2 - 3 March, 2024 - Middle Harbour Yacht Club

Today’s weather was a turnaround from yesterday’s wet blowy day at the 2024 Nautilus Marine Insurance Sydney Harbour Regatta, a glorious north-north/easterly wind on a sunny hot day made a difference to many results of yesterday – but not all.

Competitors have had a fabulous weekend in the Middle Harbour Yacht Club’s (MHYC) annual regatta and at the time of writing were back at the Club recalling the last two days with mates over a couple of drinks. Many chose the beach in front of the Club to relax, as it is a beautiful late afternoon.

Firecracker first Fareast 28R One-Design Australian Champion

Scott Lawson fired up his Firecracker crew to win the opening and final races, adding a couple of second places in between on the six windward/leeward courses to win the Championship. Peter Higgin’s Sparrow, which scored a pair of wins and a second today, gazumped Conrad Johnston’s Wildling 3 for second place. Johnston settled for third.

Lawson said, “We had a lovely final race. We had a horror start, tacked to port ducking all others, tacked onto a massive right hand shift and took about a minute and a half out of the fleet within 5 to 10 minutes.

“I think God waved his magic wand over us in that race.”

“It’s fabulous to win the first Nationals in the class and be the Australian Champion. I want to thank Middle Harbour Yacht Club, its race management committee and the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron crew who looked after our course, they did a great job.”

Challenge cracked the Conspiracy code
Andrea Francolini, MHYC pic

J/99 One-Design Australian Championship goes to Disko Trooper_Contender Sailcloth

Defending champion, Disko Trooper_Contender Sail Cloth (Jules Hall), ended the day in front, but Ian Smith (Jupiter) did not make it easy for Hall by any means in their six windward/leeward races. Counting three wins in his score, Smith’s crew finished four points behind Hall’s.

“It’s been a fabulous regatta,” Hall said. “The class has come on in leaps and bounds since last year. It was very close racing. We were delighted to win, but huge congratulations to everyone in the class.

“Yesterday we had a 29 knot gust and today we found a hole in the course. It’s been aa true test of abilities. I have to say the camaraderie and atmosphere in our fleet is fantastic – and that’s the best part of the class.”  

Challenge the new Sydney 38 One-Design NSW Champion

Greg Croak and his Challenge crew from Lake Macquarie have gone where no others have before – they cracked the Conspiracy’s winning streak to take out their first Sydney 38 One-Design NSW Championship. 

Croak and crew were at the top of their game throughout, their scorecard reading 1-2-1-1-3 to Conspiracy’s 2-1-2-6-5 after sailing six after the six windward/leeward races. Defending champions David Hudson and Peter Byford stumbled today, a rarity for them – and it proved costly as there are no drops.

Croak was over the moon: “We came close before but couldn’t quite put it together. Words can’t describe how we feel. We’re very excited and happy for the whole crew, family and friends from the Lake, which makes it doubly special. They put in so much,” he said.

“Conspiracy’s crew is very happy for or us, they came and congratulated us.”

Serial winner, Conspiracy, won the last two titles in a row, but improving competitors came to this Championship determined to overcome her. 

Adams 10s - Tracy Richardson's Artemis with red kite
Andrea Francolini, MHYC pic

Adams 10 win to Artemis

There was no beating Tracy Richardson’s Artemis. The Sydney yachtswomen and her crew were ‘on fire’ as sailors say, winning four out of six windward/leeward races. Artemis’ nearest rival, Geoffrey Charters’ No Friends, finished five points adrift and counted a win its tally.

“We had a great day. We’re exhausted though. Yesterday was even better than today, we won all three races. That’s the beauty of one-design racing - you win some you lose some.

“We picked good lanes yesterday and executed manoeuvres well in wild conditions. We had difficulty finding the top marks. It pays to read the Sailing Instructions. Today was closer. A lot of fun. Our crew was incredible,” Richardson said.

Open Class

A trio of DK46’s went at it hammer and tong in Division 1. Yesterday Khaleesi (Rob Aldis/Sandy Farquharson) came out on top and was two points ahead of Nine Dragons (Bob Cox) and a further point ahead of LCE Old School Racing (Mark Griffith). Today, the order changed, with Cox taking the trophy from Griffith, Aldis and Farquharson were third.

Division 2 went to Garry Holt’s Let’s Get It On from Queensland. Holt’s always well sailed Corby 36 won five out of six races. This comes on the back of his recent Division 2 victory at RPAYC’s ORC Championship on Pittwater.

Performance Spinnaker

The Performance Class divisions undertook four Harbour passage races over the two days. John Amos’ Chainsaw was out on top in Division 1.

“The organisation is excellent at this regatta and we’ve had two fantastic days of racing,” Amos declared.

In Division 2, David O’Loughlin drove Siena to a win over Gary Carless’ Renaissance.

“I’m a huge fan of Middle Harbour Yacht Club and the other clubs that give their time for this massive undertaking. I’ve been involved in race management so completely understand how hard it is,” O’Loughlin said.

“We had an awesome day yesterday and today was great too. We had tactical and competitive racing today. The Harbour was very tricky. Teamwork skills were needed. My kids Sophie (22) and Jack (19) sailed with me. It’s great to sail with your kids.”

Division 3 went to Martyn Colebrook with Slac-N-Off from Dean Dransfield’s Escape.

So many divisions to cover, so in short, Ross Hennessy conquered the Super 40 class with his Ker 40 Mk3, Condor, with David Ross’ Kukukerchu second. Michael Nash and Maybe-J won the J/70 competition from Kary Gojnich’s Jabiru and John Crawford’s Innamincka won the J/24s. 

Gordon Ketelbey from the host club won the Super 50 division with Zen. Accolades to Ketelbey from the host club, he is a great supporter of races and regattas on the eastern seaboard. 

Organisers at Middle Harbour Yacht Club are thankful to the clubs that continue to support the running of the Regatta: Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, Sydney Amateur Sailing Club, Manly Yacht Club, Royal Australian Navy Sailing Association, Royal Prince Edward Yacht Club, Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, the Sydney Flying Squadron.

“The Club is eternally grateful for the numerous skilled and committed volunteers who help each year. We couldn’t do it without them,” MHYC Commodore, Rob Aldis commented. 

“Finally, we thank the over 1000 sailors who’ve come from all over NSW and interstate to take part and hope everyone enjoyed themselves,” the Commodore ended.

Full results and all information: https://www.shr.mhyc.com.au

Di Pearson/MHYC media

Marg Fraser-Martin in action at a MHYC event and
doing what she loves best - David Staley pic

Halfway through the Nautilus Marine Insurance Sydney Harbour Regatta, Middle Harbour Yacht Club (MHYC) is celebrating International Women’s Day early (it is on Friday 8 March), saluting women at the event, sailing, working in the on and off water race management teams and filling other roles at NSW’s largest keelboat regatta.

Marg Fraser-Martin is a volunteer photographer that plies her trade at this event and others in NSW. As a female sailing photographer, she is a rarity, as the gear is heavy and good balance is necessary, as sailing photographers work from small media boats and seas can be rough and wavy.

“You need to anticipate what the various boats are going to do,” Fraser-Martin shares.

At the Regatta there are close to 200 boats racing on seven course areas spread the length of the Harbour. Photographers need to be versatile and quick thinking.

Fraser-Martin is a microbiologist who has enjoyed other management careers around the world. When her husband became ill, they moved to Sydney where she took a photography class - and discovered sailing at Manly Yacht Club (MYC).

MHYC’s Sailing Administrator, Catherine Rofe, tipped Fraser-Martin into sailing photography: “Cath used to work at MYC and said they needed a photographer for a regatta, was I available? I thought ‘why not give it a go?’ It’s a good way to meet people and I love the atmosphere of the sport. It’s a passion with me.”

“It’s a hard gig, but I like a sport with people who are juggling everything in their lives so are just out there for the joy of sailing.”

Jenni Birdsall at MHYC this morning - Di Pearson pic

Jenni Birdsall lives in Queensland. She travels to sailing events on the east coast of Australia, fulfilling many roles in on and off the water race management.

Birdsall has the respect of all her colleagues – most of them males. This weekend she is on Echo course helping out with start/finish duties. She was recently appointed Race Director for Airlie Beach Race Week (ABRW) in Queensland, the first woman to fill this role at this major event.

During COVID, the usual Principal Race Officer (PRO), Denis Thompson, could not travel from NSW to Airlie Beach, so he entrusted her with the role and is a vocal supporter of her abilities.

“I started at Georges River Sailing Club. I took my kids to sailing lessons, but I’m not the sort to sit around doing nothing, so I ended up helping on the start boat. Down the track I became Vice Commodore of the Club,” Birdsall recalls.

She was national president of the Cherub Association for 12 years and continues to volunteer for a variety of events, including at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, Festival of Sails Geelong, SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week and the Women’s Regatta at Townsville where she is the PRO.

MHYC Sailing Manager, David Staley says, ”Middle Harbour Yacht Club continues to celebrate the achievements and contributions of women in our sport.

“Women, both professionals and volunteers, are the strength behind race management and administration - not just at Middle Harbour but at many clubs.  As sailing increases the number of women in leadership positions, the sport  becomes more inclusive and welcoming, making it more enjoyable for everyone.

“Women are prominent in racing too. MHYC’s 2023 Yachtswoman of the Year, Katie O’Mara, is sailing on Khaleesi, current leader of Open Division 1. She has a key role on our Club’s Sailing Committee too, encouraging more women to participate and is leading innovation for MHYC’s Women’s Regatta on 11 May,” Staley says. 

Lisa Callaghan is the only female owner/skipper taking part in the Sydney 38 One-Design NSW Championship at the regatta. She co-owns Mondo with Stephen Teudt and in December placed 25th in the Rolex Sydney Hobart. A great result for a little boat in a race where big boats ruled. Callaghan is also Sydney 38 Class Association Treasurer and President of Manly Yacht Club.

Tracy Richardson is the owner/skipper of the Adams 10, Artemis. This morning she leads the class by a whopping six points, having won all three of yesterday’s races in a one-design class where all other skippers are male. Richardson is also a board member at MHYC.

Karyn Gojnich and crew on Jabiru
Marg Fraser-Martin pic

Karyn Gojnich owns and races Jabiru, a J/70. Heading into today’s races, she and her crew are in second place. Gojnich is a triple Olympian and the first female with her then skipper, Nicky Bethwaite, to represent Australia in sailing at the Olympics. She is Rear Commodore of Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron (RSYS) – also a first.

At the RSYS, she runs the Sea Coaching Regatta and races at many women’s events on the east coast of Australia, bringing a young crew of hopefuls with her.

Jean-Claude ‘JC’ Strong is another shining light for women. She came to sailing as a novice some years ago, picked the most difficult class to sail in – the Etchells – organised some coaching for herself and has not looked back.

