‘Our’ Victorian Keelboat Sailor of the year, 2015

The Black Prince's Halo is glowing

After years of success and accolades, Dave Suda, the ‘Black Prince of Sandringham’ has finally rested the ultimate Victorian sailing crown – Victorian Keelboat Sailor of the year, 2015.

With over 300 sailors at Sandringham Yacht Club for the OTB Marine Yachting Victoria Awards on Friday evening, 19th June, this was Yachting Victoria’s largest awards night yet, recognising the outstanding contributions and achievements of individuals, clubs, volunteers and media representatives in sailing throughout the 2014-15 season.

With strong competition for the award from Sydney 38, Hobart Race and highly achieving club sailors, the award to Dave is all the more rewarding. It shows the high profile the class is achieving in recent years in Victoria and Australia and the success the Black Prince has had in it. His achievements this last year have included:

1st Victorian J24 States

1st J24 Nationals

1st One Design Summer Sprint Championships

2nd NSW States (Kaotic)

Yes, a little slip there, only 2nd !  Dave didn’t take Pacemaker to NSW for the 2014 States, but much to the consternation of the Cockroaches, ‘the Bloody Black Prince of Sandringham’ has won three NSW titles in a row in Pacemaker prior to last season. He helmed Kaotic to 2nd place, behind Convicts Revenge with a blended crew from By the Lee, Pacemaker and Kaotic. A bit rough, but he is currently the only Victorian boat to have won the NSW State Titles.

He made particular attention to and dedicated the award to the superb efforts of his long-time crew, Herschel, Sam, Rachel and Damien, standing in for Luke who is recovering from a serious cycling accident, a crew without whom he could not have won this award. It shows clearly that the J24 is a boat where success depends not stars and egos, but on close and exacting teamwork from dedicated real people.

There are competitions Dave hasn’t yet won, but for the time being the Black Prince’s halo is shining a little brighter.

Cronulla this time of year is either windy or light

Very close racing at the finish line

Very close racing at the finish line

Last year was windy, this year was light, sunny and warm – great sailing !

The Macquart Marine Cronulla J24 Short Course Regatta was conducted in the clean clear waters of Bate Bay, Cronulla over the Queens Birthday long weekend 6-7 June, was a huge success again and enjoyed by 17 crews including three from interstate. Simon Grain and Hugo Ottaway from Victoria and with smiles and the odd ‘discussion’, Robin and Jim Townsend from Adelaide – well done guys !

This year there was a definite buzz about the club from a few days before, with excitement growing as the interstaters rolled in. With lots of help from the enthusiastic locals, boats were rigged, dropped in the water, and berthed on the club pontoon 3 shakes of a skippers tiller from the club bar. What a magic setting – drinks in the sunset and the promise of a great weekend to come.

Bucko, the nation’s most relaxed RO gave us the briefing on Saturday morning, how refreshing to hear some sensible race management outlined – there will be no protests ! Sort it out on the water.

With breezes between 0-5 the race committee did a fantastic job in achieving 3 races on the first day. With temps at 22 deg C, a glorious day of sailing was had and a following swell upwind, made interesting sailing for those not used to ocean sailing.

The first race was won by Local Legend, Dave McKay by 30 sec to Victorian Hugo Ottaway and Stephen Quigley a further 30 seconds behind. The short course format, with works no more than 800 metres ensuring close competition for all.

Second Race was won by Stephen Quigley in a dying breeze who picked the shifts and extended to win by some 3 minutes to Simon Grain of Victoria and local Cronulla Sailor Barry Ryan.

The third and last race for Day One was conducted after waiting for a 5 knot breeze to re-establish from the east and in a dying breeze Barry Ryan again showed his local knowledge to lead out by 30 seconds to Robin Townsend from South Australia and Hugo Ottaway in Brushetta IV from Sandringham Yacht Club.

Racing was completed for the first day with Barry Ryan in Pinot leading from Stephen Quigley and Dave McKay equal in second. The Day One BBQ was huge, these guys know how to be hospitable with a vengeance, great conversation between all competitors and lots of new friends being made with the visitors going into the night in preparation for day two. In fact many competitors further increased their preparation at local nite clubs just to make sure they were ready for the off in the morning.

Again the balmy winter conditions continued with a slight increase in wind strength experiencing 5-10 knots for the 4th race of the series. The ‘Mexicans’ (Victorians took both 1st and 2nd) with Simon Grain and Hugo Ottaway followed by the ever consistent Stephen Quigley coming in third.

