The David Lukins regatta was run over the weekend of the 16th and 17th of September 2017. This was the eigth running of the event since its inception in 2009 to commemorate the memory of David Lukins, a much valued member, Volunteer and mate. David was awarded one of the clubs most prestigious awards, Volunteer of the Year award for 1998-1999.
This event has attracted some of RPAYC’s best sailors, battling to get their name on the beautiful David Lukins Memorial Trophy (the largest Trophy in the club) designed by prestigious artist John Woulf.
Just looking at the names on the trophy of previous winning skippers and crew, you get an appreciation of the caliber of the event as you identify Olympic and World Champions. At a quick glance there are:
- 4 x Silver Medalists
- 2 x Womens Match Racing World Champions
- 2 x Youth Match Racing World Champions
- 1 x Moth World Champion
There are many further accolades and achievements for past winning skippers and crew, so much so, it would require several more pages to try and detail!
This regatta has a strong connection with the clubs Youth Development (YD) program, as David Volunteered countless hours helping shape the lives of some of those champions mentioned above.
This year saw 10 teams compete for the coveted title. 3 skippers out of the 10 teams were past graduates of the Youth Development Squad, some ranging back to the early 90’s, includng dual America's Cup winning skipper, James Spithill. Teams competing included the current Youth Development Squad and one team skippered by Tyler Ratcliff representing the clubs Intermediate Youth Development Program (IYD). What was evident in the list of entries were the number of families represented in this years Regatta, from Skippers, crews and race management team members showing the strong familty connection that the Alfreds has. Commdore Lockely said it was a "great demonstration of how sailing is a sport for every generation".
Racing got underway on Saturday in a wild 20-25 knot south westerly, that had all crews working continiously to control their boats and read the challenging wind shifts that Pittwater is notorious for.
This provided some exciting racing, particularly on the downwinds with the asymmetrical spinnakers propelling the Elliott 7’s down the course at white knuckle speeds.
Showing a near dominant performance on the first day of racing was RPAYCs Club Coach Tom Spitill who was the defending title holder from 2016.
For the second and final day of racing on Sunday, the conditions were vastly different, with a shifting easterly putting the mark boat team and umpires to work all day.
The last two races of the round robin were completed, and the top four were on equal points forcing a complicated tie-break. Club Coach Tom Spithill was declared the round robin winner with his brother James, Clare Costanzo and Malcolm Paker the next ranked skippers. Unclear if a tactical decision or one demonstrative of competitive sibling habits, Tom decided to re-match his brother James. In their previous matches racing had been close, throwing back to the pair's days of Youth Development training (see Facebook link for exciting footage: https://www.facebook.com/davidlukinsmemorialregatta/videos/1802532883109269/) .
This left Malcolm and Care to compete against each other, with the winners of each match set to battle for the trophy.
It didnt take long for the Umpires to raise the penalty flags when Spithill V Spithill entered the start. Close racing saw Spithill take victory and progress into the finals. Similarly, Costanzo and her team were able to take the win and would face Coach Tom in the finals.
For the finals it was a case of Coach v Student, with both Spithill and Costanzo of the Youth Development program recently returing from representing RPAYC at the Gov Cup and World Sailing Youth World Match Racing Champioship. In the first race Spithill took first blood after plenty of lead changes right up till the finishline.
In the second race, Spithill got the early advantage off the start line with the desired right hand side of the track. By the top mark, Clare had caught up, however, Spithill was able to take the win again.
In the fight for third and forth place saw Amercia's Cup Skipper James Spithill Verse recently graduated Youth Development Skipper Malcolm Parker take on each other and from the first flag you could tell these to guys meant business with the intensity on water trippling!
The teams all assembled back at the Alfred’s for prize giving, where David’s Parents Warwick and Marg, as well sons, daughters and grand kids all attending.
A clearly elated Spithill was quick to praise his crew in his winning speech and get one last jab at his brother James for beating him. “This has been some of the most enjoyable sailing I have done. This win, personally means a great deal to both Angela and myself. Dave was a huge influence on our lives both on and off the water, and to now wehave our names on David's Triophy again, is one of the greatest honors”
This regatta has a way of bringing mates back together, and I am not just talking competitors, all the volunteers, such as the race committee, markboat and umpires, all roles that David loved doing…you guys are responsible for this win as well!!” said a moved Spithill.
The 2017 David Lukins Memorial Match Racing Regatta, Spithill retains his title for a second year!
It seems back to back wins runs in the Spithill family, first we saw James Spithill become the first dual America's Cup winner and now his younger brother and club coach at the Alfred's achieve back to back David Lukins Memorial Match Racing title for 2017.
This years event was deemed the regatta of families with 7 of the 10 teams competing over the weekend having crew from the same family show casing the strong and growing family connection at the club. The youngest competitor was aged 13yrs and the oldest, well let's just say middle aged, took to Pittwater and its challenging weather. Past Commodore Ian Audsley joined the team of Costanzo and was 'amazed' at how well the youth sailed the Elliott 7s and their ability to spring from one side of the boat to the other effortlessly. The fleet of 10 teams was represented by current IYD, YD, past YD graduates and club members who took the opportunity to put their match racing skills to the test.
The continuously changing conditions made it a tough day on Saturday with winds in the mid 20kts, physically draining some crews that they had to sub out on Sunday to recover.
At the end of the round robin T.Spithill was the leader with his brother James, Clare Constanzo and Malcolm Parker all on equal points going into the finals on Sunday afternoon. T.Spithill electing to take on J.Spithill and Costanzo taking on Parker to determine the two teams going into the finals.
Knocking out his older brother, Spithill took on Constanzo for the finals in a Coach v Student showdown. T Spithill's experience shone through as he beat Costanzo 2-0 and took the win to champion the regatta for the second year running.
Image: Chuck Anderson and Team looking race ready.
A huge thanks to the stellar volunteer and umpire team that assisted through the weekend and put on a fantastic event.
Final Results 2017
|1st||Tom Spithill, Mark Dorling, Ollie Gordon & Murray Gordon|
|2nd||Clare Costanzo & Team|
|3rd||James Spithill & Team|
|4th||Malcolm Parker & Team|
|5th||Chuck (Alex) Anderson & Team|
|6th||Sarah Parker & Team|
|7th||Chris Way & Team|
|8th||Harley Walters & Team|
|9th||James Farquharson & Team|
|10th||Tyler Ratcliff & Team|