If you want to go places in sailing, the Etchells, a male dominated class, is where you go. It’s where you will find the who’s who of sailing: Dennis Conner, Iain Murray, John Bertrand, Colin Beashel, Ken Read are some. And then there’s Strong, the lone female skipper, winning skipper of majors such as the Australasian, Queensland and Victorian Championships.

A doctor and a pilot, Strong is a petite woman who packs a punch in whatever she decides to take on.

There are many other inspiring women and girls in various roles at the Nautilus Marine Insurance Sydney Harbour Regatta, including on the race course, doing anything from skippering, to navigating, trimming and foredeck. All are enthusiasts doing their bit as we head towards equality in our sport.    

All information on the Nautilus Marine Insurance Sydney Harbour Regatta at: https://www.shr.mhyc.com.au

Di Pearson/MHYC media

The gusty winds caught some out - Andrea Francolini pic

Despite moody skies and rain showers, the opening day of Middle Harbour Yacht Club’s (MHYC) Nautilus Marine Insurance Sydney Harbour Regatta 2024 was nothing short of exciting as gusting winds to 30 knots hit Sydney Harbour forcing the best out of all yachties and their boats.

It was inevitable, though, that there would be round-ups, Chinese gybes, the odd prang and boats crossing their respective start lines a little ahead of time.

Race 1 starts and reigning champion Jules Hall (Disko Trooper_Contender Sail Cloth) cleared out in the J/99 class, leaving the rest to grapple for the minor placings. Shine On-Team Callendina (Phil Herscovics) got off best of the Sydney 38 start at the pin, Toybox 2 (Ian Box) outclassed her rivals at the Division 1 start of the Open division, while Peter Farrugia’s Bullwinkle won the start in Division 2.   

And while a good start is imperative, it did not always decide the final outcome. 

Fareast 28R One-Design Australian Championship

Scott Lawson fired up his Firecracker crew to win the opening race before firing off two second places on the windward/leeward courses to lead the Championship from Conrad Johnston’s Wildling. The latter opened with a fifth place then won the other two races. Two points separate the top two, so it will be on for young and old tomorrow.

“It was a tremendously trickly day,” Lawson conceded. “The first race was in 20 plus knots, so fast runs were where we made our gains. The next two races were fluky, it was a lottery, you had to pick the right sides of the course the whole time.  

“We were close to Wildling in the second two races. They got to the right side of the course and we didn’t, so we ended up second to them in both. I’ve got great guys like Andrew Divola (‘Dolly’ Divola was a dab 18 foot skiff sailor in the past) with me, which is why we did so well,” Lawson said. “We’re having a great time.”

Lawson ended, “Light winds are forecast tomorrow and that will impact us, as we don’t take the boat out of the water to clean it. We’ll try to power up and see how we go.”

J/99 One-Design Australian Championship

Defending champion, Disko Trooper_Contender Sail Cloth, ended the day in front, but Ian Smith (Jupiter) did not make the day easy for Hall by any means in their three windward/leeward races. The pair are one point apart leading into tomorrow’s final races.

Sydney 38 One-Design NSW Championship

Serial winner, Conspiracy, won the last two titles in a row, but all competitors came to this Championship determined to overcome David Hudson and Peter Byford’s boat. Seems Greg Croak and crew on Challenge from Lake Macquarie were just that bit more determined. They scored two bullets and a second to lead Conspiracy by a solitary point after three windward/leeward races. Watch this space…

Open Class

A trio of DK46’s went at it hammer and tong in Division 1. Khaleesi (Rob Aldis/Sandy Farquharson) came out on top and is two points ahead of Nine Dragons (Bob Cox) and a further point ahead of LCE Old School Racing (Mark Griffith).

“The competition is always tight between the DK46s. The three were never more than four boat lengths apart,” Farquharson commented. “These are good windward/leeward boats, so the result is not surprising. The skill of the crews determines the outcome,” Farquharson said.

Of the conditions, he said, “It was gusty and between 10 and 20 knots, perfect for the DKs, that’s where they live.”

Division 2 went the way of Garry Holt’s Let’s Get It On from Queensland. Holt’s always well sailed Corby 36 won all three races after its recent Division 2 victory at RPAYC’s ORC Championship on Pittwater.

In other results, the Classic Keelboats, a new addition to the regatta as a class, sailed two Harbour passage races and both were won by Annie Lawrence and John Whitfeld’s Solveig.

Solveig was built by Lars Halvorsen Sons in 1950 for Lars’ famous sons, Trygve and Magnus. They took line honours in the 1953 Sydney Hobart for second overall and won the race in 1954. She is among other famous Classics here such as Wraith of Odin and Mister Christian.

The Etchells’ have also joined in the regatta and contested three windward/leeward races on the Harbour. Dawn Raid, skippered by Matty Whitnall won all three. He beat the best in the business – Peter ‘Billy’ Merrington  (First Tracks), which is sitting second. Merrington has won a multitude of titles in the class.

Super 30 and Super 40 classes are the ‘sexy’ boats of the fleet. Fast and sleek with a bit of ‘X’ factor, they were worth watching in today’s brisk breeze.

David Suttie’s Melges 32, Lockdown (bought and named during COVID lockdown) was a force to be reckoned with, winning two races and scoring second in the third, to hold a four point advantage over Peter Woodhead’s same design named XC3SS.

“The last race was very close. We lost it (to XC3SS) by nine seconds. We had a couple of wipeouts, but we got it back. The sailing was very good, with gusting winds to 30 knots,” Suttie shared.

“It was up and down towards the end. Tomorrow is looking much lighter. I think the planning hull boats will be a bit slower and if that’s the case, the other boats will come into their own. But I think we should go OK,” said Suttie, adding, “I have a very good crew who have been sailing forever and are passionate.”

Principal Race Officer, Denis Thomson, declared midway through the afternoon, “I’m pretty happy with how it’s all happening.”

Thompson has a huge orchestra to conduct, with nine clubs looking after seven course areas in Sydney Harbour and offshore.

A diverse field from the Historical 18 Footers and the Classic Keelboats division to the one-design and open fleets to everything in between makes NSW’s largest keelboat regatta the great event it is. 

Racing continues tomorrow from 11am.

Full results and all information: https://www.shr.mhyc.com.au

Di Pearson/MHYC media

Photos by Andrea Francolini...

Lisa Callaghan at the helm of Mondo in a class Australian Championship - Andrea Francolini, MHYC pic

The largest fleet in years will face starters orders when the 2024 Sydney 38 One-Design NSW Championship kicks off at the Nautilus Marine Insurance Sydney Harbour Regatta this coming weekend when hungry crews will be out to topple recurring champion, Conspiracy, owned by David Hudson and Peter Byford.

Although some have come close in recent years, Hudson and Byford continue to deliver that something extra, doing so again at the last Championship at Middle Harbour Yacht Club’s Sydney Harbour Regatta in 2023, when it looked likely Peter Sorensen’s Advanced Philosophy had the game stitched up - until the final race.

Improving regulars and new players alike are ready for the challenge ahead and all know what they have to do and who they have to overcome…

Lisa Callaghan, co-owner of Mondo and Sydney 38 Class Association Treasurer, is among the experienced. Mondo’s skipper faced one of her toughest challenges in the 2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart. She and co-owner, Stephen Teudt, sailed Mondo to a good 25th overall in some of the most difficult and trying race conditions since 2004.

The pair arrived in Hobart after racing 628 nautical miles feeling a sense of achievement and renewed vigour.

“Coming back from doing so well in the Sydney-Hobart, I’m now quite excited to do the one-design thing again. Most of Mondo’s Hobart crew are doing the States with me,” said Callaghan, President of Manly Yacht Club where Teudt is Commodore.

“I’m also really excited to see nearly double the fleet and a rise in newer people in the class.  It was good to see Avalon do so well at the Pittwater Regatta. They beat Conspiracy. I think the competition will be closer than ever before at the States – and I will be excited to see a new champion!”

Callaghan reasons, “Owners have put a lot of effort put into building up their crews and improving speed and crew work. The States will give especially the newer people to the class a good experience competing against the other Sydney 38s.

She also concedes, “Mondo competes at its best and her crew learn the most competing against the other 38s. It’s a great learning opportunity and experience no matter how everyone finishes up.”

As the yachtswoman pointed out, the Sydney 38s are spread out at different clubs, so don’t race each other as a fleet, only sailing together at one-design events. “There are no more excuses, as the boats are the same, so it really gets down to the detail.”


This will be a first opportunity for most to race against those new to one-design racing as a class, so it’s difficult to pinpoint who the likely challengers to the main protagonists; reigning champion, Conspiracy (RPAYC) and Advanced Philosophy (MHYC).

“They are the ones to beat,” Callaghan confirms. “I think Avalon (RPAYC) and Challenge (Greg Croak – who finished third in 2023), will be right at the very top though.”

Geoff Ford, owner of Avalon, finished fifth at the Pittwater Regatta earlier this month, but has been otherwise unheard of at major events.

“I’ve been racing the boat for six years, but lurking in the backwaters of Balmain, although occasionally we come out to play in the Harbour,” he said. “But this is our first attempt at doing battle against the other 38s at a Championship.” 

Avalon won two races at the Pittwater Regatta and more importantly, beat Conspiracy overall, though it must be said that some of Conspiracy’s crew had jumped ship to Daguet 2 (co-owned by Peter Byford) for the NSW ORC Championship. Nevertheless, there is a psychological advantage in having beaten a renowned champion.

“We haven’t done the major class events because we didn’t have the sail wardrobe to make us remotely competitive. Now we have new Ian Short sails,” Ford explained. “We’re looking forward to the competition and the big fleet in the NSW Championship. We had our hit-out at the Pittwater Regatta.”

Ford has mostly new crew sailing on Avalon, but there is experience aboard. “Yes, I have people like Hedge (Glenn Cooper), Scott Clarkson and Stephanie Lyons. We’ve sailed against most of the boats at other regattas but never competed head-to-head in one-design. We’ll be happy if we finish mid-field or better.”

As to taking on Conspiracy again, Ford says, “I have a mate sailing on it, so there’s already a bet on between us…”

Sydney 38 One-Design NSW Championship entrants:

  • Adela II (David Lamond, Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron)
  • Advanced Philosophy (Peter Sorensen, Middle Harbour Yacht Club)
  • Avalon (Geoff Ford, Balmain Sailing Club)
  • Challenge (Greg Croak, Royal Motor Yacht Club Toronto)
  • Conspiracy (David Hudson/Peter Byford, Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club)
  • Love Byte (David Alais syndicate, Cruising Yacht Club of Australia)
  • Mondo (Lisa Callaghan/Stephen Teudt, Manly Yacht Club)
  • Shine on – Team Callendina (Phil Herscovics, CYCA)
  • Thirlmere (Daniel Belcher/John Hodgkinson, CYCA)

For all information on the Sydney 38 class, visit: https://www.sydney38class.com/home/

All information, including entries, photos and results in the NMISHR, visit: https://shr.mhyc.com.au/

Di Pearson/Sydney 38 media

Photos by Andrea Francolini


Close racing at the Sydney 38 Championship - Andrea Francolini pic

Entries to the 2024 Nautilus Marine Insurance Sydney Harbour Regatta have topped 100 and continue growing daily as Middle Harbour Yacht Club (MHYC) reveals some of the prizes on offer to entice more entrants before the Tuesday 27 February entry deadline. 