A quick turn around by the race committee saw race 5 commence and the pattern of finishes becoming clearer Barry Ryan followed by Stephen Quigley and Hugo. This was undoubtedly the closest race of the series with the first 5 boats finishing within 40 seconds, the next 4 within 40 seconds and the next 6 within 30 seconds. Fantastic close racing 2 laps, over in 27 minutes and all boats finishing with 4 minutes !!!!!

Race 6 commenced under the black flag after 2 consecutive general recalls. Julie McKay on McKay Marine, Jared Macquart on Macquart Marine, Matthew Short on ShortFaced and Lia Darby on Starpac all broke the start and where disqualified from that race. Final result in a dying breeze was Simon Grain, the consistent Stephen Quigley and Barry Ryan in Third.

Race 7 proved to be the final race of the series in testing conditions and a breeze continuing to decrease. Simon Grain rose to the occasion with a 3rd bullet for the day followed again by Team Cini O’Bryan and StockCar.

Results were tallied back at the Cronulla Sailing Club as the sausages cooked and the drinks where poured. Another huge BBQ and drinks and drinks and …

The same Bucko, now the master of ceremonies and laughter, gave out the prizes and everyone got one, if you didn’t win one you got one given to you. What a good night.

Final results being:

  1. Team CiniO’Bryan    Stephen Quigley
  2. Pinot                       Barry Ryan
  3. Kaotic                     Simon Grain
  4. StockCar                 David McKay
  5. Bruschetta IV           Hugo Ottaway
  6. JCF Built Boudicca   Bryce Edwards
  7. McKay Marine          Julie McKay
  8. Witches Thimble       Robin Townsend
  9. Only a Journey          Max Sellers
  10.  ShortFaced              Mathew Short
  11. Vertigo                     Clinton Hood
  12. Starpac                    Lia Darby
  13. In the Mood              Marc Van Dinther
  14. Macquart Marine       Jared Macquart
  15. Jargon                      Tony Landers
  16. Slippery Fish             Mick Reynolds
  17. Katiki Katanga           Chris Merfield

Team Cini O’Bryans consistence throughout the series proved solid with a series score of 3, 1, 7, 3, 2, 2, 2 for a total of 13. Simon Grain, sailing Arthur Crother’s Kaotic (with the boss on board) went home with the wheelchair prize.

The complete results are on the Cronulla SC site, here

Plenty of great pics of the racing are also on this page, thanks very much Phil Rogers.

Once again the level of female participation is very encouraging, with three female skippers and many women amongst most of the crews.

The organisers and competitors would like to thank the sponsors of the event, Macquart Marine, Wet Tech Rigging, Ian Short Sails, Cronulla Marina, The Lapstone Hotel, Loaf Cafe Cronulla, OZ Jet Boating Sydney, PriceLine Cronulla and Secret Scent Aromatherapy. And a big thank you to the volunteers and members of Cronulla SC for making this great regatta possible. Thanks also to Fiona Campbell, Rob Croucher, Clinton Hood and Dave Mackay for hosting the visitors – it makes the trip all the more affordable and strengthens new and old bonds in the class.

Cronulla Sailing Club are looking forward to hosting the event next year, we will be aiming at 25 J24’s in 2016. Please remember to bring the entire range of sails, for you’ll never know what the day will bring you. I have to say the same thing I said last year – if you weren’t there, you missed a real goodie and you don’t want to miss that again.

So it seems ‘Mexico’ is to be invaded by the ‘Cronullans’ or is that the ‘Shire’. Whatever you like to call the friendly natives of Bate Bay, you should know that they are good, they’re getting better and they are coming to ‘Mexico’ in the deep south, for the Nationals are being held there on the 4th – 8th January. Quite possibly the classes first 30 boat regatta in many a long year. And quite a few are planning their assault on the NSW States in early November this year.
Story by Mick Reynolds and Simon Grain

Bowman available for 2016 National Championships

Ken is really keen to crew in the 2016 J24 National Championships.

He lives in Weymouth,Dorset UK and although he’s been sailing on all sorts of boats, mini to maxi,during the the last 40 years, has never sailed in the southern hemisphere.

