News Update

The 38s are firing up!

With the new sailing season upon us I can honestly say I have never seen the Sydney 38 Association Committee so busy! So it is timely to provide a brief update on what is going on behind the scenes.

The next National Championships are going to set a new benchmark for the Sydney 38s so read more about what Bruce Ferguson and his sub-committee have been up to later in this newsletter. We also have some important decisions in front of us in relation to our class rules so make sure you are a financial member of the Association and have your say. You can attend the AGM either in person or via our telephone conferencing facility. See details below.

Whatever your plans – safe and fast sailing.

Nationals 2015 shaping up to be the best in some time!

A Team of Sydney 38 owners and supporters at the RPAYC have been working diligently since March to create a superb 2015 nationals. The team’s objective is to increase the number of boats participating in the event.

The strategy is to enlarge participation through having a Sydney yachts rally that will include the Sydney 32, Sydney 36 and other Sydney yachts into a regatta that incorporates the Sydney 38 nationals. This is supported by the early announcement of the dates of 20-22 February 2014 at RPAYC.

While we hope to get as many owners to race their own boats as possible, for various reasons, some may not be in a position to race. In this case we plan to get as many of these boats available for charter as possible. The team is in the process of creating a “plug and play” charter where the boat paperwork, access, quality, etc is as standard and easy as possible for charterers and the boat owners.

We are planning to make this the first OD event that incorporates a sailor with a disability, RPAYC’s Daniel Fitzgibbon, current Olympic Gold medallist and World SKUD18 champion who will be competing in Another Challenge, a very fitting legacy for the boat and for the late Lou Abrahams.

The event is shaping up to be a great showcase for the fleet, with multiple sponsors coming on board. At this stage we have Performance Boating as the naming sponsor, North Sails, 318 Fasteners, G Brothers Mercedes, Quay Marina locked in.

The team is in the process of creating a fun social and racing program for the event, and will be sending an information pack to owners soon, together with logistics and information on charters, timing and similar details.

All interested boat owners should go to Regattas & Championships at the RPAYC for notice of race and to enter.

For additional information, contact Jo Beashel at [email protected]

See you in Pittwater!


Our AGM is planned for mid-November and will be held via tele-conference so all members can participate where ever they happen to be. Venues in Sydney and Melbourne will be arranged so members can gather and consider various matters including the important issue of whether the class should change to a mast head kite as a class. There will be separate information circulated to all members on the pros and cons and the process involved should the 2/3 majority vote be successful. There will also be some important practical and administrative changes made to the constitution and class rules. Again these changes will be laid out prior to the AGM so any questions and concerns can be addressed.

Please make every effort to return you ballot papers once received and attend the AGM. It is your association after all.


The Association Facebook page continues to get plenty of interest and traffic. Some stories are getting over 500 views! You can “like” us here https://www.facebook.com/#!/sydney38class to stay in touch with the latest news or check out our web page http://www.sydney38class.com/ Read about the recent win by Phoenix in the preseason sprints regatta held on Corio Bay.

Did you see the full page advertisement for our Nationals in last months Australian Sailing magazine? Thanks to our Nationals sponsor Performance Boating for making this possible.

As always if you have some news or a cool photo drop me a line at [email protected]

Sydney 38s in South Australia are building

The Victorian fleet was sad to see Clockwork Orange finally sold and heading west over to S.A.. But it is fair to say that Victoria’s loss will be S.A.s gain as Clockwork has always been one of the quicker boats around. The S.A. fleet is now 6 boats and they are looking to hold an OD State titles as part of the Lincoln Regatta next February. Anthony Wilson off Slipknot is the S.A. rep and he can be contacted on [email protected]

 NSW State titles

With the current focus on the Nationals in Pittwater, the NSW Chapter plan to hold the NSW State titles as part of Sail Port Stephens next April. So pencil this into the diary. I hear it is a great venue and a great event. Further details will come out over coming months.

