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Darren Jones Yachting

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Groovederci. 2013 Farr 30 World Champion. Photo:  Meredith Block  2013 © Meredith Block

Farr 40 World Champion - 3 x Farr 30 World Champion - Mumm 30 World Champion - M30 World Champion
Swan 45 World Champion - Farr 40 European Champion - Farr 40 National Champion - Farr 30 North American Champion
Etchells 22 National Champion - Melges 32 National Champion
Sydney/Hobart Race - Newport/Bermuda Race - Chicago/Mac Race - Transpac Race - Pacific Cup - Americas Cup

Melges 32 - 2unlimited, Inga from Sweden  Farr 40 - Estate Master, Evolution, Ichi Ban, Plenty, Struntje Light
RP55 - Yendys   RP 60 - Wild Joe   RP 63 - Limit   Swan 45 - Joe, Plenty  Kerr 46 - Patrice 
Farr 30 - Foreign Affair, Optimum, Groovederci   Melges 24 - Pegasus     Melges 20 - Inga from Sweden 
Etchells 22 - Racerxy, Gen XY   Transpac 52 - Pegasus, Samba Pa Ti  Volvo 70 - Ichi Ban

Upcoming Regattas

Regatta Date, Venue and Team

Event Site Links

Final Result

Annapolis NOOD Regatta
Annapolis, USA. Farr 30 "Ramrod" Rod Jabin. May 2nd trhu 4th

Sailing World


McConaghy 38 Pittwater Regatta
Pittwater, Sydney. MC 38 "Ghost Rider" Ross Hennessy. May 24th and 25th


Farr 40 USA West Coast Championship
Santa Barbara, USA. "Estate Master" Martin and Lisa Hill. July 16th thru 19th

Regatta Site


380nm Sydney-Goldcoast Race
Sydney to Southport. IRC Div 1 - Kerr 46 "Patrice" Tony Kirby. July 26th thru 28th

Race Website


348nm Brisbane - Kepple Island Race
Brisbane to Kepple Island. IRC Div 1 - Kerr 46 "Patrice" Tony Kirby. July 31st thru August 2nd

Race Website


Airlie Beach Race Week
Airlie Beach, Queensland. IRC Div 1 - Kerr 46 "Patrice" Tony Kirby. August 9th thru 15th

Regatta Site



Top 5 Encouraging for Estate Master


Estate Master Sailing team has just returned from Santa Barbara USA, where they finished an encouraging 5th in the USA West Coast Championship.

In the highly competitive 15-boat fleet, Estate Master showed some excellent form, leaving the fleet with allot to think about with their last race runaway victory.

 With only one more event to go before the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship kicks off in October all teams were keen to do well.

 We haven’t sailed a major regatta for some time now, so to finish so well in our first event in North America was outstanding, commented Main Trimmer Darren Jones. We felt we were always in there fighting and our great team got better every race. To finish off the series with such a commanding victory will give us allot of confidence going into the penultimate event next month in San Francisco.

 Estate Master is already at the venue being prepped for the next event and with some exciting developments ahead, Estate Master is certainly timing there run well in order to peak in October at the 2014 Farr 40 World Championship.

Estate Master tacks offshore.

After a busy Australian summer, Estate Master Farr 40 Sailing Team is preparing to head to North America.

With the decision made to compete in the 2014 Rolex Farr 40 World Championship,  Estate Master will also be attending the Rolex Big Boat series in September and the Farr 40 West Coast Championship in July.

With sail and rig development already under way, once in the USA we will introduce specialist coaching in a bid to give Estate Master the best chance possible to claim the title of 2014 Farr 40 World Champion.

We will spend the first event assessing our speed and crew work against the USA fleet. After that a plan will be made to work on eliminating any weak spots before we get to our final event before the worlds, San Francisco Big Boat Series.

A great team has been assembled, combining some of the best up and coming yachtsman in Australia along with 4 professionals that have some 15 plus world titles to there names.

To be held in the same waters as the recent Americas Cup, San Francisco will be a big challenge, one that the team will enjoy.

In a combined total this team has competed in no less than forty Farr 40 World Championships. That experience will certainly count come October when an estimated 25 teams from 6 countries will be fighting it out on San Francisco bay.

Patrice unlucky on final day at Geelong

Just days ago West Australian boat Black Betty was largely unknown outside her home state. Today the 42-footer is deemed a major player on the grand prix circuit after the crew from across the country took out the elite racing series at the Festival of Sails.

Black Betty clinched the Optimum Time Racing Series Division 1 IRC win and Victorian IRC Championship in her maiden racing appearance outside of home waters.

Adding to the glory for owners Gary McNally and Brian McMasters is their defeat of two of Australia’s newest yachts competing in debut regattas under the helm of two of the best skippers on the east coast; Tony Kirby’s Ker 46 Patrice and Matt Allen’s Carkeek 60 Ichi Ban.

Black Betty finished top of the table with 16.5 points, followed by Patrice on 19 points and Ichi Ban with 20 points.

