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Out and about for the Audi Sydney Harbour Regatta

5 April 2011 Kylie Wilson

Jervis Tilley, Bushfire, leading the regatta

"Jervis Tilley, Bushfire, leading the regatta"

Photo by:
Kylie Wilson,

From March five to seven inclusive, there were over 300 yachts in more than 24 divisions operating in eight distinct courses. This was the Audi Sydney Harbour Regatta and Etchells were possibly the biggest One Design fleet there and certainly provided the closest racing in the entire regatta.

There were lots of spectators about to watch the 0.8nm short course, which had Etchells, Dragons and SB3's all on the same start line. A Taylor Bay start in a Sou'east breeze was the order of the day on the Saturday. On Sunday, the course moved over to Chowder Bay, where a light and shifty East Sou'easter made the course a little bit like snakes and ladders. By way of example, the leader in one particular race was passed convincingly by vessels from the middle of the fleet, which had made use of the shifts.

The regatta win went to Jervis Tilley, on Bushfire, which amounted to his third win of this particular event. Mark Johnson from Roulette, who is the current NSW State Champion, said of Jervis, "He's definitely the 'Harbour Master'. A very dominant performance from a non-Sydneysider who has clearly mastered Sydney Harbour."

Jervis said of the win, "This is the fourth time we've been in the Audi Sydney Harbour Regatta and we think it's a great event. As a result of so many fleets, boats, sailors and sponsors involved, it feels a lot like Cowes Week in the UK. Inherently, there are a number of challenges for competitors and organisers with a high-quality fleet producing tight racing. Audi and the Middle Harbour Yacht Club do a great job. Whatever your result, the after sailing festivities are world-class, with sand between your toes, the sun going down and great sailors at every turn."

"This year was the most satisfying of our three wins. The Etchells Class generally turns out a quality fleet, but this time it was particularly strong. There were sailors from the America's Cup squads, a Laser World Champion, converts from International Dragon and other classes, our current Etchells State Champion and a host of other categories, all building towards the Etchells Worlds in Sydney in 2012", Jervis went on to add.

Not everyone is entirely happy with the no-drop scoring system of this particular, six race regatta, which is in direct contrast to normal Etchells events. Typically, on the Saturday, when there are three races, more boats are about, as this is their regular sailing day. On the Sunday, the fleet reduces, which some feel makes the levelling out the competition a bit difficult without the drop and accordingly, not entirely fair.

Jervis Tilley comments on this, saying "The 'no drop' format puts a premium on consistency. It cost us one year when we got black flagged at the start of Race One and then it saved us one year when the worthy winner had some gear failure. However, this year we were able to take it out of play by putting together a solid series."

Going on to lighter notes, Jervis said, "An obvious flaw is the ongoing inability to bring home the car. Who knows if we will ever get another shot at driving the Audi; this year the RS4 was awesome, however."

Audi Sydney Harbour Regatta Results

Race to the finish

"Race to the finish"

Photo by:
Kylie Wilson,


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