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Rockal Evans savours successful Australia Day Regatta debut

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Smooth sailing: Rockal Evans and his team-mates aboard the TP52, Gweilo. (Photo supplied).
Smooth sailing: Rockal Evans and his team-mates aboard the TP52, Gweilo. (Photo supplied)

Rockal Evans enjoyed a memorable debut competing in the world’s longest running annual sailing regatta in Sydney, Australia on Wednesday.

The Bermudian sailor was aboard the 52-foot yacht, Gweilo, which won division honours and finished second among the overall 18-boat fleet that competed in the City of Sydney Cup as part of the Australia Day Regatta.

Evans and his team-mates completed the short ocean race, open to all keelboats, from Sydney Harbour to Botany Bay and back in an elapsed time of 2 hrs, 25 min, 25 sec.

“The race was pretty straight forward, light winds and not many manoeuvres to do to get the boat around the racetrack,” Evans told The Royal Gazette. “All went smoothly and we came out on top.”

Rivals Smugger and About Time finished second and third respectively to complete the podium places among the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia Ocean Pointscore Series entries.

Marcus Blackmore’s 96-foot yacht, Ammonite, clinched line honours in 2:18:3 to win the Geoff Lee Ocean Race Trophy.

The Australia Day Regatta has been held every year since 1837 and celebrates country’s past and present.

“This was my first time sailing in this regatta but I plan on doing more sailing on this boat [TP52] to prep myself for Bermuda’s qualifying regatta for the Star Sailors League Gold Cup,” added Evans.

“It’s a huge transition from dinghies. But I have been easing myself into it and learning so much every time I get out.”

The multiple Bermuda national champion is the captain of the island’s team that will compete in the inaugural biennial Star Sailors League Gold Cup to be held in Switzerland between May and June.

Bermuda is among the lowest ranked teams that will start the competition first by participating in the qualifying phase divided in three or four rounds.

The island’s sailors will compete against Canada, Guatemala and Mexico in the North American qualifying series, with the eventual top teams from the group advancing to the next qualifying round.

The SSL Gold Cup is a new international sporting event designed to determine the world’s best sailing nation.

The event tests the athletes’ skills by having them all sail the same SSL 47 monohull boat to ensure a level playing field.

Evans is off to flying start to the new year having also enjoyed success in the Finn dinghy class.

He posted two firsts and a third-place finish last weekend to surge to the top of the Woollahra Sailing Club 2021-22 Spring and Summer Series Club Championship standings, where he holds a seven-point advantage over the rest of the fleet with two race days remaining.

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Published January 29, 2022 at 7:59 am (Updated January 29, 2022 at 8:19 am)

Rockal Evans savours successful Australia Day Regatta debut

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