The Final Countdown for the 2016 – 2017 Sailing Season. The weather proved to be a spectacular autumn day with a light breeze which may have reached 10 kts somewhere, actually a gust of 12 kts was recorded at Sydney Airport.

In Blue Division 1 the start was problematical with a couple of yachts glued to the start line. The maxis, Irukandji and Soundtrack took control of the race and were pursued by The Etchells group and Blue Chip.  Forte and Foxy kept close. With Forte in ascendency at the end behind Irukandji and Soundtrack. Sadly Soundtrack is lost in the computer (again). Provisional handicap results to Irukandji from Foxy and Forte. Series results to Foxy from Eggshells and Blue Chip. Overall season results to Foxy from Blue Chip and Eggshells.


Eggshells demonstrating the use of the human spinnaker pole!




In Green Division 2 the light breeze at the start resulted in some degree of intermingling with the Blue fleet.  Hasta La Vista did penalty turns and this allowed Umzimkulu II to make a break on the fleet. StarElan also managed to head the rest pursued by Gwhizz and Hasta. Paca and Joka again were close and Flair continued to play ‘catch-up’.  Umzimkulu II made it back first after and excellent sail ahead of Hasta La Vista after finally catching StarElan.  Handicap result to Umzimkulu II from Flair and StarElan.  Series result to Hasta La Vista and Paca equal and Flair next. Overall season to Umzimkulu II and Paca equal from Flair.

In the last race on Sunday April 9 of the Performance Cruising Division 2 Gwhizz won the race on handicap.

It was also comforting to see that boats in other areas get to stooge around blowing bubbles and waiting for the breeze to show up (see picture Courtesy David Edmiston) just like here at Greenwich..

Both Gwhizz and Passion X finished sixth in their respective divisions in the 3 race Performance Cruising Series in this year’s regatta; a very credible result.

At last clear skies and a breeze that arrived just before the start saw the fleet of 18 yachts set off from the club to their assigned rounding marks on the other side of the Harbour Bridge. Gusts of up to 18 kts kept skippers and crews alert. At least the harbour was relatively clear.


In Blue Division 1 results are provisional as it seems Soundtrack was lost somewhere in the computer.  Irukandji dominated the race and was back ahead of Flashback and the ever improving StarElan at the finish.  Handicap results to Clovelly Pacific from Irukandji and StarElan. Series to Blue Chip then Tana and then Flashback.


In White Division 2, Pistol Dawn was similarly impressive and established a lead. With Forte Forever in close pursuit they both established a break on the others. Foxy made it back behind them at the finish. Handicap results to Forte from Foxy and then Pistol. Series results to Eggshells and Forte Forever equal first and then Chloe.



In Red Division 2 Wind Charmer dominated the race from the start and was only momentarily caught in the disturbed conditions near the bridge. Paca again sailed well as did Barubi. The spinnaker or not run/reach home (see Umzimkulu II pictured behaving like a pendulum) allowed the ‘back markers’ to catch up lost ground. At the end, Wind Charma were back ahead of Paca and Joka and handicap results went to Flair from Wind Charmer and then Barubi.  Series saw a well-deserved win to Wind Charmer with Umzimkulu II and Flair equal second.

The 10th Anniversary Sail Port Stephens race week incorporating the Commodores Cup, NSW IRC Championships, Port Stephens Trophy (PHS), Australian Sports Boat Nationals and Super 12 NSW Championships runs from 3 – 9 April. The regatta is hosted by the Corlette Point Sailing Club.

Good luck to the following GFS skippers, yachts and crew competing in this year’s regatta contesting the Commodores Cup series. In Division 1 David Edmiston and crew – 7130 Passion X, in Division 2 Michael Groves and crew – 7034 Agrovation, Mark Cole and crew – 5201 All our Girls and Graeme Davey and Crew – 3425 Gwhizz. We wish them all well.

As a prequel to the event at Port Stephens a Saturday race from Pittwater to Newcastle took place. On Sunday a race in a 20-knot south easterly breeze propelled a record fleet in record time from Newcastle to Port Stephens. 42 yachts crowded the Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club start line on a grey, windy harbour and then enjoyed a 22 mile two-sail dash across Stockton Bight in steep 2 – 3 metre seas.




7130 Passion X in the crowd at the start of the Newcastle – Port Stephens Race.


Follow the series results at


Congratulations to Graeme Davey and the Gwhizz crew for placing third in the Division 2 Commodores Cup Series.


In Race 1 of the Performance Crusing Series both Passion X and Gwhizz were third in their respective divisions 1 and 2. Well done. Agrovation was sixth in Division 2.





J Force and Passion X in a Commodores Cup Race



Well, enough said!  Twelve boats pranced around the start boat for an hour or so before the starters collected their stumps and headed for the hills.

About an hour later a breeze strengthened enough but it was still very unclear as to whether it would last long enough for a race and by this time we had all disappeared.

I think perhaps a good decision, well done starters, again.

