Please select your home edition
Edition
Stoneways Marine 2021 - LEADERBOARD

Adjusting the sails

by MHYC 11 Sep 2020 04:30 BST
MHYC's Adams 10s enjoyed a One-Design winter fleet racing series due to the increased number of crews in Sydney at this time of year © Marg Fraser-Martin

Sailors are by nature resourceful and adapt to changing conditions - if not to maximise the speed of their yacht, then at least to survive.

Adapting to the Covid-19 environment, Middle Harbour Yacht Club has been looking out for the well-being of its members and adapting to changing regulations and advice from authorities. The club has remained ready to restructure and/or reschedule its programs and events, ever motivated to keep its members and others actively connected to their chosen sport and recreation.

MHYC ceased sailing on March 18, just a few days after completing its last major regatta of the season - the MC38 Australian Championships. In an effort to fill the void, eSailing was commenced using the Virtual Regatta platform with racing scheduled three days per week from April until June.

Keelboat racing resumed at MHYC on June 10. Crew Registration was introduced to enable effective Covid-19 tracing and skippers immediately committed to this new responsibility. The Club's Winter Sailing program saw a fifty percent increase in participation this year, mainly due to the Covid-19 travel limitations keeping members in town during the cooler months.

With many crews unable or reluctant to enter the Queensland Regatta circuit, MHYC worked with three other clubs to develop the Breakout Series. Three days of offshore and inshore racing was planned for early August, taking the fleet from Sydney Harbour to Pittwater, Newcastle and Port Stephens. Over sixty entries were received for the event before Covid hotspots developed in Newcastle and Port Stephens, forcing the event to be postponed. The work invested by the four clubs and PRO Denis Thompson in preparing for the series was not in vain, as the event is likely to be rescheduled within the new season.

MHYC's Commodore, Peter Lewis, has taken a leadership role in communications with Australian Sailing, developing cooperation with other clubs, and ensuring there was a consistent response by clubs to changes in Public Health Orders and advice from NSW Health and Australian Sailing. When August saw recommendations to restrict travel across regional and metropolitan zones, the meeting of Club Commodores agreed to limit racing to non-pointscore. As skippers were unable to assemble their usual competitive crews, this move enabled keelboat racing to continue in the Harbour with a new focus on participation.

"The by-product of Covid 19 has been the outstanding cooperation between the Commodore's and their respective clubs," said Commodore Lewis.

"It is envisaged that the group will continue to meet regularly in conjunction with Australian Sailing to further improve our Sport," he said.

Covid-19 has impacted youth sailing too. MHYC was looking forward to hosting Round 1 of the NSW Optimist Association's Traveller Trophy Series in August when updated health advice meant that it could only be a metropolitan event. A COVIDSafe Sailing plan was developed to provide additional protections for the young sailors, including multiple rigging and launching areas and Covid Marshalls.

When metro zone recommendations were later announced, a State Association event was no longer viable - so MHYC pivoted again. The Club's Spring Centreboard Regatta was born and less than two weeks later, twenty four Optimist, Laser and 29er sailors enjoyed the first three races of a six race series on a perfect afternoon for sailing on the harbour.

At a time where much of the news is gloomy, races and series are being cancelled and the future remains uncertain, MHYC has maintained a positive outlook and the ability to respond to changing circumstances.

As it approaches the beginning of a new season, the Club is living the old saying, "I can't control the wind, but I can adjust the sail."

Related Articles

Sydney Short Ocean Racing Championship overall
Victoire, Nine Dragons and Mille Sabords take SSORC top honours Paul Jenkins and his Sydney 38 crew onboard Mille Sabords won their first ever regatta on a wild and wet Sydney weekend racing for the host club in the annual Sydney Short Ocean Racing Championship that drew 55 mixed keelboats boats. Posted on 28 Nov
Sydney Short Ocean Racing Championship day 1
Bushranger holds up to brutal opening day Big seas and strong winds offshore for the Premier Divisions contesting MHYC's annual Sydney Short Ocean Racing Championship put the stress test on crews over the 24 nautical mile course, described as "brutal" by the division 1 winning tactician. Posted on 27 Nov
Sydney Short Ocean Racing Championship preview
Reigniting the good-natured rivalry between Sydney and Pittwater sailing crews Middle Harbour Yacht Club's annual Sydney Short Ocean Racing Championship reignites the good-natured rivalry between Sydney and Pittwater sailing crews - each believing they have the better pedigree, particularly within the Premier Divisions. Posted on 22 Nov
MC38 Australian Championship at Middle Harbour YC
Lazy Dog's back-to-back MC38 nationals victory Back-to-back national MC38 titles for Shaun Lane and Quentin Stewart's Lazy Dog was no picnic, hours of floating around Sydney Harbour expectantly on the final day yielding an empty scoresheet. Posted on 7 Nov
2021 Sydney Short Ocean Racing Championship
The first major keelboat regatta for the season Sydney sailors are anxiously awaiting news of Sydney's lockdown coming to an end. After an enforced four-month hiatus from yacht racing, there is now a light on the horizon. Posted on 18 Sep
Sydney Harbour Regatta overall
Adrian Walters' Little Nico adds another victory to impressive regatta tally Adrian Walters' nippy Shaw 11 Little Nico, sailing for the Sydney Harbour Regatta host club, added another victory to their impressive regatta tally on day two of the weekend regatta. Posted on 7 Mar
Moguls at the Sydney Harbour Regatta
Francolini, his camera, big swell, and busy crews all makes for a very nice day at the office... Francolini, his camera, big swell, and busy crews all makes for a very nice day at the office... Posted on 6 Mar
Sydney Harbour Regatta Day 1
Conspiracy rises to the challenges Conditions offshore on day one of Middle Harbour Yacht Club's annual Sydney Harbour Regatta had tummies churning and skittled one Sydney 38 bowman who was saved from a Man Overboard incident by the lifelines. Posted on 6 Mar
Ready to rumba at Sydney Harbour Regatta
Entries have climbed past the 180 mark for this weekend's event Entries for Middle Harbour Yacht Club's flagship Sydney Harbour Regatta on this weekend, March 6-7, have climbed past the 180 mark, among them a local yacht jointly owned for close to 20 years that has competed in every Sydney Harbour Regatta Posted on 3 Mar
2020-21 Farr 40 NSW State Title overall
Outlaw crowned champion at Middle Harbour YC CYCA/RSYS yacht Outlaw has today been crowned the NSW Farr 40 State Champion. The prize-giving was conducted at Middle Harbour Yacht Club after racing concluded with a special presentation by former Class President and owner of Zen, Gordon Ketelby. Posted on 28 Feb