TASMANIAN SHARPIE ASSOCIATION
Vale - Robert Thompson has passed away. Robert was the first New South Welshman to win a Sharpie Nationals which he did in 1967 in Hobart in "Crescendo VII". The runner up that year was America's Cup Helmsman John Bertrand representing Victoria in "Triad". Robert travelled the world, then came and settled back in Hobart which provided his fondest memories.
Keith Arcus (NSW) who won in Port Moresby in 1969 in "Firefly" (Bertrand again runner up) said he'd been talking to Robert just before he passed away, and the conversation was about Ian Peden the boatbuilder who produced their winning boats - they reminisced that while he was hard to deal with, his boats were good.
Chris Buckingham has sent Keith a photo of Robert's Sharpie "Crescendo VII" Sailing on the Derwent River 1967, where he went on to win the National Sharpie Championship. His crew was then Ian Peden (Sheethand) and Chris Buckingham (Forward Hand).
I first met Robert in my early sailing days at the Middle Harbour 16ft Skiff Sailing Club in Sydney. We were just out of school at the time, so Saturdays in summer were spent trying to get a ride on a skiff as forth hand bailer boy. However some time later the club established a "B" division made up of old 12footers and discarded sailing dingies on which we learnt the art of sailing. As time went on we both left the club for other pursuits in sailing. Robert build a "Quick Cat" (Catamaran) and I purchased an old VS and raced it at Mosman Sailing Club.
Sharpies were introduced to the Mosman Club later and it was at this time
Also at about this time Robert was working for Miller and Whitworth Ship Chandlers and Sailmakers. He ran their city store for a number years and was able to help out with the purchase of boat fittings for our boats.
After these early sailing times we drifted apart. I went on to Race Tornado Catamarans and he I believe moved to the US. However, we did catch up at various times over the years as old friends do. This year it was my intention to catch up with him in Hobart at the Wooden Boat Show, but unfortunately he passed away in the interim.
The good news was that I did have a long and meaningful discussion on the phone with him about the good old days. This conversation took place just prior to his death. There are still many more stories to be told about Roberts Sailing Days. I hope however, that this short note has given you some insight into this part of his life as I remember it.
The PJ mini series was onSaturday, 15 November 2014 out of the Sandy Bay Sailing Club. Confirmed boats included "Two Roos and a Blue" and "One Hump or Two" with A very excited Camel flying in Friday night! Dump Truck was a good chance to make the journey from Cygnet and Alec Bailey and crew and rumoured to be a chance in their new craft.
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Bonfires on the East Coast for the 2013 Swansea Worlds
ABC weather man Drew (ex-Governor) Latham made the call to Dolphin Sands when a light southerly appeared at around midday. By 1330 hrs the breeze had stabilised at around 7-14 knots and the buoys had been inflated by that magnificent BJ 42 Landcruiser. The course which was laid was absolutely magnificent, infact there would of been no qualms in it being used in a medal race!
With the format of two loops (snags) and a gate at the bottom, which doubled as the start line we managed to squeeze 7 races in. We all killed ourselves laughing when we cast our eyes to the muppets out to sea who managed only 2 races in the light and variable conditions. With only 3 minutes between the last boat finishing and the next start it certainly put the pressure on. Sharpie legend Scissor was seen frothing at the mouth reminicent of a verbal spray some steam boats (dragons) received a decade ago.
As we were about to set off in race 7 we glimpsed an agile looking GM (Justin Wells) who had windsurfed out to glance over the racing machines. With some gentle encouragement, I jumped off so the great man could show us what it was all about. And did he show the fleet what it was about? You bet he did. The hump had a clean bill of health going into the evening at the pub. The comments on board the hump during the race included, but were not limited to;
Reasons to sail a sharpie.
There are some people who not only excelled on a national level in different classes have shown they can dominate on an international level. Cast your eyes to the right when you walk in through the door of the RYCT! Go to www.int505.org and check results. Go to international 14 site. Current and back to back worlds winner Dan Wilsden (won sharpie title in 2000 with Rob Duessen ), or look at 18's site and see his name come up again. Check America's Cup crews list etc......... ( nag, nag, nag)
The sharpie we sail is now 12 years old and is still going strong. Back in the day I paid $18,650 to get it on the water. Stainless dolly and trailer, and first year of insurance included in this price. I still even have some original rope and fittings on the boat. Why you ask, well we have an accountant on board!
The current national champions, although they don't want to hear it, are approaching 50 and they still whip us! Imagine winning at 50!
Looking over the river last weekend from a biased position. We concluded that for $35000 you can sail a POS called an SB3, which has a bar to prevent you from leaning out and has to be fearthered to windward before broaching downhill!
There are sharpies going for $3000 which would'nt buy you an international cadet or probably an optimist. The only things that were quicker on the river were the moths and Australia One!
I'm not sure about how you like to sail, but i like having a chat with mates about how we smoked down the last reach with the bullet coming off the mountain!
Conclusion - Low cost, max enjoyment, world class sailors, fantastic one design racing, 2 other mates onboard. Not many classes can boast that!
Crown Series Regatta
With Nick "Camel" Johnston arriving back into Hobart on Friday and Nick "Panther" Carter having a weekend off the running circuit the One Hump or Two and Dump Truck crews were eager to get their boats wet for the first time since the nationals. In true One Hump or Two style (we are unorganized) we first had to put the mast and boat back together, but with BLT's made and tucked away near Camel we made it out to the course in time for the third race and met the Dump Truck crew on course.
Hobart turned on the weather for us and we sailed 3 races in 25 degrees and 8 to 15 knots from the north/north east.
Unfortunately racing finished and we were back on shore before Team Australia blasted up the river doing 20 odd knots to claim the Sydney to Hobart passage record in a scratch under 30 hours!
Sunday got under way in similar circumstances to Saturday with One Hump or Two sitting on shore as race 1 got under away, however, this meant that the crew were well stocked with ham sandwiches, thanks "Panther".
One again we met Dump Truck on the course and were ready to race in 33 degrees and 15-25 knots out of the north with flat water. In perfect Sharpie conditions we had 3 more races.
After an enjoyable 2 days on the river One Hump or Two clinched the win on a count back from Dump Truck being sailed by Lewis Golding, Dave Golding and big Ewan on the wire.
Next up we have the Swansea worlds being held over the March long weekend where it is rumoured big Dave Connor with son Charlie is expected to step out for the 1st time in a rejuvenated Bonfires T859.
Well what a whirlwind the weekend was. Read all about the goings on here ...
Thanks to all who came and sailed on the magnificent waters of Great Oyster Bay. To those who did'nt, there is an opportunity next year so get in early. Special mention must go to all volunteers, including but not forgetting PRO Burkey and his lovely assistant Vicky, Neil Wiseman for mark laying on saturday, Ken Batt for his hand on both days, Rowdy, Amanda and kids for the marks on sunday, not to mention the delivering of the biggest lettuce seen in recent years. Dave and Pauline Johnston, for bbq duties on the sunday, as well as Kelli and wife Alana. Also a special mention must go to the boys who decided to get it going; Ressey, Burkey, Flem, Drew and Hollywood Carter!
See ya all next year!