by Jennifer Crooks
David Salter’s Swanson 36 Mister Christian has won the Great Veterans Race from Mercedes IV and Fidelis. The Great Veteran’s Race, is the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s annual tribute to those classic Sydney Hobart Yacht race yachts that sailed south in the 1940s, 50s, 60s and 70s and marks the opening of the CYCA Winter Series.
Kathleen Gillett, Jack Earl’s famous double ended ketch that competed in the first Sydney Hobart Yacht Race in 1945, and a yacht that is synonymous with the CYCA, competed for the second in a row and finished 11th on corrected time. 20 yachts started the race today and 20 yachts finished the shortened race.
“It’s great to come and see all these boat that have made a contribution to the Sydney Hobart yacht race over the years. It’s terrific to see them in action,” Robert Moore, crew member, Mister Christian said.
Nigel Stokes’ classic Knud Reimers designed 75sqm yacht Fidelis enjoyed the conditions taking line honours in a time of 1 hours, 5 minutes and 25 secs from Simon Kurts S& S 47 Love & War with three minutes and 35 seconds separating the two boats. The two finished (on line) in reverse order in last year’s race.
“We had a very good start in light weather which is very precious as you can sail in clean air and set your own tactics,” David Salter said. “We were pretty surprised to hold off Mercedes IV and Caprice of Huon for a couple of legs.
“It got interesting around Clarke Island because the wind dropped out. We thought that there would be a shore breeze on the eastern side and there was – it took us right back up the front.
“From then on, it was a matter of sailing safely and constant trimming,” Salter added. “Before every race, the crew all have a glass of Sir James champagne and some pistachio nougat as a bit of a nerve tightener – the mixture of the two is our winning streak,” Salter joked.
Mister Christian was built for the last Peter Kurts in 1965 and has completed four Sydney Hobart races and numerous other races on the eastern Australian coastline. Mister Christian now races with the Sydney Amateur Sailing Club and recently won two pointscores in the SASC’s classics division.
Peter Stronach’s Mercedes IV finished second overall behind Mister Christian with Fidelis third.
The non-pointscore Ladies Day race for the Jill McLay trophy is also sailed in conjunction with the Great Veterans race as part of the opening of the CYCA Winter Series. The Ladies Day race is a tribute to Jill who was a long-term employee of the CYCA and died from cancer.
Fun and colour was the name of the game on board many of the yachts competing in the Ladies Day race. The crew of Never a Dull Moment were instantly recognisable in their yellow and navy striped crew shirts with five ladies taking control of the boat in the absence of owners Colin and Denise Wilson, with the team on Inkonkoni (Evelyn and Arthur Lane) once again donning their pink shirts as a nod to Ladies Day.
Race Officer Robyn Morton got the fleet of 36 Ladies Day and 20 Great Veterans race competitors underway in a light mainly southerly breeze that flicked east and west of south.
All yachts sailed on their respective shortened course A which had them sailing to a laid mark near Garden Island before heading to Bradleys Head, the Junction Bell mark and back to Shark Island before finishing in Point Piper.
Krissy Ukena had a great start on the Elliott 7 Chameleon which led to her winning Division B non-spinnaker “This is only my second time skippering in a race. We had a good run up to Manly and were following Broulee for a long while but managed to overtake them at the last mark.” Alice McCormick (Applejack) finished second with Bridget Canham (Broulee) third.
Timing was everything for Amanda Hall who was at the helm of the MS369 Trim and pushed it to the front in Division A non-spinnaker. “We were in the right spot at the right time – I had a good feel for the boat. We managed to catch an advantage when the wind shifted and started to come out of Woollahra. We were one of the boats to pick it up and it just pushed us up the front," Hall added. Lynne Smith (Sextant) finished second with Vivienne Macmahon (Marloo) third.
Cec Conlon took the helm of Never a Dull Moment for the first time and secured the Division A Spinnaker win. “It was a great day to be out on the Harbour – such a change from yesterday’s rain. We went round very well – gentle and steady. We had a good battle with Mahligai all day.” Jenny Kings (NSC Mahligai) finished second with Jane Smith (UBS Wild Thing) third.
Grace Franki skippered Saltshaker to a Division B spinnaker win from Bryony Gregory (Devils Lair) and Barbara Maunsell (Sinewave). Grace is a former winner of the Jill McLay trophy (2007) and was not able to attend the prizegiving this afternoon as she had to return to her HSC Latin studies. All divisional winners will have their name engraved on the Jill McLay trophy.
NSC Mahligai was the lucky winner of the Noakes Boat & Shipyards weekly prize. All winners and placegetters in each division will be placed into a draw each week of the CYCA Winter Series and one lucky winner will be drawn at random at the weekly prizegiving.
The traditional Parade of Sail and Blessing of the Fleet preceded the start of the Great Veteran’s Race, with 14 yachts built prior to 1975 taking part in the traditional the Review Salute to the CYCA flag officers and sail past.
Mark Hollingsworth’s 30 foot Etchells Second Wind was declared the winner of the Ship Shape and Bristol Fashion Award with a score of 50.8 from Neville Crichton’s Plym on 49.8 points and Sir James Hardy’s Nerida on 49.5 points. Plym was also awarded the Best Dressed Crew prize with the crew resplendent in navy blazers, white shirts and white trousers.
The judges, Jeanette York, John Sturrock and Sean Langman, deliberated long and hard about the Award with inspections of vessels being undertaken back at the CYCA after the sail past.
“The judges looked for a number of things and were pleased to see boats of this age being used for the purpose they were built – to sail! Inspections were also made of varnishes, painting, bilges, planks and artworks,” John Sturrock said.
“It’s not something I expected to win,” a humble Hollingsworth said this afternoon at the prizegiving. “It’s a lovely boat to sail and we have spent a lot of time to keep her in full working order. It was a lovely day on the Harbour.”
The CYCA Winter Series pointscore starts on Sunday 28 April with eleven races for ten spinnaker, three non-spinnaker (if sufficient entries are received) and a Sydney 38OD division (if sufficient entries are received). The pointscore series will consist of 10 races, with up to three drops allowed, if all ten races are completed. The race scheduled for Sunday 9 June will be a non-pointscore race. The opening and closing Ladies Day events on 21 April and 14 July do not count towards a yacht's overall series pointscore.
Enter the CYCA Winter Series today via http://www.cyca.com.au/racing/cyca-winter-series/.
For Great Veterans race results and Opening Ladies Day Results log on to http://www.cyca.com.au/sysfile/downloads/2013winter/index.htm