Cronulla Sailing Club J24 Short Course Regatta

Cronulla sailing

The Short and the short and the short of it

Mat Short, the rising star in the fast growing fleet of J24s at Cronulla, proved the old maxim – if you want to finish first, first you have to finish – and although he blitzed the racing on Saturday, not sailing on Sunday put an end to his (deserved) potential championship winning result. Instead a short and happy Dave McKay with a huge reputation for success and giving back to the sport, took the honours in a switch around (after a error in the race points was realised) from the prizegiving honours where one of our newest female  skippers, Lia Darby was deservedly awarded first place (for a short time). Lia now scores an equally well deserved second place after a huge effort in delivering, preparing and racing hard in the demanding conditions (and then sailing it back to Sydney). Well done Lia !

Held over the weekend of the 6-9 June, the Cronulla Sailing Club in Sydney, ran a very successful J24 short course regatta. Racing was focused on a windward leeward style event with legs at no more than 750 meters to ensure close racing between all. Mick Reynolds, the J24 captain at Cronulla with the great help of Fiona Campbell off COOEE TOO, led a keen group of volunteers in bringing this regatta to a successful conclusion. (Much of this story is also written by Mick and edited by Simon). This event is planned as an annual event and planning is already underway for next year over the Queen’s Birthday Long Weekend 2015.

The Friday saw horizontal rain and weather that we all love in Sydney for this time of year. Boats had already began to gather with STARPAC being delivered the Sunday prior and RIFF RAFF being sailed from AUSSEA Sailing School on Botany Bay on the Thursday. SAILPAC arrived by trailer.

The most spectacular arrival would have to have been Steve O’Rouke who towed his J24, ENDLESS SUMMER from Botany Bay on the Saturday morning in 2 to 3metre Seas ! I didn’t know a J could to 15kts, but anything’s possible behind a super powered twin engine rib!!!

It was interesting to see amongst the crews that when it comes to class racing how many past and present sailing identities, seem to be drawn to an event such as this. The racing therefore was first class!

Racing commenced at 1200 on the Saturday with a planned 4 races. Race starter Dave McLachlan along with Dennis McClaren, started the fleet of 14 boats in a good solid 15 to 20knt SSW Breeze and a nice sunny day. Racing in the Port Hacking Estuary to a windward mark set off the beautiful shores of the Royal National Park.

Great sailing by young skipper Mat Short and the crew on SHORT FACED, including Mat’s mum, saw them take 4 of the five races conducted to see SHORT FACED in the lead on completion of day one.

Unfortunately due to prior sailing commitments with his sail maker father Ian, Mathew Short was unable to race on the second day.

On Sunday the 3 scheduled races got underway in a solid 20 to 25 knt SSW gusting to 30knt. STARPAC won the first race of the second day in strengthening conditions that with the short 500m leg meant a number of boats elected to run without kites to avoid wipeouts as performed by numerous others. The tough starting conditions also saw local boats, MCKAY MARINE, PINOT, SLIPPERY FISH and CJ CONSTRUCTIONS score OCS, leaving the gate open for The Girls on COOEE TOO to come storming through in 4th – their best race finish – go girls !

SAILPAC won the final two races of the regatta and a very well deserved 3rd place overall for Tim Briggs, the current NSW treasurer and all-round nice guy. Says Tim, “it’s the first time I have helmed the J in a major regatta and I was scared as hell on the Saturday and even more on the Sunday.” Well done Tim. Racing over for the day and the real race, back to the clubhouse and bar began. The Cronulla clubhouse is a great venue, situated right on the water, (with watering deck) and a crane and a small amount of hard stand. Right at the top of Gunnamatta Bay, the view and atmosphere is superb.

Dave McKay, once again proved he’s not just a short man with a pretty face (Dave got hit by the boom and although covered with blood, with his broad grin, quipped that he had ‘finally got into the girls loo’ as Lia and Michelle off STARPAC did the nurse thing for him) and after sailing a very good regatta took out the championship once the drop was finally enacted.

The final result is amended and is as follows:

Place Hull Number Boat Helm Score
1 AUS-1317 McKay Marine D McKay 16
2 AUS-5247 Starpac L Darby 21
3 AUS-5085 Sailpac T Briggs 22
4 AUS-1309 Only A Journey M Sellers 34
5 AUS-1645 Short Faced M Short 41
6 AUS-4439 Wave Cutter II G Thorburn 44
7 AUS-1646 Slippery Fish B Edwards 48.5
8 AUS-1635 CJ Constructions C Hood 52
9 AUS-4791 Endless Summer S O’rouke 56
10 AUS-4430 Pinot B Ryan 60
11 AUS-2633 Cooee Too C Brighton 61
12 AUS-930 Riff Raff M Van Dinther 75
13 AUS-1643 Flick Pass M Kirby 84
14 AUS-1113 Onyx II A Ulanov 105

Mat Short, who I think needs to be encouraged to compete on the National circuit is excited about the prospects of the class and his own boat at Cronulla, “It was really good to see so many boats get out there and such close racing out on the water. Credit should go to Dave McLachlan and his team on the start boat setting a good course conducive to competitive racing in the conditions and for their hard work (as always). I would also like to thank the sponsors for getting onboard with the regatta and hopefully it will continue to grow over the coming years.”  (Sail with us Mat – Dave S needs a push along !)

From Mick, “The Race Committee would like to thank all competitors for making the weekend such a success, supporting an event based on participation and racing J24s. Also the sportsmanship shown when penalties and boats may have touched, with penalty turns enacted as to  no protests being lodged. The Cronulla Sailing Club is committed to relighting the passion in the owners and crews, to engage and support the upcoming J24 NSW Association Racing Program.”

From Simon.”To those that didn’t know about it – look at the website more often. To those who didn’t come – that’s one you don’t want to miss next year. To Hugo, planned and prepared and ready to come, but took a fall off a ladder at work the week before and is still in hospital. From the fleet at Cronulla and at large, Get well soon Hugo, we missed you.

Thanks also to Phil Rogers for his great photography – you can see a heap of photos here – pics

Did you do the regatta and want to add a story – email it to Mick and we’ll put it online.

Well run Cronulla, let’s do it again next year !

3 comments to Cronulla Sailing Club J24 Short Course Regatta

  • Janette Syme

    Looks like a fabulously successful regatta! Would be brill if some or all of you guys could join us for our NSW championships on Sydney Harbour. I think you would really enjoy the challenge.
    Great to see all those J’s out on the water anyway(in the middle of winter and all!)

  • Simon Grain

    Hi Janette, it was a hugely successful regatta and I think the Cronulla fleet is already a force to be recognised and reckoned with. Cheers Simon

  • Simon Grain

    Also meant to say that we will see some of these guys up in the harbour and maybe at the Nationals in Adelaide. Somewhere in the future we will have a states at least in Cronulla

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