Festival of Sail – Geelong

The next major regatta for the 38s is the FOS in Geelong over the Australia Day weekend. It will be a three day Grade 1 regatta starting Friday 23rd of January. With four (maybe even six) Victorian boats committed to race in Pittwater in the Nationals this will be a key tune up regatta for the Vic fleet. It is great to hear that Slip Knot will be coming over from S.A. as well. We expect a feel of 10+ boats.

Membership of the Association

It is very important that if the 38s are going to retain their appeal as a one design class that we have a healthy association and good levels of participation. We appreciate that not every owner wants to take on Grade 1 events or race in the Sydney to Hobart but it is important that we have your input and support as a member. At $200 a year I hope you agree that being a member of the Association is a good investment. The Committee work hard to maintain the rules, answer technical queries, run events and promote the class. So please give us your support and if you haven’t already, pay your subs. Any queries can be sent to Jo at [email protected]

Greg Clinnick

Class President



Morris Finance Short Course Regatta – Geelong

Morris Finance Sydney 38 regatta Congratulations to the Geelong Crew on Phoenix for winning the Morris Finance Sydney 38 regatta last weekend. Co-owners Jenny & Brenton Carnell lead their team to victory over the 7 race series in both the championship and Corinthian trophies. Phoenix was consistently filling the top places and won easily by the end of the event. The minor places were filled by Challenge – Mark Bulka in 2nd and Audacious – Greg Clinnick. Saturday saw Southerly breezes slowly build through the day from 5 – 12knots. Four races were sailed and crews relished the conditions. Sunday saw much lighter conditions throughout the day with shifty breezes. Phoenix didn’t falter and maintained their winning way. See the video link below and results here: http://www.rgyc.com.au/results/alpha1415/S38/series.htm





Sydney 38 Nationals and Sydney Yachts 2015 Regatta

The Sydney 38 Class Association and Performance Boating Sales (PBS) are delighted to announce the first all-encompassing regatta for the Sydney Yachts range, the Sydney Yachts 2015 Regatta. The event will take place at RPAYC next February the 20th to 22nd with the Sydney 38OD’s racing as a class, then 32’s, 36’s, 36CR’s, 39CR’s, 40’s, 41’s, 46’s and maybe the 60 racing under PHS. Past and present Sydney Yacht owners are being invited to attend with various models available for charter, as there are also overseas owners expected to take part.

PBS were proud to be the Australian agents for this local brand which is stating to produce new models. PBS are equally proud to be the premier sponsor of the Sydney Yachts 2015 Regatta. According to PBS records there must be something in the region of 115 yachts in Australia and the organising committee are hoping for a huge turnout. If you haven’t already registered your interest here is a 

 to the Notice of Race, or you would like more information please contact the S38 Class Association at [email protected].


Quantum Sails 2014 Victorian State Championships

In the tightest contest in the history of the championship, Challenge was ultimately crowned the winner of the 2014 Quantum Sails Sydney 38 Victorian Title hosted by Sandringham Yacht Club last weekend. There is no doubt the gap between the 9 Sydney 38 competitors has narrowed as the highlight of the series was the close racing.  There were four different heat winners with Challenge , Phoenix  and Chutzpah 38 winning two races each and Mille Sabords leading from start to finish in race 3.

After day one of racing Phoenix lead by 3 points with Chutzpah38, Playground Challenge and Clockwork all locked on 13 points . However, Challenge came out blazing on Day 2 of the regatta with two bullets to lead into the last race. A match race at the start of the final race saw Challenge get the better of Pheonix to consolidate the win.

Conditions were relatively light with winds from the south east between 8 and 15 knots throughout the weekend. However, the breeze was far from steady with pressure patches and on Saturday in particular, a right hand track favoured.

 Race 1. It was North racing team which dominated the first race. Chutzpah38 (Bruce Taylor) with North Sails Noel Drennen calling the shots, jumped out of the blocks to lead from start to finish with Playground (Andrew Robinson) ably assisted by Arron Cole also from North Sails filling in as Noel’s wingman. Clockwork (Gordon Mather and Frank McDermott) held off Challenge (Mark Bulka) by one second to finish fourth.