Just half a point separated Black Betty and Patrice heading in to the final romp of the eight-race series.

The pressure on the skippers and their crews heated up literally as they were forced to wait an hour and a half between today’s two races in scorching heat when the race officials hoisted the postponement flag while the predominately northerly breeze flicked a crazy 180 degrees.

Racing finally got underway at about one o’clock, sneaking in just before the cut-off time came into play.

But those shifty winds would still cause havoc. “You were really at the mercy of the gods,” Kirby lamented.

McNally and McMasters’ crew held firm to finish third in that final race, three vital points ahead of Kirby.

It’s a major shot across the bow to the country’s IRC competitors and one heck of a way to announce the black-hulled GP42’s arrival on the national scene.

The team is planning to carry on their success at events including the Audi IRC Australian Championship in April and Audi Hamilton Island Race Week in August.

“I guess we wouldn’t have travelled thousands of miles to compete if we weren’t confident,” McNally said, as the team trucked the yacht 3,500 kilometres across the Nullarbor Plain from Perth to Geelong for the Festival of Sails.

“We worked hard to optimise her for the racing here and it paid off. We built larger sails and tweaked her for windward leeward racing. That meant we got rid of our code zero for the rating, which hurt us in the passage race, but it paid dividends in the long run.

“We’re usually at the pointy end of the fleet at home and now this is proof that we can race and win against the best anywhere.”

Kirby and Allen remained upbeat despite not claiming a win.

“I’m confident I’ve got a winning racer here,” Kirby said.

Allen has long upheld the belief that it takes months, if not a year to get the best out of a new boat.


2unlimited backs up East Coast Championship with State Title

The Melges 32 competition was tight, the fleet were always within close proximity. By the conclusion of Saturdays racing Tasmanian Greg Prescott 2 Unlimited had a win and three second places on the scoreboard leaving the door open for other teams to challenge. Prescott slammed it closed on Sunday finishing both races in first place and securing the regatta. The 2 Unlimited crew included tactician Darren Jones, Mark Edmonds, Billy Sykes, James Corrie, Mark Jeffery, Julian Salter and Oliver Nicholas.

Pittwater rivals Martin Cross If and Chris Way Easy Tiger III tousled with 2 Unlimited both winning races. They fought it out for the remainder of the regatta one point separating them after the six race series, If in second place and Easy Tiger III third place.


Photo - Tracey Walters

 2unlimited wins East Coast Championship


Principal Race Officer Steve Merrington had his work cut out at the Melges 32 East Coast Championships over the weekend. Merrington's perseverance and patience provided a spectacular six races series in testing conditions. In race one the wind swung through all points of the compass. The fleet started the race only to be recalled after a 180 degree swing.

Pittwater was busy with club racing on Saturday afternoon, crews lined up on the rails like stadium spectators watching the awesome racing and large spinnakers of the Melges 32 fleet planning downwind in twenty plus knots of wind weaving through the course.

At the first rounding of the top mark in each race the Melges 32 fleet were incredibly close, gains were made downwind staying in pressure and looking for the next shift. The series was tight, all boat achieving places in the top three at some stage.

The Tasmanian boat 2 Unlimited AUS 216 skippered by Greg Prescott needed to work hard for their win at the East Coast Championships. The crew were able to defend their title for a second year fighting off the other Melges 32's under the experienced instruction of tactician Darren Jones. The 2 Unlimited crew are enjoying their winning streak but can feel pressure of the fleet bearing down.

Chris Way Easy Tiger III AUS 221 finished the regatta in second place, and commented "We're getting closer" when asked about his crews performance in relation to 2 Unlimited. Easy Tiger finished two points behind 2 Unlimited, their worst result a third place.

Martin Cross' If AUS 582 is a regular club racer at the RPAYC and took advantage of his local knowledge of the Towlers Bay race course to challenge the leaders, placing third overall. Pittwater challenges the best sailors and mistakes were paid for in the tight one design racing.

Melges 32 crews will head up Lake Macquarie Yacht Club for the Melges NSW State Titles in a fortnight's time.

Ariel 2nd in Bird Isalnd Race


At the Bird Island Race, Roger Hickman and his Wild Rose crew have made it two wins in a row in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Blue Water Pointscore Series, with victory in the 85 nautical mile this afternoon.

In September, Hickman won the Flinders Islet Race, but today’s was even more rewarding in some respects, in his opinion, because of the calibre of people in the fleet.

'You’ve got Twirler (Darren Jones) sailing on Ariel today, Gavin Brady’s now on Celestial (Sam Haynes’ Rogers 46 which finished eighth overall today) and Sean Kirkjian on Victoire – they’re great sailors,' said Hickman, adding: 'forget about an Aussie beating a Kiwi (himself and Brady), it was a Tassie beating a Tassie (himself and Jones).'

'Seriously, we’re privileged to sail against the likes of Ariel, Papillon and Black Sheep,' said Hickman, likening the BWPS to 'a war of attrition; first you have to turn up to do every race, and then you have to do well in all of them.'

