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Gweilo crowned 2020 Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore Champion

by DJ Munro 21 Dec 2020 21:12 PST
Gweilo raced a stellar season to become the 2020 Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore Champion © Carlo Borlenghi

Matt Donald and Chris Townsend's TP52 Gweilo has certainly made the most of a tough year, the team on the grand prix racer giving stand-out performances to secure overall victory in the 2020 Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore.

While the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA) was unfortunately forced to abandon three of the five Audi Centre Sydney BWPS races this season, including the series-opening Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race and series-closing Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, the Club was able to conduct two races to make up this year's pointscore.

The 86-nautical-mile Bird Island Race kicked off the season in early November with an exciting drag race. Many of the competing teams hadn't raced each other in hot blood for many months (if at all!), and it was Gweilo which reigned supreme.

"It was wonderful to see the competitors back out on the water once again," said CYCA Commodore Noel Cornish AM.

"Bluewater racing is in the DNA of our Club and watching the fleet match race the 86-nautical-mile Bird Island course was exhilarating. The Gweilo team did a fantastic job to come out on top in a stellar fleet."

Then the 180-nautical-mile Cabbage Tree Island Race in early December tested competitors over a longer racetrack and difficult wind conditions. While the two super maxis upfront enjoyed plenty of breeze throughout their race, the conditions eased considerably as the race continued for the smaller boats. It was Gweilo which was best of the rest.

With two extraordinary performances, the Gweilo team finished atop the 2020 Audi Centre Sydney BWPS IRC handicap table, handing them Division 1 and the overall victory and Jack Halliday Perpetual Trophy.

"The Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore is an historic competition with many great names etched onto the Jack Halliday Perpetual Trophy," said Commodore Cornish.

"With some remarkable performances throughout the year, Matt Donald, Chris Townsend and the whole Gweilo team are very deserving of this victory. I look forward to seeing them racing again next year."

Excelling in IRC Division 2 was Carl Crafoord's Cookson 12 Sail Exchange. The team took home first place in the Bird Island Race and followed up with a third in the Cabbage Tree Island Race, which saw them soar to IRC Division 2 victory.

Also making up the Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore are three other pointscores which award the overall winners of each remaining handicap. For the ORCi handicap, teams compete in the Cape Byron Pointscore and are awarded the Cape Byron Perpetual Trophy. For the PHS handicap, teams compete in the Tasman Performance series for the Malcolm Halliday Perpetual Trophy. Finally, all boats compete for the overall line honours victory in the Bass & Flinders Series for the Pat Cooper Trophy.

CYCA Past Commodore Matt Allen's Botin 52 Ichi Ban was too good in the ORCi handicap, claiming both Division 1 and the overall victory, handing them the Cape Byron Perpetual Trophy. ORCi Division 2 went to Sail Exchange as the team enjoyed victory across multiple handicaps this season.

Alex Seja's Jones 40 Arch Rival reigned supreme in the PHS handicap taking home Division 2 and the overall victory, and the Malcolm Halliday Perpetual Trophy. CYCA Director Dr Sam Haynes' TP52 Celestial clinched the PHS Division 1 win.

Sean Langman's RP69 Moneypenny was the best of the big boats, racing home for some top end finishes and securing the Bass & Flinders Series and the Pat Cooper Trophy.

For the first time in the history of the Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore, two-handed entrants raced alongside their fully crewed counterparts. Rupert Henry's J/65 Burning Palms consistently led the pack to claim Two-Handed line honours and IRC, while Jiang Lin's X 43 Min River was victorious in the ORCi and PHS handicaps.

While these teams, and of course the full 73-strong fleet unfortunately won't be competing the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race this year, the CYCA is pleased to announce the race will continue as a Virtual Regatta. Kicking off 1300hrs 26 December 2020, registered competitors sail the 628-nautical-mile race in real-time, using current weather data & their best navigational skills, all from the comfort of their own home. Visit rolexsydneyhobart.com for more information and to register.

For those looking for a real-life sailing fix, the CYCA will soon be conducting the newly announced Summer Offshore Series. Consisting of three Category 2 races held between February and March 2021, the Summer Offshore Series sets the stage for a fantastic end to the 2020-2021 sailing season. Visit cyca.com.au for more information and to enter.

As we look forward to 2021, the CYCA will once again look to hit the water for the full six-race Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore commencing with the Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Yacht race Saturday 31 July 2021.

"We hope the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race Virtual Regatta and Summer Offshore Series will keep sailors engaged with bluewater racing," said Commodore Cornish.

"I'm especially excited for the return of the Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore next year with the Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race.

"For now though, I wish all our Members, competitors and the wider community a Merry Christmas, joyous festive season and a happy and healthy New Year. I'm looking forward to being back on the water with you again soon!"

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