An amalgamation of two of Australia’s top sailing teams has scooped this year’s edition of the now-classic team racing regatta held on Melbourne’s iconic Albert Park Lake. The Lake is the centre of the Melbourne’s Formula 1 track backdropped by the spectacular Melbourne cityscape. It is truly one of the world’s best team racing locations, rivalling the West Kirby marine lake, Dun Laogharie Harbour, and Califorina’s Newport Harbour. Imperial Gladiators Lads Club, the six-member ex-patriot Irish and English team made from Imperial Poona YC and Gladiators, were undefeated in the 12 races they sailed in the 42-race Melbourne Mid-Winter Team Racing Championship organised by Albert Park Yacht Club with the assistance of the Imperial Poona Yacht Club. But the IGLC’s scoreline failed to reflect the quality of the competition and Imperial Gladiators were pushed to the line in each race, rarely getting the upper hand until the last beat of the “old school” type square course. No digital N’s in this regatta! “Yeah Barry”/Mosely Sailing Club on nine wins finished in second place and La Trobe University with six wins rounded off the podium of the seven-entry event. Umpires were on the ball and no sailor was safe from their many red flags – with several breaches of aggressive tacking and sculling recorded in the one-day event sailed in 3.8m doublehanded Pacer dinghies loaned from Yachting Victoria’s The Boatshed. There were no finals due to club racing on the lake and a general agreement between competitors to award the title after two round robins were sailed. Or was it because the umpires had retired to the bar to warm up? The highly tuned Albert Park YC race management team finished all scheduled races in heavily shifting and fluctuating winds before 2.30pm on Saturday, August 10. A novel “reversed” start and finish line – with the committee boat in the middle of the two lines, acting as the “pin end” of the start line to its starboard side and with the finish line to its port side – worked a treat as there were no clashes between starters and finishers. And this also cut down on resources and people needed to run the racing. In a radical departure from Midwinters tradition some prizes were awarded to the winning team as the umpires weren’t around to collect their well deserved bottles of wine. Thanks must go to Albert Park Yacht Club, its committee and members who did a spectacular job of running Australia’s biggest non school’s regatta. Thanks also to The Boatshed and Yachting Victoria as without their support the event would have no boats. To the umpires and all the onshore assistance. Finally, to the Imperial Poona YC who are the mysterious gentlemen behind this event. Paddy Oliver of the Imperial Poona YC, the organiser in chief, didn’t sail as he was competing in some strange cyclocross event. Imperial Gladiators Lads Club were: Chris Kameen (Imperial Poona YC, West Kirby SC, and Manly 16ft Skiff Club), captain Helen Kerr (Oxford and Cambridge Sailing Society), Aidan McLaverty (University College Dublin and Kinsale YC), Lucy Fitzgerald (Kinsale YC and University of Limerick SC), Conor Byrne (Darwin SC, Skerries SC and University of Limerick SC) and Hamish Fleetwood (Sorrento Couta Boat & Sailing Club).