Derek and Martin Sheppard are sailing Black Sheep (a Beneteau 45) in their first BWPS and their fifth place today keeps them in third place overall for the series.

'Give them a bit of time and who knows what they could do,' Hickman said of the Sheppards.

Wild Rose was the star of the day though. Her corrected time surplus was an impressive 14 minutes over nearest rival, Ariel (the Phil Damp skippered Beneteau First 40), with a further 15 minutes to third placed Papillon (Phil Molony’s Archambault 40).

Papillon’s slick crew work is keeping her on the podium. -  Brett Hemmings,   Click Here to view large photo

Fastest around the course was Andrew Wenham’s Southern Excellence II, finishing at 10.58.07am this morning, only 29 seconds ahead of Victoire, Darryl Hodgkinson’s Cookson 50. The two were matching it gybe for gybe up the Harbour to the finish in a light nor’easter this morning.

Wenham’s Volvo 70 completed the race in in 15 hours 58 minutes and seven seconds, well outside the record of six hrs 38mins and 56secs set by the RP63, Loki (Stephen Ainsworth), in 2011.

Principal Race Officer, Denis Thompson, said he started the 14 yachts in 'a little nor’ easter that got them to Long Reef off Manly before it petered out. They got a light westerly around Terrigal on the Central Coast, but there was a strong wind warning for later on Saturday, which will help the smaller boats come home quickly if it eventuates.'

Roger Hickman said of the conditions: 'It was a very hard race when you had to sail a boat that’s terrible to steer because it’s so old,' he said of his 28 year-old Farr 43.

'Leaving the Heads, we could see some of the fleet on the horizon, but we hung in. The wind was up and down; in and out and it was very shifty on the way up to the Island.'

'Coming home, about an hour and a half before we got to the Heads, we thought it (who would win) was marginal – we could see Ariel and Papillon – there was nothing in it, but then the breeze went from 12 to 13 knots and it gave us just enough to get away from them,' he said of the north easterly which was expected to reach 25 knots plus, but never did.

Wild Rose exits Sydney Heads in a light nor’ easter. -  Brett Hemmings,   Click Here to view large photo

A second win has established Hickman and the Wild Rose crew as ‘the ones to beat’ for BWPS honours. With three races now completed, they have a seven point advantage over Papillon, with a further three points to Derek and Martin Sheppard’s Black Sheep.

All three are entries in the final race of the series, the Rolex Sydney Hobart. Coincidentally, Hickman, a veteran of 36 Hobart races, won it with this same boat in 1993 and has come close on other occasions, until the weather dictated otherwise, including last year.

The Bird Island race started on Sydney Harbour at 7.00pm last evening and finished at Rushcutters Bay this afternoon.

Race four of the Blue Water Pointscore Series is the Cabbage Tree Island Race, starting at 7.00pm on November eight.

Farr 30 worlds- Fifth title for Australia’s Darren Jones
Australian sailor, Darren ‘Twirler’ Jones, has just returned home from Newport, Rhode Island, fresh from winning his fifth world title in the Farr 30 one-design yacht class.

Jones, from Sydney’s Northern Beaches, won this latest title against a world-class field that featured previous winners, America’s Cup sailors, world champions in other classes and Olympians. He was sailing as one of two professionals for Deneen Demourkas aboard Groovederci from the USA and was instrumental in the boat’s third consecutive World title win – a first in the class. 

Groovederci’s crew won three out of 11 races, sailed on offshore and inshore courses in a variety of conditions. They claimed the title from former multiple world champion, Jim Richardson’s Barking Mad (USA).

'We were the only ones to win three races, but it was a really close championship. In the sixth race, the lead changed three times. In the end, we beat Barking Mad over the line by about four inches, that’s how close it was,' said Jones who can claim eight world titles in various classes.

'If Barking Mad had won that race, they would have won the world title it doesn’t get much better than that,' he added.

Winning his two previous Farr 30 titles with Demourkas, Jones first win, though, was with Australian Richard Perini in 2004. He also won the Farr 40 World Championship months later in 2005 with Perini, who described Jones as 'my right hand man.' Title number two was with another Australian, the late Guy Stening, in 2008.

In June 2012, Jones won the prestigious Seahorse ‘Sailor of the Month’, nominated from sailors around the world and voted on worldwide. Victories at the Farr 30 North American Championship and the Farr 30 Magic Cup were amongst his titles at the time.

One of Australia’s greatest sailing exports in the world of one-design sailing, as such, Jones is always in demand on the world circuit. Strangely, perhaps, he would love to do more sailing in Australia, admitting: 'It means so much to win for your own country.'

At home, Jones does some racing aboard the Melges 32, II Unlimited, for Tasmanian Greg ‘Enzo’ Prescott. The crew has come away with a number of titles, including from the 2013 Sydney Harbour Regatta, where they won every race ahead of taking the Australian Championship title one month later.

'The thing about racing with and against the best in the world is that you learn so much and can bring the knowledge home with you and apply to boats you sail on here. The guys here love it,' Jones said.

