Many of you will know Sydney for its iconic bridge (known locally as "The Coathanger") and the Sydney Opera House. These two famous landmarks made a splendid backdrop to the race course for this regatta.
The race area was set in the broad expanse of water around one to two miles east of the Harbour Bridge, but the expanse of water could not disguise the significant volume of water traffic that uses the harbour and at times this had a significant influence on race course tactics.
The most challenging vessels were the ferries that plough their way every 20 minutes or so between the Sydney's Circular Quay and Manly at around 15 knots with their passage often straight through the race course causing skippers to put in unplanned but very decisive tacks to keep clear. Add in the casual yachts who had no qualms sailing down the start line seconds after the start and the occasional seaplane and you have the picture. Sydney Harbour is a busy place and sailing is certainly not reserved for Dragons!
The Dragon fleet numbered an impressive 19 boats who had travelled from Tasmania, Canada, Melbourne and Perth. RCYC was represented by Rob Campbell sailing Imagination with Simon Cash and Rob Alp. Andrew Moss sailed and helmed under the burgee of the Royal Brighton Yacht Club in a Dragon Amazing Grace owned by Charlie Stanton. Some of you may have met Charlie during Burnham week last year.
The regatta saw some well-known Dragon faces competing for line honours, Sandy Anderson (Perth) Gordon Ingate (Sydney), now in his 91st year and our own Rob Campbell, so racing was always going to be tight and highly competitive, all of the aforementioned were seen in several post-race protest meetings and these proved decisive in determining the final podium places.
The Ted Albert Memorial Regatta preceded the PPC and was held over a single day comprising three races. The event proved a fitting warm up to the main event, raced in a classic Sydney Harbour 20 knot and north easterly sea breeze. The strong breeze saw a number of retirements due to rig failure which allowed Amazing Grace to notch up a respectable 6th place. Imagination sailed by the RCYC crew finished 8th.
Winds for the PPC varied in strength and direction on a daily basis and poor calls were punished both up and downwind. Calling the favoured side of the course was critical and resulted in significant leads being achieved over relatively short distances.
Over the eight-race series, the top three skippers: Rob, Gordon and Sandy, built a steady lead and were locked together until race eight. At the finish, Rob was unlucky to find himself the wrong side of a protest and slid to finish 3rd. He did however secure 1st Corinthian boat. Amazing Grace finished 11th.
Our thanks go to Nicholas Hogg and the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron for running a superb event. Sadly, Nicholas was taken ill during the event and we wish him a speedy recovery.
Andrew Moss and Leigh Turvey
Dragon Fleet Captains