 Race 2.  In a close race Challenge  infringed Phoenix (Brenton & Jen Carnell) in a port and starboard incident when the crew overruled their skipper (Yes it was the crew’s call!). The resultant penalty turn enabled Phoenix to sail away to snatch a win. Third and definitely in the hunt was Clockwork.

 Race 3.  Whilst Phoenix and Challenge were playing games with each other, it was Mille Sabords ( Stephane Howarth ) who played the right side of the course to lead throughout the race for a well deserved first win in a championship regatta.  

 Race 4.  A dominate performace by Pheonix placed her ahead on points at the end of day 1,  Playground and  Chutzpah 38 also did well whilst Challenge one second behind was looking for a change of luck.

 Race 5, After some overnight soul searching it was Mark Bulka’s  brilliant pin end start that had Challenge leap ahead to win from Clockwork who did Challenge a favour by snatching second on the finish line from Pheonix.

 Race 6. A fired up Mark Bulka had Challenge at full pace off the start to have a convincing win after picking up some pressure on the left on the first beat. Sierra Chainsaw (Andrew Mollison), disappointing thus far in the regatta, sailed an excellent race to finish second ahead of Pheonix. Challenge’s luck had turned for the better as the gap had widened and Chutzpah 38 had her worst race of the regatta. No drop series certainly favour consistency!

 Race 7. It was now down to the wire with only Phoenix and Challenge, one point apart ,that had a chance to win the series. When Pheonix locked onto Challenge’s stern in the pre start, Mark Bulka muttered “bring it on” and gybed when he needed to and tacked back to the start leaving Pheonix in his wake. You might think the regatta was won at this stage but being on board Challenge this was far from the case. We lost the plot on the first run watching our nemesis and were passed by a few boats.  Our 6th place indicated the amount of distraction on the boat but Pheonix could do no better than 8th, so the title was retained for another year. 

Meanwhile, Chutzpah38 finished where she had started in race 1 with a win whilst Sierra Chainsaw were no doubt pleased to finish ahead of Playground which continues to improve with every regatta.

 Final placings were :-

 1.   Challenge (Mark Bulka ) 21 points

2.   Phoenix (Brenton &  Jen Carnell) 24 points

3.   Playground (Andrew Robinson) 26 points

4.   Chutzpah 38 (Bruce Taylor) 29 points

5.   Clockwork ( Gordon Mather & Frank McDermott)  32 points

6.   Mille Sabords ( Stephane Howarth)  40 points

7.   Sierra Chainsaw (Andrew Mollison) 43 points

8.   Audacious (Greg Clinnick & Paul Holden) 45 points

9.   38 Degrees South  (John Chatham) 55 points

 In the Corinthian division it was Phoenix 1st, Clockwork 2nd and Sierra Chainsaw 3rd.

 An enjoyable social function was held on Saturday night for competitors and the presentation held on Sunday after the racing was completed. Many thanks to our sponsors, Quantum Sails and Ronstan.

 At the presentation, Mark and his crew acknowledged the recent passing of the boat’s owner Lou Abrahams and dedicated the win to him.  Mark also commented that it was “the closest Sydney 38 regatta he had been involved in” and that “the standard of racing in the fleet had reached another level”. Furthermore, it had been “a stressful series” as a result of a poor first day on the water  and he was “very relieved” to the win. The Phoenix team in particular, need to be congratulated for frequently journeying from Geelong to seek out competition to improve their skills.  However, he was “not quite ready to pass on the batten.”  Challenge is for sale so the regatta may well be the end of an era for the crew.

 The regatta was very well managed both on and off the water by Sandringham Yacht Club and the numerous volunteer race management, jury and office officials are to be both congratulated and thanked for their effort.


Vale “Louie the Legend”

Last Thursday, 27th February, 2014, Lou Abrahams the owner Of“Challenge”, hull number 3863, passed away peacefully after a long battle with illness aged 86 years.  Lou was a passionate supporter of One Design racing and a wonderful ambassador for the Sydney 38 class. He previously owned “Another Challenge”, hull number 3817 which he sold to Chris Lewin in 2004 to race as a university team in the Sydney to Hobart yacht race that year. Lou very much supported young sailors and introduced many talented sailors particularly with dinghy backgrounds to the class, in particular Carl Schmidt and more recently Mark Bulka.

