Sydney Harbour Regatta Chairman Ian Box saw things a bit differently than Aussie contributor Nicole Scott in her “Closed Shop” story below. Here’s his response (with a nod to some Goodfellas fireworks for the title):
I want to comment on the negative coverage of the Sydney Harbour Regatta by Nicole Scott (NS) and her ‘closed shop’ claim. The facts are that there were never to be 3 media boats, this was assumed by Nicole. I was clear to her and Mr. Clean (when he later called), that we had one RIB for photographers (a donated protector), which can take 5 and a driver. Media registration was requested on-line and many weeks before NS contacted us. Her contact came just 10 days prior to the regatta by which time our media boat was already fully booked.
Despite open threats of ensuing negative media coverage (which we now see), I offered to put her on a wait list in case of a cancellation but also invited her get out on anything she could organise to shoot the event. At the time we spoke I commented that it would be great to have more boats for media as in the past but had a much smaller budget and on that day we were still trying to sort a driver for a mark boat.
The SHR was initiated by MHYC 6 years ago and we then attracted Audi as a sponsor for their first major sailing event. This produced the ‘car as a prize’ idea. After 5 successful years and warm letters of satisfaction with MHYC and the SHR, Audi are spending money in a wider range of activities.
Nicole is right, this is a marquee event and this year attracted 237 entries. This is down a little on the past year but equals the number of entries in 2010. Smaller fleets are a wide issue both in Australia and overseas. MHYC run the SHR with the support and co-operation of all Sydney clubs and we charge no entry fee to supporting Club block entry members. This year with tight management we aimed to run the event on a small loss making basis, no profit. An event of this size staged for the benefit of all sailors and attracting competitors from Queensland and Victoriea should be supported by the sailing media wouldn’t you think ?
I congratulate all the SA readers who see the truth, and we look forward to many more Sydney Harbour Regattas.