Gordon INGATE, nearing 82 years of age, today became the oldest skipper ever to become an Australian yachting champion when he was declared winner of the 2008 Prince Philip Cup for the International Dragon one-design class.
The victory, on Hobart's Derwent River, climaxes a remarkable career in sailing spanning some 70 years, including 52 years sailing in the Dragons, a former Olympic Class.
Gordon INGATE, a member of the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, has represented Australia in the Admiral's Cup, the America's Cup, the Olympic Games, World Championships in Dragons and International 5.5 metre class yachts and skippered his ocean racing yacht Caprice of Huon to a luckless second overall in the 1972 Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
The Royal Yacht of Tasmania declared Whim, helmed by INGATE and crewed by Tasmanians Nick ROGERS and Simon BURROWS, as the Prince Philip Cup champions after being forced to abandon today's seventh and final race because of gale-force northwesterly winds sweeping the Derwent,
Race officials waited until 13:00 hours before abandoning racing, with the northerly wind averaging 35 to 40 knots on the river, squalls gusting to 65 knots.
INGATE is understood to be the oldest yachtsman ever to win an Australian national yachting championship in any class, let alone the Dragon class.
Despite 52 years of competing in the Dragon class, this is the first Prince Philip Cup win for INGATE, although he tied for first with fellow Sydney yachtsman Bill FESQ in 1956, being relegated to second place on a countback of placings.
However, it was the ninth Prince Philip Cup win for Nick ROGERS, also a former Dragon class world champion, and the second for Simon BURROWS.
INGATE said this afternoon that ROGERS and BURROWS had played a key role in his victory. "I've been blessed with two very good Tasmanian crew….they have been excellent crew and I pay them a lot of respect because they have put me up where we are,"
the octogenarian skipper said.
Second place in the 2008 Prince Philip Cup has gone to another Sydney crew, Ian MCCROSSIN, Martin BURKE and Rick HALL, sailing Riga, third to the Tasmanian boat Kirribilli II, sailed by Andrew CRISP, David GRANEY and John GARDINER. Second place had to be decided on a countback after both boats scored equal points.