by Di Pearson
Ocean Pointscore Race - Noel Cornish and his Sydney 47 St Jude were announced the provisional winners of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Sydney to Newcastle Race this evening at 7.50pm, when four boats of the original 23 starters were still at sea.
Noel Cornish’s Sydney 47 St Jude wins the Sydney-Newcastle Ocean Pointscore race - CYCA Sydney to Newcastle Race
David Forbes’ Kaiko 52 Merlin (RSYS) took second overall after being scoring line honours at 5.13.02 this afternoon, with Vamp, the Corby 49, owned by CYCA commodore Garry Linacre and past commodore David Fuller, second over the line just six seconds later.
A casual entry, Exile, a DK46 owned by Rob Reynolds (MHYC) was third overall, while the Ocean Pointscore series (OPS) leader, Julian Farren-Price, sailed his Cookson 12, About Time (CYCA) into fourth place, keeping him in the OPS lead.
Farren-Price admitted this afternoon that he and the crew were keeping a careful eye on their nemesis, Vamp, which is second in the OPS pointscore with just one race remaining.
'We didn’t know how it would turn out. We stuck to the coast. Vamp and Merlin went out to sea. Vamp was just behind us in the pointscore, and we didn’t know which of us had done the right thing tactically until now,' said Farren-Price, who is aboard his yacht heading back to Sydney 'under spinnaker in lovely conditions.'
The CYCA yachtsman can put his mind at rest. His fourth place today keeps him in the series lead under IRC, with Vamp six points behind him and today’s winner, St Jude, also from the CYCA, three and a half points behind Vamp in third place.
Describing conditions, Farren-Price said: 'We had a beautiful north-wester and nice flat seas. It got up to 30 knots at some stages and was stinking hot at times. A nice nor’ easter came when we were off Lake Macquarie and cooled us down a bit. It was a really lovely race; lots of reaching.'
Having recently won the Pittwater-Coffs Harbour race and its associated series in January, for a second year running, Farren-Price is pleased to be in a good position to take out the OPS series. 'My boat is like a fine wine – it just gets better with age,' the jeweller said.
In the PHS division, St Jude has come up trumps again, from a casual entry and the lone Newcastle boat in the race, Marta Jean, Steve Rae’s J22 from the finishing club, the Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club. Into the Mystic, Jon Ross’ Hanse 430 from the CYCA, finished just before 7.30pm, skating home just in time to claim third place overall.
With four yachts still at sea at 8.00pm the PHS pointscore hangs in the balance. Great Xpectations, Mortgage Choice Rumba, Quetzalcoatl and Stormy Petrel are expected into Newcastle by 10.00pm.
The Lion Island Race is the last of the OPS series and will be held on March 19.
Full results are available here