Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Ocean Pointscore Series (OPS) penultimate race was held today. Julian Farren-Price has secured a hat-trick of season wins in the OPS after his Cookson 12, About Time, was declared the overall winner of the Sydney Newcastle Race.
Julian Farren-Price claims his third Ocean Pointscore Series win - Ocean Pointscore Series 2013 - Sydney Newcastle Race
With only one race remaining to complete the series, Farren-Price’s fourth win from the eight races sailed, makes him the provisional series winner. The Sydney jeweller and CYCA member will retain the OPS title he has won for the last two seasons, decided under the IRC rule. He is also in prime position for the ORCi division series win.
'It’s absolutely fantastic! I’m very happy,' Farren Price said this evening after being informed of his race and series win.
'It’s disappointing that Balance didn’t race today. I’ve been looking forward to racing them as they were second on the leaderboard - they virtually handed us the trophy.'
Describing the race as one of two halves, Farren-Price said 'We started under spinnaker from the start. There were three boats that got a really good start: us, AFR Midnight Rambler and Merlin. We were able to put a break on the fleet.
'We were level with AFR when the breeze was right up behind us, which suits our spinnaker pole set-up; and then when the breeze swung more to the east AFR just took off. The finish couldn’t come quick enough for me,' he laughed.
'It gives the crew a smile when we beat Ed (Psaltis) on time even after all these years that we’ve been dueling with him.'
AFR Midnight Rambler (Ed Psaltis, Bob Thomas and Michael Bencsik’s Ker 40) finished second overall to About Time and also placed second in ORCi.
The 63 nautical race to Newcastle, the longest in the OPS, was sailed in a moderate south to south east breeze, that gave the 18 yacht fleet a kite ride all the way up the Coast.
Merlin secured the line honours win today - Ocean Pointscore Series 2013 - Sydney Newcastle Race
Merlin, David Forbes’ Kaiko 52, was first over the line at 17.32.20, in the time of 8hrs 32min 20sec, outside the record time of 5h 26m 15s set by CYCA member Dick Cawse in 2006 with Vanguard. AFR Midnight Rambler was not far behind crossing the line at 17.45.48, 13 minutes and 28 seconds behind.
At the 1635hr radio position sked, Merlin was leading the fleet with approximately seven nautical miles to reach the finish line; AFR Midnight Rambler (Ed Psaltis, Bob Thomas and Michael Bencsik’s Ker 40) was snapping at her heels just two nautical miles behind. Aboard the finishing boat Winifred, moored in the vicinity of Stockton Wharf, Jan Howard reported a nice 12-15 knot sou’eastly breeze.
A pack of five yachts that included Never A Dull Moment (Colin and Denise Wilson), Samarkand (Walter Carpenter), Minerva (Tim Cox), St Jude (Noel Cornish) and Flying Cloud (Howard Piggott) were a further three nautical miles behind. Kaliber (Rob Hoile) was at the tail-end of the fleet, just off Terrigal.
'It was a very easy race,' David Forbes said happily this afternoon. 'No-one got wet, everyone’s happy and the conditions were very enjoyable.
'It was light running at the start with lots of gybing. Once we got into the sou’easterly breeze it was 10-12 knots all the way. We had a tight reach into the finish and it’s the closest we’ve been to AFR all season.
'AFR is like a little sled. We can’t beat them in downwind running – they’re five tonnes lighter and they just get up and plane,' Forbes added. Merlin placed third overall behind About Time and AFR Midnight Rambler.
Into the Mystic was the last boat to finish - Ocean Pointscore Series 2013 - Sydney Newcastle Race
Arthur Psaltis and Jon Ross’ Hanse 430e Into the Mystic was the last boat home at 19:51:06, finishing fourth in PHS. There were no retirements. Marta Jean, Steve Rae’s J122 from the Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club, the race finishing club, took PHS honours from Quetzalcoatl (Antony Sweetapple) and Samarkand.
The eighth race of the Ocean Point Score started on time at 9.00am this morning in a 4-6 knot westerly. 'It was slow going out of the Harbour – just as the fleet got passed Bradleys Head, there was a lee in the wind,' Principal Race Officer Denis Thompson said after the start.
'As they approached Middle Head the breeze filled in a little more and as the boats made their way out of the Heads, they transitioned into the southerly.
Shortly after 1pm, Thompson reported: 'We’ve just put down anchor just off Palm Beach, ready for the Short Haul fleet to finish. It’s turned out to be a beautiful day – lots of sunshine with a light southerly breeze. Flying Cloud, CYCA Commodore Howard Piggott’s Beneteau First 40, had just passed Terrigal.
The Grant Thornton Short Haul race to Pittwater started two hours after the OPS fleet, in 6 knots of southerly breeze and heavy summer downpour. Jon Short and Miles Bastick’s Farr 34 MRX took IRC honours with Paul O’Connell’s 33 year old Cole 35 Katinka, named the PHS Division winner. Eight seconds separated Quatre Quart (Rob and Sue Segaert’s Beneteau 44.7) and Elusive (Paul Billingham and Pete McGee’s Bavaria 42 Match) on line with the former claiming the line honours win and bragging rights at dinner this evening. The fleet will race home to Sydney tomorrow commencing at 1100hours.
The final race of the Ocean Pointscore Series is the Lion Island Race, starting on Sydney Harbour at 10.00am on 16 March.
For full race results and provisional Ocean Pointscore Series standings log on to the CYCA website.