PACEMAKER Crowned J/24 New South Wales Champ

Dave Suda’s team on their new J/24 foiler Pacemaker retained the NSW State Title for 2013 in a “lightning-plagued” series on Sydney Harbor over the weekend. Saturday’s racing was severely curtailed by some of Sydney’s biggest lightning storms ever seen. Plus, lots of rain and lack of wind and constant direction changes meant only two races were held towards the end of the day on Saturday in pretty nice but light conditions. Sunday was a “glam day” with a 10–16 kts SE breeze and plenty of sunshine. Four races were held by the Royal Prince Edward Yacht Club RC team to give a thrilling climax to the weekend. Here’s Simon Grain’s report: “Sunday’s racing was close and hard fought from the get go with Sean Kirkjian taking a first on the Saturday and now already fighting for the championship with Dave Suda. Both Kirkjian and Suda were on equal points after Saturday’s racing, however, both were behind Ron Thompson who had a first and a third going into Sunday. This year’s fleet was smaller at a round dozen boats but the depth of the field was strong, with NSW stalwarts John Crawford, Dave West, Chris Lee and Arthur Crothers all on the water. From Victoria were Dave Suda, Ron Thompson and Simon Grain steering Arthur’s Kaotic. Doug Watson from SA was also there in El Fideldo. Also rounding out the fleet were Starpac, Nokomis and Brett Hudson crewing for Jeanette Thompson on his own boat Wildfire. A perfect breeze prevailed during Sunday as we raced across the harbor avoiding each other (most of the time), TP52s, ferries and everyone else on the harbor that day. Banging corners didn’t seem to work as well this year as there were considerable wind bends and lifts in the middle of the course. Arthur Crothers turned 70 and was presented with a wicked chocolate cake, Nokomis swam a crew member in one race and Kicking Bottom prepared to call “starboard” on a seaplane—yes, those were just a few of the usual oddities in this regatta! As the day progressed, it became clear that the regatta might just go back to Dave Suda from Victoria, and he and Sean had a personal battle in the last race to decide the honors. In the end, Dave retained the crown and Sean came second on a count back from an amazing performance from Ron in KB. Ron also took out the Thommo Cup from Jeanette on Wildfire, although as a consolation she won the handicap section. Once again the RPEYC venue excelled with sunny skies above the lawn at the waterfront of the club when it counted and lightning shows when it didn’t. Friendly staff and capable race management meant we were happy both on and off the water. Commodore Sean once again amazingly ran the club (thanks to all the volunteers and staff), the class team (thanks to Paula and Tim) ran the crew ferry and still came second. Now is the time to think about a trip to Royal Prince Edwards, as the 2014 Nationals will also be held here in January 4–9. If you want a great place to sail, a great place to relax in between racing, then RPEYC is your summer regatta of choice.” For more J/24 NSW Championship sailing information in Sydney Harbor, visit

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