Zhik, official clothing supplier for the Australian Sailing Team, which is based at MHYC, has come on board as a support sponsor for the event to be held over the weekend of 2 and 3 March. The company will provide vouchers for divisional prizes and major prizes. And one lucky crew member will win a Zhik jacket if they go in the draw at the Club after racing on the Saturday.

The Grand Prizes, drawn from the boats placing first, second and third in their class or division will include a V8 Supercars Track Day and Pit Lane Walk courtesy of Steadfast Group Ltd, proud owner of naming rights sponsor Nautilus Marine Insurance, along with a Manly Spirits Distillery Experience for a group of 10 and other prizes.

Back on the water, one of the big ticket classes in 2024 is the Sydney 38 One-Design NSW Championship and a showdown between the largest fleet in years. Windward/leeward inshore races should be tighter than ever. 

“We’re looking forward to our Championship,” concedes defending champion and class president, David Hudson.

“We’re excited as we have nine entries and another that might join us; the biggest fleet we’ve had for years.”

Despite standing on the winner’s podium more times than any other, Hudson, one half of the successful partnership on Conspiracy, admits the Championship is no lay down misère for he and Peter Byford.

“It’s always difficult to successfully defend the title as the boats are so evenly matched. At least half the fleet got a win or a second in the last Championship and there were only seconds between the boats.

“There’s been a battle at our last few events between Conspiracy and Advanced Philosophy (Peter Sorensen), but in recent times the pair has been challenged by Shine On - Team Callendina (Phil Herscovics), Challenge (Greg Croak and family) and Mondo (Stephen Teudt/Lisa Callaghan).”

Hudson is overjoyed to see new players emerge in the class: “There’s a few new skippers and crews. We welcome them to the fleet. We’re quite confident they’ll do well,” he says of Geoff Ford (Avalon), John Hodgkinson/Daniel Belcher (Thirlmere), David Lamond (Adela II) and Cyril Latimer (Love Byte).

“As part of the core organising committee, Lisa (Callaghan) has been great in encouraging people into the class.”

Nautilus Marine Insurance CEO, Lyndon Turner, is among those looking forward to the weekend: "Our team is once again very pleased to be able to support all sailors taking part in the Nautilus Marine Insurance Sydney Harbour Regatta as we enter our second year as naming rights partner of this prominent regatta.

“It’s great to see our sport embraced by so many sailors from across NSW and beyond, racing on a wide range of boats. We look forward to meeting competitors at the Club during the event."

Other news from the water is that the Super 50s (TP52’s) will sail hybrid courses. Starting and finishing in the Harbour, the courses will also include an offshore windward/leeward component.

The regatta also marks the first round of the TP52’s 2024 Pallas Capital Gold Cup Series. First Light (Peter White) and two-time Sydney Hobart winner, Quest (Craig Neil), were in first with their entries. Gordon Ketelebey (Zen) is expected and Marcus Blackmore is keen if he is able to get the new Hooligan back from the Port Lincoln Regatta in time. Others are yet to confirm.

Entries are growing in the Open Divisions that are scored under both IRC and ORC. Divisions 1 and 2 will sail three inshore windward/leeward races each day, sharing the Foxtrot course with the Sydney 38 NSW Championship.

Recent entries in the division include Bushranger (Gerry Hatton) and Khaleesi (Sandy Farquharson). There are Insufficient Farr 40’s entered to justify a NSW Championship, so Bluetack (Brent Lawson) and Exile (Rob Reynolds) will boost numbers in Division 1.

Entries are open until 2359hrs, Tuesday 27 February, meaning one week remains for owners to take advantage of the Early Entry Fee.

For entry and Notice of Race, please visit: https://www.shr.mhyc.com.au

Di Pearson/MHYC media

Photos by Andrea Francolini...

Boats of all types and sizes participate - Andrea Francolini pic

Early entries have been extended for Middle Harbour Yacht Club’s (MHYC) 2024 Nautilus Marine Insurance Sydney Harbour Regatta, with interest building and entries flowing in for the popular event taking place on the weekend of 2 and 3 March. 

A healthy field for the inaugural FarEast 28R National Championship will provoke second to none competition during the 19th running of NSW’s largest keelboat regatta, with eight signed on.

Last year’s FarEast 28R division at the regatta was won by MING the Merciless (Jono Rogers), which returns, as does regular rival, Firecracker (Scott Lawson).

According to Rogers, who won five from the six races last year, “It’s an open field. We had five boats last year and it was close between all of us, there was nothing in it, despite the results at the end,” he said.

“Firecracker is very good, but anyone can get it on the day. The racing is that close.

Valkyrie (Drew Garnet) from Wangi on the Central Coast could do it too.

Cool Runnings won at Sail Port Stephens in 2022 and will be on the start line with Kevin Bloor in charge, joined by third placed Sweeney-Todd (Julian Todd).

“Sparrow (Peter Higgins) is a new boat from Pittwater. It’ll be interesting to see how it matches up against the rest. Everyone’s buying new sails for the Nationals and sharing ideas, so they’re ramping up.

“I feel it’s a building class, so having a Nationals is exciting. The class is developing in Sydney and to sail a one-design development class is great,” Rogers says.

“It’s a good spread of boats from around Sydney and the Central Coast competing for the Nationals. There’s been talk of New Zealand and Victorian boats coming next time, which is exciting for the class,” Rogers says.   

“We’re doing windward/leewards at the Sydney Harbour Regatta, which means great chances for overtaking downwind. I hope it’s windy because the boats are heaps of fun. They plane well and broach – the excitement factor,” he says laughing. 

“I can’t wait for the regatta to start.”

A second Australian Championship will be decided at the regatta too, with the J/99 class returning after holding its inaugural Championship at the Sydney Harbour Regatta in 2023. It was won by Jules Hall with Disko Trooper_Contender Sailcloth and he returns to defend the title he won by a landslide, posting five wins from six races.

“We’re really looking forward to coming back to defend,” Hall proclaims. “We have a bigger fleet this year. Eight boats and the standard has increased enormously. It means the competition will be better than ever. We’re looking forward to two days of close racing.”

Of the competition, Hall contends, “There’s no one standout boat. The usual suspects are all good,” he says of second and third overall respectively last year, Jupiter (Ian Smith) and Rum Rebellion (Shane Connolly).

“Blue Planet (Chris O’Neill) has lifted in performance and Verite from Newcastle has been sailing well.

“The Sydney Harbour Regatta is a great regatta and we’re delighted to be supporting it,” Hall finished.

More than 150 yachts are expected to take part, spread across 19 divisions and seven course areas on Sydney Harbour and offshore. A large proportion of those sailing on the Harbour will come from the Performance Class (Spinnaker Division).

Georgia Express is one of them. Sebastian Hultin has set his sights on doing well with the Mumm 36. Representing MHYC, Hultin says he is taking part in the event because, “It’s just a lot of fun. The action is all on Sydney Harbour, so it’s an entire weekend of racing in one of the most beautiful spots in the world.

“Standing on the beach having post-race drinks at Middle Harbour Yacht Club with live music afterwards is also very good. It’s the only yacht club where you can do that after racing.

“I’m hoping for a good turnout both on the water and for the socials after racing. You can’t have a bad time,” Hultin says.

Entries are open until 2359hrs, Tuesday 27 February, so enter now to take advantage of the Early Entry Fee.

For entry and Notice of Race, please visit: https://www.shr.mhyc.com.au

By Di Pearson/MHYC media

Photos by Andrea Francolini

Condor (Super 40s) puts the foot down to stay ahead in 2023 - Andrea Francolini

Middle Harbour Yacht Club (MHYC) welcomes all sailors to the New Year and entry into its 2024 Nautilus Marine Insurance Sydney Harbour Regatta, due to take place from 2-3 March 2024, with another competitive weekend of autumn racing across multiple classes and divisions.

The Notice of Race is now online where you can also enter for the 19th running of the largest keelboat regatta in NSW which was introduced in 2006.

New in 2024 is the inaugural FarEast 28R National Championship. A quality Australia-wide fleet exists in this fun and fast Simonis Voogd One-Design class. Excitement is the key factor. Downwind in big conditions has caused a few heart stopping moments for crews and spectators alike and there is often less than half a bowsprit between finishers in races.

Following a successful first Australian J/99 Class Championships at the Sydney Harbour Regatta in 2023, Jules Hall will return with Disko Trooper to defend their title.

The competitive Sydney 38 One-Design class will again hold its NSW Championship as part of the SHR. Whether the determined team of Peter Byford and David Hudson (Conspiracy) can be beaten remains to be seen. MHYC’s Peter Sorensen (Advanced Philosophy) came close last year. He led into the final day, but Conspiracy accelerated to lift the title.

Joining the Sydney 38s for offshore windward-leeward races starting and finishing in the Harbour will be the Super 50 group, with a number of TP52s expected. The Open IRC divisions will race inshore this year.

“We are committed to remaining innovative in our approach to the Nautilus Marine Insurance Sydney Harbour Regatta. We review it each year. We continue to grow it and promote the strength of the various one-design classes and other designs in general via NSW and National Championships,” said MHYC Commodore Rob Aldis.

The Commodore will take part also, with Daguet 2, a French built Mylius 50 co-owned with Peter Byford from Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club. 

Other one-design classes lining up for MHYC’s signature event include the J/70, J/24, Adams 10, Farr 40 and Etchells. All are ultra-competitive and sailed by some of Australia’s leading lights.

Add to the above the Super 30, Super 40, Performance Spinnaker and Non-Spinnaker divisions, Classic Keelboats and Historic 18 foot skiffs – the classes that showcase Sydney Harbour and its famous landmarks in March each year. The Harbour is at its best when it is covered in white sails and colourful spinnakers.

More than 150 yachts are expected to take part in the 19 divisions across seven course areas on the Harbour and offshore.

“We appreciate the large number of competitors who support the event each year and show our Harbour off to its best advantage. We also thank those clubs that support us each year to hold the regatta; a huge undertaking,” Commodore Aldis said.

Those clubs that continue to support the running of the Regatta are: Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, Sydney Amateur Sailing Club, Manly Yacht Club, Royal Australian Navy Sailing Association, Royal Prince Edward Yacht Club, Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, the Sydney Flying Squadron and their skilled and committed volunteers. 

