42 knots on Sydney Harbour
Racing in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Trophy One-Design was abandoned at 1.00pm today as strong southerlies gusting over 40 knots on Sydney Harbour and outside Sydney Heads showed no signs of abating, so yesterday’s leaders, Old School and Kokomo were crowned winners of the Sydney 38 and Farr 40 classes respectively.
Due to start at 11.00, Principal Race Officer Denis Thompson sat aboard the official start boat off Manly Cove all morning with his volunteer crew, monitoring the situation. Meanwhile the competing Farr 40s and Sydney 38s were sitting sheltered inside the Harbour, hoping the wind would die down to enable more racing.
At 13.00 time, Thompson said, “We’ve pulled the pin – all racing abandoned. We are still getting constant 30 knot winds and today was a new wind record for me; I record 42.2 knots but it’s been 30 for a long time,” he said.
In other areas of the Harbour, winds reportedly topped 45 knots, necessitating even the suspension of play at Australian Open golf at The Lakes in Sydney. Fire engines and police cars were heard along New Beach Road, Darling Point, where the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia is situated; a telling sign that winds are causing havoc.
Coming into the final day today, Mark Griffith's Old School had an insurmountable 14 point lead, having won six out of seven races, with a second place in Race 2. This event also decided the Sydney 38 NSW Championship, which has also gone to Old School from the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club.
“This is the first day my crew didn’t stuff up and Macca (tactician Steve McConaghy) didn’t get it wrong all day,” joked happy winner, Griffiths, who became the first back-to-back NSW Championship winner in the class. “We’re pretty happy about that,” Griffiths pronounced.
Their win of the CYCA Trophy, according to the Old School owner “is even better than last year. We’ve been together a long time, so we know how to make the boat go fast. We have a really good dynamic on the boat.”
Griffiths and crew will next head to the Sydney 38 Nationals in March.
Fellow club mate, Bruce Ferguson’s Whisper, takes second place overall, while father and son duo, Alan and Tom Quick, representing the host club with Outlaw, take third place – they also take those places in the NSW Championship.
“It would have been nice to have a sail, but there’s not much we can do about it. We had a bad first day, but yesterday was good and we were hoping to catch up some points on Old School and Whisper,” a disappointed Tom Quick said.
Aboard Outlaw, crew member Scott Lawson had his son Harry, a Flying 11 sailor, sail with them at the 15 year-old’s first Sydney 38 event. “It’s really close racing –very tight – much tighter than in the Flying 11’s,’ Harry said. “I would definitely like to sail one again.”
Only one point separated Calibre (Geoff Bonus/Richard Williams) and The Goat (Bruce Foye) as to which will win the right to represent the CYCA at the New York Yacht Club Invitational next year. According to the score card, Calibre has earned the right.
It was just one point too that separated the Farr 40 leader, Lang Walker’s Kokomo from 2010 World Champion, Guido Belgiorno-Nettis’ Transfusion, so Kokomo wins, with Transfusion accepting second place, while Middle Harbour Yacht Club’s Edake (Jeff Carter) finishes third
Like the Sydney 38 crews, the Farr 40 crews were also in joking form; London gold medallist and Kokomo tactician, Malcolm Page offering: “Damien King (helming in Lang Walker’s absence) managed to hold onto Lang’s lead today - Lang told him this morning not to stuff it up – so he’s done the right thing!”
On today’s abandonment, Page said: “It was disappointing, but we couldn’t have raced. We saw gusts in the 40’s and it was constantly in the 30’s – it was huge.” The 18 footers, of which Page skippers The Kitchen Maker, were also abandoned, the Harbour looking significantly empty but for the whites of waves.
Yacht owners and officials were aware of the impending southerly yesterday, prompting Denis Thompson, who has been reporting constant 29-35 knot winds throughout this morning, to finish four races instead of the usual three yesterday, when crews came ashore exhausted, as did the on-water race management crew.
Thompson’s forethought means that seven races from the planned nine were completed - enough to decide the winners.