2011 MORRIS FINANCE SYDNEY 38 PRE SEASON ONE DESIGN REGATTA
The traditional season opener for the Victorian Sydney 38 One Design fleet was sailed on Corio Bay last weekend. Hosted by the Royal Geelong Yacht Club and sponsored by Morris Finance, the regatta provided the opportunity for crews to shake off the cobwebs and practice their skills before the summer season officially gets under way in the first week of October. The Royal Geelong Yacht Club was very welcoming and made its facilities available throughout the weekend for crews to feel at home and organized a barbeque on Saturday night for crews and families to socialize. The Marina Management organizes berths for visiting yachts and the Club provides a competent Race Management team to ensure the racing is well run.
Seven Sydney 38’s competed in conditions that tested both their patience and skills. Four races were completed on Saturday and three on Sunday. The weather ranged from light and variable on Saturday morning to gusty north westerly to 22 knots on Saturday afternoon. With little wind forecast, Sunday’s conditions actually provided the best conditions with the wind building to 12 knots before fading to less than 8 knots in the afternoon. Racing was close with 4 different heat winners. Finishes were close with the local boat “Cinquante” leading the point score at the conclusion of day 1 of racing followed by ‘Audacious’ 5 points separated the top 5 boats. However, with three wins, consistency saw “Challenge” top the point score at the end of the regatta. At the presentation, Mark Bulka, the helmsman on “Challenge”, congratulated the other competitors on their performances, indicating he felt the standard of racing had improved and suggesting winning the regatta had not been easy.
Race One :- With a very unstable air mass over Corio Bay, it was anyone’s guess where the wind was going to blow from. However, it was “Cinquante” who eventually picked up the north westerly to hold off a fast finishing “Audacious”. The boats on the right were clear winners on the run to the finish leaving “Challenge” and “38 Degees South” wallowing in the centre of the course.
Race Two :- After relocating the start, “Sierra Chainsaw” showed form to lead from “Challenge” in a two boat race sailed in 15 knots of breeze. However, a jibe set at the last mark saw “Challenge” grab the lead and lay the finish without gybing to win the heat.
Race Three :- This race was shortened to one lap after the wind changed direction yet again. Jibs replaced spinnakers on the run to the first. It was with some relief for the “Audacious” crew that they were able to find the new breeze to hold off “Cinquinte” and “Challenge” who both threatened to take the lead. It was quite a sight to see “Clockwork” with her orange spinnaker under full power further to the east charging, when those ahead were almost becalmed. However, such were the vagaries of the conditions that anything could have occurred.
Race Four :- After another course change, it was “Challenge” very close to being a premature starter, whotacked to port at the start, cleared her air and picked up a right hand shift to lead from “Cinquante” after the first lap. She was able to extend the lead at the finish to win comfortably to complete the days racing. “Audacious” sailed well to recover from being OCS at the start of the race. to finish fourth.
Race Five.:- Day two of racing began with a building wind from the south east of about 8 knots. “Clockwork” and “Challenge” enjoyed a close race with “Clockwork” leading to the top mark. The left side of the course was favoured at this stage. “Cinquante” made it clear of her preference and “Challenge” followed suite. She was able to gain the ascendency over “Clockwork” by going left and held her lead to the finish.
Race Six :- In one of the closest finishes of the series, “Clockwork” crossed the finish a mere metre in front of “Cinquante” to win the race in a dying wind. “Sierra Chasinsaw” dropped out of contention by going right on the run. For those “on the ball” that was an indicator for the final race. of the day.
Race Seven :- After a very congested start, “Cinquante”, the main threat to “Challenge”got away well and chose the left side of the course. “Challenge” started slowly, saw “Mille Starbords “ sailing well on the right, tacked into a knock and thereafter forced “Cinquante” further to the left. “Audacious” sailing her own race was always a threat and protected the right side of the course to take out a well deserved win to complete the series on a high note. “Cinquante” fell back through out the race to allow “Challenge” a series win by the slender margin of 2 points.
1. Challenge Lou Abrahams 12 Points
2. Cinquante Ian Murray 14 Points
3. Audacious Greg Clinnick 15 Points
4. Sierra Chainsaw Mel Morrison 18 Points
5. Clockwork Gordon Mather 23 Points
6. Mille Sabords Stephane Howarth 33 Points
7. 38 Degrees South John Chatham 36 Points
The Corinthian Trophy (No professionals) was won by Audacious with Sierra Chainsaw and Mille Sabords second and third.
With the addition of another Sydney 38 to the fleet,(“Playground” Andrew Robinson) there are now 11 Sydney 38’s on the bay. If the racing on the weekend was any indication of what lies ahead, the fleet can look forward to a great summer of racing! Many thanks on behalf of the Sydney 38 Southern chapter to Ian Murray of Morris Finance and the Royal Geelong Yacht Club for hosting a very successful weekend of racing.