Winners’ circle

The CYCA’s Land Rover Winter Series came down to the wire, with a number of divisional results being decided on the last race, and one even hinging on the final beat to the line.

Photography by David Brogan, Sailpix

11 July 2017


With just the final Ladies’ Day remaining, the Land Rover Winter Series drew to a close on Sunday with a variable breeze delivering champagne sailing conditions on Sydney’s iconic harbour for Race 10.

Although a more consistent 7 knots appeared to be the standard, racing was tight and exciting across the divisions with gusts of up to 19 knots reported across the course.

Taking the win in Division A1 was Tony Kirby’s Ker 46, Patrice, who saw off the challenge of Sebastian Bohm’s Rogers 46, Smuggler, formerly known as The Goat. The result sees Kirby take the overall win in the series ahead of Bohm, Paul Clitheroe’s TP52, Balance, finishing third.

Sunday’s result in Division A1 is subject to a protest, which will be heard this Thursday.


In Division C, Race 10 was a must-win for Kevin Whelan on the Beneteau 45 F5, Reve. By taking the victory just metres from the finish in Sunday’s race, Whelan took the overall series in the group by just a point over Quetzalcoatl.

Speaking after the race Whelan commented:

“It was painstaking slow to get to get that victory, not just in that race but in the whole series, but it has been fantastic. The crew have been especially great, very consistent and they had to be as we were chased down to the finish line in an incredibly close battle with Quetzalcoatl on Sunday. I think we exchanged the lead with them about four times. It was absolutely incredible.”

“It’s a great reward for everyone involved, we’ve been on the podium a fair few times which is a feat with the boat favouring strong wind conditions that have not been the norm this Winter. When we set out on Sunday we didn’t think it would be our day due to the lighter conditions but we got there.”

“The first Winter Series I won with this boat was back in 2001 and things have changed since then. Now the competition in the Land Rover Winter Series is better thanks to the quality of the competitors. It keeps improving. To the guys that organised the series, they’ve done a great job and we’re already looking forward to next winter!”

It was a similar story in Division E where Beth Abbot’s Rapid Transit finished sixth which was enough to give them a one point overall series victory over Karl Matiszik’s Menage a Trois, the latter finishing fifth in Race 10 and second overall.

Meanwhile, in the one-make Sydney 38 Division, the racing was tighter than ever with Utopia taking out the top spot in both scratch and PHS handicap results. The win meant that John Messenger’s boat, helmed by Peter Messenger, secured the overall series victory in the class, much to the delight of the skipper and the crew as they squeezed past the challenge of Mitchell Gordon’s The Goat.

Speaking after the race Pam Messenger from Utopia commented: “It was very tight racing and not the result we expected but we were absolutely delighted. We’ve been struggling all series to stay in front of The Goat but it was especially important on Sunday given what was at stake in Race 10. We knew if we could get them behind us we would win and it went right down to the wire.”

“Before we went out on Sunday I was in touch with the crew making sure they all brought their A game and luckily they did as we were able to manage the wind changes and stay in front.”

“It’s been a great series and it’s especially good that the one-make series was so tight, hopefully it encourages more people to participate.”

“Needless to say there were some big celebrations after our win and it was made all the more meaningful given the quality of the competition. That really spurred us to work well as a team and keep the crew focused.”

Land Rover Winter Series overall Divisional winners: Division A1 – Patrice (Tony Kirby); Division A2 – Occasional Coarse Language (Warwick Sherman); Division B – Wax Lyrical (Les Goodridge); Division C – Reve (Kevin Whelan); Division D – Irukandji (P Stubbs & S Nash); Division E – Rapid Transit (A Wyllie and B Abbot); Division F – Superfine (G Waldthausen); Division G – Fiction (Michael Blaxell); Division J1 – Inkonkoni (Arthur Lane); Division J2 – Lorelei (Matthew Farr); Sydney 38 Division Scratch – Utopia (John Messenger); Sydney 38 Division PHS – Utopia (John Messenger).

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