The Tasmanian bred sailor and member of the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania who calls Sydney home these days, is not resting on his laurels; he is booked up to sail at the Melges 20 Europeans in Porto Rotondo, Italy, later this month, followed by the Melges 32 World Championship at the same venue in September, where he hopes to win a ninth world title.

by Di Pearson


Photo:  Meredith Block  2013 © Meredith Block

Groovederci First Ever Triple Farr 30 World Champion
Final Race Decides Victory; Demourkas Beats Richardson By One Point

NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND (20 July 2013) – With mountainous leftover seas rolling through the offshore racing area, Race Officer Peter Reggio brought the final day of the 2013 Farr 30 World Championship off the Atlantic Ocean and inside beautiful Narragansett Bay.  It was a perfect backdrop for one of the most exciting and dramatic finishes seen in a World Championship in years.  For the entire week, Deneen Demourkas and her two-time World Champ Groovederci battled class stalwart Jim Richardson’s polished Barking Mad and Rod Jabin’s new-to-the-fleet Ramrod for every inch and every cross.  Richardson and Jabin swapped the overall lead with Demourkas throughout the event, but when it really mattered, it all went Groovederci’s way – for the third straight year.

“I thought I would have a heart attack on just about every leg today,” said Demourkas. “Our positions changed constantly, and we went from the front to the back to the front quicker than I’ve ever seen in a race.”  Demourkas proved her competitive chops when she won her first World Title in San Francisco three years ago, becoming the first female skipper to ever win a keelboat one-design World Championship.  And as of today, she’s won three of them in a row; a feat never equaled in the nearly 20-year history of the prestigious Class.

The down-to-the-wire racing delighted spectators on the water as well as thousands watching via Facebook, especially when the regatta seemed over at the beginning of Race 10.  “We thought Groovy had it when Barking Mad and Ramrod were both over the line early on the first race,” said Groovederci coach and support crew John Demourkas.  “That’s when it got interesting.”  Despite their late start, Richardson and Jabin both passed Demourkas during the first run, though somehow the reigning champ found a way past both on the final leg, giving her a 2 point lead over the other two boats – which were tied.  This set up a final race where Demourkas needed to finish no worse than two behind Richardson, and one behind Ramrod, to take the Championship crown.

Groovederci tactician Cam Appleton took the boat-end start, sailing once again to the back of the fleet while Barking Mad and Ramrod led the fleet to the left.  Appleton kept his composure, bringing Demourkas past half the fleet on the first run, rounding two behind Barking Mad.  At the same time, Ramrod sent it hard to the left, hoping lifetime Newport sailor Moose McClintock’s local knowledge would help them find something special to win the championship.  For a few minutes it looked like he would – until it didn’t.  Barking Mad’s Terry Hutchinson explained what happened from the far right perspective. “We were wound up so hard on port as we rounded that we knew it had to come back to the right,” said Hutchinson.  “When it did, it came back strong, and our group of three – Barking Mad, Groovy, and Topas - were leading the race by a big margin with just one leg to go.”  Barking Mad led all the way to the finish, but it wouldn’t be enough to win the Championship.

Appleton explains.  “After rounding just behind Jim we were running through all the possible points scenarios in our heads and wondering if Barking Mad was going to take it to us, but with the rest of the fleet so far back, there just wasn’t anything Terry could do to make up the difference,” he said.  Realizing this, Hutchinson gave the Groovederci team the ‘thumbs up’ halfway down the run, acknowledging his team’s defeat with the kind of sportsmanship Barking Mad is known for.  “Hats off to the Groove; those guys sailed a brilliant race, and losing to such a great group of people makes it hurt a little less.”

Despite being soaked in champagne and sea water from the obligatory victory dunk in the basin at Sail Newport, Demourkas shared her gratitude for a job well done.  “In all my sailing I don’t know any Class that requires more of a team effort, and my team is just incredible,” she said.  “Without the perfect prep and logistics work we get from Rob Huntingford we’d never have won even one of these, and the same goes for my racing crew of Cam Appleton, Darren Twirler Jones, Flip Werheim, Andy Hudson, Kate McKay, and Zack Maxam.  I love them all.”

See an interview with Demourkas seconds after her victory here:

Listen to Cam Appleton and 5-time Farr 30 World Champ Twirler Jones here:

2013 World Championship Standings - Final top 5

1 –- Groovederci – Deneen Demourkas– 36 Points

2 –  Barking Mad – James Richardson – 37 Points

3 – Ramrod – Rod Jabin -- 40 Points

4 – Seabiscuit – Kevin McNeil – 51 Points

5 – Bliksem/Menace– Piet Taselaar – 59 Points

Radio Interview with "Sailing Chix with Nix"  Starts at 16:20 thru 32:00

Sailing Chix with Nix Show 28 by Sailingchix on Mixcloud

 2Unlimited take home double, 2013 MELGES 32 Australian Championship and Gold Cup Series

Sydney Harbour was picturesque, clear and sunny with a light shifting five to ten knot wind from the South, South East in stark contrast to the conditions faced by the Melges 32 fleet yesterday. Middle Harbour Yacht Club made the best of conditions on offer and finished the series, nine races in total.

