February 11 - 17, 2024: Issue 613


Pittwater Regatta 2024 + ORC NSW Championship

Conditions Test The Best At ORC NSW Championship    

Friday February 9, 2024

Day 1 of the ORC NSW Championship conducted by Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club (RPAYC), was a testing Passage Race; competitors describing conditions as lumpy, bumpy, and shifty with plenty of current.

Division 1 went to David Ross and crew on Kukukerchu. The DK46 Nine Dragons (Bob Cox) and Ian Box’s XP44, Toy Box 2, filled out the top three. 

Ross’ Cape 31 goes like a rocket downwind. It held them in good stead today, keeping Kukukerchu in touch with her larger rivals and resulting in her win.

“We were third around the first mark. Pretty good for a little boat,” Ross said. “It was a beat to Long Reef and it was bumpy, so the big boats got away. Downwind heading north, though, we managed the conditions well. Downwind is what the boat is good at. The DK46s got around the mark only 100 metres ahead of us. Then they got away on the tide upwind.

“The race was good fun. We know the boat goes well and it just happens that the conditions suited us,” Ross said of his yacht’s performance. “We managed 6.8 to 7.2 knots upwind and 16 downwind. I have a really good crew who knows what is going on, so we were cautiously confident.”

Ross, who normally sails on Sydney Harbour commented, “I’ve not sailed against any of the other boats, except Toy Box, so we didn’t really know what to expect initially. Overall, it was a good day. But it’s only Day 1, with a lot more to come.” 

Ross continued, “It’s really well organised here, including information provided, start boat, everything. It’s professional. And it’s just such a nice place to be up here, on the water and off.” 

Division 2’s top spot went to the Queensland entry, Let’s Get It On, the Corby 36 owned by Garry Holt, with Neil Padden’s Beneteau 40.7, Wailea, second. These two were also top two in that order under IRC. Third went to Rob Brewer’s Young 88, Coyote. 

Let's Get It On in the thick of the action. Photo: Andrea Francolini/RPAYC 

Kukukerchu got the best of the rest. Photo: Andrea Francolini/RPAYC 

Simon Grosser, who won Division 2 in 2022 and 2023 with his Young 88, Young at Heart, was fourth. The competition between the two Young boats will no doubt be interesting over the next two days. 

Back with the winner, Holt came armed with a very good crew: “I’ve got some of the crew that helped me win at Hamo (he won Division 4 at the 2022 Australian Yachting Championships at Hamilton Island). Warwick Rooklyn is sailing master and others are Peter Sheldrick, Don McPhee, Will Finlay, Darren Nicholson and Michael Kennedy.”

All can claim top results in offshore and/or skiff events. 

“The course was good. It was a pleasant sail, with 16-17 knots,” Holt explained.

“Wailea gave us the hurry up and kept us honest today. We won the start though and faced current, lump and swell. We’re looking forward to the next two days.”  

Race 1 for both divisions was a Passage Race and set up for the south-easterly. Division 1 was sent on a 25 nautical mile course, while Division 2 contested a 22nm course. Both divisions were away on time at 12pm in a building 12 knot breeze in lumpy and rough conditions off Barrenjoey. From there, the yachts headed east to the first mark before hardening up to the laid Newport Reef mark.

The ORC NSW Championship continues tomorrow from midday with windward/leewards on Pittwater. 

Entrants in the two-day Pittwater Regatta hit the water for the first time tomorrow, with the Broken Bay 5 Heads Race scheduled to start at 11.30am.

Late this afternoon, competitors, family and friends attended the presentation and the AC40 Simulator launch at the Club and entertainment provided by Roc Koren.

For full results and all information, please visit: www.pittwaterregatta.au 

By Di Pearson

ORC NSW Championship And Pittwater Regatta In Full Swing With Spectacular Conditions And Wild Rides    

Saturday February 10, 2024

Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club’s (RPAYC)  ORC NSW Championship, supported by Sydney Marine Brokerage, entered its second day today, while the Pittwater Regatta got underway in full swing at Pittwater on the Northern Beaches of NSW, with both fleets enjoying spectacular sailing conditions and some wild rides.

Divisions 1 and 2 of the ORC NSW Championship completed a Passage Race yesterday, which was complemented today by a different style of racing with two windward/leewards on Pittwater.

David Ross maintained the advantage in Division 1, winning both races on Kukukerchu. Bob Cox’s Nine Dragons and Ian Box’s Toy Box 2, each had a solid day to maintain the status quo in second and third respectively. 

In Division 2, Garry Holt and Let’s Get It On were all business, winning both races. Neil Padden hung onto second place with Wailea, his Beneteau 40.7, but is 12 points adrift of Holt’s boat.  

