At 10.00am on Saturday 12th November 2022 a fleet of 49 yachts started the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia 83nm Bird Island race where competitors sail from Sydney Harbour to Bird Island (approximately 3nm north east of Norah Head), before returning to Sydney Harbour to finish.
In light conditions the fleet headed north out of Sydney Harbour with Jules Hall in his J99 ‘Disko Trooper’ leading the way out the heads in the Two-Handed Division followed closely by Ian Smith in his J/99 ‘Jupiter’, Andrew Butler in his J/122E ‘Rum Chaser’ and Shane Connelly in his J/99 ‘Rum Rebellion.’ They were joined by a good fleet of Sunfast 3300’s and other yachts including the yachts ‘Transcendence Crento’, ‘Tumbleweed’ and ‘Sunfast racing’. In total 11 Two-handed yachts were competing in the race representing 20% of the total fleet. A light south easter of about 6 to 8 knots kicked in about four hours after race start which finally got the fleet moving. This prevailed to just south of Bird Island with the entire Division 2 fleet including most of the Two-handed boats very close together. The fleet rounded Bird Island in fickle conditions which prevailed as the fleet commenced its slow trek home.
Shane Connelly’s ‘Rum Rebellion’ was able to find whispers of breeze around dawn on Sunday morning which got ‘Rum Rebellion’ moving and climbing through and ahead of most of the Div 2 fully crewed fleet. “The J/99 is an amazing little boat” said Connelly “I was able to keep up with many well sailed and much longer crewed boats sailed by very good sailors.” Connelly won’t give up his light wind secrets, saying only “we had the right sail up at the right time and persevered when the wind dropped or changed direction radically”.
The results speak for themselves. Amazingly J/99 ‘Rum Rebellion’ was 1st IRC Two-handed, 1st IRC Div 2 Overall, 2nd ORCi Two-handed and 2nd IRC Corinthian overall.
Congratulations to all who competed, with a special shout out to J/99’s Disko Trooper and Jupiter, and J/122’s Joss and Rum Rebellion. We look forward to the Cabbage Tree Island Race (172nm) which commences on the 2nd of December.
Photo credit : Cruising Yacht Club of Australia