Anyway, pictured is Paca from last week.

The presentation of first place Australia Day Regatta medallions took place at Sydney Town Hall on Tuesday March 28. The function was hosted by Deputy Lord Mayor Professor Kerryn Phelps AM in a convivial atmosphere.


It was pleasing to see a good contingent of GFS members on hand to collect their medallions. Both Sabot 1-up winner Alex Drew and the Sabot 2-up skipper Matt Haywood and crew Joseph Morton were in attendance. Australian Sailing President Matt Allen emphasised the importance of junior members as the grass roots and future of sailing.


Other GFS sailors in attendance were Graeme and Ann Davey, Jim Lelliott, Pam Joy, Lesley Barr, John Amos and Mike Wise (pictured) representing both Twilight and Saturday divisions.


The function highlighted the range of diverse sailing activities held to commemorate Australia Day not only in the designated harbour regatta but in wide ranging areas such as Lake Illawarra, Wangi, Botany Bay and Pittwater. Boats represented at events included ocean racing yachts, various mixed classes of yachts, trailable yachts, classic yachts, modern and historic skiffs, a huge range of other dinghy classes including Lasers and Sabots and radio controlled yachts.


The ceaseless clicks of the gathered paparazzi (the Cannon Camera Group) heralded the start of Autumn Race 6 as the fleet headed off on Course 18A. The day remained dry and the wind attempted to last, albeit for a few bits especially at the end. Thankfully the finish line was set in the mouth of Humbug rather than at the club.


Well done starters!


In Division 1 Pistol Dawn returned to battle with the Etchells and this resulted in a close on water race with Forte Forever. Foxy gained the superiority over the others and for once the Etchells group had the ascendency over Blue Chip. The published results are in need of scrutiny and hopefully the camera group can provide evidence of the actual finish order.  Anyway it looks like the placings will be shared by Forte, Foxy and Chloe.



In Division 2 the fleet remained as a bunch in the early stages of the race. We also welcomed Colin Legg and crew in the Thunderbird 26 ‘Snowgoose’ for their first GFS Saturday series race. It was great to see the use of spinnakers making for a very colourful day on the water. (But where was the camera group?) Hasta La Vista again made a break on the fleet and were pursued by Gwhizz and StarElan. This left the rest of the fleet to remain close until the vagaries of the wind stretched distances between them.  Paca and Joka (pictured) made up much ground. The near windless run to the finish tested tacking ability and patience.  By the end Gwhizz had caught Hasta with StarElan third. On handicap Joka from Umzimkulu II and Paca.




Please remember that there are parking restrictions behind the club.


The recent heavy rain and wind has reinforced this requirement!

Sydney’s weather turned it on again! Wind, rain, sun, no wind, more wind and sadly many skippers and crews were disappointed as they were dressed as if they also expected snow. Anyway it’s a healthy lifestyle to venture out into the elements, hardy souls as we are.


In Blue Division 1 Irukandji sailed very quickly to minimise their exposure to the changing conditions leaving Foxy, Blue Chip and Eggshells to scrap it out. Eggshells finally pulled the pin as they had a malfunction causing them to lose their main source of shelter. Foxy Four-up made it back behind Irukandji and Blue Chip returned safely after them. Foxy were successful in negotiating the Top Yacht system ahead of Irukandji and Blue Chip.


In Red Division 2 Flair won the start; however, the race is over a longer distance. Hasta La Vista powered away and were ultimately caught by Gwizz. Clovelly Pacific well suited to the conditions also powered their way through the fleet to ultimately return after the Gwizz – Hasta combination. Paca and Umzimkulu again had a good race. On handicap a good win to Paca from Hasta and Flaira.


A reminder that Course 17 requires yachts to leave Cockatoo Island to Starboard (marked by *** on the course sheet) on the way to the finish from Snapper Island.

At last sunny skies and a light relatively consistent breeze saw the fleet heading to their respective rounding marks at Nielsen Park, Shark and Clark Islands. Luckily most of the fleet avoided the tanker’s departure from Gore Cove.


Welcome to Mark Donnelley and crew in Sirocco an Elan 37 for their first Down Harbour race. In the Blue Division race, Flashback were back well ahead of Blue Chip and Hasta La Vista. On Handicap Hasta from Gwhizz and Blue Chip.


In White Forte Forever without kite made it back ahead of Eggshells (pictured) and Speedwell with Speedwell just pipping Eggshells to be second on handicap.


In Red Umzimkulu II powered away to lead the fleet all the way. Paca, Wind Charmer and Joka challenged until Wind Charmer broke away under kite to be back a few minutes after Umzimkulu with Joka a few minutes after.  Handicap results to Umzimkulu II from Wind Charmer and Flair.

Well the weather predictions again proved inaccurate. Originally expecting winds around 10kts a well known wind site actually changed their prediction after the event to be upwards of 25kts. Seabreeze shows the wind recorded yesterday.

