Photography by Vita Williams
10 December 2018
Following their victories in the Upper Harbour and Parramatta River Championships, the Sydney Sailmakers crew of Nick Press and Andrew Hay have made it a trifecta by winning the Your Move Conveyancing NSW 12ft Skiff Championship, held over two weekends at different venues, and concluding today.
Press, from Gladesville and Hay, from Northbridge, won the only race last Saturday from Killara’s Brett Hobson and Jeremy Jones (Geotherm) on Sydney Harbour, hosted by Sydney Flying Squadron. Sunday’s racing was postponed when heavy westerlies, with gusts up to 37 knots were recorded on the Harbour.
Forward to this weekend, when two races become four short races, to make up for last weekend’s loss. This time the venue was Lane Cove 12ft Sailing Skiff Club, with racing on and around the Lane Cove River.
Sydney Sailmakers and long-time nemesis, Geotherm, won a race each yesterday, leaving the two boats one point apart in Sydney Sailmakers’ favour.
“Yesterday was really fresh; we went out with No.3 rig. That was OK for the first race of the day, but the nor’ easter really kicked in and was up and down in pressure – we should have had the fourth rig on,” Press admitted.
“It was hectic and the manouvres difficult. Every time you got going, you had to gybe or tack – or you’d end up in someone’s front yard,” Press said of the confined environs in which they raced.
“Everyone was a bit battered and bruised when we got in – an unforgettable day. Very different at Lane Cove where you are constantly bouncing off land, to racing on the Harbour, where you have much more room – but you have to contend with ferries and power boats.”
With a win apiece, it was really tight coming into today, but in the end, Sydney Sailmakers won both races from Geotherm to take the title.
“We swapped the lead a bit with Geotherm today – they are fast upwind, we’re faster downwind. Ben (Austin) and Robbie (Polec) on Skoll finished third overall and they got some really good starts. They were fast upwind with Brett (Hobson), but we caught them downwind.”
The fleet sailed in a more manageable 15-18 knot nor’ easter today, more like the 17-20 knot nor’ easter of last Saturday.
“We had our second rig on – it was a really nice sailing day – a lot more racing rather than surviving done today,” Press said.
No hard feelings off the water either between the Sydney Sailmakers and Geotherm crews:
“We go hard at it when we’re racing, but we’re the best of mates off the water – we even play squash together. Brett’s got the wood on me there,” Press conceded.
Press paid tribute to the new 12ft skiff Junior NSW champion, Will Beck (Shu Styx Fabrications), who is usually crewed by Connor Hay. “They finished eighth overall. They are pretty new to the class and are doing really well.”
Old hands, Peter and Steven Hill (Arrogant Frog) won overall on handicap. “They had a great regatta – the best they’ve sailed in ages,” Press acknowledged.
Finally, Press’ father Murray, crewed by Scott Lanham on Southport Sailmakers, finished fourth overall to claim the veteran title.
“They had a third in the big wind yesterday. Dad was smarter than us – he put his fourth rig on and sailed well.
“It was really good racing both weekends and we’re all fired up for the Interdominion,” Press said of the main event, taking place from 4-12 January between NSW, Queensland and New Zealand. To be hosted by the Sydney Flying Sqaudron at Kirribilli, the 10-race series will be held on Sydney Harbour – one of the first major sailing Championships for the New Year.