Goblets: Yandoo XX too Strong

An abandoned final race didn’t change the outcome for Jeanne-Claude Strong’s Yandoo XX, the deserving winner of the 2017 Milson’s Silver Goblets Etchells regatta sailed out of the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron from November 13-17.

A twilight racer on a busy Sydney Harbour veered too close to a mark of the Etchells course during the closing race and dragged it out of position, thereby throwing the Goblets fleet into chaos. Rather than trying to sort out a messy multi-boat situation in the protest room, race officer Rob Ridley decided the cleanest solution was to abandon the fifth and final race of the unique twilight series, which became the fleet’s one dropped score.

Second by seven points, Rupert Henry’s Vivienne, is a new crew who came together for their first sail on the opening day of the Goblets. The skipper is in the early stages of a possible class comeback after five years away supporting his children’s dinghy sailing pursuits.

Henry’s regular crewman Greg O’Shea plus Josh Chant and Alice Tarnawski combined smoothly to slot in behind Strong’s practised Yandoo XX crew of tactician Seve Jarvin, Marcus Burke and Tiana Wittey.

“I love the Goblets regatta,” said Strong. “It attracts really talented sailors and the competition is tough. We were lucky to sail pretty consistently all week and my thanks go to my beautiful team who did a great job, as did the Squadron in spite of a twilighter sabotaging them on the last day. Congratulations to Rupert Henry and Grant Crowle and their teams,” the lone woman owner/skipper among 26 starters added.

Rupert Henry’s boat has sat untouched on the RSYS hardstand since the club hosted the Etchells Worlds 2012. He’s excited about dipping his toe back into the closest racing he says he’s ever experienced. “Etchells racing engages my head so much; I’m exhausted every night. If you make a two metre steering error it will catch up with you at the next mark, it’s not like ocean racing where you can recover. It’s the closest racing I’ve ever done; the same reason the ‘legends’ love it.”

Asked whether he’ll try for a spot at the class’ world championship in Brisbane in October next year Henry said, “That’s a TBA. Three of us have young kids so we are just happy at the moment being harbour warriors. But we have a trailer....”

Third placed Etchells, The Hole Way skippered by Grant Crowle, finished five points off Vivienne and fourth overall was Doug Flynn’s Wobbegong 2. 

Flynn’s been racing Etchells since 2004 and is aware of new faces and more professionals joining teams, which isn’t out of step when a world title looms. “Some new people and fantastic sailors have come into the class and that’s the wonderful thing about Etchells sailing. It’s the only sport in the world you can race against world and Olympic champions whereas you can’t play tennis against Roger Federer or drive a Formula One car!”

Sydney Etchells fleet captain Mike Tyquin said in summary, “We’re very fortunate in our class to have great mix of sailors from the very peak of our sport and also as importantly a strong group of enthusiastic and committed broader base of Corinthian and club racers. The Milson’s Silver Goblets really is a showcase of all that is great about sailing Etchells and sailing on Sydney Harbour. The racing this week was incredibly close and great fun. Congratulations to JC and her team, they are the hardest working crew in our fleet and deserve all their success.”

Mercedes-Benz Sydney and Zhik supplied prizes to placegetters and Yandoo XX add their name to the stunning perpetual trophy for the second time.

Sydney Etchells fleet sailors now turn their sights to the NSW state title run out of RSYS from February 16-18, 2018 and look forward to hosting 40 boats from other clubs and interstate. Details coming soon and all are welcome.

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Full results here 

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By Lisa Ratcliff/OCC


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