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