Early entries close at one minute to midnight on Wednesday 21 February, so enter now and take advantage of the Early Entry Fee.

For the Notice of Race and to enter the Nautilus Marine Insurance Sydney Harbour Regatta, please visit: www.shr.mhyc.com.au

Di Pearson/MHYC media


2023 Photos by Andrea Francolini

The Nautilus Marine Insurance 2024 Sydney Harbour Regatta Notice of Race has now been published and entries are invited for the 19th edition this prestigious regatta.

Some changes for 2024 include:

  • The addition of Classic Yachts sailing two races on the Saturday and one longer race on the Sunday.
  • Open class yachts being scored on IRC and ORC will sail two inshore passage races each day.
  • The Super 50 class and the Sydney 38 NSW Championship fleet will sail two short offshore windward-leeward races each day starting and finishing in the harbour.

Otherwise, the 2024 Regatta is similar in format to previous years with the same wonderful group of supporting clubs. 

To read or download the Notice of Race - click here


Bow Caddy Media were on the water capturing all the Day Two action in the Nautilus Marine Insurance Sydney Harbour Regatta.

View the video - click here

Nine Dragons in surfing mode - Andrea Francolini photo

Entries are now being accepted for the 2023 Nautilus Marine Insurance Sydney Short Ocean Racing Championship (SSORC), with the entry form online at the official website where the Notice of Race can also be found. 

To be held on 25 and 26 November, Middle Harbour Yacht Club’s (MHYC) SSORC is in its 46th year. It is held alongside the Seven Islands Race which attracts an eclectic fleet of those who prefer inshore round the buoys racing, or in this case, round some of Sydney’s most famous islands on Sydney Harbour. The start is pursuit style from MHYC and first back home at the Club is crowned the winner.

Commodore of MHYC, Rob Aldis, commented: “First of all, we’d like to thank Nautilus Marine Insurance which is in its second year as main event partner for our SSORC and Sydney Harbour Regatta in March. The company adds prestige to our two major events through its support of the sailing community.”

The SSORC is a first chance this summer season for an offshore hit-out ahead of other major offshore events, in particular the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. 

Commodore Aldis continued, “We expect to see some new players this season and to also see old rivalries re-emerge.”

He was referring to entrants from MHYC and Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club in particular, who regularly challenge each other for the top three places at major events hosted by the two clubs.

It is likely the top three from Division 1 last year will be back. Winner was MHYC regular, Bob Cox and his DK46, Nine Dragons. RPAYC yachts filled out second and third overall respectively: the Mark Griffith skippered LCE Old School Racing (also a DK46) and Keiran Mulcahy’s King 40, Soozal, which upset a trio of DK46s taking the trophies. 

Division 2 went to podium limelight stealers in Jack Stening and Colin Gunn with their Sydney 36 Stormaway. Just one point separated them from another podium regular in Peter Sorensen’s Sydney 38, Advanced Philosophy. Bullwinkle, Peter Farrugia’s Bull 9000 from RPAYC, filled out the top three. The trio will be eager to return for another go. 

So will it be the locals versus RPAYC for the top spots again, or will those from other clubs, inclusive of those that just missed out last year, muscle their way in?

Opportunists will face a mix of racing from a passage race to Lion Island (in a northerly) or Cape Baily (in a southerly) on the Saturday. The race is also an inclusion in the CYCA Ocean Pointscore (OPS). On Sunday, two short offshore windward/leeward races are in the pipeline. The best boats tested across the different styles of races, usually held in varying conditions, will be the victors.

For entry and Notice of Race, please visit: www.ssorc.mhyc.com.au  

Di Pearson/MHYC media

All Photos by Andrea Francolini


Jules Hall and Disko Trooper - Winners of the Inaugural J/99 Australian
Championships and the Grand First Prize

The prizegiving ceremony for the 2023 Nautilus Marine Insurance Sydney Harbour Regatta attracted 150 guests to Middle Harbour Yacht Club on a very warm evening tonight with a great atmosphere. 

MHYC Special Events Chairman, Ian Box, was MC and congratulated all 156 entrants in this year’s regatta, especially those who contested Australian or State Championships as part of the event.  There were almost one thousand competitors this year.  To be able to deliver 89 races for 17 divisions across 7 course areas takes an enormous effort and the event ran smoothly with a full program of races for all classes and 5 protests resolved by the Jury. 

 Along with prize presentations to the placegetters in all divisions, a number of special awards were made.  Best performance by a female skipper and a Chandon pack was awarded to Tracy Richardson who sailed her Adams 10 Artemis to three straight wins on the final day to win the regatta.  The crew prizes, $500 Ross & Whitcroft clothing vouchers and pairs of Maui Jim sunglasses, were drawn and awarded to Pam Fagence from Never A Dull Moment (Performance Non-Spinnaker) and Duncan Stenger from Siena (J/99 Australian Championships). 

The Grand Prizes were also drawn with the third place prize, a $1000 Nautilus Marine Insurance voucher and a Young Henry's Brewery Tour and Tastings for 10 crew, going to Graeme Dunlop and Ellipse from CYCA (Performance Spinnaker Division 2).  The second place prize, three night's accommodation at Hamilton Island and a reef tour along with a Manly Spirits "Distillery Experience" for a crew of 10, went to Ian Quarrie and Ascalon from RPAYC (Performance Spinnaker Division 1).  The Grand First Prize, A V8 Supercar Track Day courtesy of Steadfast and a $1500 Ross & Whitcroft clothing voucher, was presented to Jules Hall and Disko Trooper from CYCA (J/99 Australian Championships).

The regatta would not be possible without the support of CYCA, Manly YC, RANSA, RPAYC, RPEYC, RSYS, SASC, Sydney Flying Squadron and a collective team of 85 race management volunteers.  We are fortunate to also have the support of Nautilus Marine Insurance as principal sponsor along with supporting sponsors Quality Marine Clothing, Flagstaff Marine, Pacific Rigging, Maui Jim and Manly Spirits.


Open Division 1 at a start - Andrea Francolini pic

An ideal autumn day on Sydney Harbour and offshore decided the winners and new Australian and NSW champions in three classes at Middle Harbour Yacht Club’s 2023 Nautilus Marine Insurance Sydney Harbour Regatta today. 

Some of yesterday’s leaders extended today to claim their respective overall wins, while others came from behind, finding the lovely north- easterly wind more to their liking.

Open Classes

Mark Griffith did his best work yesterday in light airs, claiming all three windward/leeward races with the DK46, LCE Old School Racing. He did enough today, with 2-2-5 results to win Division 1 of the Open Class from another DK46, Nine Dragons, owned by Robert Cox. Keiran Mulcahy’s King 40, Soozal, placed third. The trio are regular top three players.

“Saturday we had a really good day and won by some fairly big margins. Macca (Steve McConaghy) did great job on tactics and we had good speed,” Griffith shared.

“Today we had a good ding-dong battle with Nine Dragons. It wasn’t so easy, but we are pretty happy to come away with two second places today. We lost our bowman over the side in third race, but the crew did an excellent job of retrieval, had him back on board very quickly. We stayed consistent and were able to just hang in there,” Griffith ended.  

Division 2

Serial winner, Stormaway (Colin Gunn and Jack Stening), won Division 2. The Sydney 36 scored four wins and a pair of second places, outsailing Peter Farrugia’s Bullwinkle and Neil Padden’s Wailea. The latter two finished on equal points.

Tracy Richardson on the way to winning the Adams 10s - Andrea Francolini pic

Adams 10 win goes to Artemis

With MHYC celebrating International Women’s day at the regatta today, it seemed appropriate that club member, Tracy Richardson, came from behind to win the division with Artemis. She did so by scoring three straight wins on the windward/leeward courses.

“Best day ever,” a thrilled Richardson said. “Our manoeuvres and crew work were incredible and the conditions suited us,” she said of the building nor’ easter on a perfect sunny day, when a 12 knot breeze worked its way up to 18 knots on the Sydney Harbour course. 

“We got the boat going today. We had great tactics downwind and great competition with Another Dilemma especially. It’s been such close racing. We couldn’t even tell if we’d won the final race it was that close. Good one design racing.”

No Friends (Geoffrey Charters) and Another Dilemma (Jim Vaughan) placed second and third overall respectively and finished on equal points., four behind Artemis.  

Performance Class Spinnaker

Craig Douglas’ Beneteau First 47.7, Popeye, revelled in today’s conditions and took out Division 1 from Eric Frank’s Bliss and Mark Gorbatov’s Blink.

“We did everything right,” Douglas asserted. “We had a strong team on board, the hardcore Popeye sailing team. That’s the reason for our success.

“On Saturday, moving a 13 ton boat in 5 knots was not easy, but the crew work in that light air was exceptional. Today was our sort of wind.”

Division 2

Graeme Dunlop’s Ellipse finished at the top of Division 2, his Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 409 outdid Robert Carr’s regular, Rumba, which couldn’t quite dance into the top spot. Stella Polaris took third.

Division 3

Michael Doherty’s Sequel claimed the Division 3 spoils from Dean Dransfield’s Escape.

The Performance Spinnaker classes were scored under ORC and PHS. Strong fleet numbers provided the most entries and colour at the regatta.

New Farr 40 NSW champion SI - Andrea Francolini pic

Farr 40 – S1 new NSW champion

Brendan McAssey and crew sailed an exemplary series on SI to be named the Farr 40 NSW champions. S1 won five of the six windward/leeward races and placed second in the other. Gordon Ketelbey’s 1-2-2 lifted Zen up to second overall, Brent Lawson’s Blue Tack settling for third. All are from the host club.

“Our crew work was the difference. We’ve been sailing with the same guys for a while and everyone was on their game this weekend,” McAssey said of the crew who were with him at the 2022 Australian Yachting Championships.

“Ian McKillop, our tactician, was amazing. He made all the right calls. We’re excited to be back sailing again on a fantastic Sydney weekend and at a great regatta.“

Sydney 38 – Conspiracy defends her title successfully

They did not lead coming into the day, but that is fairly typical of Peter Byford and David Hudson, who have retained their Sydney 38 One-Design NSW Championship. The scores were exceptionally close yesterday, with Peter Sorensen’s Advanced Philosophy leading the charge. But as the Conspiracy crew regularly does, they saved the best for last, three straight wins today trumping the rest.

Sorro, after swearing blind yesterday that he would take the title from them this time, finished second overall, three points behind. Greg Croak, who brings Challenge down from Toronto for major events, took third place.

J/99 Inaugural Championship

Jules Hall’s Disko Trooper (CYCA) was too good for the rest. Hall won five of the six windward/leeward races to claim the inaugural J/99 crown. Ian Smith’s Jupiter and Shane Connolly’s Rum Rebellion maintained their respective second and third places of yesterday.