Day three began with newcomer to the class Chris Way Easy Tiger III and Greg Prescott 2 Unlimited on equal points, Gus Reid Maxstar applying pressure one point behind. Prescott’s 2 Unlimited almost served up the regatta crossing the line fourth in race six leaving Easy Tiger III ready to pounce on the Championship Title. Race seven finished and 2 Unlimited claimed the gun only one second ahead of Maxstar as Prescott began to mount a comeback. Prescott was able to narrowly repeat the victory in race eight. Prescott’s crew could smell success as they sailed a shortened course for the final race, tactician Chris Nicholson picking the shifts to claim the overall lead and the title of 2013 Melges 32 Australian Champions.

The Tasmanian team 2 Unlimited representing the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania included Chris Nicholson, Darren Jones, James Corrie, Julian Salter, Russel Ely, Oliver Nicholas and Mark Jeffery. Although the final scoresheet shows six wins from nine starts, it doesn't reflect the battles fought on the racecourse as the crew kept their composure in difficult conditions to secure the win.

Melges 32 Australian Championships event sponsors Magic Marine were appropriate after the intense rain, wind and waves yesterday, their racing apparel allowing crews to look professional and concentrate on what matters to win races. Prizes provided by Quantum sails will be valued after several sail mishaps in almost thirty knots of wind.

Celebrations moved to Middle Harbour Yacht Club Sandbar. The presentation was made including trophies and prizes provided by Magic Marine and Quantum Sails. Podium places went to Gus Reid Maxstar in third, Chris Way Easy Tiger III Second and Greg Prescott 2 Unlimited First.

The National Championships was the final event in the Melges 32 Asia Pacific Cup Series, a series of five events held throughout the racing calendar. Celebrations for 2 Unlimited continued into the evening after Heath Walters from Melges Asia Pacific presented the team with the coveted Asia Pacific Cup. Greg was proud of the predominantly Tasmanian crew’s achievement and is looking forward to taking the cup back to Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania for pride of place.



Jones, A busy year ahead
Australian Yachtsman, Darren ’Twirler’ Jones is in high demand on the international sailing scene, having signed up to compete in no less than 12 high-profile regattas in the next seven months - with three World Championships thrown into the mix.
Twirler has just landed on home turf after a podium finish in the Melges 32 class at the Rolex International Regatta at St Thomas, in the US Virgin Islands. A far cry from swanning around the Caribbean, it was strictly business for Jones, who competes and coaches at a professional level and is expected to perform at every event he participates in. And he brings the results, which is why so many international yachting teams are vying for his time.
Currently committed to the Swedish Melges 32 team ‘Inga From Sweden’, Jones will be their mainsail trimmer for three regattas in Europe, leading up to the Melges 32 World Championship title in Porto Rotondo in September. Currently sitting in second position on the US Sailing Series leader board, the ‘Inga From Sweden’ team are fresh, focussed, and promising results.
The US based Farr 30 team ‘Groovederci’ have secured Jones to race with them in the Farr 30 World Championship which will be held in the USA in July. This will be the third consecutive year that Jones has been a part of the Groovederci racing team, with owner Deneen Demourkas the sole lady owner/driver in the fleet.  Jones will be hoping for a repeat performance of the 2008 Worlds, where he was a part of the winning crew, helmed by the late Guy Stening.
Throw into the mix a Farr 40 World Championship, squeezed into August, again in the USA. Jones will be competing in his 12th Farr 40 Worlds and again, privy to the weight of that World Championship trophy.  Jones was a crew member aboard ‘Evolution’ when Richard Perini won the 2005 World Championship in Sydney.
Amidst the glamour of overseas racing, Jones manages to spend a little time on our local shores. He recently helped the Tasmanian team ‘2Unlimited’ win the Sydney Harbour Regatta with a perfect scorecard of six bullets. His relationship with the owner Greg ‘Enzo’ Prescott spans many years, having competed in ten Sydney to Hobart races together, and they now have their eye on the Melges 32 Australian Championship trophy, which is being contested next weekend at Middle Harbour Yacht Club.
Most appreciative of his return to Australian shores is his dedicated wife and two daughters. Jones frequently admits that he would love to spend more time sailing in Australia, so that he can see more of his family, but for the time being, the International demand is just too strong.
Darren Jones Yachting:
Sponsored by Barz Optics:
By Erin McKnight

2Unlimited wins SHR Melges 32 class with 6 straight bullets

Greg ‘Enzo’ Prescott and his 2 Unlimited crew from Tasmania cleaned up at the Sydney Harbour Regatta this weekend, winning every single race and successfully defended the Melges 32 title they won at the event last year.

