Whilst the 2015 / 2016 season was highlighted with “Phoenix” (Brenton & Jen Carnell) retaining the National Championship and the Victorian Championship being won for the first time by “Sierra Chainsaw” (Mel Andy & Pat Mollison) in a very close result, the number of Sydney 38’s regularly participating in events has declined. It is disappointing that there are too many boats for sale and not racing. “Audacious” (Greg Clinnick and Paul Holden) has been sold to South Australia, whilst “Playground” (Andrew & Gayle Robinson) and “Mille Sabords” (Stephane Howard) are for sale and chose not compete in 2015 2016. However, the standard of Sydney 38 racing in Victoria remains high. “Icon 38” (Kirwan Robb) is now the boat to beat and his young crew remain enthusiastic and should they compete in the 2017 Nationals will be hard to beat. “Challenge” (Chris Mrakas) represented the class in the 2015 Sydney to Hobart and in local ocean race events in Victoria and is training hard for another race to Hobart again this year, preferring the longer endurance racing rather than the sprint races. “Sierra Chainsaw” and “38 South” (John Chatham & Kate Mitchell) remain strong supporters of the class as does “Chutzpah 38”, (Bruce Taylor). “Cinquante” (Ian Murray), who continues to be a generous supporter of the class in 2015 / 2016 through his company “Morris Finance”, finds it difficult to compete away from Geelong. On a brighter note, “Adrenalin” (Andrew Molnar) has been offered to Gordon Mathers and Frank McDermott, the previous owners of “Clockwork” to race in the 2016 / 2017 season. Let’s hope they take up the offer as One Design racing relies on a larger fleet numbers to keep the racing tight! It would also be great if “Obsession” (Michael & Laurie White) now sailing out of Mornington Yacht Club, could be attracted to compete in the odd sprint series or two.
Nevertheless, in 2015 / 2016, results indicate the racing was close, the regattas were successful, but the focus now should be to attract new owners with a passion for One Design racing and rebuild the fleet. Season 2016 / 2017 provides another full calendar of racing which kicked off with the successful Pre Season Sydney 38 Short Course “Morris Finance” regatta in September. Given the success of this event, in spite of the falling participation numbers, the class still provides the best keelboat racing in Victoria.
2015 / 2016 Highlights
1. 2016 National Championship
Royal Geelong Yacht Club hosted the 2016 National Championship as part of their annual Festival Of Sails Regatta over the Australia Day weekend in January. The event attracted nine competitors with one entry from South Australia. “White Noise” (David Knights) did very well in his first National Series. “Ikon 38” led the series from “Phoenix” after 2 days of racing on a count back but with 3 wins on the last day of racing, “Phoenix” dominated the last day to defend the title she won in 2015 by 5 points. “Audacious” sailed a consistent series to be placed third. “Phoenix” also won the Corinthian Division from “Audacious” and “Sierra Chainsaw”. Corio Bay is a great venue for a regatta and the “Festival of Sails” provides a carnival atmosphere with great activities for families. An enjoyable dinner was held at a local restaurant where a painting of the Victorian Sydney 38 fleet, donated by Jane Flowers, was auctioned as a fund raiser. Once the reserve was passed, the additional proceeds of $1,000 was donated to the victims of Great Ocean Road fire appeal. A big thank you to Jane for donating her time to benefit both the association and a great cause.
2. 2016 AMS Victorian Championships
The 2016 AMS (Australian Measurement System) Victorian Championship was again hosted by Sandringham Yacht Club in April to wrap up the season. In previous events I can recall reporting the winner “won convincingly”. However it was not the case this year. After a starting line infringement, the two stand out performers “Phoenix” and “Ikon38” were both disqualified, opening the door for an upset victory. And as it happened, “Sierra Chainsaw’ won the last race to win by a point from the reigning National Champion “Pheonix” with “Ikon38” a further point behind. With two wins in the six race series, the “Sierra Chainsaw” team fully deserved their win with consistent results throughout the six race regatta. As for the Corinthian result, “Audacious” replaced “Ikon38” for 3rd place. The dinner in the main dining room of the Sandringham Yacht Club was well attended by crews and their families. Many thanks to John Chatham (“38 South”) who organized the AMS sponsorship particularly given the class is strictly One Design in concept. Thanks also to Ronstan for their continued support.
2. 2016 / 2017 North Sails Sydney 38 Summer Aggregate
With all 17 scheduled races sailed over the summer, “Ikon 38” dominated winning 10 of the 14 races she competing. Whilst most races were held at Sandringham Yacht Club on Sunday mornings, the results from the Lipton Cup sprint series hosted by the Royal Yacht Club Of Victoria were also included. To allow competitors time to compete in other events such as the Sydney to Hobart and other offshore events, 3 drops were allowed.
“Sierra Chainsaw’s” second place overall capped her successful season whilst “Chutzpah38” third place was compensation for a season riddled with bad luck.
Thanks to Sandringham Yacht Club in particular for hosting most of the series in conjunction with their J24 fleet. Sandringham Yacht Club has reduced the entry fee by 50% next year. With three races scheduled on each race day the sprint series offers the best value racing available.
Thanks to North Sails for sponsoring the series and committing for another year.
3. 2016 Winter Series
The weather in Melbourne during winter was not cooperative with only one race sailed. “Ikon38” was the winner with insufficient wind to complete a series.
4. 2016 Morris Finance Pre Season One Design Regatta
This is a popular event on the calendar and a great opportunity to prepare for the new season. Hosted by the Royal Geelong Yacht Club, the event is well organized with a social function on Saturday evening. This year the racing was held on the weekend of 24th and 25th September. With three laps in each race, the seven race series was a tiring event and it was of no surprise that the young crew of “Ikon38” took out the series from “Phoenix” with “Sierra Chainsaw”.
Again, our sincere appreciation goes to Ian Murray of Morris Finance for his support and to the Royal Geelong Yacht Club for their hospitality.
5. The 2016 / 2017 Sydney 38 Southern Chapter Sailing Calendar
Another full calendar has been posted on the class website. Note especially that the Festival of Sails has been rescheduled one week earlier than normal
6. Appreciation To Office Bearers
On behalf of the Southern Chapter owners, I would like to express their appreciation to the President, Greg Clinnick, the Treasurer, Jen Carnell, the Chief Measurer, John Chatham and in particular Peter Cole, regatta measurer, for giving up their valuable time to support the class. The membership is well served by this committee.