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Great Veterans Race 2019 at Cruising Yacht Club of Australia

by Peter Campbell 6 May 08:36 PDT 4 May 2019
2019 Great Veterans Race - Caprice of Huon © Hamish Hardy

Last Saturday was a day for wooden boats and nostalgia on Sydney Harbour as 24 former Sydney Hobart Yacht Race competitors and some of their original skippers and crew contested the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia's Great Veterans Race.

The CYCA runs the race each year for yachts launched before or in 1975 and which have contested a Sydney Hobart, together with invited classic yachts.

Twenty-four old wooden yachts (one at least 75 years old) and some veteran skippers, took part in the Great Veterans Race last Saturday, which was also the CYCA's Founders Day 2019, marking the 75th anniversary of the establishment of the club.

Past line honours winners competing this year included Nigel Stokes's Fidelis, Bruce Gould's yawl Margaret Rintoul and the Halvorsen brothers' Solveig, skippered by Annie Lawrence, along with overall winners Love and War (Simon Kurts) and Anitra V (Philip Brown).

Other notable competitors included Mister Christian, with Sir James Hardy joining owner David Salter, the former Admiral's Cup winning yacht Caprice of Huon (David CHamptaloup), Maris (Tiare Tomaszekwi), Kintail (Peter Stern), Southerly (John Murray) and Defiance, skippered by Nicole Shrimpton, the driving force in the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron's successful challenge for the historic Sayonara cup.

The two hour-plus pursuit-style GreatVeterans Race, with no spinnakers, saw the one-time Tasmanian yacht Nike win Division 1 for Sydney Amateur Sailing Club member Sam Hunt. Suraya (Carl Scriber) finished second, Fare Thee Well (Clive Gregory) third.

Nike, a sturdy Sparkman and Stephens designs, was campaigned in the Sydney Hobart Yacht Races of 1974 and 1975 by the prominent Hobart yachtsman CE (Charles) Davies, a director of Davies Bros Ltd, the then proprietors of "The Mercury" newspaper.

In December 1979, Davies and his delivery crew were lost at sea when his newly launched yacht Charleston disappeared on the voyage to Sydney for the Southern Cross Cup and Sydney Hobart Race. No trace of the five crew or the boat from the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania was ever found.

Division 2 went to Solveig, designed and sailed by the famous Halvorsen brothers, which took line honours in 1953 and won on handicap the following year.

Skippered by Annie Lawrence, also from the SASC, Solveig won from Boongoown (Eddy Vinks) and Maris (Tiare Tomaaszewki) with 93-year-old Gordon Ingate steering the 29-footer Jasner into fourth place.

Ingate skippered Jasnar in the 1950 Sydney Hobart, buying back the yacht three years ago and restoring the 75-year-old, Wally Ward-designed 29 footer.

Most of the yachts that contested the Great Veterans Race are expected to contest the CYCA's Sydney Hobart Classic Regatta in early December as part of the 75th anniversary of arguably the world's greatest long ocean race.

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