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Acuity dominates Sydney 38 Australian championships.

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Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club's Tony Wails and his crew on Acuity lived up to their name and proved to be the sharpest and keenest of Australia's Sydney 38 Class by dominating the 2009 Sydney 38 Australian Championships.

Sponsored by Sydney Yachts and conducted by the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron on the offshore Manly Circle, the three-day regatta was sailed in predominately light conditions which never blew more than 14 knots the whole regatta.

Acuity won five of the eight races with their worst place finish being a fourth in the strong 13-boat fleet. The Pittwater sailors beat off a late charge by fellow RPAYC member Chris Way, helming Easy Tiger, who made a last ditch effort to try to win the regatta in the final race.

Easy Tiger match raced Acuity in the pre-start and held out their rivals out past the pin end of the line before going on to win the final race. However, with Olympic gold medalist Mal Page calling tactics on Acuity, cool heads prevailed and they managed to catch up to fourth place to win the regatta. Further in the pack, Alan and Thomas Quick's Outlaw from the CYCA, with Steve McConaghy calling tactics, came back from a slow start to beat Geoff Bonus' Calibre into third place in the national championship.

Former national champion Lou Abrahams from Melbourne's Sandringham Yacht Club finished sixth overall with Challenge, while Ian Murray and his team on Cinquante from Royal Geelong Yacht placed seventh.

NEW ZEALAND'S ADRIAN SHORT UPSETS HARDY CUP FAVOURITES

Nineteen-year-old New Zealander Adrian Short outsailed local favourites Evan Walker and Nicky Souter on Sydney Harbour to score an upset victory in the prestigious Hardy Cup ISAF Grade 3 under 25 match-racing regatta conducted by the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron in February.

Short and his crew of mainsheet hand Harry Thurston (19) and bowman Michael Edmonds (20) won the Cup with a 2-0 defeat of defending Hardy Cup champion Walker in the semi-finals, then Souter, the Australian women's match-racing champion, in a 3-1 final encounter.

It was the first time in the history of the Hardy Cup that an all-women crew has reached the final, and they went down fighting in an aggressive tacking duel with the New Zealanders.

The women's performance augers well for Australia's prospects for the London 2010 Olympic Games where the Elliott 6 used in the Hardy Cup will be the class for the women's keelboat match-racing.

"We had an all-the-way win in the first flight after Nicky received a starting line infringement," Short said after the final. "In the final race we won the start, only to be rolled by the girls. However, they incurred two penalties in a fierce tacking duel and that gave us the race and the Cup."

Short was overwhelmed by his win.

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"We only just made the cut to go into the Pool A mini round-robin to decide the finalists and even then we were at the bottom of the rankings going into the finals," he said after his final victory.

"It was a really tough series and Nicky and her crew were formidable opponents in the final as we had to fight back after losing the first flight," he added.

"It's really exciting doing so well against the men," Souter said. "It got pretty windy this afternoon, with the nor'easter gusting to 20 knots. As soon as the wind kicked in we knew they were from Auckland.

"However, two penalties cost us the penultimate race. With two penalties, we had to exonerate ourselves immediately and that was the end," Souter added.

In the Petit Final, Evan Walker, representing the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, beat Phil Robertson, from the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, 2-0.

The Hardy Cup has given young New Zealand sailors two major match-racing victories in Australian waters, with Phil Robertson winning the Warren Jones Youth Regatta in Perth last week and Adrian Short now winning the Hardy Cup in Sydney.

LOCAL SKIPPERS STAR IN CROWN SERIES BELLERIVE REGATTA

Some 150 years ago, the citizens of Bellerive on the eastern shores of the Derwent River decided they should follow their counterparts across the river and stage a regatta on Kangaroo Bay. Sailing and rowing were the major activities afloat and people crowded the Victoria Esplanade to watch.

While the Royal Hobart Regatta (albeit today mainly an onshore carnival) has been held since 1838, with breaks during the world wars, the Bellerive Regatta apparently faded away in the early post World War II years.

Several years ago a number of Bellerive Yacht Club members decided to revive the concept of a local regatta and in February this year the Bellerive Yacht Club in conjunction with the Lindisfarne Yacht Club and the Bellerive Regatta Association staged the fourth annual Crown Series Bellerive Regatta.

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Since then, good organisation and marketing, together with excellent race management by these two very active clubs, has seen the Crown Series Bellerive Regatta grow in strength to be by far the biggest sailing regatta in Tasmania, probably ranking fourth in the nation.

This year some 240 boats took part, with strong support from most Hobart keelboat and centreboard clubs, as well as attracting trailable boats such as B14 skiffs, Sabres, Sabots and Castle 650s from northern clubs on the Tamar, Leven and Mersey Rivers.