I can recall travelling to Sydney with Lou and Carl to test sail the first Sydney 38, “Asylum” on the harbor. After tacking upwind in a brisk southerly, we blasted down the harbour, passing a well known Cookson 40. Lou said “I think we should get one!” Lou loved his Sydney 38’s and particularly enjoyed his deliveries just as much as he did the racing. He sailed “Another Challenge’ to the Whitsundays on 3 occasions. A convert to 40 footers because they “fit between the waves” Lou thought theSydney 38 was strong and competitive enough to compete in seven of his forty – four Sydney to Hobart races. In 2003, “Another Challenge” was second and in 2006 “Challenge” was third overall in the IRC results.

But it was One Design racing that excited him. “No rating wars, rule changes and chasing the last second of the handicaps.” Lou loved his Sydney 38’s and the close racing saying on many occasions “how good is this!” Right up to his passing, Lou was interested in how his boat was performing and was particularly thrilled with “Challenge” winning the National Championship in 2014 sailed at Geelong. This was the fourth time his name appears on the trophy. One of the main reasons for this success was his ability to hold a strong team together. As he was on land, he was quietly spoken, but inspirational to the extent he had the respect of his crew who felt privileged to sail on his yachts. His philosophy was “No excuse to lose!” so his boats were well equipped and prepared.

After winning the 2014 series, the crew got together at Sandringham Yacht Club three weeks ago for a celebration. This was to be Lou’s last visit to the Club he loved dearly and the following picture will become a fond memory to the crew, many of whom have been sailing with Lou for 10 or more years.

Lou received many personal awards including:-

Australian Ocean Racer of the Year in 1984 and 1990

Victorian Yachtsman of the Year in 1983 and 2006

Veteran Ocean Racing of the Year in 2006

Commonwealth Medal For Services to Sailing in 2002

He also served as Commodore of the Sandringham Yacht Club and was on the Executive of the Sydney 38 Association since buying his first Sydney 38 until recently.

At the recent National Championships, it was announced that “Challenge” is now on the market so with the passing of Lou and the imminent sale of his yacht, these events will leave a large hole in the Victorian yachting scene. Lou will always be remembered as a true gentleman who was admired as much for his gentle nature as his yachting achievements. However, the legend of Lou Abrahams will be forever in our minds.

Rowan Simpson

28th February, 2014




One Design – One Passion on 16th March at SYC



Designed and built in Australia, the Sydney 38 is one of the best, most popular and cost effective one design keelboats racing nationally, particularly in Victoria.

Sydney 38, J24 State Titles 2010, SYC

The owners’ association invites sailors interested in sailing a Sydney 38 to join them at Sandringham Yacht Club for an on-board racing experience. Briefing at the SYC Auditorium @ 0900 hours and concluding at approx 1400 hours. The promotion is not only aimed at potential owners but crews as well. Some sailing experience is required but participants should find the Sydney 38 easy to sail and the racing exciting. Meet round the world sailor Jessica Watson, who skippered a Sydney 38 in the 2012 Sydney to Hobart race.

Register your interest and find out more by contacting Rowan Simpson on 0439 389 242 or email [email protected]

Non-club members can purchase a $15 club day pass on the day.



The nine race 2014 Sydney 38 Australian Championship was hosted by Royal Geelong Yacht Club as part of the Festival Of Sails between the 24th and 26th January, 2014. Whilst the series only attracted a small fleet of 9 yachts including one from NSW, the racing was of a high standard and extremely close. There were five different heat winners and whilst the final result appeared to be a comfortable win for Lou Abraham’s “Challenge” team, it was their consistency that won them the championship. Third overall after day one of racing, “Challenge” enjoyed a good second day of racing with a win, a second and a third to lead the points score into the final day. Conservative tactics on day three kept them out of trouble to increase their lead to 10 points from the fast “Phoenix” owned by Brenton and Jen Carnell sailing in their first national series. “Zen” skippered by Gordon Ketelbey, won two heats but didn’t have a good day in the lighter winds on day three to finish third overall.