In other results, Sam Haynes was too classy for the rest, winning all six races in the J/70 division. The Sydney vet is on a winning streak on the Harbour and offshore (he won the 2022 Rolex Sydney Hobart). 

In the Fareast 28R division, Ming the Merciless was just that. Her syndicate of five owners, Jono, Neil, Chris, John and Jack, won five of six races for victory over Scott Lawson’s Firecracker and Wildling 3, sailed by the Wildling syndicate.

MHYC thanks naming rights sponsor Nautilus Marine Insurance and supporting sponsor Quality Marine Clothing.

The Club also thanks Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, Sydney Amateur Sailing Club, Manly Yacht Club, Royal Australian Navy Sailing Association, Royal Prince Edward Yacht Club, Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club and the Sydney Flying Squadron and their volunteer force, for their valuable support at the 18th running of the Sydney Harbour Regatta. 

For all divisions’ full results in all divisions, photos and more from the Nautilus Marine Insurance Sydney Harbour Regatta, please visit: https://www.shr.mhyc.com.au/

Di Pearson/MHYC media

Janette Syme and Catherine Rofe on Kaotic - Andrea Francolini pic

On Wednesday 8 March, the world will celebrate International Women’s Day and Middle Harbour Yacht Club (MHYC), through its Nautilus Marine Insurance Sydney Harbour Regatta this weekend, celebrates all those women contesting the regatta, taking part in the on-water race management roles and those ashore who have administration roles.

Women’s participation in the sport of sailing continues to increase in Australia. Through clubs around the country and all the way up to the national and world authorities, specialised programs, learn to sail classes and Women’s regattas are de rigueur these days.

This weekend there are women spread throughout the large fleet of 170 boats participating in Championships and the various divisions in NSW’s largest keelboat event.  

MHYC Sailing Manager, David Staley says, “Middle Harbour Yacht Club has been actively encouraging women to participate over the past few years. The Club’s first Women’s Regatta was held in May 2018 and a Women’s Twilight Series commenced the same year. 

“Since 2021, the Club has arranged activities in conjunction with World Sailing’s Steer the Course program and was one of the foundation clubs contributing to running the Sydney Harbour Women’s Keelboat Series.  

“Club member, Tracy Richardson and crew, sailed a loaned Adams 10 to win the 2022 Australian Women’s Keelboat Regatta,” Staley said.

Richardson owns the Adams 10, Artemis. She became interested in sailing eight years ago and has not looked back. Leading into the final day of the Sydney Harbour Regatta last year, she ultimately placed second overall. An extremely competitive sailor, Richardson is also president of the Adams 10 Association.

Ali Braden is driving a media boat - Marg Fraser-Martin pic

Janette Syme is skipper of Kaotic in the J/24 division. She won the opening race and placed third in the other two to be placed third overall leading into the final day, today.

“Very tricky weather. We had a very good Race 1 yesterday,” Syme said. The top three boats were very close. We were all in front at some point. We took the lead at the last mark and just won, as the others were coming down to us with breeze.

As to sailing, Syme has loved it since taking up the sport at seven. “I started helming a Flying 11 at 11 and never looked back,” said the grandmother of two. “I haven’t given up on life yet,” she said laughing.

“The reason we’re doing this regatta is to practice for the Lady Liberty Women‘s Regatta in New York in September. It’s in J/24s and there will be crews from 10 nations competing. Catherine Rofe (MHYC Sailing Administrator) is one of the women on our crew.”

Karyn Gojnich is another prime example. She has represented Australia at three Olympic Games, is Rear Commodore of Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron and is a big supporter of growing women’s participation in sailing. For this event, Gojnich is at the helm of the one-design J/70, Jabiru.

Annie Taylor is a long-time inshore and offshore racer. She hops from inshore regattas to one-design sailing and offshore yachting. Here at the Nautilus Marine Insurance Sydney Harbour Regatta, she is racing offshore in IRC Division 2 on Bullwinkle, owned by Peter Farrugia.

Rosemary Merrington returns to fulfill her role on the start crew on E course. Robyn Tames is the Course Race Officer on D course and Alice Murphy, the Sydney Amateur Sailing Club’s Club Captain, is also on D course. Shue Zhang and Renee Spinks are on F course, Sylvia Liang is on the offshore mark boat team on course G and Ali Braden is driving one of the media boats.

Braden is a Laser Radial sailor and Olympic aspirant. She had sailed a Laser 4.7 until switching to the Radial mid-January.

“The Club asked if I would drive the media boat and I was keen to see some cool boats and the good variety of people in the classes, so I said ‘yes’. It’s my first time and it was fun,” the 15 year old said. “I would definitely do it again, I really enjoyed it.”

For all information on the 2023 Nautilus Marine Insurance Sydney Harbour Regatta, including results, please visit: www.shr.mhyc.com.au   

By Di Pearson, MHYC media

Sydney 38s upwind action - Andrea Francolini pic

A light and shifty nor’ easter kept competitors on their toes at the 2023 Nautilus Marine Insurance Sydney Harbour Regatta today, favouring the lighter boats and those who were able to pick the crafty shifts and remain patient.

These qualities were especially important for those contesting the Sydney 38 OD NSW Championship, the inaugural J/99 Australian Championship and the Farr 40 NSW Championship at the Middle Harbour Yacht Club (MHYC) organised event.

Sydney 38

A mixed day among the Sydney 38 fleet means the Championship is wide open. The class did three windward/leewards offshore, with Advanced Philosophy (Peter Sorensen), Challenge (Greg Croak) and the defending champions on Conspiracy (Peter Byford/David Hudson) all recipients of wins. 

Advanced Philosophy leads after scoring 1-2-3 results, while Conspiracy finished with 2-4-1 and Challenge with 4-1-2. There exists just one point between the three. Conspiracy’s rivals will need to stay on their toes tomorrow, as Byford and Hudson have developed the bad habit of having their own way on final day of events and even final races.

“Three of us shared the wins and it could go any way,” Croak said of the Championship. “it was a very difficult day, but it didn’t turn out too bad for us, except we lost our electrics, so had no wind instruments for two races. Actually, we won one after we lost them, so maybe we’re better off without the instruments,” he mused.

Edake gets amongst the Farr 40 competition
Andrea Francolini pic


Jules Hall’s Disko Trooper (CYCA), winner of the Two-Handed division in the 2021 Rolex Sydney Hobart, leads the inaugural J/99 Championship on countback to Ian Smith’s Jupiter (MYC) after scoring two bullets and a fourth place.

“It was jolly tricky in the Sound. There were plenty of holes which we did an excellent job of finding,” Hall said laughing. ”But when we got in phase it was excellent racing and super close. It was a fantastic first day of racing. The goal is to finish cream of the crop, but you have to work hard,” he said after the three windward/leeward races.

Farr 40

Brendan McAssey is the target in the Farr 40 NSW Championship after victory in all three races today. McAssey’s S1 defeated Blue Tack (Brent Lawson) for the win in Races 1 and 2 and Gordon Ketelbey’s Zen in the third race to lead. All three are representing MHYC.


Sam Haynes, the 2022 Sydney Hobart winner, won all three races in the J70 class with Celestial. Maybe-J (Michael Nash) is second and Jabberwocky (Andrew Tompson) has claimed third overall.

Far East 28R action - Andrea Francolini pic

“Quite a light nor’ easterly, variable,” said Haynes, Vice Commodore of the CYCA. In the area of the Harbour that we sailed, there was quite a bit of traffic, including ferries. The starts were close, but we managed to just get in front and stay in front, working the shifts.

“It was pretty close racing with the guys behind us , like Maybe-J, Yknot and Jabberwocky. Everyone had their moments. You could easily be in a good position and then get out of phase or get caught in the traffic.

“It was quite hot out there, but the race officials were good. The courses were good - not too long – and they got us away quickly too,” Haynes ended.

The Historical 18 foot skiffs contested just one race this afternoon, racing in the area around Manly. Podium regular, Yendys, skippered by Grant Wakefield, made the most of the light breeze to defeat Alruth (Alan Robertson) and Australia IV (Terry Stewart) for the spoils.

In other results, Bruce Tavener (DSC) leads the Super 30 class with his Flying Tiger, Ophir, by one point to Very Tasty (Tasty syndicate), following three windward/leeward races.

Marcus Blackmore’s MC38, Hooligan, has gone to the top of the class in the Super 40s, just a point in front of Michael Ritchie’s self-designed Ritche 38, Revolver. Both are from RPAYC. Darryl Hodgkinson’s Carkeek 40, Victoire (CYCA), won Race 2 and is third overall.  

Racing continues from 11am tomorrow and will decide the winners of each Championship and the remaining divisions.

Full results in all divisions, photos and more from the Nautilus Marine Insurance Sydney Harbour Regatta, please visit: https://www.shr.mhyc.com.au/

Di Pearson/MHYC media

PHS Division 2 last year will compete under ORC Club in 2023
Andrea Francolini pic

Numbers are building for the 2023 Nautilus Marine Insurance Sydney Harbour Regatta and the good news is that organiser, Middle Harbour Yacht Club (MHYC), has extended the early entry fee to 28 February 2023.

To take place on the weekend of 4-5 March, the headline acts will be the 2023 Sydney 38 NSW Championship, the inaugural J/99 Australian Championships, and the Farr 40 NSW Championship.

The J/99 title is to be decided by six windward-leeward races, in the same race area as the Super 30 and Super 40 groups. A new kid on the block is the J/99, Chris O’Neill’s Blue Planet. She only made the 2022 Rolex Sydney Hobart start line by a whisker due to a late launch, so is yet to reveal her true potential.

Another new boat that bears watching is David Ross’ Super 30 entry, Kukukerchu, a Cape 31. If his previous Cape 31 of the same name is anything to go by, look out!

The Farr 40s will race on the same course area as the Adams 10 and J/24 fleets. First to enter was Brendan McAssey with S1. McAssey almost tasted success at the 2022 Australian Yachting Championships, but just missed the podium, placing fourth overall.

Rob Reynolds Exile is also entered and Jeff Carter has thrown his hat in the ring with Edake. Holder of three NSW Championships, the 2022 National title and a reigning two-time Corinthian World Champion, Edake should be the one to beat.

“Nuh Uh,” says Carter. I’m giving everyone a good chance to beat me. I’ve got all my old crew. We haven’t sailed together for around 12 years. We’ll be sailing off with Exile for the ‘Dad’s Army’ award,” Carter said laughing. “Come and get us - but be a bit gentle.”       

The previous Kukukerchu blasting aroud the course last year
Andrea Francolini pic

The Super 40s are shaping up nicely with the likes of Michael Ritchie’s Revolver. The self-designed Ritchie 38 will arrive from Pittwater having placed third overall in Division 2 at the NSW ORC Championships. Ross Hennessy has entered Condor and the ultra-competitive ‘Dr Darryl’ Hodgkinson has signed up with Victoire.