Conditions were ideal on the wide expanse of the Derwent, free of commercial shipping, although a more than usually strong sea breeze on the Saturday afternoon caused some chaos among the skiff and dinghy classes.

Bellerive Yacht Club members Geoff Cordell skippering Host Plus and Harold Clark at the helm of Invincible regained for eastern shore sailors the major titles of the Crown Series Bellerive Regatta after a weekend of exhilarating yacht racing on the Derwent.

"For the first time in three years we were able to beat Don Calvert from the 'Royals' (the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania on the western shore) in Intrigue," Cordell said. "He is a most formidable opponent and had won this regatta for three years in a row."

Cordell virtually wrapped up the Division 1 Performance Handicap (PHS) division with his Mumm 36 by winning the morning race on the second day. Despite a last race seventh, Host Plus took our the series with 29.5 points from another Mumm 36, Ian Stewart's Tas Paints on 36 points, third overall going to Marineline (Gary Smith and Geoff White) which won line honours in all six races.

"The real battle was against Ian 'Seaweed' Stewart in Tas Paints, which is also a Mumm 36," he added. "We call this regatta the Mumm 36 worlds!"

Bellerive Yacht Club completed a Division 1 double with the aptly-named Farr 1104 Invincible, skippered by veteran Harold Clark, winning the final race under IRC ratings to take out that category with 16 points from Don Calvert's former Admiral's Cup yacht, the Tony Castro-designed one tonner Intrigue on 21 points and Host Plus on 23 points.

The Crown Series Bellerive Regattas final day could not have provided better sailing conditions on the Derwent for the 140 centreboard boats. In contrast to the Saturday afternoon's southerly blast of 25-30 knots, the sou'easter ranged from 8 to 12 knots and enabled Lindisfarne Sailing Club race officials to complete up to eight races for the skiffs, dinghies and off-the-beach catamarans.

WOMAN SKIPPERWINS BRUNY ISLAND RACE

For the second successive year in its 111-year history, a woman skipper has won the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania's Juicy Isle Bruny Island Race, with an IRC overall victory going to Sally Rattle with her Archambault 35 Archie.

The 83rd Bruny Island Race is Rattle's third major race in Tasmanian waters since she began racing offshore only three seasons ago, her other wins with Archie being the 2007 Maria Island Race and the 2008 Melbourne to Hobart Race.

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Last year Dianne Barkas became the first woman to win the Bruny Island Race, sailing her Sydney 38 Asylum, and while she raced again this year, Asylum placed mid-fleet in a close overall result list.

On IRC corrected times, the well-rated Archie won the IRC division from line honours winner Marineline/Focal, the Bakewell-White 45 built and skippered by Gary Smith, and six times past winner, and Intrigue, the Castro 40 owned by Don Calvert but skippered by his son David.

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The French-designed Archie was the 13th boat to finish in the 89 nautical mile circumnavigation of the elongated island south of Hobart, comprising an ocean leg down the outside of Bruny Island and then a leg up the winding reaches of the d'Entrestreaux Channel which divides the island from the southern Tasmanian mainland.

The race started on a Saturday with Archie finishing shortly after midnight, close astern of a group of 10 boats that crossed the line off Hobart's Castray Esplanade less than 40 minutes apart.

Ahead of this group were line honours winner Marineline/Focal and Tony Lyall's Sydney Hobart racer Valheru, but Archie beat them all on handicap.

Marineline/Focal regained the lead only two miles from the Castray Esplanade finish after the leading yacht Helsal III, Rob Fisher's Adams 20, ran aground on Sandy Bay Point, less than two miles from the finish, forcing her retirement.

Archie beat Marineline/Focal by 6 minutes and 16 seconds with just under one minute to the third placed Intrigue. In fourth place overall came David Taylor's Sydney 36 Pisces, followed by Jeff Cordell's Mumm 36 Host Plus. Pisces' placing assured Taylor of winning the RYCT's Britannia Cup for the topscoring Tasmanian boat in the Maria Island, Sydney Hobart and Bruny Island Races.

Smaller boats fought out the PHS division, with the 9-metre class yachts Jigsaw (Neil Snare) and Wildfire (Malcolm Robinson) placing first and second, just under three minutes apart on corrected time. Third place went to Rumbeat (Justin Barr), followed by Masquerade (Tony Harman) and Marineline/Focal on corrected time. The Juicy Isle Bruny Island Race was sailed in moderate north to northwesterly breezes, with the fleet enjoying a fast spinnaker run down the Derwent and then into Storm Bay and the ocean side of Bruny.

