A substantial fleet will battle it out in Race 4 of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Blue Water Pointscore this Friday night.
The 180 nautical mile Cabbage Tree Island race is the CYCA’s third most popular Blue Water Race behind the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race and Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race, and is the main curtain-raiser for yachts heading south on Boxing Day.
As one of the last big challenges before the Boxing Day classic, many competitors use this race to qualify for entry to the Sydney Hobart and to give their crew a strong training run.
Up for grabs are the Halvorsen Brother’s Trophy (1st place IRC) and Woollahra Cup (1st place PHS).
The race starts at 7pm off Point Piper, and the fleet will head north to Cabbage Tree Island just north of the heads of Nelson Bay and back, finishing in Rushcutters Bay, Sydney Harbour.
In this year’s race is Dare Devil, a Newcastle boat skippered by Sibby Ilzhofer. The Farr/Cookson 47 has also entered the Sydney Hobart, alongside fellow Newcastle boat Frantic, and Sibby hopes this race will prove a good hit out ahead of the run to Hobart.
Three of the big names in this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart will line-up against one another.
Supermaxis Comanche, Wild Oats XI and Black Jack, winner of last year’s Cabbage Tree Island Race, headline a 46-strong fleet.
All three boats have been working to tweak performance since Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race July in which the Peter Harburg owned Queensland supermaxi match-raced and beat Wild Oats XI to the finish line by just under two minutes over a 384 nautical mile course.
Jim Cooney’s Comanche came in third having led until the last 15 nautical miles when the wind dropped out and the front four squeezed up.
Black Jack skipper Mark Bradford is looking forward to the hit-out between the trio.
“All of the boats have world class sailing teams onboard,” he says.
“Any time you get to race one another is something to look forward to. It’s not a bad forecast for Oats and us.
“Comanche have been doing a lot of sailing, so they’re probably going to be the sharpest in terms of manoeuvres. The starts are a big deal in these things because if you are a little ahead of the other boats and the breeze gets to you first you have early advantage, so it’s about getting out of the harbour cleanly,” he emphasises.
“We’re expecting to be more competitive than we have been in the past. We’ve strengthened the boat and dragged our wind range up a bit – we’ve pushed into the 12-13 knot range.”
Also in the mix is Matt Allen’s Ichi Ban, the 2017 Hobart overall winner, who has displayed ominous form in other lead-up races.
It is one of six TP52s entered for Friday night, and the uber-competitive class should set the pace on handicap given the forecast conditions of upwind sailing on Friday night, with the northerly expected to hold in on Saturday making for a fast run home.
A good start in the Cabbage Tree Island Race is critical in squeezing-out early gains in the forecast 14 knot nor’ easter which will see the fleet tacking out of the harbour.
Jack O’Rourke is a contributor to Ocean Media
Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club's Youth Performance Team skipper, Thomas Steenson has been invited to compete in this year’s International Youth Match Racing championships to be held from 21 to 25 November.
This year, The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club will be showcasing its fleet of Elliot 7s for this premier event held on Pittwater.
Teams compete for the Rockin' Robin Perpetual Trophy on the RPAYC's Elliot 7 performance keelboats with a crew of four or five, all of who must be under 23 years of age.
Thomas and his Newcastle team recently competed in SHARP Australian Youth Match Racing Championship, placing 6th.
BAVARIA REVEALS CHANGES
German boat builder Bavaria Yachts has announced it is consolidating production at its German base in Giebelstadt and cutting the number of models in its line-up.
Over the next three years, the company intends to reduce the number of models in its portfolio from the current number of 26 to around 10 to 12 models, thereby reducing complexity in the range.
The company went into voluntary administration earlier this year before being bought by private equity funds managed by CMP Capital Management-Partners based in Berlin.
Among other changes announced, the Bavaria C65 will no longer be built, the E-Line models have been discontinued, and the C50 sailing yacht has been removed from series production.