The first 4 heats had been sailed earlier in the season hosted by Balmoral Sailing Club with points leader Wave Catcher sailed by current World Champ Cullen Hughes and his son James. Close behind and in catching distance were Mad Cat (Mark and Caitlin Nash), Waterborne at Last (Douglas Raftesath / Spencer McKay) and McMissile (Campbell and Stirling Mckay).
Saturday greeted the crews with a sunny morning and the forecast for a very fresh Nor’ Easter, an inbound tide and a very crowded harbour. The proceedings started with the welcome announcement of Destination NSW coming on board as a Strategic Investment Sponsor for the upcoming World Championships followed by a briefing with reports of gusts on the harbour up to 20kn.
Racing was conducted over a 2 lap course of a Windward/Return followed by a triangle with a downwind finish. By the time the boats reached the starting line, a large cloud arrived over Sydney bringing a brief shower and interfering with the sea breeze. The breeze abated slightly and shifted around, but the challenging conditions were no match for the top crews who dominated proceedings. Wave Catcher won the day with (1, 1, 3) closely followed by Waterborne at Last who with (2, 3, 1) moved into equal 2nd with Mad Cat (4, 2, 2).
Sunday brought a big change in conditions with an overcast day, plenty of rain and fresh Southerly greeting the crews as they arrived in the boat park in the morning. The unpleasant weather meant finding a parking spot was much easier and the harbour was much less crowded but the conditions took their toll on the fleet with plenty of capsizes, some gear failure and early retirements sprinkled amongst the fleet. Four races were conducted in Rose Bay over the same course as the previous day. With gusts up to 30kn recorded on Sydney Harbour, the boats enjoyed some exhilarating sailing.
Top performers on the day were the Balmoral trio of Wave Catcher (2, 1, 1, 1), McMissile (1, 3, 3, 2) and Firefly (5, 4, 2, 3).
Special mention to the crew of the classic boat Choppa (Yves and son Bill Stening) who stormed around the top mark in the first race of the day in 3rd only to break their gooseneck in the first gybe finishing their sailing for the day.
Wave Catcher retained their State Championship title despite a crew change from last season with Rowan making way for younger brother James. With a display of consistent fast sailing, they won 8 of the 11 races and finished no worse than 3rd. They made few errors, were always in the top group at the first mark and sailed fast downwind to overtake.
Mad Cat and Waterborne at Last battled hard over the series to fill the podium. Both boats winning a race and spending plenty of of time in the lead over the series. McMissile sailed well on the final day to finish only 1 point off the podium.
- Wavecatcher Cullen and James Hughes Balmoral (15)
- Mad Cat Mark and Caitlin Nash Hunters Hill (24)
- Waterbourne at Last Douglas Raftesath / Spencer McKay Balmoral(26)
- McMissile Campbell & Stirling McKay Balmoral (27)
- Firefly Gavin & Oliver Cooke Balmoral (41)
- Grover Anthony and Claudia Freeman Hunters Hill (51)
1. Little Ripper (J.Hancock, I.Hancock)
2. Blistering Barnacles (S.MacMaster, T.McMaster)
3. Tool Box (R. Barratt, O.Barratt)
Mad Cat (M.Nash, C.Nash)
Tobermory (J.Wright, G.Wright)
Yenda Lee (P.Stannage, B.McKay)
McMissile (C.McKay, S.McKay)
Blistering Barnacles (S.MacMaster)
Blistering Barnacles (S.MacMaster, T.MacMaster)
Overall results here: https://www.sailwave.com/results/nswmirror2018.htm
The Season Closing Regatta will be held on Sunday March 18 at Hunters Hill.