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26 January 2007, 12:23 pm
Sydney Sailors Celebrate Afloat
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Australia Day Regatta 2007
Sydney, Australia

Hundreds of Sydney sailors, their crews, friends and families today celebrated Australia Day as their forebears have done each year since 1837 - by competing in the 171st Australia Day Regatta on the Harbour. They enjoyed a wonderful day of competitive sailing on a hot and sunny day, tempered on the harbour by Sydney's summer sea breeze - a northeaster of 10-15 knots, gusting to 20 knots as the fleet close-reached to the finish line.
Of the 86 yachts competing in 11 divisions of the 171st Australia Day Regatta, all but one boat completed the course as the regatta got under way following the spectacular RAAF F-18 flyover, a Surf Ski race, the Ferrython, the Tall Ships Race and the Army parachute drop into Farm Cove.

'It has been a brilliant day on Sydney Harbour - a vast array of on-the-water and in-the-air activities, and a great fleet of racing boats ranging from historical skiffs to state-of-the-art grand prix racing yachts,' commented John JEREMY, chairman of the 171st Australia Day Regatta management committee from aboard the Flagship, HMAS Manoora.

Classic Competition

A feature of the Harbour fleet was the number of classic yachts competing - gaff-riggers such as Ranger and Redpa, historical skiffs such as Britannia, and International 5.5 Metre class yachts including Pam and Baragoola, which once sailed for Olympic selection.

The Historical Skiffs are replicas of the famous gaff-rigged 18 footers of the early 1900s, with first place going to the famous Irish yachtsman Harold CUDMORE at the helm of The Mistake - by just 2 seconds on corrected time from The Scot, skippered by Chris JACKMAN.

The Classic Non-Spinnaker Division winner was a boat with a truly Australian name - Gumleaf, skippered by Orion ALDERTON, second place going to Phil KINSELLA's Sylvia, a replica of a Queenscliff 'couta boat of the early 1900s.

The 5.5 Metres, the class in which Australia won its first Olympic gold medal, at the Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games, turned out for the 171st Australia Day Regatta with a fleet of six classic boats, with Pam of Peter MCDONALD taking first place by just 18 seconds from Bob DE COSTER's Paladin.

Close Racing

Close racing was another feature of the 171st Australia Day Regatta, with Cruising Yacht Club of Australia Commodore Geoff LAVIS skippering SBS Wild Thing to an 8 seconds corrected time win in Division 1, from Braveheart, with Sydney a further 16 seconds astern.

In Division 2, Greg MASON's Sinewave became only the second winner since 1866 of a fine claret jug recently donated to the Australia Day Regatta by the Davidson Family. The cutter Ella first won the trophy 140 years ago in the Australia Day Regatta on this day 1966.

Other winners today included Carina in Division 3, Come by Chance in Non-Spinnaker Division 1, Intrepid in Non-Spinnaker Division 2, Mistral in the Yngling class, Magnificat in the Catalina division and Gumleaf in the Classic Division.

While the fleet of 86 boats was racing around fixed marks on Sydney Harbour, a fleet of 30 ocean racing yachts competed in the short ocean racing to Botany Bay and return for the City of Sydney Sesquicentenary Cup, making a spectacular sight as they swept back into the Harbour under spinnaker towards their finish line in Rushcutters Bay.

Ocean Race Line Honours To CAWSE

Line honours and the Geoff Lee Trophy went Dick CAWSE's 60 footer Vanguard in a fast elapsed time of 3 hours, 25 minutes and 13 seconds. Also winning the IRC division of the CYCA Ocean Pointscore. The PHS Division of the Ocean Pointscore saw a win for Occasional Coarse Language, Warwick SHERMAN's Cookson 12.

Provisional winner of the 171st Australia Day Regatta City of Sydney Sesquicentenary Cup, as the yacht with the lowest PHS corrected time in the Botany Bay Race, is Rick FIELDING's Spearhead which placed first in the PHS Division 1 of the Short Ocean Pointscore with a corrected time of 4 hours, 56 minutes and 52 seconds.

PHS Division 3 went to Big Blue while IRC Division 1 saw the continued rivalry between Julian FARREN-PRICE's Cookson 39 About Time and Ed PSALTIS and Bob THOMAS' Farr 40 AFR Midnight Rambler, with About Time beating AFR Midnight Rambler on corrected time.

IRC Division 3 went to John MACLURCAN's Illingworth and Primrose-designed Morag Bheag, strengthening her pointscore position in the Short Ocean Pointscore.

Peter Campbell (As Amended By ISAF). Image, The classic yachts at the start:© Peter Campbell
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