The MG Class is made up of personalities from many and varied walks of life.
Here are some of their stories!
Damian & Romana Ryan
Growing up on the Lane Cove River my earliest sailing experience was “sailing” downwind in a leaking rowboat using a towel as a sail and later sailing in a similarly leaky Sabot, “Macawber” and being annoyed that pumping the sail to get the tub moving was not allowed.
The rest of the Ryans were introduced to sailing at Northbridge Sailing Club 13 years ago by Romana’s preschool teacher whose husband was head of the sailing school. Romana, aged 5, was dragged down following her older brother Adric and sister Tegan. The next year when they were attending the legendary 5 day “live-in” she found herself as the youngest student. Although there may have been more socializing than sailing that year, her love of being on/above the water had begun in the sheltered waters of Middle Harbour.
The whole family learned to sail at Northbridge. Dad on a laser, kids on Northbridge Juniors, Flying Ant’s and Northbridge Seniors and finally Mum and Dad on a Taser, Dad and Romana on the MG and Tegan on an NS.
Romana moved from her beloved NJ “Miss Elle” (where Dad learned boat building) through a Flying Ant (the first TARDIS with 2 trips to Perth) and went looking for a Class to sail with her old Dad. Or at least Dad looked for a class he could sail with her.
The knowledge gained of NS’s on the deck at Northbridge and various NS regattas made the MG a natural choice as it would have been hard to leave the trapeze and spinnaker of the ant.
Boats in short supply meant that when I heard through the grapevine that Lindsay Mason was upgrading MG385 Water Rat, I snapped it up. Lindsay even gave me some lessons and I rewarded him by capsizing.
Balmoral was the place to be as Saturday sailing would still leave Sundays free for Northbridge. The Club has proved very inviting and shore discussions have helped with improving sailing skills, as has keeping most of the fleet in front to check out their technique. The waters of Sydney Harbour proved much more challenging, waves, wind, ferries, and 16ft Skiffs blind to those around them. I learned that Romana did not like to be in the water so much as on it and each of my capsizes would cost me in driving lessons.
Sailing together has been great fun both on the water and off. I learned trapezing/crewing at the nationals and skippering at the states. We were still talking to each other at the end of the regattas so they were a great success. The handicap system rewards improvement rather than absolute ability so we have something to strive for. The MG has the right blend of speed and stability, plenty to learn to sail well and great competition. And what could be better than a screaming reach across the harbour even if it ends in a capsize. (I must remember to bear away in that gust!)
The first half of the season will be hindered by HSC but we look forward to Club racing, the States and Nationals.
And why TARDIS…… The Ryans are a Dr Who family
. Each member carries the names of the doctor’s companion…. Romana’s full name would be Romanadvoratrelundar the prettiest of the doctor’s companions.
Mark & Paddy Holt
Mark Holt from the Mid-North Coast of NSW, has been sailing skiffs since the dark ages. Mark's wife - Martina - was brought up sailing on the shores of the fabled Port Phillip Bay. Both kids, Paddy & Sophie, have enjoyed the bow of Cherubs & 14s since they could swim.
And now, they have added sailing MGs to their story.
Towards the end of the 2011/12 season Mark and Martina decided to move up from a Cherub, and purchased an Aero 6 on which to begin their experience in the MG fleet. They immediately caught the bug, and Mark began plans for a full on-slaught for the 2012/13 season. Over the cold 2012 winter, Mark slugged away building a brand new MG from the Moondance mould. As a confessed tinkerer, Mark decided to indulge some of Rohan's left field thoughts, and took on some alterations to the design - with a few touches of his own added. He also utilised his many and varied skills to stitch together his own sails, make his own foils, and crafted many custom parts for his new machine 'Hullabaloo'.
Unfortunately Martina was unable to sail the 2012/13 Nationals, so Paddy Holt returned from Uni, and proceeded to be brought up to speed crewing on Mum and Dads new boat! Mark and Paddy proved themselves and the boat by winning a heat and placing 4th overall at their first MG Nationals - an amazing result.