And speaking of ultra-competitive, rumour has it that Marcus Blackmore will be competing in this division with his MC38, Hooligan.

Some other classes will have their own division, such as the Fareast 28R, which will share a course area with the J/70s.

“It will be an action-packed weekend of racing across many different classes and divisions and we’re excited to be hosting Championship events at the Sydney Harbour Regatta this year,” said MHYC Commodore, Rob Aldis, who will race Kayimai in Spinnaker Division 1, while Sandy Farquharson, his partner in the DK46, Khaleesi, will race in the Open IRC class.

Khaleesi will face all those she competed against at the NSW ORC Championship at Pittwater a couple of weeks ago. Most formidable is Gerry Hatton’s Bushranger, which won five of six races to successfully defend the title. Then there are the rest… 

Division 2 is as strong. Peter Farrugia’s Bullwinkle and Martin Cross’s Transcendence Crento finished second and third in that division at the NSW ORC Championships and are coming from Pittwater to have another go.

Despite Sydney boats competing at the Australian Yachting Championships at Port Lincoln, a small fleet of TP52s is on the cards. Gordon Ketelbey is trucking his globe-trotting Zen back from South Australia specially to take part. 

Zen will be trucked back to Sydney to compete
Andrea Francolini pic

Craig Neil, owner of Quest and President of the TP52 class association commented, “We expect the TP52s to be at the Sydney Harbour Regatta in force next year. A couple are having repairs after the Hobart, others, like us, are at Port Lincoln and one is in the build stage.”  

For the first time, the primary scoring system to be used for the for Performance Spinnaker divisions is ORC Club, with PHS the secondary scoring system. ORC is becoming increasingly popular among the masses. Who will win? Only time will tell.

Everyone is expected to be at their best to make it into the Grand Prize Draw to be conducted at the Official Presentation on Monday 6 March. Each boat placing first, second and third in any Class/Division where six or more entries have been received, are eligible.

First Place Draw is for a – A V8 Supercar Track Day at Sydney Motor Sport Park and a Ross & Whitcroft Quality Marine Clothing Merchandise voucher valued at $1,500.

Second Place Draw – Three nights’ Hamilton Island accommodation for two persons, including a Reef Tour and a Gin Company ‘Distillery Experience.’

Third Place Draw – A Nautilus Marine Insurance voucher for $1,000 and a ‘Brewery Experience’.

Crews don’t miss out. A Crew Prizes Draw for two Ross & Whitcroft Quality Marine Clothing merchandise vouchers to the value of $500 and pairs of Maui Jim sunglasses – one for male crew members and one for female crew members, will also be presented at the Official Presentation.

Don’t miss out, enter the Nautilus Marine Insurance Sydney Harbour Regatta now at:  www.shr.mhyc.com.au 


Di Pearson/MHYC media

Adams 10s taking no prisoners - Andrea Francolini photo

The Nautilus Marine Insurance Sydney Harbour Regatta will take place on the weekend of 4-5 March, with online entry now open and the Notice of Race published for the largest annual keelboat regatta in NSW, organised by Middle Harbour Yacht Club (MHYC) since 2006.

Traditionally held on the first weekend of March annually, the regatta attracts up to 200 boats across 19 divisions racing over seven course areas. Competitors from Olympians to world champions, America’s Cup stars to ocean racing’s finest and club racers all enjoy this autumn regatta.

“We expect another robust showing in 2023 with strong competition for the J/99 and Sydney 38 Championships, the other one design divisions and remaining classes. With entries from all over NSW and some from interstate, we expect no less,” MHYC Commodore, Rob Aldis said. 

Aldis and Sandy Farquharson recently returned from skippering Khaleesi, their DK46, to Rolex Sydney Hobart fourth in IRC Division 2 and third in ORCi Division 2. A Past Commodore, Ian Box, was in the same division with Toybox 2. Both are regulars in the Open class for IRC and ORCi entrants. 

The Open divisions sail on offshore courses. The remainder cover Sydney Harbour in a blaze of colour from the Opera House down to the Sound between North and South Heads.

In 2023, the Sydney Harbour Regatta will host the Sydney 38 NSW Championship, to be defended by Peter Byford and David Hudson’s Conspiracy. It will also host the J/99 Australian and NSW Championships.

A fairly new breed in Australia, Jules Hall’s J/99 Disko Trooper, the 2021 Sydney Hobart Two-Handed division winner, is the benchmark. Ray Entwistle’s Jedi, Shane Connelly’s Rum Rebellion and Chris O’Neill’s Blue Planet, launched late last year, are expected to start.  

Sydney 38 Championship at SHR in 2019 - Andrea Francolini photo

Other classes include Performance Spinnaker and Non-Spinnaker divisions which typically deliver the most entries and the most colour. In Division 1, Peter Sorenson’s Advanced Philosophy won by two points from Brendan McAssey’s S1 in 2022. They will likely return. 

The same came be said for Division 2’s top two: Jack Stening and Colin Gunn’s Stormaway, and second placed Graeme Neuhaus’ Crowded Haus. Just two points rested between them.

Other divisions include the former Olympic class Yngling and the exciting speed machine Super 30 and 40 classes. 

In the Super 30’s, expect the return of 2022 winner, Peter Woodhead’s XC3SS and runner-up, Brian Tavener’s Ophir. In the ‘40’s’, you will find the likes of reigning champion Revolver (Michael Ritchie), second placed Victoire owned by 2013 Sydney Hobart winner, Darryl Hodgkinson and Little Nico (Adrian Walters).

The Super 50s, namely the grand prix TP52 class, is expected to be hotly contested with a few more joining the ranks in the last year.

David Doherty’s Matador won the class at the SHR last year and placed second at the Australian Yachting Championships in August. She was only beaten by the newest in the bunch, the 2021 launched international Caro, representing New Zealand.

One design boats include: J70s, the class gaining momentum since making their presence felt in numbers in 2017, along with the evergreen J24’s and Adams 10‘s, one of the most fiercely contested classes.   

Molon Labe dealing with traffic and the conditions
Andrea Francolini photo

Telling its own story, the Adams 10 was led  by Tracy Richardson’s Artemis on countback to Brian Lees’ Contentious on the final day last year, but Lees won by three points in the end. 

Historical 18 foot skiffs, bringing back memories of yesteryear, are the most recognisable class, with their wooden hulls and gaff rigs, their crews resplendent in their team footy jumpers. The Jerry Tickner skippered Aberdare is defending champion.

MHYC thanks naming rights sponsor Nautilus Marine Insurance and supporting sponsor Quality Marine Clothing.

The Club also thanks Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, Sydney Amateur Sailing Club, Manly Yacht Club, Royal Australian Navy Sailing Association, Royal Prince Edward Yacht Club, Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club and the Sydney Flying Squadron, for their valuable support. 

Come and join in the 18th running of this major event. For the Notice of Race, to enter and all information on the Nautilus Marine Insurance Sydney Harbour Regatta, please visit: https://www.shr.mhyc.com.au/ 

Di Pearson/MHYC media

Nine Dragons scored the IRC Open win - Andrea Francolini pic

Middle Harbour Yacht Club’s (MHYC) Sydney Harbour Regatta (SHR) concluded this afternoon with winners decided after competitors dealt with big gusty winds, heavy downpours interspersed with a teasing watery sun for a short spell, before the clouds closed over and visibility became limited. 

All courses were sailed on Sydney Harbour today, including the Open IRC and Super 50 fleets. The two divisions started and finished their three races at Watsons Bay. All bar the Super 40s were away on time in a 15-knot breeze, gusting to 18 knots, substantially more than the forecast 10 knots.

The Super 40 start was delayed when Adrian Walters’ Little Nico broached and lost two crew members overboard. This is an experienced owner and crew, so both were crew retrieved quickly and are fine. From there, Walters decided to abandon racing for the day. 

IRC Open

Nine Dragons (Bob Cox) led Keiran Mulcahy’s Soozal by one point, with Mark Hellyer’s Cicero is a further four points behind in third place when they headed to the race course today for two more races. Cox’s win and a second means he is the clear winner by seven points from Cicero. Soozal placed third, a further point behind. It was a delayed gift, as Cox had a birthday on 3 March.

“I’m very happy with our result,” Cox said. “It was a shame a couple of boats from RPAYC couldn’t make it, especially Bushranger, it’s so competitive. It was still very close competition, especially with us and Khaleesi at the bigger end and Soozal at the smaller end. Soozal never gives up.

“It was very shifty today. The windward/leeward races were good to get our crew work sorted out. It’s been good practice for Sail Port Stephens. We’ve had five wins there in the past, and we’re going back to try again,” Cox ended.

Matador hit her straps - Andrea Francolini pic

Super 50

The new kid on the block, David Doherty (Matador) has carted off first place in the Super 50 division, which also doubles as the first event of the inaugural TP52 Series. Matador beat local boat, Zen (Gordon Ketelbey) to the punch by four points. Matt Donald/Chris Townsend’s Gweilo carried over their third place from yesterday, a further four points in arears.  

Super 40

Revolver’s (Michael Ritchie) fourth place today was enough to give her the series win after she led into the day with two wins. With Little Nico (Adrian Walters) out of the picture, Darryl Hodgkinson moved up to second overall with his Carkeek 40, Victoire, his Race 3 win lifting him up. 

Super 30

Peter Woodhead’s XC3SS trailed BruceTavener’s Ophir coming into the day and Woodhead followed through. Seventh and fourth places gave the local sailor a three-point buffer over Ophir. 


New NSW J/70 champion, Reg Lord (Juno) has made two on the trot, winning the class at this Sydney Harbour Regatta. Runner up at the Championship, Tim Ryan and his Vamos, made a comeback to finish runner-up here as well. It shows how consistently well these two boats sail.

Adams 10s - an extremely competitive class - Andrea Francolini pic

Adams 10

Tracy Richardson’s Artemis led Brian Lees’ Contentious on countback coming into the day, but Lees bounced back to claim the overall win from Richardson by three points. The competition between the two was thrilling.

“Last time I won, I won an Audi. We’ve won here a couple of times. Looks like we’ve come good again – older and smarter,” Lees said laughing.

“I was pleased to see Tracey do well – she hasn’t been sailing very long. We didn’t find the conditions too hard to handle. On our course the breeze was pretty consistent. It was very tight racing and we had a few close calls. The boats were doing 10 and 11 knots quite a lot of the time.”

Black Adder new Yngling NSW champion

Gary Pearce (Black Adder) had the bit between the teeth, unwilling to relinquish the 2-point lead he carried into the day from Gary Wogas (Karma) in the Yngling NSW Championship. Pearce and crew fired off three more bullets from three races. He claimed the title from Wogas, who scored a trio of second places. Jan Newland’s Yertl held onto third overall, scoring a trio of third places.