Ken sailed J24s for about ten years, and has sailed with Bob Turner,ex president of the J24 worlds class for about 8 years and Stuart Jardine,secretary of UK association and on both boats did the bow.  Ken is thinking that a trip down south, combined with a sail on a J24 would be about as good as it gets!!

If you can offer him a ride for the Nationals, or wish too discuss further, please email him on:  kennyroebuck@hotmail.com

More History Pictures


I have put more of Chris Furey’s and Nick Capper’s pics on the Australian History page.  Thanks Guys, very much appreciated. Also now a link to Chris Furey’s FB J Pic page where there is an amazing collection of pics. If anyone has old pics they are happy to share, either send them to me or put them on our J24 facebook page and make sure you give captions for each of them. Cheers Simon

Want to sell your J24?

If anyone is looking to sell their boat and hasn’t got it advertised, could you please let me know.  I have a couple of potential buyers contact me recently so would be good to know if you are thinking of selling.

Thanks, Paula

dockpaula@gmail.com or 0404 539176

J24 NSW Regattas

Now is the time to start thinking about getting your boat ready for the regatta season  – the NSW J24 Association has 2 regattas this year and we’d like you to enter both of them so we can have good competitive fleets racing.    It’s still 5 months away but it’s just a reminder to think about booking accommodation in Gosford for the Long Weekend in October, and also think about crew.  If you give me plenty of notice I can generally help you find the crew you need if you are short!

  • 3rd & 4th October 2015 – Gosford Classic J24 Regatta at Gosford Sailing Club
  • 31st October & 1 November 2015 –  NSW J24 State Championships at Royal Prince Edward Yacht Club.

Those who are keen will hopefully also use these regattas as training before venturing to the J24 National Championships in January 2016 in Melbourne.

Please contact me on 0404 539176 or dockpaula@gmail.com for any help or questions.


Macquart Marine Cronulla J24 Short Course Regatta

QBW Cronulla Regatta 2015 Poster FB

The Macquart Marine Cronulla J24 Short Course Regatta is on for the 6-8 June 2015 (Queens Birthday Long weekend).

This was a brilliantly run and enjoyable regatta last year and we are planning to get 20 boats this year so come and enjoy the hospitality and ocean sailing at Cronulla

Entries are online on the CSC site, go here for more information https://regonline.activeglobal.com/builder/site/Default.aspx?EventID=1707246

And to see pics from last year, go here  https://plus.google.com/photos/109897369434061694665/albums/6022085478355166705

Clipper Cup at Port Douglas – Could be your winter holiday in a J



The Mickey Ink Port Douglas Race Week and Clipper Cup is a low-budget but high-octane event reknowned for its hospitality and tropical fun attitude. The following update was emailed to us this week:

We have 24 entries so far and almost as many telling us they will be entering. With just five weeks to go it looks certain that we’ll break our recent record of 29 set last year and we’re hopeful of bettering the 44 set in 1995. Not a bad effort for such a remote outpost of the sport!

We have five J24’s entered in division 4 so we have introduced a sub-division for the J24 class within div 4. There are eleven J’s in the Port Douglas and Cairns region that we know about so we’re hoping we can get a few more interested and build an annual class division for the J’s. Several J24’s have entered in recent years but we’re yet to see any claim a name on the famous trophy. The closest has been Bruce Clarke (Kaizan II) from Cairns who managed second place in division 4 in 2014. Bruce has entered for the fifth consecutive year and is a close favourite to take out the inaugural class division and possibly the double, going one better in division 4 this year.

We already have three boats sailing up from Townsville, Dusty Muzzle, Guilty Pleasures VI and Champagne. These guys are doing their best to encourage some more. Ron Knott and the crew of Dusty Muzzle have been competing for the trophy since 2011 and will be back to defend their 2014 division 1 win. Leon Thomas and the Guilty Pleasures team have raced here before in 2013 and will be trying to go one better than the second place they achieved in division 4 that year.

Dusty Muzzle will have a serious challenge on their hands defending their division 1 title with the likes of veteran local racing legends Belinda Cooper (Agnes) and Doug Ryan (Shazam) both previous winners on other boats.

In the multihull division Mal Richardson has entered his NACRA 36 Malice which has been winning just about everywhere it goes. We’ll have some serious handicapping to do with this fast OMR cat competing against cruisers like the Seawind 1000. Malice won the 2011 Clipper Cup when all the boats raced in one division. We didn’t have enough competitors for multiple divisions back then. It was a nightmare trying to handicap such a diverse fleet.