Prescott, whose crew comprises sailor of note and ex Taswegian, Darren (Twirler) Jones along with Oliver Nicholas, Tristram Eldershaw, Julian Salter, John McCullum and Mark Jeffery, all from Tasmania, and the lone NSW crew, James Corrie, left nothing to chance.

The Tasmanians won all six races of the series, which opened with three races yesterday and finished with a further three today on Sydney Harbour. Their most serious challenge came from newcomer to the class, Chris Way from NSW, whose campaigns in Sydney 38 and Farr 40 one-design classes on Easy Tiger helped ease him into the smaller sporty Melges.

One of Tasmania’s leading sailors, Prescott was thrilled with their win. “This is great for us going into the nationals on Pittwater in four weeks,” he said.
“We haven’t sailed since the East Coast Championship, so we thought we were a bit rusty,” he said from Middle Harbour Yacht Club, which hosts NSW’s largest regatta, which is in its eighth year.

Picture - Andrea Francolini

Melges 32 "Inga from Sweden"

2Unlimited wins Melges 32 East Coast Championship


The spectacle of a fleet of Melges 32’s racing in 20 knots on Pittwater was hard to resist, plenty of spectators out following the racing on day one of the Melges 32 East Coast Championships sponsored by SLAM and SOAK and hosted by the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club.

Saturday the wind was a gusty 20 knots from the South, racing kicked off at 1 pm, for the first three races. Après racing crews enjoyed drinks and diner overlooking the marina and relaxed to the ten piece live band 'United Notions' provided by the RPA long into the night. Sunday, the sun was out, a more subdued breeze but very shifty conditions for the following three races. PRO Steve Merrington and his team drew on their years of Pittwater experience to get three races away on Sunday.

The turnkey sailing setup provided by the Melges 32 class allowed competitors to fly in from Tasmania, and Queensland to compete.

  Tasmanian skipper of 2 Unlimited Greg Prescott (Enzo) came into this event on a high after winning Hamilton Island Race Week and the Audi car. Greg gave the Audi to his mother, who is driving the streets of Hobart delivering her grand kids to Optimist training while Greg’s racing in Sydney. Apparently she’s a pretty cool grandma in their eyes driving a car with Audi Sailing down the side.

The 2 Unlimited team of Darren (Twirler) Jones, Michael Dunstan, Russel Ely, Mark Jeffery, Julian Sulter, Oliver Nicholas and James Corrie dominated day one of racing. In the heavier breeze they accelerated away from the fleet with great downwind speed and technique winning all three races. There is no shortage of knowledge and skill behind 2 unlimited performance. Michael Dunstan the London Olympics Australian Sailing Team’s rules advisor and multiple match racing champion was trimming Main and Darren Jones returning from the Melges 32 Worlds to compete in the Championship called Tactics.

Day two, things didn’t all go the way of 2 Unlimited, in the lighter breeze, Simon Reffold The Business upset their plan and tactically picked the last shift on the run to win race four. In race five Barry Cuneo Envy Scooter’s purple spinnaker lead until the last run and looked as though the win was secured, however, the 2 Unlimited teams experience in the boat gave them the gun. In a show of determination in the final race of the series Envy Scooters picked the first shift and sailed well to put a win on the board and end the regatta on a high.

 Angus Reid Maxstar was the main rival on day one for 2 Unlimited. The Maxstar crew winners of the inaugural prestigious Melges 32 Asia Pacific Cup Series for 2011-2012 were drawing on their crew work and downwind speed attempting to close the distance. Murray Walters calling the shots and brothers Andrew and Richard Stanning were working the sheets.

New to the class Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron sailor Barry Cuneo Envy Scooters and his Queensland team including Mark Bradford (North Sails QLD) calling tactics and twinkle toes Gary Van Lunteren swinging it down on the rail were amongst a star studded crew. Envy Scooters enjoyed their first opportunity to rate themselves against a fleet of Melges 32’s and looked like a professional outfit, one to keep an eye on at future events on the Cup Series. Barry enjoyed the 'short punchy racing format'. He was most impressed with the ease of the pack up commenting 'by the time the last boat was out of the water we were fully packed up mast down, covers on ready for the trip back to QLD'.

Martin Cross chartering Funnel Web stepped into the boat for the first time in this regatta and held their own. In race two they picked a good shift out of the left to lead around the top mark in the first rounding and planed downwind pulling off some good gybes to take the third to the Maxstar crew. Sailing with his wife Anna, Martin is an experienced One Design skipper, he thoroughly enjoyed the weekend and said he’s looking forward to more of it in the future.’

 James Corrie 2 Unlimited said it was the 'Best Race Format', off the dock at 11am go sailing for an afternoon of intensive racing, packed up and back to the club by about 4.30pm.

The East Coast Title with a convincing win went to Greg Prescott 2 Unlimited ten points ahead of Barry Cuneo Envy Scooters finishing on equal points but in second place on a count back to Angus Reid Maxstar not able to hang on for race six finishing in third place overall.



