Flagstaff Marine delivered a terrific regatta to mark the 25th Beneteau Cup on Sydney Harbour.
It seemed fitting that Beneteau had two factory representatives there as well, headed up by Director, Beneteau Group Asia Pacific, Thibaut de Montvalon and also Asia Sales Manager, Beneteau Group Asia, Vianney Guezenec.
One could also not miss that owners, crews, Neptune with his Trident, Davey Jones and every other deity with a nautical interest seemed to sense the importance of the occasion and delivered in spades, with a solid breeze, loads of sunshine and only small chop.
All then combined their efforts to make it a celebration commensurate with the occasion, and that included primary sponsors, Sydney City Marine, Mark Anderson’s Boat Transport and d’Albora Marinas. As the 33 crews assembled, the Piper Heidsieck flowed, the croissants were demolished and the Sailing Instructions were equally devoured. This was important, for in that sort of weather, two races for the days was assured, and eagerness needed to be tempered just a little bit with extra information.
Briefing’s aside, it was time to hit the water and make for the starting area, over the North side of the Harbour, in between Kirribilli and Kurraba Point. Some had sails up early and even deployed the kite in practice. Others with less experience chose to have more discussion and explanation of things that were about to come, which was terrific, for there was nary an incident all day. Well done.
So with the pin end of the line set, the first two divisions got away, pretty much to the scheduled 1230hrs program. It was to be a lovely, almost Cook’s tour of the majestic Harbour, going past Bradley’s Head, into Taylors Bay, up to Chowder Head and then over to Nielsen Park, before making for the Southern side of Shark Island, then Potts Point and off to the finish.
Lunch ensued as the Committee Boat manoeuvred to account for the slight clocking to the left from Sou’east to East Sou’east. All day it ranged from just 11 to 17 knots and was fuller in some parts than others, which was especially important in the spinnaker division, who needed to play their angles, as was evidenced very much in the second race.
With the clocking of the breeze, a more traditional Windward/Leeward set up had been afforded. This was very much to the plan of Flagstaff’s Shane Crookshanks. Division Two of non-spinnaker would go out to Shark Island and back to Fort Denison, then return to Shark Island, before making a hasty return back to the start/finish line.
The quicker boats would have their voyage extended by heading further East past Nielsen Park, but it all meant that all the different models and vintages of Beneteaus on display were always in and amongst each other, which is what it is all about.
Still there is always the race within the race, and you would have had to have turned off your hearing and vision not to notice the intense rivalry between the two Sense 50s, Piterac and La troisième mi-temps. Yes they both had navy hulls, but that is entirely where similarities ended, in good jest, of course. Piterac’ crew were undoubtedly the more raucous, and when they ‘won’, well that was some celebration.
Given that ‘La troisième mi-temps’ roughly translates to the third half, a rugby union phrase for the 19th hole, you might have thought they would be the ones to take it to another level. However, if you take a look at the picture now, you’ll see that Piterac crew was motivated whether on the rail whilst heading upwind, or in the cockpit on the way back down.
The internal friendly rivalry may well have had a lot to do with it as well. Flagstaff’s Michael Coxon, of Thurlow Fisher 18-footer fame, was on Piterac, whilst Crookshanks was on La troisième mi-temps. These two craft were part of the five Sense 50s that attended to form their own ‘Luxury Yacht One Design Class’, as it were.
Elsewhere, Elara was very quiet as they went about their business, but it showed with an overall win on the day in Non-Spinnaker Division B, and a bullet in the first race certainly helped that cause. Well-done team…
Being new to sailing did not prevent Carol Anne from taking second place, with a bullet to Elusive Spirit in the lace race elevating them to third place overall. Having fun did also not stop L’Oiseau from winning Non-Spinnaker Division A, either. A pair of bullets saw to that, but from an observer’s POV, you wonder if it was a well-disguised plan or they were just having too much fun to notice. Either way, well done to them and may the fun continue.
Aeolus may be building skill, but a clean, solid performance saw them take second place, and whilst Inkonkoni charged around hard, the could not stick the nose in front enough to claim second place, and so had to take third.
It was hard fought in the spinnaker division, especially between Outlaw and Flying Cloud. The former took the gun in the first race, with the latter second. The tables were turned in the longer second race, so Flying Cloud walked away with the chocolates, to leave the boiled lollies to Outlaw and then the little First 30, ménage à trois, in third place. Special mention at this point to Antipodes of Sydney for successfully clearing the snag with the pesty kite sock in between races…
So with a great day out on the water done, the race to the bar was on. Happy crews recounted stories and shared Smartphone images, before heading up to the dinner. As usual, there were terrific prizes on offer for owners, so many thanks to all the suppliers who made that possible.
There was also tremendous interest in the silent auction to aid the charity, Mercy Ships. No doubt this was even further piqued after the Chairman, Paul Pemberton, spoke about the amazing work this hospital ship does in Africa and the short video had been played as well.
Flagstaff Marine’s Director, Graham Raspass, was delighted to highlight the support this well attended regatta has been able to provide over the last few years. “This year alone, over $1200 was raised just from entry fees, let alone the silent auction, which amassed a further $6400. The highest individual bid was $1000 for the inflatable paddleboard from Lejen Marine, so that is really fantastic. It is great that we have a charity that is so closely aligned to our nautical pursuits and achieves so much for those in real, dire need of medical assistance.”
It was Raspass’ pleasure to also announce this year’s winner of the perpetual Beneteau Cup, which is awarded to one owner who embodies the true spirit of the brand and the sport we all love. “Their first Beneteau Cup was 20 years ago, and they have had a few boats since then. I gather the four core members of the crew decided to go sailing back when they were under-graduates, and are still at it today. Whether on the podium or not, they have always been around and enjoyed themselves. So much so that they remain in the Beneteau family today, just to enjoy the rich camaraderie.”
by John Curnow