Performance Spinnaker Divisions 1 and 2

Peter Sorenson (Advanced Philosophy) kept the pressure on Brendan McAssey’s S1 to win overall by two points, the same margin he led by yesterday. It seemed likely the win would be between the pair – and so it was. Sorro was always going to be the benchmark, but he is still tinkering with his Sydney 38 and changing crew around.

PHS Division 2 get off the start - Andrea Francolini pic

“Rain, wind, it was very unpleasant,” Sorensen commented. “In the second race we got pushed over the line early, had to come back, then broached gybing the spinnaker in 20 knots - and nearly ran into a start boat – not the one for our course though.

“It was a terrific race otherwise,” he said without a hint of sarcasm. “It was very fast. We saw 32 knots, but generally it was under 25, it was coming and going.”

Sorensen owed his success, he said, “To changing the crew around a bit and it worked pretty well,” he said. “I’m pretty pleased with how we went, especially after finishing second to Conspiracy at the Sydney 38 NSW Championship a couple of weeks ago.”

In Division 2, it was unusual to see the Jack Stening/Colin Gunn sailed Stormaway out of the top placings at the end of yesterday, but the pair ‘stormed’ home with third and fourth places to steal the series from under the noses of the rest. Graeme Neuhaus, who sat in second place coming into the day with Crowded Haus, finished the regatta the same way, two points adrift of the victors.

However, neither of the top two won a race today. Simon Oliver’s Odyssey claimed Race 3 and Rumba (Rob Carr/Steph Cook/Kerry Burke) won Race 4.

Performance Spinnaker Division 3 and Non-Spinnaker Division

John Crawford finished the way he started. Innamincka led the Beth Abbott skippered Rapid Transit in Performance Spinnaker Division 3 coming into the day and has won the series from Abbott cleanly, six points separating the pair after a further two races were sailed.

Neither won a race today, those honours went to Dean Dransfield’s Escape (Race 3) and Michael Bleakley’s Scaramouch (Race 4), lifting the two up to third and fourth places overall respectively.

The view from Super 30 Very Tasty this afternoon - Peter Lowndes pic

John Crawford came ashore unaware Innamincka had won. “Are you sure? I didn’t think we had that good a day. The weather suited the bigger heavier boats. We’re very happy to win. The forecast was miserable, we got a bit of rain, but nothing horrendous,” he said.

MHYC did a good job with this regatta. Sydney Amateur Sailing Club and RANSA ran our courses and did a good job too.” 

In the Non-Spinnaker division, yesterday’s leader, Sea Change, skippered by charterer, Angus Ekberg, held on to win overall – just. Sixth and third places meant he won on countback from Nathan Lockhart’s Scarborough, which scored fourth and second places today. John De Meur’s Elysium won Race 3 to finish third overall, while the Race 4 win went to Martin Blake/Mark Bothwell’s Sol.

Post-race festivities included a DJ on the beach in front of the Club as crews made the most of a sausage sizzle and drinks, including at the Fever Tree Gin Bar.

The official presentation and prize giving will be held tomorrow (Monday) evening at 1900 hours at Middle Harbour Yacht Club. The Grand Prizes will also be drawn at this time.

Middle Harbour Yacht Club acknowledges the support of Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, Sydney Amateur Sailing Club, Royal Australian Navy Sailing Association, Royal Prince Edward Yacht Club, Manly Yacht Club, Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club and the Sydney Flying Squadron. 

MHYC wishes to thank key sponsors: Club Marine, Robert Oatley Wines, Short Marine, Quality Marine Clothing and Telstra Business Technology Centre.

All information on the Sydney Harbour Regatta, including results at: www.shr.mhyc.com.au  

By Di Pearson, MHYC media

Tracy Richardson and her mainly female crew on Artemis
Margaret Fraser-Martin photo

Tuesday 8 March marks International Women’s Day 2022 and here at Middle Harbour Yacht Club (MHYC) this weekend, we salute all females taking part in the Sydney Harbour Regatta (SHR), NSW’s largest keelboat regatta.

Women are involved at all levels in this event, from sailing to race management on and off the water to media boat drivers and protest committee members.

Encouraged by the national authority, Australian Sailing, and clubs around Australia, women’s participation in sailing is growing substantially via specialised programs, learn to sail classes and Women’s regattas.

This weekend there are women spread throughout the classes and divisions. Owner/skippers include Tracy Richardson, owner of the Adams 10 Artemis.  Richardson, the new president of the Adams 10 Association, started sailing only seven years ago. “I turned up to Middle Harbour Yacht Club to try twilight racing on a Thursday night. I loved it – I couldn’t get enough,” she said. “Then my brother-in-law and I bought Artemis in February last year.”

Going into today’s final races, Richardson leads the pointscore, unusual for a relative newcomer racing against those who have been around for years. And the class is super competitive.

In the Yngling keelboat, once an Olympic class, you will find Jan Newland. She is contesting the Yngling NSW Championship and is in a good third place overall coming into the final day.

Jan Newland between races on her Yngling Yertle
Margaret Fraser-Martin phot

In Performance Spinnaker racing, one of the largest fleets sailing at the regatta on Sydney Harbour is Lisa Callaghan with her Sydney 38, Mondo. Callaghan is also the President of Manly Sailing Club. Stephanie Cook is the enduring co-owner of Rumba, a Northshore 370. In the same division is Julie Clark, who has entered Senta, a Beneteau First 35.

Cook’s advice for newcomers: “Try twilight sailing at your local yacht club. Most have a list you can put your name on. It’s a great way to see if you like the sport . It’s very friendly, social. You don’t usually need experience to do the twilights and it fits in with most people’s work hours.

“You could also do a competent crew course through your local club’s sailing school. They normally introduce you to boats to race on as part of the deal. “They’re not cheap to buy and run, so you want to know you’re in for the long-term, not just a season.”

Racing aboard Keiran Mulcahy’s Soozal in the IRC Open Class offshore, and currently placed second, is Stacey Jackson. A veteran of 14 Sydney Hobarts, Jackson skippered an all-female crew on Wild Oats X to second overall in the 2018 Hobart. She used that campaign to highlight the high calibre of women sailors. She also has a Volvo Ocean Race behind her.  

An internationally respected yachtswoman, Jackson is a huge advocate of women in sailing and a mentor through the international women’s Magenta Project. She has a vision – and that is to see the day when there is parity in numbers between male and female sailors.

Lisa Wilkinson does mainsheet on husband Matt's Foreign Affair
Margaret Fraser-Martin photo

Lisa Wilkinson does mainsheet on husband, Matt’s competitive Farr 30, Foreign Affair. “She’s very good at it – she does a very good job,” says Matt, “She races with us in all inshore events.”

Annie Taylor from the Northern Beaches is a long-time inshore and offshore racer. Taylor sails anything from one-design to small and larger yachts. At the Sydney Harbour Regatta she is in the IRC Racing division aboard Pete Farrugia’s Bullwinkle.

On the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club start crew is another Northern Beaches resident, Rosemary Merrington. She and husband Steve are integral to on-water race management teams at regattas and events Australia wide.

“It’s been at least 15 years and I still enjoy it,” says Merrington, whose interest is highlighted by the Merrington sons, Peter ‘Billy’ and Anthony, who sail at the grand prix level.

Sailing Administrator at MHYC is Catherine Rofe, who is also on the race committee at Manly Yacht Club. Rofe raced aboard the all-female crew aboard Calibre in the Sydney 38 One Design NSW Championship last month. Skippered by Liz Charles, the boat was chartered for them by the Sydney 38 Association which was keen to have more women sailing in the class and perhaps buying into it.

Although the crew had not sailed together on the one-design Sydney 38 before, they finished third on countback in a quality field, indicative of female talent in Australia these days.

“She is all over sailing,” MHYC’s Sailing Manager, David Staley says. “If there’s a race on, J24s, Sydney 38s, whatever, she’ll be there. She’s passionate about sailing and does a great job with us.”

Erica Kirby is Chair of the Protest Committee
Andrea Francolini photo

Driving a media boat this weekend is MHYC youth sailing instructor, Jess Longstaff. She coaches the Optimist class and has a background sailing Lasers, Pacers and 420s.

“I started sailing at six or seven through my dad,” Longstaff comments. “I love the different people of all ages I meet, sailing a lot of different boats. I just love being on the water,” says the 18-year-old, who was Sailing Captain at Wenona School.

On the protest committee, the Chairperson is Erica Kirby. She has been involved in umpiring, judging and sits on protest committees for the last 12 years. She is a rarity and says, “I’d love to have more women involved, especially in NSW. I’d advise interested women to get involved in the jury at your local club and see if it appeals. It’s very rewarding - I love travelling to different events.”

MHYC is a champion of women involved in all aspects of sailing. Julie Hodder is a past commodore and remains a respected navigator in offshore racing with 13 Sydney Hobarts on her resume. She has also co-owned grand prix racing yachts. Hodder would usually be sailing at this event but was tied up with a niece’s wedding this weekend.

For all information on the Sydney Harbour Regatta, including results: www.shr.mhyc.com.au   

By Di Pearson, MHYC media

ORC/PHS classes on the Harbour course - Andrea Francolini Photo

The veil of fog lifted just in time for the start of the Sydney Harbour Regatta (SHR) this morning, with racing due to start from 11am on the eight course areas from the Harbour Bridge to Manly on Sydney Harbour. 

A 3-knot breeze meant racing on the IRC Open and Super 50 offshore course was delayed. The AP came down and the Warning Signal replaced it at 11.40am in the Middle Harbour Yacht Club (MHYC) hosted event, now in its 17th year.

IRC Open

Three windward/leeward races sorted out who was best in light airs offshore. Nine Dragons, with MHYC’s Bob Cox at the helm, came out fighting and ended the day with a pair of second places and a win to be one point ahead of Keiran Mulcahy’s Soozal, which scored 1-3-2 results. Mark Hellyer’s Cicero is a further four points adrift in third place.

Super 50

The Super 50 class, comprised solely of TP52s, using the SHR for the opener of a brand-new TP52 series. They sailed on the same offshore windward/leeward course area as the IRC Open fleet with longer beat. Just who will win this inaugural series remains to be seen, but today, the relatively unknown Matador (David Doherty) was teaching the masters a lesson.

Doherty tipped the scales in his favour with a third and a pair of wins to lead Gordon Ketelbey’s Zen by two points. Matt Donald/Chris Townsend’s Gweilo is a further point away in third. 

Close racing in the TP52s - Andrea Francolini Photo

James Corrie, mainsail trimmer on Matador, explained this afternoon: “We’ve been working on things for a little while now and a couple of combinations are coming together and working out well for us. Everything is starting to gel.