A few shots from recent Farr 40 and Melges 32 Worlds


2 Unlimited success at Hamilton Island
The predominately Tasmanian team onboard Greg Prescott’s Melges 32, 2 Unlimited, convincingly took out the first round in the Melges 32 Asia Pacific Cup Series, and won the 12 race Melges 32 division at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week.

It was three times lucky for Prescott who was also declared winner of the Audi Final Drive Challenge at Saturday night’s trophy presentation, netting Prescott a $45,000 prize – a superb Audi A1 Ambition compact car.

It is the most valuable prize offered for any Australian sailing event this year.

To win the stylish ‘Misano Red’ premium car from Audi, yacht owners and crews combined their best sailing skills with those of being a consistently skilful driver at the wheel of a blisteringly-quick Audi R8 sports coupe on Wednesday’s layday. Darren ‘Twirler’ Jones, tactician on 2 Unlimited, drove the R8 on Prescott’s behalf.

Prescott’s crew claimed the title of first place overall in the 12 race series at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week with 12 points, an astonishing 21 points clear of Angus Reid’s Maxstar from the Canberra Yacht Club in second place. 2 Unlimited’s result was the equal lowest from all monohull divisions racing in the light air Whitsunday regatta, the other being Jessandra II with 12 points from nine races.

Noel Leigh Smith’s Melges 32, Desperado, from Sandringham Yacht Club placed third, three points behind Maxstar.

Great teamwork and dedication by the 2 Unlimited crew, consisting of five Tasmanians; Greg Prescott (skipper) Darren ‘Twirler’ Jones (tactician), Malcolm Parker, Oliver Nicholas, Mark Jeffery, James Corrie, Andrew Hudson and Justin Cook. A veteran of 27 Sydney Hobarts, Prescott said, ‘It’s good to see the Tasmanians come up here and have a win’.

After making the most of Saturday night’s series-end celebrations, Prescott commented, ‘The regatta just got better and better for us’, referring to the exciting surprise, winning the Audi A1.

‘Twirler’ put his hand up to drive the Audi on the layday and fortunately his success as tactician on the racecourse also applied on the specially-designed gymkhana course at Hamilton Island aiport. His consistent driving skills combined with a win in the Melges 32 division gave 2 Unlimited a one in twelve chance of taking home the keys to the Audi A1.

Prescott was equally as pleased with the presentation of the regatta’s Gun Boat Trophy, ‘it’s not normally given to little guys like us’ he commented.

This was the first Audi Hamilton Island Race Week for the Melges 32, 2 Unlimited. Looking back over the series Prescott recalled, ‘day one was a passage race, then eight windward/leeward races for the M32 Cup Series followed by three more passage races. It was like sailing two regattas.

‘The passage races were light with lots of corners and we were sailing through a large fleet but they gave the Melges 32 fleet a chance to compress and mix up the results. Just because we won the windward / leeward series there was no guarantee for the passages race series.’

Saturday’s Molles Island Race was a 23 nautical mile passage race around North Molle, Daydream and South Molle Islands. On the race Gus Reid, skipper of Maxstar, commented, ‘After four hours of racing only ten seconds separated the Melges 32s from second to fifth place.

‘2 Unlimited went into the shoreline at Daydream and came out on an escalator, stepping away from everyone. It was an amazing race, whales breaching around us and heavy fog making visibility difficult.’

Pleased with their second place overall Reid warned, ‘The team on 2 Unlimited had lots of pace but are not unbeatable. We’ll be focusing on preparation and then they won’t have it all their own way.’

1         AUS216    2UNLIMITED    Greg Prescott          12.0     1.0     1.0     1.0     [6.0]     1.0     1.0     2.0     1.0     1.0     1.0     1.0     1.0
2         USA158    MAXSTAR    Angus Reid                  33.0     4.0     6.0     4.0     1.0     4.0     2.0     4.0     2.0     2.0     2.0     [6.0]     2.0
3         AUS582    DESPERADO    Noel Leigh-Smith     36.0     2.0     2.0     5.0     2.0     2.0     4.0     5.0     3.0     4.0     3.0     4.0     [5.0]
4         AUS3232    ROCK N' ROLL    Kim Williams       39.0     3.0     3.0     3.0     5.0     [6.0]     5.0     1.0     5.0     3.0     5.0     3.0     3.0
5         AUS070    PANTHER    Stephen O'Rourke        43.0     5.0     4.0     2.0     4.0     5.0     3.0     3.0     6.0     5.0     4.0     2.0     [6.0]
 6         160    STICKS    Stefan/Micheal Walker/Turner54.0     [8.0F]     5.0     6.0     3.0     3.0     6.0     6.0     4.0     6.0     6.0     5.0     4.0
                                                                        7         AUS183    BREEZIN    Bradley Sewell              88.0   


Jones finds more success

Well known Australian yachtsman, Darren 'Twirler' Jones, keeps racking up success after success and is making his triumphant return to Australian shores after another win on the USA based ‘Groovederci’ in the BMW Farr 30 World Championship.