      Click on the image to enlarge (Seabreeze)

Given the unstable weather it was decided to start from the club and Course 63 proved very well suited to the actual wind direction and speed.


In Blue Division 1 a depleted fleet met the challenge, initially exiting the variable wind directions in Humbug and then the strong gusts which seemed to materialise from nowhere. Foxy sailed well to lead the fleet leaving Eggshells (pictured) and Blue Chip to scrap it out for the minor places on the water. Blue Chip again showed their ability to run under spinnaker in the strong conditions. Scratch and Handicap results were Foxy, Eggshells and Blue Chip.


In Green Division 2 Hasta La Vista led the fleet for the entire race leaving the others to sail as a group for a while until the wind came in and StarElan was able to break away. With gusts upward of 30kts between Longnose Point and Goat Island Flair and Paca were in survival mode. At the end Hasta was well clear of StarElan and Paca. Handicap result to Hasta from Flair and StarElan.


Rod McCubbin, the creator of Top Yacht, has kindly agreed to host a Workshop and Q&A session at the Balmain Sailing Club on Monday 6th of March, commencing at 6.30pm.  GFS members are welcome to attend.

The BSC clubhouse (and the bar) will be open from 6pm. Address is Water Street. BIRCHGROVE NSW 2041

Participation is FREE OF CHARGE and is open to all sailors, regardless of where you sail, who are interested in the complexities of handicapping.

Please have a think about the questions that you might like to ask in advance. And in particular, give some thought to *What makes a good performance handicapping system?*



A cordial invitation is extended to owners of eligible Etchells yachts to enter this event on Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd April 2017 on Pittwater. The Regatta will consist of six races conducted by the Avalon Sailing Club (ASC).

An interim presentation for Races 1, 2 & 3 will be held at a catered dinner on the Saturday evening at ASC. Bookings are essential. The Don McLachlan Perpetual Trophies presentation plus presentation for Races 4, 5 & 6 will be held after the race on Sunday 23rd April at the Clubhouse.

According to Richie from Eggshells, ‘It would be fun to sail an Etchells to Pittwater. But I think we would need a few boats to sail together’. Apparently many Etchells have gone up and down the coast without any problems including Foxy.

10th Don McLachlan NOR and SI.

Wet and grey conditions ensured only the hardiest souls ventured out to contest Autumn Race 3. Course 35 added a few challenges with varying wind conditions around the course.


Sincere thanks to Aaron and Josh who have stepped in to effectively manage the start and finish duties over the last two weeks in the absence of the regular crew who will be back next week. Starts will resume from Pegasus.



In Blue Division 1 Irukandji made a brilliant start and established a commanding lead early.  Foxy and Blue Chip (pictured), Forte Forever and Eggshells were tenacious in bridging the gap which narrowed throughout the course of the race. At the finish Irukandji were back ahead of Foxy and Forte. On handicap Foxy pipped Irukandji (pictured below) with Eggshells third.








In Green Division 2 Hasta La Vista said bye bye to the remainder of the fleet leaving them in pursuit for the entire journey. Umzimkulu, Joka, Paca and Speedwell kept close and Gwhizz made every effort to catch Hasta.  At the end Hasta from Gwhizz and Clovelly Pacific.  Tana was lost momentarily in the computer.  On handicap Hasta La Vista, Umzimkulu and Joka were well deserved winners and place getters.

Start from the deck and Course 45. The uncertain prediction of late storms didn’t deter the fleet. With a new start group to replace the ‘normal’ crew and the addition of Harvey’s dulcet tones there was no possibility of getting the timing wrong. It was much appreciated, as was Harvey’s attempt to replace the BOM at the end of the race with a rain arrival time –which proved pretty accurate.

The Mirror fleet from Hunters Hill Sailing club made for a colourful sight on the water and a hazard to navigation

In Blue Division a slow start through Humbug saw Blue Chip establish a commanding lead over the Etchells. They provided a master class in spinnaker handling in the tricky variable conditions to be ahead at the finish. The Etchells group kept close all finishing within a minute. Eggshells grabbed the lead through the computer with Chloe third.

In Green Division the wind at the start resulted in a mixed bag of good and bad fortune as yachts attempted to reach and then pass Onions point. Gwhizz and Flair perhaps had the best exit.  As the race progressed Gwhizz, Umzimkulu, Peachy Teats Velocity (Pictured, courtesy of the James Kearney Twilight collection – see the link above) and Paca had a close tilt for the lead. Speedwell caught up after a slow start to be up with the leaders. Umzimkulu recorded a well-deserved win both on the water and on handicap with Gwhizz back ahead of Speedwell. Minor handicap placings to Paca and Flair.

Please note: Autumn Race 3 will also be a Clubhouse start.

Upcoming Events

  • 22/11/2017Twilight Spring Series Race 8
  • 25/11/2017Saturday Summer Series Race 1
  • 29/11/2017Twilight Spring Series Race 9
  • 02/12/2017Saturday Summer Series Race 2
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