A Hunky Dory Summer Season


By all accounts, Cam Wayland had a pretty successful CYCA 18/19 summer season on Hunky Dory, a super smart 2007 Hanse 400e.

Over 100 yachts took part over the seven-month event series, vying to take home a coveted trophy. From Club Marine Wednesday Twilight to the Ocean series Short Haul, competitors showed their talent and adaptability in a range of conditions.

Cam entered Hunky Dory in the CYCA Short Haul series for the second time this year. His enviable trophy collection now includes a win for the Short Haul Overall and many of the sub-series. He got top results in the Botany Bay Race and Pittwater Race, as well as 2nd in the Monica Geddes.

Cam’s approach to sailing is a testament to the fact that being a winner requires preparation and teamwork. Quick thinking and plenty of commitment and support are essential too.

Thorough Preparation

Cam’s experience in the offshore racing season means he has plenty of sage advice for the would-be racer. And his wisdom can apply to cruising too.

‘Having your boat suitably prepared is essential for safety and sailing performance,’ explains Cam. ‘The Short Haul is a Category 4 & 5 series. So the safety requirements fit nicely with the Cruising Divisions safety requirements.’ In fact, Cam’s initial safety check at Middle Harbour Yacht Club for Hunky Dory’s first Short, led to him joining their Cruising Division.

With safety checks ticked off, a suitable sail wardrobe is next.

‘Being non-spinnaker this is not a huge expense, and you won’t win a 13 race series with cruising sails. For the first season of Short Haul, I managed to replace the mainsail and purchase a #1. A new addition to the inventory. The #3 self tacker was still original Dacron. There was no spinnaker pole, so I had to fit a track to the mast and borrowed a pole that would work, if a bit short.’

In preparation for his successful 18/19 season, Cam improved what he had and made little additions, including a new Kevlar self-tacker.

Hunky Dory’s running rigging was the original double braid and tired. Between seasons, Cam had the mast removed for the insurance requirement. He added additional sheaves (i.e. spinnaker pole topping lift) and replaced all the double braid with 10mm Spectra/Dyneema. These tweaks improved the weight and ability to run in a hurry. He also taught himself how to splice Dyneema.

A balanced approach

We all know a racing fanatic who worries over every excess gram. Well, Hunky Dory is a cruiser that races, but weight can still make a significant difference. A performance cruiser needs the right “balance” to perform, so Cam put Hunky Dory on a diet. Out with unwanted or unused gear.

When sailing short-handed (with a typical crew of 3), you won’t always have movable ballast to keep the boat comfortably upright and sailing fast. So Cam paid particular attention to weight aloft.

Hunky Dory has a tall rig – a 17m mast with an air draft of 19.5m. Replacing the Dacron sails, steel backstay and double braid halyards with Spectra/Dyneema reduced the mast/aloft weight by about 60KG – a massive difference.

“I finally worked out what the weight balance was for optimal performance without going nuts or compromising real-world use. Through trial and error, I found around half a tank water in the bow tank (approx. 150l) given the diesel is it was it is aft, would balance the boat to make it sit on its lines nicely. Row around your boat and have a look at how she sits,” Cam advises.

She’s now a stiffer racing yacht, but still perfectly comfortable at rest. It’s all in the balance.

Working together

This season, Hunky Dory sailed mostly with 3, or a luxurious 4 handed crew. Occasionally with the minimum allowable of 2. Cam’s role as skipper was to get the best out of the mix of skills and experience available for the conditions.

Crossing the line safely as a priority sometimes meant compromising on sail selection. Hunky Dory’s #1 is a big 145% overlapping headsail. It’s fantastic up to about 15kn true with a full crew.

But if you only have 2 crew onboard in a moderate breeze, and you’re not both strong enough, Cam advises you use the self-tacker instead. Get around the course safely, perhaps slower, but removing unnecessary stress.

Cam also sees his role as general manager, coaching his team to get the best out of them. He’s happy behind the wheel, but he’s also handy on the bow or trimming.

‘Throughout the season, I evaluated who was onboard, what skills they brought, and what would keep them interested and focused. And also what was the best combination of crew/tasks to get the best out of Hunky Dory,’ Cam says.

‘That meant occasionally setting the spinnaker pole. Or if I knew a crew member was also an excellent driver, giving them a go and having a slightly longer lunch break.

Communication is also paramount. If you’re trimming or changing course, let the crew know why, and listen to their feedback. The aim is for everyone to have fun, work together as a team, and want to come back for more!’.

Go your own way

With short ocean racing, there are often a few options to get from A to B, and you don’t always have to follow the fleet. Cam suggests you use your own knowledge and experience. Be confident and make your own decisions.

‘Both of our passage race wins were substantial as we did not follow the fleet, sailing to the forecast prevailing conditions instead. We made tactical decisions based on real-time information such as wind, current, SoG and course. Many of the boats in the fleet were larger, faster and “racier”, so just following the fleet would not necessarily have been the right move.’

Just remember to be aware of your surroundings, and chart your own course!

Commitment and Support

If you are going to do well in a racing series, it is wise to enter every race you can – a challenging undertaking.

This second year of Short Haul for Hunky Dory was going to be the “give it a crack” year for Cam. And he felt he was in an excellent position to get the best from the boat with optimised gear and crew.

The crew knew the dates ahead of time so they could work out their schedules.

And while they were out having fun on the water, there was always a solid support crew of partners and families indulging Cam and the team as they put Hunky Dory through her paces.

Short Haul Pointscore

The Short Haul Pointscore is a 13 race, non-spinnaker series. From day-time harbour races, night harbour races and short ocean races, crews enjoy heading up and down the beautiful Sydney coast between destinations such as Botany Bay to Pittwater.

‘Being out on Sydney Harbour in the evening is really nice. Often we were the only boats out there experiencing it – that’s very special,’` says Cam.

The Short Haul Pointscore is a popular series, attracting return competitors and those who want to make a start in close yacht racing without finding a full crew every week.

Cam took home PHS Overall and PHS Div2.

Short Haul Passage Pointscore

The Passage Pointscore includes the Sydney to Pittwater weekend races, combined with the Australia Day Botany Bay Race from the Short Haul Pointscore. Many teams compete in both, and the races run concurrently.

Cam says it’s a great entry point into racing. ‘It is a fantastic series. I competed for six years on another boat and raced the last two seasons on Hunky Dory. It’s nice to be able to get out of the heads and get away from the number of boats in the harbour. But also it’s much more manageable with the number of sails and people I need.

The competitive comradery with all the yachts is great. Everyone comes out and waves to each other and says hello. We were able to get 30 people together up at Pittwater to have dinner and get to know each other.’

Hunky Dory’s accolades continued, winning PHS Overall.

A recipe for sailing success

Cam’s vision of what he wanted to achieve, a well-prepared vessel, a dedicated crew and the ability to respond to changing circumstances enabled him to achieve top results on Hunky Dory this season.

‘The series was a lot of fun. It’s a great experience for cruisers wanting to get offshore, sharpen their skills and race in a friendly but competitive non-spinnaker series.

The results were fantastic. But we also had a great time sailing Hunky Dory, often at close to 100% in and out of the harbour. We’re really starting to get the best out of the boat.”

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Cam purchased his Hanse 400e, Hunky Dory, through YOTI in 2017. If you’re inspired by his racing success, talk to our friendly team about purchasing your own racing or cruising yacht and join the fun! Contact us on info@yoti.com.au or (02) 9960 6222.