think so – it was warm and sunny and the fleet sailed in great north-easterlies throughout.

"We had fun – the officials did a really good job, they always do."

Olympian wins Yngling NSW title

Triple Olympian Karyn Gojnich and her Evie crew have won the NSW Yngling title from Hamish Jarrett and his Miss Pibb. Jarrett has been the benchmark in the class in recent years, and Gojnich, who has represented Australia at the Games in the 470 and Yngling classes, did well to finish a clear six points ahead, counting a trio of wins and second places in her tally.

The 2019 Sydney Harbour Regatta included five Championship events - the Yoti Sydney 38 Australian Championship and NSW championships for the Adams 10, J70, Cavalier 28 and Yngling classes – not to mention all the other usual classes.

Ophir tops the Super 30 class by one and a half points

Sailing his Flying Tiger Ophir with wife, Sonia, and two daughters (21 year-old Dana a 470 sailor) and Jessica (an 18 year-old match racing sailor) Bruce Tavener has skated home to claim the Super 30 class by just 1.5 points from Matt Wilkinson's fast finishing Farr 30, Foreign Affair.

"It normally comes down to that," Tavener said. "We had a really good day yesterday - we knew we had to get our boat speed up and minimise the errors. We had good starts in first two races and picked the shifts nicely.

"Today we were OCS in one race, but went back and managed to recover, but we were on the back foot of course. We knew the handicap was going to start biting us, so we just put our heads down and sailed. It became a drag race in the end, plus we had a ship to navigate our way around. We are improving, despite our eight year-old main."

So many classes, we are unable to cover all, but it was evident that everyone who sailed enjoyed the regatta.

Volunteers numbered 85 from eight supporting clubs that conducted 94 races on two offshore and six inshore race areas over three sunny days of light to moderate north-easterly breezes. Entries comprised 160, taking in 950 competitors across 18 divisions.

The Sydney Harbour Regatta would not be possible without the continued assistance of: the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, Manly Yacht Club, RANSA, Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, Royal Prince Edward Yacht Club, Sydney Amateur Sailing Club and the Sydney Flying Squadron.

Thanks go to key sponsors Helly Hansen, Air New Zealand, Robert Oatley Wines and Abell Point Marina, along with supporting sponsors Mercure Resort Hunter Valley Gardens, Smooth FM, Club Marine, Vittoria Coffee and KeySun.

Full results and all information: shr.mhyc.com.au

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