Tuesday, March 28, 2017

J/97 Takes Silver @ Sydney Harbour Regatta

J/97E sailing Sydney Harbour Regatta (Sydney, Australia)- The Sydney Harbour Regatta was this year run on 4th and 5th March. The SHR is an annual event organized by the Middle Harbour Yacht Club. It is a cooperative event and most of the major clubs in the Harbour region participate in the running of the racing, with fleets ranging from historic 18ft skiffs to ocean racers. Racing is conducted all over the harbour as well as offshore.

The Super 30 division’s racing was conducted by the Sydney Amateur Sailing Club. The usual SASC Super 30 fleet was bolstered by other entries and this year had 21 starters in the SHR fleet. The fleet included an MC 31, a C&C 30, several Flying Tiger 30s, and a Mumm 30 along with some other lightweight flyers.  Up against this formidable group was the J/97E KNOCKABOUT, skippered by Jim Chambers and his trusty crew from Sydney.  Here is Jim's report:

"The weekend did not provide the usual, sparkling weather we would normally expect on an early Autumn day in Sydney. Instead, a deep low had developed nearby in the Tasman Sea and the harbour was raked by gusty southerly winds pushing a steady procession of rain squalls across the city.

The Saturday racing consisted of two windward/leeward courses, each of three times around a quite tight course. The first race saw winds of 15-20 knots and most yachts were well rigged for the conditions. With 21 boats in the Super 30 Division, along with another, slower division sailing the same course, the main objective was to keep out of trouble and try to sail one’s own race. An interesting challenge presented itself at the last windward mark when the mark became quite mobile due to having a 30ft yacht attached to it. Fortunately, the situation sorted itself out without creating any further, major incident. Apart from getting buried at the start, Knockabout managed to keep clear of traffic for most of the race and we were pleased with how we went.

Half way through the second race the wind suddenly surged to 25+ knots. With the fleet rigged for much lower winds, and such short legs, things started to get a little hairy. There was no time to make sail changes and so on Knockabout we took the option to nurse the boat around the course and preserve it for the next day’s racing.

The Sunday racing was two, short, harbour courses. The rain had eased slightly but the wind was highly variable in both strength and direction. The wind was gusting anywhere between 10-20 knots. Based on experience from the first day Knockabout opted for conservative starts. This proved to be wise as the first start saw aggressive luffing at the line that lead to a four boat raft up right beside the committee boat. An added challenge with the course of the day was that the start/finish line was to the west of the main racing area. In both races, on approaching the finish, the strong southerly suddenly gave way to a weak westerly, turning the two sail blast reach into a slow beat! Just to add some interest to the situation, the southerly would send an occasional surge into this area, to the benefit of the boats crossing it at the time. Knockabout was fortunate to benefit from such a surge in the last race.

The J/97 was a pleasure to sail under these conditions, although maybe her crew was not always up to the tough conditions! Overall, Knockabout had two good and two not-so-good races. It is perhaps a testament to how difficult the conditions were that her scorecard of 2-9-11-3, with no drops, earned her second overall in the regatta!"  For more J/97E sport cruiser sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.