“The racing was close between all of us. The new TP52 series is our focus. David bought the boat from Geoff Boettcher (former Secret Mens Business) 12 months ago. This is his second season in the boat,” he said of Doherty who is new to the grand prix racing scene.

Super 40

Revolver (Michael Ritchie), arriving here on the back of second place at the Pittwater Regatta, won both races from Little Nico (Adrian Walters). “We had a pretty good day. We’re really happy with that. The boat was launched five years ago and it’s taken us that long to get it working the way we want it.

“I think the light conditions suited us. We put ourselves in the right place on the course and our downwind speed helped us, we were able to sail deeper downwind. We were able to hang on upwind, which surprised me, as all the others have square top mains, we have the conventional rig.”

Super 30

The Super 30 class boasts a large and fast fleet of 20 ‘all-sorts’ and shared a race area on the northern section of the Harbour with the Super 40s. Super 30s contested two windward-leeward races followed by a short passage race. Brian Tavener’s Ophir came off best in Race 1, with Guy Irwin’s Clewless? charging home for second, just 21 seconds separating the pair. Tavener reversed the results in Race 2, just 17 seconds between them when the handicaps were applied

It came down to the passage race, which not unexpectedly, changed the shape of the results. The race was won by Peter Woodhead’s XC3SS, which has taken the series lead from Ophir. Clewless? has dropped out of the picture for now after finishing 18th in Race 3.

InfoTrack and Revolver go head to head in Super 40s - Andrea Francolini Photo


New NSW J/70 champion, Reg Lord (Juno), came out firing in the light airs on Sydney Harbour, with a trio of wins, proving he is the one to beat. Andrew Tompson’s Jabberwocky scored 3-2-2 results to claim second place, with three races remaining. Tim Ryan and his Vamos finished second at the NSW Championship, but could not get up enough steam today and is sitting in fourth place.

Adams 10

The Adams 10s raced on the same windward/leeward courses as the J/70s in North Harbour. This class is always a battle to the last. Tracy Richardson’s Artemis finished at the top of the pile after three races. She leads Brian Lees (Contentious), but the two are on equal points.

The lone female in the class here, Richardson only took up sailing seven years ago: “We are excited and pleasantly surprised to be where we are. It’s very close racing, very competitive, but we’ve trained hard and worked to get the boat up to scratch,” she said.

Yngling NSW Championship

Gary Pearce and his Black Adder crew put the rest on notice on the first day of the Yngling NSW Championship. They ended the day with 1-2-1 results. Gary Wogas is in second place with Karma, after scoring 3-1-2 results. Jan Newland’s Yertl is in third place after finishing 2-3-3. This Championship is likely to come down to the wire.

“I’ve been sailing Black Adder for about 10 years,” Pearce said. “The last couple of seasons we’ve been working towards this. Unfortunately, Hamish Jarrett (Miss Pibb, the gun boat of the fleet) couldn’t make it this weekend, so we can’t prove how our performance has improved. We were very pleased with the day though.

Elusive in the thick of it - Andrea Francolini Photo

“The first race started out around 7 knots and by Race 2, we were getting gusts to 12 knots. It was really nice sailing conditions. Tomorrow we’ll have to sail smart: Get a good start, start on the right side of the course, get the angles right and stay in the breeze downwind,” he said.

Performance Spinnaker Divisions 1 and 2

These two divisions contested two races from start area D. Brendan McAssey’s S1 made the best start to the day, claiming Race 1 in Division 1 from Peter Sorenson’s Advanced Philosophy. It’s no easy feat beating Sorro, the master of many classes. And that being said, it was the return of Sorro when his pair of second places trumped S1’s win and fifth place. Sorro leads.

Twelve seconds decided Division 2s first race and Steve Nash/Paul Stubbs’ Irukandji was the victor from Graeme Neuhaus’ Crowded Haus.Race 2 and Irukandji kept her series lead from Crowded Haus when the two scored second and fourth places respectively.

“A bit unexpected to do so well, but your always hope for the best and give it your best shot. We’ve got a good regular crew and it was very much a team effort. It’s working out well for us,” Nash commented.

“It was light on for breeze in Race 1, so it was a bit easier to sail the second race. It was a short race though, so you had to get a good start, which we did. There was a bit of congestion on the line, with 32 boats, but we all got through it.” 

Performance Spinnaker Division 3 and Non-Spinnaker Division

The two divisions raced on course area C, in the vicinity of Taronga Zoo where the giraffes would have been able to enjoy the view.

Victoire in the Super 40 fleet - Andrea Francolini Photo

John Crawford’s Innaminicka leads the Beth Abbott skippered Rapid Transit in Performance Spinnaker Division 3 by six points, following Crawford’s two wins. John Vickery’s Windsong is in third place going into tomorrow’s final races.

Meanwhile, in Non-Spinnaker, Angus Ekberg’s Sea Change has the upper hand over Larki Missiris’ Molon Labe -  meaning ‘come and take them’, which is what Missiris usually does on the race course. Sea Change is just three points ahead, so who knows what the final outcome will be tomorrow.

This afternoon and into the evening, crews were kicking back on the beach in front of the Club for a sausage sizzle and drinks and relaxing post-race music, not to mention the Fever Tree Gin Bar. 

Middle Harbour Yacht Club acknowledges the support of Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, Sydney Amateur Sailing Club, Royal Australian Navy Sailing Association, Royal Prince Edward Yacht Club, Manly Yacht Club, Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club and the Sydney Flying Squadron.   Our thanks go to key sponsors: Club Marine, Robert Oatley Wines, Short Marine, Quality Marine Clothing and Telstra Business Technology Centre.

All information on the Sydney Harbour Regatta, including results at: www.shr.mhyc.com.au  

By Di Pearson, MHYC media

Here are some important updates for this weekend's Sydney Harbour Regatta:

  • The Sailing Instructions are now published and available for download from the regatta website - click here
  • Crew registration is now open for Saturday 5 March.  Crew registration for Day Two will open at 6am on Sunday - click here
  • Competitor packs can be collected from 9am tomorrow.  Packs are available from MHYC but competitors from CYCA and RSYS can collect their packs from their own clubs’ Sailing Office.  Packs include backstay flags which must be displayed.
  • Grand Prizes – Some great Grand Prizes have been announced.  Download the Notice to Competitors - click here
  • Crew prize – Each crew member with a valid Australian Sailing number who is registered for racing in the Sydney Harbour Regatta will be eligible for a great crew prize.  Download the Notice to Competitors – click here

We look forward to seeing you on the water this weekend.

Sydney Harbour Regatta Team

InfoTrack and InfoTrack Go will be up against each other - Andrea Francolini pic

Over two days  next weekend, a mass of boats of varying designs and size will provide a blaze of colour on the race courses from the Opera House to Manly on Sydney Harbour and on offshore courses, for NSW’s largest keelboat event, the Sydney Harbour Regatta (SHR).

Middle Harbour Yacht Club (MHYC) organisers are ready. They are looking forward to welcoming competitors to the 17th edition of their regatta, which marks the start of autumn racing in NSW.

The Super 50 class includes notable TP52s. Two-time Sydney Hobart winner, Quest (Craig Neil) is joined by 2019 second placegetter, Gweilo (Matt Donald/Chris Townsend), along with Matador (David Doherty), Koa (Andy Kearnan/Peter Wrigley) and local chance Zen, owned by Gordon Ketelbey, an ardent one-design sailor with runs on the board across various classes.

Neil has used the SHR to announce: “We are in the process of forming a TP52 Association. The plan is to run five regattas per year and the Sydney Harbour Regatta is the first. It’ll be good to kick off the series at Middle Harbour. TP owners are looking forward to it. Some will be missing this time for  a variety of reasons, but we expect 10 or so in the future.”

Quest’s owner says the Corinthian rule has been altered. “Before, each boat was allowed one professional sailor, then a point taken away for each subsequent pro. Now, a point will be returned for those boats that include youth sailors in their crew. We want to encourage the class to invest time in young sailors. Zen already does that,” he said. “We’ll have Will Sargent and Jake Meddell aboard Quest.”

An eclectic mix of go-fast boats in the Super 40s includes Adrian Walters’ Shaw 11, Little Nico and  Michael Ritchie’s 38ft lightweight daysailer, Revolver. Designed by his father, Bruce Ritchie, Revolver recently placed second at the Pittwater Regatta. At the SHR it will face a trio of MC38s; InfoTrack (Christian Beck), InfoTrack Go (John Ahern) and LawConnect (Rachel Williams) among others.

Beck is best known for his super maxi, LawConnect; second over the line in the 2021 Sydney Hobart. The other two other MC38s are to be skippered by two executives from Beck’s companies and will be crewed by recognizable sailing names.

The Jackal with Karyn Gojnich at the helm last year - Andrea Francolini pic

Triple Olympian Karyn Gojnich is well-known to the regatta, usually competing in the Yngling, the class she represented Australia in at the 2008 Beijing Games. She switched to the J/70, which is a blossoming class boasting quality sailors in an extremely competitive fleet these days.

“Unfortunately, I can’t be there this time, but The Jackal is entered and Sara Ladd will be skipper. Most of the Sydney boats have committed to the regatta, including the top two from our NSW Championship in January,” Gojnich said of Juno (Reg Lord) and Vamos (Tim Ryan).

“The regatta will be a good warm-up for the Victorian Championship the following weekend and the Nationals being held in Sydney over Easter,” she ended.

A host of other boats across multiple classes and divisions are also taking part.

Grand prizes on offer:

The winners and placegetters in each eligible class or division, upon attendance and check in at the regatta prizegiving ceremony, go in the draw for some major prizes. 

First placed boats have a chance of winning a Mercedes weekend drive experience and two nights’ accommodation at the Mercure Resort Hunter Valley Gardens for two along with a Ross & Whitcroft Quality Marine Clothing Merchandise voucher valued at $1,500. Second and third placed boats are in the running for distillery experiences and Ross & Whitcroft Quality Marine Clothing Merchandise vouchers. 

Zen is entered in the Super 50 division- Andrea Francolini pic

Individual crew members are also eligible for a Ross & Whitcroft Quality Marine Clothing prize.

Middle Harbour Yacht Club acknowledges the support of Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, Sydney Amateur Sailing Club, Royal Australian Navy Sailing Association, Royal Prince Edward Yacht Club, Manly Yacht Club, Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club and the Sydney Flying Squadron, without we could not run this regatta. 

Our thanks go to key sponsors: Club Marine, Robert Oatley Wines, Short Marine, Quality Marine Clothing and Telstra Business Technology Centre.

The early entry fee has been extended and entries close on 3 March, so be quick and enter now at: www.shr.mhyc.com.au  

By Di Pearson, MHYC media - 26 Feb 2022