It has been an incredible season for the newly crowned world champions – clocking up 15 first places over the past two regattas and going undefeated at Key West Race Week

Groovederci was a stand-out in the fleet, not only for its successful season, but also due to 14 of the 22 yachts in the regatta being locally based. Overcoming the significant local knowledge in the fleet was certainly a testament to the skill of Jones and the rest of the crew.

“It wasn’t an easy regatta by any standards,” Jones explained. “With winds up to 20 knots and shifts of up to 30 degrees, consistency was the key.”

The conclusion of the Farr 30 Worlds marks Jones' return to local waters. Having recently competed in the Cork Week regatta in Ireland, and New York Yacht Club Race Week, the Sydney based sailor is anticipating some time at home.

“It will be great to spend at least a week with the family. I'm really looking forward to Hamilton Island Race week. It's one of the best venues in the world and I always enjoy sailing in home waters,” the veteran yachtsman said.

At Hamilton Island Race Week, which starts on August 18, Twirler will compete aboard Greg Prescott’s Melges 32 ‘2 Unlimited’, on which he last helped her owner to a decisive win at the Sydney Harbour Regatta in March.

Jones then returns to the United States to compete in the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship and Melges 32 World Championship.

"Groovederci" 2012 Farr 30 World Champion


Jones adds more trophies to the cabinet
Di Pearson
22  May. 2012

Australian yachtsman, Darren ‘Twirler’ Jones, has won the prestigious Seahorse ‘Sailor of the Month’ for June, coming off the back of victories at the Farr 30 North American Championship and the Farr 30 Magic Cup.

Jones beat renowned American America’s Cup sailor and three-time Olympic campaigner, Morgan Larson, for the June title, voted on by sailors and sailing supporters around the world.

“I've just come back from a month long trip away,” confirmed Jones, whose handy work included triumph at the Farr 30 North American Championship in Annapolis, USA, trimming main aboard Groovederci for Deneen Demourkas (USA).

Then came victory at the Farr 30 Magic Cup in Lidingo, Sweden, trimming for Richard Goransson (SWE) and his aptly named ‘The End’, adding to Jones’ growing collection of Championship trophies.

Back home for a well-earned quick breather, Jones will return to Sweden shortly for the Farr 30 Swedish National Championship and the Farr 30 Worlds in Båstad, Sweden. In between is Ireland’s major regatta, Cork Week, sailed out of Crosshaven.

From there, Jones will return home for Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, and then it’s back to the USA for the Melges 32 Worlds at Newport, Rhode Island.

In high demand internationally, the Sydney-based sailor, who was genuinely chuffed to win the ‘Sailor of the Month’, is aiming to try and spend more time competing on home soil.

While the international invitations keep rolling in, Jones, highly regarded among the top mainsheet trimmers internationally, acknowledges: "It's time I spent some quality time with my family, who don’t get to see much of me throughout the year.

“Personally, I’d also like to spend more time racing at home. I’m happy competing internationally, but it means so much to win for your own country,” said Jones, who in the past has helped Australians Richard Perini and the late Guy Stening to world championship titles in the Farr 30 class in 2004 and 2008 respectively.

Mainsheet trimmer for Perini when he also won the 2005 Farr 40 Worlds, Jones has been instrumental in taking Aussie teams all the way to the top in such events as the Sydney Harbour Regatta in March, where he helped the newly formed crew of Tasmanian Greg Prescott’s 2Unlimited SevenStar dominate and win the Melges 32 one-design class.
Darren ‘twirler’ Jones (AUS)
Too many keelboat titles to list... ‘A combination of mad scientist, speed freak, film maker, tireless prankster and one hell of a sailor’ – Deneen Demourkas; ‘As if you wouldn’t choose way-cool Darren’ – Brodey Bakes; ‘A pro sailor with genuine enthusiasm!!!’ – Kim Woodhouse; ‘Surely he must hold more titles than any skipper or owner?’ – Carole Abbott; ‘Great pro and a great bloke’ – Guy Stening; ‘A wealth of experience, all deliver nicely!’ – Dan Mullervy. Seahorse Sailor of the Month comes to you with Musto, Harken McLube and Dubarry.

Seahorse Sailor of the month


    Darren ‘Twirler’ Jones (AUS)
Another unsung hero with multiple world titles in the Farr 30, Farr 40 and Swan 45 classes to name but three. Plenty of other major titles in the Etchells and Melges 32 classes and a handy set of results on the left coast in the sleds. Plus, and maybe more important, this Hobart native’s got a pretty scary fan club who have been leaning on us for a while... Sailmaker, trimmer and all round top bloke. Good enough...

    Morgan Larson (USA)
The Oman Air Extreme Sailing team made a nice call taking on the America’s Cup veteran for 2012. Larson arrived in Muscat to make his debut as a X-40 skipper and promptly wiped the floor with his experienced rivals to dominate the opening regatta. Nice result too for Muscat, as the runner-up spot was taken by The Wave Muscat, skippered by Leigh McMillan... who introduced Morgan Larson to the series last year...