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On a gala night of celebrations last Saturday, a packed Harbour Room gave octogenarian Kevin Stacey a standing ovation when he received the Hillarys Yacht Club Champion trophy for 2016.

In announcing his retirement from competitive sailing, it was a fitting end to a career spanning more than twenty years that culminated this season with the Overall Consistency trophy (Division 2) achieved in Kevin’s Beneteau 28.5 yacht, Pinta. The humble skipper credited the win to a “very good crew and experienced tactician”.

Although overshadowed by the sentimental result, it was no less an achievement for Division 1 Overall Consistency winner Hard Evidence sailed by Des Riley and Marshall Fox. Their performance across all genres of the competition and in all conditions meant they were always close to the money yet went empty handed on the trophy night until the big one was announced.

In the Jib and Main division the spoils were shared by Overall Consistency winner Rob Bills on Catabatic and Cruiser Cup winner Sana 11 sailed by Brian and Rita Buzzard.

Mark Pitt, whose Beneteau/Mulberry tie especially created for the occasion fetched $120 for charity, was a most prolific winner in Division 1, picking up trophies for the Winter Series, several ocean races, the Ocean Series and the IRC championship.

It was an equally impressive performance by Division 2 skipper Mark Taylor who took up sailing with the purchase of Helga just before the season started. Improving throughout the summer, Mark won several races culminating in the Ocean Series and Second Consistency Series trophies. The Viking Championship was won by Pandora skippered by Chris Grant.

Several others to be recognised included Most Improved: Chris Blackney on Vaya Con Dios, Best Crew: Gary Illing from Covert Operation and Sue Osborne and Sarah Liddiard who won their divisions of the Ladies Skippers Race.

The spoils of the win by HYC in the North Coast Series, two bottles of Frogbelly wine, achieved more than $800 by auction which will go to charity.

With presentations over, the band No Direction emerged and with pulsating rock music, enticed the crowd on to the dance floor where moves, if performed on a foredeck of a yacht, would have resulted in man overboard! Actually that did happen, come to think about it.

John Bird







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