Peter Farrugia’s Bull 9000, Bullwinkle, moved up to third overall after scoring a pair of second places. If he can sustain today’s performance, Bullwinkle could move up to second place.

The ORC NSW Championship concludes tomorrow when two windward/leeward races on the Palm Beach Circle will decide the winners.

Meanwhile, the four divisions contesting the Pittwater Regatta were away cleanly and on time in the Broken Bay 5 Heads Race. Downwind starts were the order of the day as the clouds began to break and the sun poked through. 

A blaze of spinnakers made a stunning sight as the boats blasted down Pittwater in a 15-25 knot south/south-easterly. 

A blaze of colour with Litte Nico in foreground. Photo: Andrea Francolini/RPAYC 

Divisions 3 and 4 turned west around West Head and headed around into Broken Bay, while Divisions 1 and 2 reached out to Box Head on an outgoing tide.

Todd McLennan’s Cole 30, Anitra May, led Division 2 early on, while Greg O’Neill’s Super 30, Summersalt, led Division 3. Adrian Walters’ Shaw 11 Metre, Little Nico (steered by Indy Beck) was first out of the Heads in Division 1, but by the time she had rounded Box Head and was passing Lion Island, Revolver had taken the lead. 

Revolver, a Ritchie 38 owned by Michael Ritchie, hung on to win the race from John Bacon’s Love Shack and Craig Suggitt’s Georgia Lee. Just over three minutes separated the trio.

Ritchie shared: “We were reasonably quick up and downwind, good on both fronts, so we’re very happy! 

“We were sailing in the Super 40 Division, so it was interesting to come home in front of Love Shack. It was great to get the win over a boat that is always well sailed by John Bacon and crew. 

“We did 18 knots downwind and match raced Botany Access (Justin Brownbill) in the last 5 miles. They took distance out of us and we were lucky to hold them out.” 

Revolver held out all commers in the Super 40 Division 1 for a win. Photo: Andrea Francolini/RPAYC.

Campbell Letchford drives Vento hard. Photo: Andrea Francolini/RPAYC

Grant Pocklington’s Sydney 39, Hussy, was the standout in Division 2, while Chris Hornsby’s Pick Pocket, a Pocket Rocket 22, took out Division 3. Steve Stuart and Bob Johnson’s Force 8 won Division 4 from the half dozen 11 Metre One-Designs taking park.

“We were first over the line and first on ORC,” Pocklington commented. “We had a wild race up the river. A 20 sou-easter with gusts on a huge run-out tide. It was challenging for every boat. We all had a lot of fun though. 

“The Committee did a good job in changing the direction of the course, otherwise there would have been carnage. We would have had 2 metre waves at Box Head, although it was still rough at 1 to 1.5 metres. Everyone’s looking forward to tomorrow.”

It was no picnic sailing an 11 Metre One-Design in these conditions, as Steve Stuart explained “We got horribly wet because it was horribly wild. It was challenging, a 25 gusting to 28 knot southerly.

”Bob, my partner in the boat, is 86 and he steered downwind in that big breeze today. We were doing 15 knots under kite. It was fun downwind. Upwind in big waves and tide was wet!

“It was a very close finish with Time Bandit (Michael Lockley). There were only seven seconds between us. They had a strong beat to the finish.” 

Stuart pointed to the carnage in the division: “Under the Influence broke a spinnaker pole, Blue Tack broke the main halyard and we limped home with a broken runner. There’s lots of repairs happening at the moment, but we’re all looking forward to more tomorrow.”

RPAYC’s Race Director, Nick Elliott said, “You could tell everyone was having fun by the massive smiles on everyone’s faces because of the spectacular conditions.”

The Pittwater Regatta ends tomorrow with two inshore races scheduled to start at 11.30am.

Following racing today, crews were treated to a barbecue and entertainment from DJ Vibes back at the RPAYC.

For full results and all information, please visit: www.pittwaterregatta.au 

By Di Pearson

More 2024 Pittwater Regatta photos HERE

A Mix Of Conditions Decide ORC NSW Championship And Pittwater Regatta 

Sunday February 11, 2024

A light weather day on the water helped decide the final outcomes of both the ORC NSW Championship, supported by Sydney Marine Brokerage and the Pittwater Regatta, organised by Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club (RPAYC).

A mix of conditions and races throughout gave everyone a thorough workout.

A flurry of foredeck work on Time Bandit. Photo: Andrea Francolini/ RPAYC 

Coming into the day’s trio of windward/leeward races on the Palm Beach Circle, winners of Divisions 1 and 2 of the ORC NSW Championship were all but decided, as both leaders had already won the previous three races. 

