Manly Mini Festival of Sailing

Manly Mini Festival of Sailing

Join in the only regatta in the world in which the crew  can win a car each!

The Manly Mini Festival of Sailing will be held over two days on January 21st and 22nd 2012 at Manly Yacht Club, Sydney and there are no less than six, yes six, mini cars up for grabs.

The mini regatta is open to all mono hull yachts whose length overall is greater than 6m and less than 11m, so join the Manly Mini Festival of Sailing and prove for once and for all, that size doesn’t matter, it’s what you do with it over  a series of 6 windward leeward type races in northern Sydney Harbour, that counts.

It’s from such humble beginnings that many of the worlds’ greatest regatta’s were born.

Too long the rock stars and their 100m yachts have been hogging the airwaves. Too many owners have driven away in the car that the crew won.  If you have a small yacht then sail up and be counted amongst the greats of this inaugural festival where each member of the crew can walk away with a car prize.

As well as the cars, there is an overall prize of 2 Nights at Pittwater YHA up for grabs along with the coveted Horses Ass Trophy and a variety of crew prizes such as the hotly contested Teabag award for the best foredecky. But best of all is the opportunity to sail into the history books as one of the founding entrants of the Manly Mini Festival of Sailing.

If you want to be able to say…”I was there when it all started….” then fill out the entry form  at as soon as possible and send it in to Manly Yacht Club.  There is a mini-entry fee of $35.

Notice of Race can be found at A barbecue will be held after racing on Saturday at Manly Yacht Club and a prize presentation after racing on Sunday. For queries or further information contact the race director Chris Stockdale on

MOB retrieval

In view of Hugo’s MOB retrieval event last Saturday Peter Stevens has shown us what might be the perfect simple device which Doug McGain developed for Code Violation before Pete bought it. This device consists of a length of rope run though the middle of a pool ‘noodle’ with a clip on the end, this can then be connected to either a sheet for easy pulling or a haliyard for lifting. I think this would be suitable for anyone that is conscious and able to put it over their heads and under their arms. It would also be relatively easy to throw towards someone in the water. The cost of such a device would be no more than $20 bucks.  If owners wish to purchase a fully spliced unit, Pete will work out a price for all J24 owners.  Weight of this device is less than 1kg.

Lucky it was a J.

The 2011 Lipton Cup was sailed in true Port Philip conditions, from 10 knot North Easterly, through to 30 knot South Westerly on Saturday. Mix this with blinding rain that persisted all day, and you have conditions that test the best of us. Fortunately the weather improved on the Sunday however most of the fleet stayed on shore, as the previous day was enough.

Simon Grain and Lisa Simonov won the regatta with 4 straight wins, their boat Make My Jay, was quick, well sailed and when required picked shifts that pulled them up through the fleet to win yet another race.

There was another event that took place that day that made me feel 1, glad that our crew competed (as we only decided to sail the previous day) and 2, that I sailed such a great boat as a J24.

In the third race the wind had turned to the South west and kicked in at recorded 30 knots. After a screaming downwind run with the spinnakers Simon and I rounded the bottom mark together, back on the wind, we sailed lower and both boats were about ten boat lengths apart on port tack with Simon slightly astern and to windward.

My crew alerted me that there was a boat from another division that was on starboard and hardly moving, we bore away and as we passed astern we could see that the boat was a mess with her headsail half furled and two crew occupied with something going on in the open cockpit. The boat’s crew shouted “we have a man overboard”, which sent a shock right through the whole of our crew, we replied “where”, one pointed directly down wind. Through the blinding rain we could just see a tiny black shape about 200 meters away.

Jack on the bow tripped the jib, and kept his eyes firmly on the MOB, whilst Matt eased the vang and Michael readied the life ring, the MOB was waving his arm and as we approached we assured him and asked him to keep calm.

Our first pass was too quick and we felt that the wind was too strong to throw the life ring as it would never have made it. Our second pass, much slower allowed the MOB to swim to the windward side of the J where it took all three of my crew to get him on board.

Dominic was ash white, shaking and exhausted, we put him down in the cabin where Jack kept a eye on him. It was only then that I looked around to see that through the rain the only other boat I could see was the stricken yacht, no one else was in sight.

The stricken yacht had managed to bare away and was able to run down wind some distance away, we both headed to the nearest harbour at RYCV.

Dominic advised us that there was a injured crew on the other yacht and that the events that caused his injury had caused his fall from the boat.

I estimate that Dominic would have been in the water for a minimum of ten to fifteen minutes, we were concerned that he might be effected by shock so I got Jack to keep eye on his condition all the whole way home.

J24’s are great to sail in tight windy conditions, their low free board made getting Dominic on board much easier, and the speed in which we could do a second pass,  took some of the panic out of the situation. Had we been in a much bigger boat, this MOB rescue would have been much harder and taken a lot longer, of that I am sure.

When we entered to harbour, the stricken yacht managed to get assistance from a rescue boat who rushed the injured crew to a waiting ambulance.

After we had docked we were met by the crew of the other yacht who thanked us and advised us that they could never have been able to pick up Dominic.

Lessons learnt were, 1: the stricken yacht should have sent off a flare. 2: radioed for assistanc.e 3: waved their arms to alert us or others. However, there were only two of them and one was preoccupied looking after the third injured crew. Makes sailing a four man keelboat hard in 30 knots single handed.

On reflection, my crew and I agreed that we had all had a rewarding and special day, as no one else knew Dominic was out there until we reported what had happened when we came ashore. We later learnt that the race was shortened due to the wind strength and reduced vision of 100 meters.

Special thanks to Jack Crawford, Matt Weston and Michael Lewenhagen, crew of Bruschetta VI.


Note from Simon Grain. Hugo’s actions quite probably saved Dominic’s life on Saturday. The visibility was terrible with heavy driving rain, rising seas and lots of spray making looking to windward almost impossible and painful. This might have meant that no other boat would have seen him in the water. This is a very sobering thought, as losing a crew member overboard can happen in the blink of an eye to any of us on the water in these conditions. Make sure you practice your man overboard retrieval in all kinds of weather. Hugo was awarded redress and scored an equal first place in this race and came second overall in the Lipton Cup.

2 Aussie teams in Argentina for the J24 World Championships

We have 2 teams representing Australia at the J24 World Championships this year.  David West will be skippering Cinco Capitanes..yes, you guessed it…with 5 skippers on board…..Davids crew are Arthur Crothers, Scott Buckingham, Chris Lee and Greg Zyner.

Sean Kirkjian will also be racing with his Deathstar team of Tony Reynolds, Simon Cunningham, Tim Bilham and David Oliver.

Follow their daily progress from 15 November in a fleet of 60 at

Outhaul cleats…

Has anyone had problerms with outhaul cleats slipping?.. I have sailed on a few Js lately and all seem to have the same problem or the outhaul slipping under load, when the cleat teeth don’t necessarily appear to be worn.

I would be grateful if anyone has any suggestions for an alternate system so I can pass the information to  the owners.


Pacemaker ……..See you later !

Most of the time the fleet saw this view of Pacemaker

David Suda and his crew in Pacemaker did an awesome job winning the NSW States convincingly.
For the rest of the story in pictures of the first day, go to the picture gallery page under the NSW tab above.