Festival of Sails 2014 - Malice steels to defeat the unbeaten

Festival of Sails 2014
Teri Dodds
In the Festival of Sails 2014 a ‘get out of jail free card’ has been credited for saving the multihull champion Malice from a race defeat that would have proven terminal to any regatta winning hopes.

Mal Richardson’s Nacra 36 Malice from Port Douglas won the Fuso Trucks Multihull Series by just two points over rival Morticia, a Sea Cart 30 skippered by Chris Williams from Sydney’s Northern Beaches.

The same margin separated the pair going into the last hit-out of the seven race series at twilight on Sunday, and tensions were high.

Richardson said he thought all was lost when Malice parked-up in a lull just metres from the finish line as Morticia led the fleet on a wind-fuelled charge to the finish.

'There was some sweat on the forehead, I don’t think I’ve any nerves left,' Richardson said. 'Thankfully we managed to steel ourselves and we won.'

It was far from a perfect performance for the Malice crew, who began the series by starting incorrectly not just once, but twice in the regatta’s spectacular Melbourne to Geelong passage race on Friday.

The crew regrouped to finish second, but again found themselves in strife with race marks on Saturday, 25th January. At this point the team’s tale of success could have been one of woe.

Richardson rounded the first mark of the 18 nautical mile race on Saturday the wrong way and was disqualified. The crew contested the result with race officials and had a two minute penalty awarded.

'Although it really could have gone either way, in a way it was our get out of jail free card.'

It was a tough result for the Morticia crew to swallow, and one they tried to wash down with a few beers at the end of the series that marked their first ever loss since the racy black trimaran was launched a year ago
.
'That’s yachting, you have to roll with the punches,' Williams said. 'But we don’t go yachting to come second.'

For now it’s back to the drawing board for the Morticia crew with the multihull nationals to be contested in Adelaide in three weeks, their third road trip having contested the Club Marine Pittwater to Coffs event earlier this month then Festival of Sails.

Scissors and sewing machines will be taken to every sail in the crew’s artillery in a bid to reduce the boat’s rating
while trying to ensure not too much speed is lost.

'We’ve got a lot of number crunching and work ahead of us,' Williams said. 'We knew we’d have heavy winds here so we sailed with five crew instead of four and changed the rig to suit. Adelaide will be heavy too, but something’s got to give, we don’t like this losing caper.'

Shaun Fishley’s Corsair F 31 Frassld rounded out the podium finishes on 18 points, just one point clear of Michael Du Vallon’s Pescott Whitehaven 10.7 Patronus in fourth place.

Full results: click here

Event website: click here
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