The Festival of Sails Geelong and our Race Officer, Kevin Wilson, put on three great days of racing for the Sydney 38 Australian championships. All three days of racing saw building breezes so there were no problems completing the nine race schedule.
This was the first major regatta with the new mast head kite configuration and every boat had their hands full at some stage in the 20knot plus winds in the last race of each day. A couple of round ups and one Chinese kept all of the skippers looking around and focussing hard. Despite the deeper running angles with the larger chutes there was plenty of gybing and a fair amount of overtaking done hill thanks to the well laid courses.
Friday saw Peter Coleman our class measurer ticking of the sails and boats and some malnourished crew crawled to the 5pm weigh in where all crews were under the weight and legal. Thanks Peter for giving up your day to keep our true one design status intact!
Day one set the tone of the regatta with Sierra Chainsaw pulling a blinder in the first race and then the current champion Phoenix and their arch rival Ikon38 hitting their straps and getting out in front in race 2 and 3. Ikon38 was the North Sails boat of the day by 1 point over Phoenix with only seconds separating all of the places. We all retired to the Edge Restaurant where 110 sailors attended the Association dinner. Ikon38 won the “most at the table” award with 20 adults and 4 kids. Kirwan Robb said “We sail as a family and we eat as a family”. Lots of mouths to feed with one more due any time! Jane Flowers donated an oil painting which was auctioned and sold for the magnificent sum of $2001. Chris Mrakas was the lucky buyer with $1500 of the proceeds going to the Lorne Surf Coast bushfire appeal.
Day two saw Phoenix and Ikon38 slugging it out again. Audacious rolled the dice in the last race of the day and managed a first place but it was Phoenix as boat of the day with Ikon38 second, Audacious 3rd, Sierra 4th, Cinquante 5th and the unlucky Chutzpah38 6th. The first tow boats were out of reach but the competition for the coveted 3rd place was hotting up with only a handful of points separating 3rd and 6th. Quantum Sails sponsored an exclusive drinks event for the 38s at the yacht club after racing and everyone enjoyed a beer or a wine as we all speculated what the last day would bring.
Day three was yet another cracking sailing day. The breeze was up a bit and Phoenix found another gear. They pulled off three bullets on the last day to clinch back-to-back championships. Congratulations to Brenton, Jen and crew. They were pushed all the way by Ikon38 who had an outstanding regatta to comfortably take second. Audacious had a good final race of the day to sneak back in front of Sierra Chainsaw to hold on to third overall. In Corinthian it was Phoenix 1st, Audacious 2nd and Sierra Chainsaw 3rd.
White Knight from South Australia commented “We weren’t sure if we would be on the pace, so it was pleasing to see we could mix it with the top boats at times. Our crew work needs to improve so we will work on that. We loved the event and the close racing. The class was very welcoming and friendly and we had a ball. We are glad we made the effort to come across”.
So thanks to our major sponsor Morris Finance and Ian Murray, to Jane Flowers artist, Quantum Sails and North Sails. Thanks go to your committee for all their time and effort to organise both the on and off water activities. And thanks to those boat who participated. There has only been one NSW champion in the past five years – so what will the next championships bring?