Sydney, NSW: In one of the most prestigious and long standing Power Cruiser Challenges in New South Wales, eight teams of seafarers from competing clubs set off to test their navigational skills and seamanship in a bid to win the esteemed Harry Peel Trophy, a navigational time trial that is in its 63rd year.
Representing the Royal Motor Yacht Club of Broken Bay was Riviera 4400 Sport Yacht Dragon VI, Riviera 51 Enclosed Flybridge Pelara and 43 Mariner Paloma.
Royal Motor Yacht Club of Broken Bay Commodore and Riviera 51 Pelaraowner, Peter Haig has been involved in this event for more than 20 years and said it was a true test of one’s navigational skills.
“It is not a speed event, it is a time trial. We travel at 15 knots and we have to follow a set course using traditional navigation methods. You cannot use your GPS, all you have are your maps, charts, hand bearing compass and line of sight,” Peter said.
“You really have to know how your boat performs because when you’ve got waves, swell, current and wind, it can be difficult to stay on course and at the set boat speed.
“I really enjoy the team side of the challenge and it really tests your skills.”
Riviera 4400 Sport Yacht Dragon VI owner Gordon Cockley said this was the first time he had competed in this event.
“You need to have three boats in your team to qualify to win the trophy and we were thrilled to have all three boats from Broken Bay make the top four,” Gordon said.
The winning boat was Paloma from the Royal Motor Yacht Club of Broken Bay and in 2nd place was Riviera 56 Enclosed Flybridge Piscesrepresenting the Royal Motor Yacht Club of Point Piper. In 3rd place was Peter’s Riviera, Pelara, which was followed by Gordon’s Riviera, Dragon VI, in 4th place. SenSaysh from RMYC Port Hacking was 5th, The Cubanfrom RMYC Port Hacking was6th, JustAnother G&T’s, a 35 foot Riviera from RMYC Port Hacking was 7th place, and The Ultimate from RMYC Port Hacking came 8th. Also representing RMYC Port Hacking wasCaparisi I.I These boats represented the Broken Bay, Port Hacking and Point Piper Royal Motor Yacht Clubs.
“I think it is a great contest using traditional methods of navigation. Navigation is a dying art for many boaters because of the modern chart plotters and GPS systems and autopilots, so it is nice to have a competition using traditional skills.
“Amelia Toohey navigated for us and I think she did an excellent job considering she hasn’t navigated for this event before. Her nephew Peter Toohey worked out the charts for us and he also did a great job particularly given the sea conditions.
“The course was challenging as it took us between many whale watching and fishing boats as we crossed the Sydney Harbour heads. We had to manoeuvre around a pilot boat at Botany Bay and a big container ship heading into the Harbour. On the return voyage a navy ship was on our course and we had to make sure we got across the Harbour heads before he did.”
The Harry Peel Trophy stands at about five foot high and was hand crafted in the 1930s from solid silver. It is valued at more than $50,000. Harry Peel, one of the original members of the Royal Motor Yacht Club, discovered the trophy in an antique shop and donated it to the club as first prize for this prestigious event.