Day one provided the windiest day of the regatta with a southerly reaching 23knots at times. “Zen” had a mixed day by winning the first race comfortably and was second in Race 3. A disappointing eighth in Race 2 held them back but things could have been worse! Immediately after finishing the first race ,“Zen’s” steering chain broke. (No doubt as a result of wear and tear from a successful Sydney to Hobart win in the Sydney 38 division). Fortunately, a delay between races and a general recall allowed Gordon and his team to make the necessary repairs to start in Race 2. Perhaps the breakage was on their minds in the windy conditions as an eighth did not help their point score. ‘Cinquante”, with Club Commodore Ian Murray on the helm, appeared to be a real threat but their starting tactics resulted in an OCS in Race 3. “Sierra Chainsaw” sailed by the Mollison family had the most convincing win of the series to win Race 3.

After a long day on the water, a well attended social get together was held in a local pub. It provided a great opportunity for crews to chat and discuss the day’s racing.

Whilst less windy, day two provided a very interesting days sailing. “Challenge” had a battle royal with “Phoenix” in Race 4, but after breaking a tight cover, “Challenge” was able to win back the favoured right hand side of the course to snatch an unexpected victory. The local boys sailing ‘’Cinquante” regained their composure in Race 5 to lead from start to finish. “Zen” with great height and speed covered “Challenge’s” every move to win Race 6 but with a seventh and eighth placing, she had some work to do on the final day of racing.

Day three’s light air conditions provided further challenges for crews. Flat water tempted some crews to carry medium jibs whilst others preferred their lights. Spanners were busy as crews tuned their rigs. The easterly wind direction was remarkably stable so racing was all about starting cleanly, finding a lane and sailing fast. “Playground’’ skippered by the class treasurer, Andrew Robinson, with speed and height sailed his best race of the regatta to win from ‘Clockwork” owned by Gordon Mather and Frank McDermott with “Chutzpah38” skippered by Bruce Taylor, third. All the front runners had poor results. Bruce Taylor, inspired by his performance in the previous race sailed a great race to win Race 8 from “Challenge’ and “Cinquante”. Remarkably, the top five boats finished the race within 45 seconds of each other. The “Challenge” crew was aware that to lose the regatta they had to be OCS or infringe so the tactics were to stay out of trouble. “Zen”, unfortunately fouled “Audacious” skippered by President Greg Clinnick at the start and had to exonerate herself with a turn so it was game over for the “Zen” crew. This time it was “Phoenix’s turn to get the gun followed by “Challenge” and “Clockwork” or “Playground”, depending on which boat you were on!

In summary, the racing was exceptionally close. “Challenge” won because it stayed out of trouble, had mostly good starts, the crew has sailed together for a long time and their afterguard, Chris Jackson, Mike Boswell and Peter Milne were a formidable combination. In one race a jib sheet broke. Ian Taylor and Gareth Leaumont were able to replace it with the brace and sew it back together before the top mark without losing a place. These are the little things that win regattas!

In accepting the trophy, Chris Jackson acknowledged that it was a privilege to be involved in what will be Lou’s final campaign and he felt Lou’s presence on board through crew conversations and phone calls throughout the regatta. “Challenge” is now for sale. On another nostalgic note, Mike Boswell who was the tactician on “Challenge” was on board “Another Challenge” when Lou first won a National Championship and four other members of the crew have been involved in all four of Lou’s wins at the national level.

There were other reasons for celebrations at the end of the regatta. Leith Hore, the tactician on “Clockwork ‘’ and Brianna Lynne who also sails on “Clockwork” announced their engagement .
In addition, Ken and Kate Christensen, had a baby girl , Zoe two days after the regatta concluded. Ken is the tactician on “Audacious“, otherwise known as “the Love Boat”. The Southern Chapter congratulates both couples and best wishes for the future.

Rowan Simpson
Southern Chapter.

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