Sydney Harbor Series


Last summer, my results were pretty bad on the TP52 Phoenix. I was feeling pretty down about it all and looking forward to getting back on a winning path this spring. When the owner sold the boat, that closed the door on redemption, seemingly.

Then I got asked to come down to Sydney and race as helmsman on another TP52, for the IRC national championship. The boat and team are very well known…Beau Geste out of Hong Kong. Gavin Brady is the team leader and the team is full of great sailors.

We managed to get a win this weekend and coupled with my win the Star a few weeks ago, it feels like I am getting back on my bike.

This past weekend we raced Beau Geste in the Sydney Harbor Series as a tune up for the IRC Nationals later this month.  While there were just a handful of competitors in our class this weekend, we expect 15 or more in two weeks time, with 8 of them being TP52’s.

It was very windy Saturday which forced the race committee to keep us inside the Harbor. Sydney Harbor is a very busy place on weekends. The race area was quite compressed for boats the size and speed of a TP52, so the theee lap, 0.75 nm leg races, in 25 knots of wind, were intense. At 20 knots of speed, the downwind legs lasted four minutes.  There were ferries, rocks, and a hundred other boats in 10 classes, all serving as obstacles at one point or another. It was the kind of racing where you could get the kite up and then decide it’s too windy or there is a ferry in the way, and you drop the kite to gybe. On one run our A4 simply exploded when we a 28 knot gust hit us.

On Sunday, while still raining, the wind had moderated and shifted southwest which made it possible, or let’s say reasonable, to race in the big swells off the Sydney Heads. Again two races were held but the course was stretched out to 1 mile legs. It was still windy enough that we went down one of the runs without the kite.

The 18′ skiffs were racing their World Champinship on the harbor this past week. With a few of the Beau Gesta boys, we went around to the Double Bay Skiff Club last night for their prize giving. I met up with 5 time skiff world champion Andrew Buckland who had taken me sailing on a skiff in San Francisco in 1979. Hadn’t seen him since. Pretty fun what life serves up sometimes. Andrew introduced me to a few of the young guys who are now dominating this iconic class. 18’s have been the ultimate dinghy for a hundred years. If you don’t know what an 18 is, you should Google it. They are very impresssive boats. Howie Hamlin and Skip McCormick, long time friends from California, were racing so I caught up with them as well.

I am headed back to SF today and then back down here in 2 weeks time.