We’re a lot more organised these day with five divisions this year including the J24 sub-division. Malice might get a bit of competition if we can muster some of the local racing cats to get their entries in.

The social scene is set to be huge with competitors planned to be berthed next to the club at Closehaven Marina. With a big brekkie on the go every morning and entertainment every night there’ll be plenty to keep the social scene humming. It is also Port Douglas Carnivale that week so there will be a multitude of events and activities happening all around town. Perfect for any non sailing partners of visiting yachties to get involved with. Visit www.carnivale.com.au for details.

We’ll also be running a fun team competition in line with the teams event that was the original Pan Am Clipper Cup many years ago. As with everything at this great club we do it all for fun as our motto proclaims “This Club was built for fun”.

Further details of the regatta can be found at http://portdouglasraceweek.com.au/ and entries close Monday 11th May with
racing commencing on the 25th to 29th.

2015 VIC States Photos by Chris Furey

Chris Furey has again taken some great pics of the J24 States in Melbourne on the weekend. So here they are as thumbnails – approx 235 pics ! I have been through them and there are sensational shots of most boats.

Chris has been very kind and generous with his photography and as agreed to help us support the Luke Mathews fund. We have agreed to a small fee of $25 for up to 10 shots – if you want more then another $25, this will go to Luke’s Fund. So anyone can buy shots for this small donation to help Luke.

Here is what you need to do to get your selection.

  1. Choose your selection and make a list of these picture numbers
  2. Go to the ‘Pay Victorian Assoc Online’ page also on this site (under VIC on the top navigation bar) and fill in your name, your email and your list of numbers into the ‘Description’ field. Fill in the amount in the ‘Amount’ field.
  3. Click the ‘Checkout’ button and use your credit card to pay the amount due.
  4. I will then email you your high res files once Kirby has passed your selection on to me
    This donation is purely planned to help Luke as much as possible, so I do suggest that your crew buy some shots as well rather than sharing files you buy, so be honest and help Luke and Karen get through this terrible time.

If I get inundated with requests this may take me some time to email all but the result for Luke’s Support Fund could be wonderful. Some pics are a little fuzzy where the reflected sunlight has played with the focus and this may not be apparent in the thumbnail.

Regards Simon

The what ifs, if only’s and couldabeens of the Victorian State Titles

J24 States 2015 Day 1 Start

J24 States 2015 Day 1 Start

Without taking anything away from the excellent Nationals in Adelaide earlier in the year, the Vic States have been warming up to be the real contest of the year. And so it was.

The Black Prince of Sandringham took it from the “Young” Sydney Fox with the Canny Scott third.

What that means is Dave Suda (VIC) 1st, Steve Girdis (NSW) 2nd and Doug Watson (SA) 3rd.

Performance handicap was won by Dave MacKay from Cronulla, our own Stephanie Strong took out second in the Sidetracked youth boat and Steve Girdis was third. Hugo Ottaway, the real Mr J24 and deep thinking scribe takes on the finer details.

“This year’s 2015 Victorian J24 Championship may be remembered by the “could have been champions” as a regatta of lost opportunity. Despite only achieving 4 races due to a 40+ knot squally Sunday, the championship reached a milestone in Australian J24 sailing. Of note is the following: starting at the top, 27 entries including every J24 at Sandringham Yacht Club, 6 entries from NSW and 4 from S.A. Oldest skipper 70+ youngest 23. Two youth boats, four female skippers, two all female crews. A Jury and Race management of National and International standing and possibly up to 50% female participation.”

There many hard luck stories in any fleet, probably about 26 of them in this regatta! But look who we are up against. Hugo continues …

“To ease the pain of the masses, the calibre of the leading bunch reads like a who’s who of sailing. Our winner, David Suda sailing Pacemaker from Victoria has won two J/24 and one International cadet National titles. Second, Steve Girdis (NSW), three J/24 National titles and 5th in the Osaka worlds. Third, Doug Watson (SA) 2nd in the J24 Nationals and 4th in the Sigma 33 Europeans. Fourth Hugo Ottaway (VIC) one J24 and one International Cadet National title, then fifth God himself, David McKay (NSW) one 16 foot skiff and two Moth WORLD TITLES, one J24 , Etchell 22 and 18 foot Skiff National title and 1969 Yachtsman of the year award. Sixth, Simon Grain (VIC) four New Zealand Tornado Catamaran National titles.”