So it was that David Ross’ Cape 31, Kukukerchu, was crowned Division 1 champion. Runner-up was  Bob Cox’s Nine Dragons, while Mark Griffith’s  LCE Old School Racing moved up to third overall, the two DK46’s revelling in the light. air. 

Kukukerchu suffered, bringing home 7-5-5 results, but they were enough to claim the title. 

Ross said of the average 6-8 knot breeze, “It was hard work – choppy and lumpy in the little boat, but we managed to even it out and pull it off. 

“We talked about what we had to do and said, ‘Let’s sail the best we can to the conditions we get and go hard’. We had to think more strategically and consolidate where we could.

“Yesterday was our weather, today wasn’t. The Melges got all the bullets. They did well,” he said referring to David Suttie’s Lockdown. 

Ross ended, “I’ve got a great team, it was fun. The regatta was so well run. Good camaraderie here and new friendships made.” 

The best Division 1 performance today came from David Suttie’s Lockdown. His Melges 32 was at home in the conditions and won all three races. Unfortunately, two of their previous results meant no podium finish. 

David Suttie’s son Robert said, “We were very happy to win the three races today.  

“Yesterday was very hard in those big conditions. We did have a couple of awesome downwind rides, but we got totally smashed offshore. Today suited the boat. We have a big sail plan for a little boat and spent time tuning the rig, so we were powered up. 

“We sailed Lockdown (bought during COVID, hence her name)  fast downwind again today. We also got great starts and have great crew,” he said. 

In Division 2, Garry Holt and Let’s Get It On from Queensland claimed the title. The Corby 36 added a further two wins and a second place to her tally today, an exceptional result. 

Their second place, Holt said, came about because, “We lost Peter (Sheldrick) overboard. His foot was on the brace and it flicked him off the boat. The boys did a great job getting him back on board, it helped that he is fit and helped himself too.”

Of their performance, Holt said, “It’s a great boat. It’s the ex Jessandra that Michael Spies put together, but I’ve updated it with a full refit. It’s made a big difference. It’s the best the boat’s ever been, but you have to have a good crew too. They are the best crew I’ve ever sailed with.” 

The yachtsman brought the boat south for the Australian Yachting Championships at Newcastle, Sail Port Stephens and the NSW Yachting Championships. “We saw this Championship was on and it’s been beneficial for us to tune up,” Holt ended. 

Let's Get It On - clear ORC Division 2 winner. Photo: Andrea Francolini/ RPAYC 

Garry Essex’s J/99, Veloce, steamrolled her way into second place overall, helped by a win and a third today. Coyote, sailed by Rob Brewer and several RPAYC Youth Development crew, were promoted to third due to the outcome of two protests resulting from the fierce and close racing in the division.

Two inshore races, put in place by RPAYC’s race committee today, decided the outcome of the four divisions contesting the Pittwater Regatta.

Adding a third and a win to her win of yesterday, Revolver took the inaugural Super 40 Division 1 victory. Michael Ritchie’s Ritchie 38 was too good in the division that spawned a dozen entries. Craig Suggitt’s Georgia Lee placed second and Campbell Letchford’s Vento was third.

“I’m so happy we won,” Ritchie said. “It was a good weekend out,” he added after not only claiming the Super 40 trophy, but winning ORC and PHS into the bargain. 

Ritchie said of the fleet contesting the Super 40 division, “Our club organising it has been successful and it’s nice to be part of that. 

“I was speaking to Justin Brownbill (owner of the MC38, Botany Access) and he loved it, which is testament to the division. He sailed well and learnt a lot about his boat. That says everything to me. I think the division at the Sydney Harbour Regatta will be better again.”

Grant Pocklington’s Sydney 39, Hussy, came into the day leading and added two further wins to take Division 2 with a clean slate. Mark Wharton’s J/88, Joji, finished second and Leon Wilson’s Jeanneau 45DS Nirvana’s Kitchen, took third. A good mix of designs taking home the prizes.

Chris Hornsby’s Pick Pocket, a Pocket Rocket 22 kept yesterday’s momentum going today to win Division 3 overall. Steve Stuart and Bob Johnson’s Force 8 did the same in Division 4, with a second and a bullet,  to beat his five rivals in the 11 Metre One-Design class. 

The official presentation was held at the RPAYC early this evening, where competitors were thanked and welcomed back next year. 

For full results and all information, please visit: www.pittwaterregatta.au 

By Di Pearson

More 2024 Pittwater Regatta photos HERE

Bushranger chasing down Kukukerchu yesterday. Photo: Andrea Francolini/ RPAYC