Wind direction and strength varied in the channel and later for the final leg back up the river, with Marineline/Focal enjoying a spinnaker reach to the finish at 21:53:47 for an elapsed time of 13 hours 23 minutes 47 seconds.

WOOD IS GOOD IN HOBART

For more than two centuries, professional shipwrights and enthusiastic amateurs have been building wonderful wooden boats along the shores of the island state of Tasmania, using timbers such as the legendary Huon Pine, as well as King Billy Pine, Celery Top and Tasmanian Glue Gum.

Many of the magnificent timber creations of these famous boat builders of the 19th and 20th centuries, and their descendants in the 21st century, were on display at Tasmania's biennial Wooden Boat Festival on the Hobart waterfront in February this year.

A remarkable 550 craft were moored or on display in historic Constitution Dock and Victoria (Fishermen's) Dock and alongside the relatively new Kings Pier marina for the 2009 Wooden Boat Festival. Beautiful hand-crafted models of many great working and pleasure craft were shown in the nearby Waterside Pavilion.

With a backdrop of Hobart's grand old sandstone waterfront buildings and towering Mount Wellington, the Australian Wooden Boat Festival has become one of Hobart's major events, this year attracting more than 40,000 visitors, many from the mainland and even overseas.

The festival is the greatest gathering of wooden boats in Australia, a wonderful display of craft ranging from finely-crafted model ships to classic clinker-built dinghies, former Sydney Hobart ocean racers, working and traditional fishing boats including a fleet from Triabunna, steam-powered luxury motor yachts and 'gentlemen's putt-putts', offshore motor cruisers, harbour ferries, a Chinese junk and an exceptional array of stoutly-built cruising yachts and motor boats.

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There were wooden yachts from designers such as Alan Payne, Ben Lexcen, Cliff Gale and A C Barber, and designer/builders including Jock Muir, Hedley Calvert and Jeff Clist, and many more.

All built from timber, many of them in Tasmania, and from the State's renowned timbers such as Huon Pine and King Billy Pine.

Also in port were five square-rigged ships, the Windeward Bound, Enterprise, the replica Lady Nelson (the original Lady Nelson brought the first settlers to Sullivan's Cove in 1804) and the two steel-hulled sailing ships Young Endeavour and James Craig (returning to Hobart where her remarkable restoration from a hulk began).

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Adding a lively spectacle at the festival was four historical 18-footers from Sydney and the local one-design Derwent Class, which raced each afternoon in the usually fresh sea breeze.

Hobart's Australian Wooden Boat Festival not only has highlighted the maritime history of Tasmania, but it has played a significant role in the restoration of wooden boats and a revival of the wooden boat-building industry in the island state.

While the festival is a biennual event, Tasmania's maritime history is preserved at the Maritime Museum just across the road from Constitution Dock where there are many fine wooden boats permanently moored, including the old trading ketch May Queen.

The traditional wooden boat building skills of early shipbuilders of Tasmania and Van Diemen's Land (as it was known from 1804 to the 1850s) are also being carried on by a new generation at the Wooden Boat School just south of Hobart.

Well represented at the Wooden Boat Festival, the school provides the only course where students create a full-sized, carvel planked, sea-going vessel 'from lofting to launch' as part of their program.

The number of different timbers at the Australian Wooden Boat Festival is anybody's guess, but the organised know that wood there for certain were:

Huon Pine, Beech, Teak, Ash, Cedar, Blackwood, Elm, Spotted Gum, Celery Top Pine, Red Gum, Oregon, Mahogany, King Billy Pine, Swamp Gum, Yellow Tallow Wood, Jarrah, Kauri and Hoop Pine.

As Tamar Yacht Club member Doug Jack, who recently became the owner of the fine wooden gaff-rigged cruising cutter Marie of Myall, designed and built by Jeff Clist, said to me at the Festival."We are just custodians of such wonderful creations in wood by the maritime craftsmen of our state and nation ... our role is to maintain them for future generations to use and admire."

FINAL STANDINGS:

Adrian Short, RNZYS, NZL

Nicole Sourer, ASDS, AUS

Evan Walker, CYCA, AUS

Phil Robertson, RNZYS, NZL

David Chapman, RSYS, AUS

Peter Nicholas, RFBYC, AUS

Matthew Steven, RPNYC, NZL

Silja Lehtinen, NJK, FIN

Tom Spithill, RPAYC, AUS

Lucinda Whitty, RSYS, AUS

Amanda Scrivenor, ASDS, AUS
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Title Annotation:Race & Regatta Round Up; Tony Wails
Publication:Offshore Yachting
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Apr 1, 2009
Words:2441
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