Martina has since returned to the front of 'Hullabaloo', and while the conditions at the 2013 NSW States ended up 'difficult', they completed every heat and should be extremely proud of what they have achieved in their first full season sailing MGs.
Look out next season!!!
Troy Lewis & Trisinta Bernasconi-Lewis
Our boat “Grunt” boat was purchased in late 2006. Trisinta and I started sailing together in 2007 at Taree Aquatic Club where we were welcomed by all. This was Trisinta’s first time sailing and my first time sailing for ten years. In the early days, with us just tipping the 100 kilos as a combined weight, made it a bit tricky on the odd windy day.
So as far sailing experience is concerned it’s fairly limited and thus there were a few unpredicted swims in the early stages.
Both of us have had a few interesting dips in the water including falling out the back and over side and the odd trip to the front - and who could forget the stars from the boom hits to the head. Luckily we have got a hold of these situations of late and stayed up right regularly. We have had a lot of help from experienced sailors from the likes of Lenny Mansell and Greg Roche of late and many other MG and NS sailors.
I chose the MG, because it is a class that I can handle and sail in a competitive and fun fleet at my local club. We get some good racing between similar classes like NS's but I’ll take the kite ride any day even if it is a bit of hard work on the river.
I am glad I chose the MG class as I see this class, especially at our club, developing and increasing in numbers with at least 10 regular boats this year including 2 new boats for the above mentioned skippers.
Last season was a great season, finishing third in the club championships behind Lenny and Greg and the first experience of large class fleet racing at the 2010 nationals. Despite the poor conditions it was still a good experience I and hope to attend more class events in coming years.
Trisinta Trisinta and I are both looking forward to this year’s sailing and of course, many more to come.
Brian & Valerie Harrison
This intrepid couple sails out of Altona Yacht Club in sunny Melbourne, Victoria, on the waters of Port Phillip Bay.
We started out sailing in 1995 at Albury-Wodonga Yacht Club on the NSW/VIC border, sailing a mixture of off- the-beach monohulls and trailables the highlight being an old Aero 2 NS-14 boat called Feathertop. This was the first boat that we managed to get to plane on all points of sailing on a big day out on Lake Mokoan. Finally we settled on a 12’ skiff, spending more time under the water than on top of it. However when the boat was going well, it really went well. This came at the expense of still being sore from sailing when we would turn up for another episode of swimming lessons.
This gave us the bug for having a boat with more sails then crew and when combined with our fond memories of the NS-14, the MG was a natural move for us. That’s when we moved to Toy Phase MG296 in 2003. However, being the short food enhanced people that we are, we wanted more grunt. This led us to drop a Sport skiff V19 rig on and have a go, using that bit more sail area to get us up and going. This made us almost unbeatable in light air, however being inland lake sailors we weren’t much chop when it started to blow.
In 2005 we moved to Melbourne, where it blows and through a mixture of our lack of wind skills, the slapping of the hull over large waves and general bickering we sold the boat in 2006. Over the next two years we sailed a Cobra Catamaran with a nice kite, having some success. This came at the expense of even more bickering and the decision to move back to an MG. So we drove up north again and bought Valhalla MG301. Predictably we wanted more grunt again, so we changed the rig again in mid 2009 to an MGB. After the 2010 Nationals we finally managed to get ourselves the bigger spinnaker. Finally we can plane downwind again, Woo Who!
Over the years, we have also owned and raced a number of trailable yachts, and we currently own a MacGregor 26M. Whilst this is a very slow sailing boat, it is by far the most comfortable, and if it ever gets boring we can always use the 50hp outboard motor and go do donuts!
Since we have owned Valhalla, we have been slowing sneaking up on a faster boat. Our game-plan is to replace everything on the boat with good stuff and then buy a new hull to put under it all. So far we have got the MBG Main, Jib & Kite, carbon mast, boom, rudder, rudder box and tiller. So I think we are nearly there.
Whilst we’ll never win a championship, never turn your back on us because we won’t be that far away!