Saturday, 30 April 2011
Audi Winter Series 2010 fleet near Middle Head. Image copyright Audi/Andrea Francolini.
by Jennifer Crooks
Owner Nicholas Jones will be hoping his yacht Amon Ra lives up to her namesake and brings the sun out on Sunday for the Great Veterans Race, conducted by the Cruising Yacht Club o Australia, marking the commencement of the Audi Winter Series 2011.
Amon Ra, the Egyptian sungod and is also the name given to Jones’ Farr 1104 that is still in itsoriginal 1978 configuration. The boat was campaigned in the 1997 Sydney Hobartwhere she placed 13th in the PHS Division, sailing under the race name of Globus Food Packaging. Today, Amon Ra is largely sailed inshore.
In today’s yachting world of carbon fibre masts and fibreglass hulls to have a yacht in its original configuration is rare. “Other than a few replacement sails, some cosmetic and structural repairs, the boat is as originally designed and built with the small fin keel, large fractional rig and IOR styling. In their day the 1104s were considered as radical and lightweight, but by today’s standards they are far(r) from it,” Jones said.
The non-spinnaker Great Veterans race marks the opening of the Audi Winter Series 2011 and is sailed in a relaxed but competitive environment for the historic Windward Trophy. The morning often starts at the CYCA clubhouse with many ‘old salt’ stories relived and friendships re-juvenated. Then it’s off to the start line, for a lively and noisy race with tactics being called from the helm and old rivalries coming to the surface.
Last year’s winner Nigel Stokes’ classic Knud Reimers designed Fidelis won’t be back this year to defend her title however, Mr Christian (David Salter) and Maris (Ian Kiernan and Tiare Tomaszewski) who placed second and third overall respectively will make their return. Other famous Sydney Hobart Veteran yachts include The Rum Consortium’s Davidson 42 Phillips Foote Witchdoctor, a veteran of 27 Hobarts, Chris Dawe’s Cole 43 Polaris of Belmont (26 Hobarts), Peter Stronach’s Mercedes IV, Simon Kurts’ Love & War and David Champtaloup’s Caprice of Huon.
Alex Whitworth, who was recently awarded the Blue Water Medal for his circumnavigation of the world via the Northwest Passage West to East by the Cruising Club of America, will compete in his Brolga 33 Berrimilla, in which he undertook the historic circumnavigation.
The opening Ladies Day race for the Jill McLay trophy will also be sailed on Sunday, with 60 entrants across four divisions – two spinnaker and two non-spinnaker. Stephen Ainsworth has entrusted the helm of his RP63 Loki to daughter Jessie for the day, with Pip Lavis in control of the flying toothpick known as UBS Wild Thing, and Sky Reidy, last year’s ladies day division A winner returns on Never A Dull Moment to defend her win in the spinnaker division.
Competing in the non-spinnaker division, Michele Colenso, who has completed in two Rolex Sydney Hobarts onboard the Oyster 55 Capriccio of Rhu to raise awareness of breast caner will helm the Murray 60 Sydney, with last year’s Division 1 runner-up Pam Messenger returning aboard Sydney 38 Utopia and Fenella Bastick will take the reigns of the Farr 34 MRX, owned by her husband Miles and Jon Short.
Racing commences at 11:30 hrs on Sunday 1 May with the Bureau of Meteorology is predicting south to south westerly winds of 10-15 knots with possible showers.
Competitors in the Audi Winter Series 2011 attended the launch cocktail party for theseries at the CYCA on Wednesday evening with three lucky competitors each winning an Audi to drive for the weekend.
The Audi Winter Series pointscore starts on Sunday 8 May with ten pointscore racesfor nine spinnaker, two non-spinnaker and a Sydney 38OD division. The point score series will consist of 10 races, with up to three drops allowed, if all ten races are completed. The opening and closing Ladies Day events do not count towards a yacht’s overall series pointscore.
Aswell as great Musto gear for the top three in each division, all divisional place getters go in the draw for the chance to drive a brand new luxury Audi A5 Sportback for the week.
Series block entries must be lodged prior to race four with casual entries being accepted throughout the season.
Audi Winter Series