“I am sure as I go down the list there are many others amongst us who also boast similar achievements, however we very rarely acknowledge the pedigree of fellow sailors, to win either a state or national J24 title is tough, hard to come by and first rate.”

So what are the hard luck stories, well the first would be the whole regatta with the sailing on Sunday closed down. That meant we had a series, but no drop and there were many who needed it – badly. Myself for one, going left nicely all day and then going right in the last race – wrong! John Neville, our hard working Vice Pres who has been sailing like a demon all summer, last seen burying his head in a beer in despair after scoring the unlikely bottom double. Next time John! Half the fleet overlaying the top mark in the first race! Holes in the wind in the second race that left the top boats wallowing in nothing within spitting distance of the finish line while boats behind them sailed by – spitting chips maybe! And from Hugo, “finally the best gag of all, watching the class president start at full speed one minute early on a black flag, with no one else around….. great stuff.”

I could go on, but one of our newest owners does, Mike Bond shares his experiences:

“The J24 Vic States had been on the agenda for 6 weeks and we were all very keen to participate after having bought Code Violation. We had only been out once or twice as a team so things were going to be interesting come the first race. In true beginner style we missed the first race completely due to poor clock work. I took the blame for that one as I was the only one wearing watch. The second race was our best of the series and I do believe we were coming 7th around the top mark however we ended up 14th with some poor kite work and some bad tacks. The third race wasn’t great either, we had a good start but just couldn’t maintain boat speed. The last race we came dead last which in the end was quite amusing. We took the wrong side of the course (behind Simon) and got blitzed. All in all, it was great fun and we were a bit disappointed we couldn’t sail on the Sunday due to poor weather conditions but after the 2nd beer we were fine. Special thanks to Simon Grain and the crew on Jet for all their help as well as Hugo Ottaway and David Suda.” That’s the kind of fun the newest guys are having.

The conditions were great sailing for the first two races with a westerly around 12 knots, boats powered up on genoas and the race track full of boats. After the second race the wind died, the sun came out and lunch was served with sails down while we drifted in the tide waiting for wind. The last two races were held in a sputtering and dying westerly as we watched a black roll cloud gather it’s skirts on the southern horizon. The fleet finished and just made it back to the marina as a 40+knot front blew through minutes later!

Back in the bar, we were very lucky to be able to watch our if only’s on the Yachtbot site – no consolation to some, but very interesting for most. YachtBot and CYCSA had been stupendously generous to us both in terms of their time and resources (CYCSA loaning us the trackers for nix and YachtBot set us up as a Pro level registration for free also) If you want to see more or the racing replay, go to www.yacht-bot.com and choose a race, or link directly to the races at www.yacht-bot.com/races/6958 to 6961. Our thanks go out to all our sponsors, Monjon Security in particular for your continued support again this year, Sailor Sunscreen and Iguana Design. To all our volunteers both on the class committee and SYC, a big thank you for your efforts.

Also a huge thank you to all the interstate competitors who made the effort to come to the regatta, your contribution to our fleet makes the difference to the flavour of the competition.

Hugo wraps up a few more stats to finish “Other points to note, three different brands of sails in the top five, both youth boats supplied with new and almost new sails courtesy of their owners, about 25 new sails measured in for the regatta. 135 competitors from 4 states. What I think makes this a great class is the generosity of the members, $1300.00 raised during the regatta to help Luke Mathews (Trimmer off Pacemaker) and his family who is recovering from a very bad road accident.”

The class BBQ and free beers, as always pulls everyone together after the racing and enjoyably the stage show that is the prize giving, with a forthright intro speech by the irrepressible Doug MacGregor (VicPres) and the brilliant John Neville doing the raffle draw had everyone in stitches and rounded off a great, if short regatta for both the locals and the visitors – you should have been there if you weren’t !

We don’t say goodbye to our interstate friends for too long, the next regatta is the Macquart Marine Short Course Regatta at Cronulla in NSW on Queens Birthday long weekend, 6-8 June this year. This was brilliant last year (see pics on the CSC site). The NSW States normally held in early November (dates TBA) and then the 2015-16 season biggie, the Nationals at Sandringham on the 4-8 January 2016, where we planning a regatta to attract a fleet of over 30 boats – this one you do not want to miss !