At the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia's Trophy Series - One Design, sailed on Manly Circle, Mark Griffiths, his tactician Steve McConaghy and crew aboard Old School proved a magic potion on the race track again, adding a further four wins to their almost perfect tally in the Sydney 38 class.
Going into the final day tomorrow, Old School has an unassailable lead of 14 points, having won six out of seven races, and finishing second in the other.
'We’re the longest serving crew on the scene,' was McConaghy’s explanation. 'We got good clean starts, so had room to move. Griffo steered really well and there were no mistakes from the crew – we just put the bow down and sailed,' he said.
Old School’s nearest rival remains fellow Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club member, Whisper, owned by Bruce Ferguson, whose 2-3-3-4 were not enough to put even a small dent in Griffith’s score. CYCA entry, Outlaw, co-owned by brothers Alan and Tom Quick, had a good day; a third coupled with a trio of second places lifted them into third place overall.
The Sydney 38’s have more at stake than the CYCA Trophy; the event is also doubling as the NSW Championship. Furthermore, Calibre (Geoff Bonus/Richard Williams) and The Goat (Bruce Foye) are sailing for selection to the CYCA’s team to represent at the New York Yacht Club Invitational in 2013.
As of this afternoon, Calibre leads the charge, just one point ahead of The Goat. Foye said the racing has been close across the fleet, sometimes not even a boat length between the fleet, meaning he will have to work extra hard tomorrow.
'All the speeds are similar, it’s just the little things,' Foye explained. 'We were down one crew today and I think Calibre was down two. We’ve got a new main and we’re still learning how to trim it,' he said.
'It was pretty good sailing today - downwind finishes and we came home in the last one in 20 knots downwind – you can’t beat that,' he said.
Aboard Zen, all was not roses in the final race of the day, when Gordon Ketelbey lost a crew member overboard on the first leg, quickly dropping sail and recovering the crew, but pulled out of the race.
The racing was just as close and exciting in the Farr 40’s, where Lang Walker has managed to keep Kokomo just one point ahead of Transfusion, following four races. Kokomo won Race 4, then trotted out three second places. Transfusion, with Guido Belgiorno-Nettis at the helm, did the reverse – starting out with a second place and then reeled off three wins.
Lang Walker commented after racing: 'We started out in 5-6 knots, but the nor’ easter increased during the day. It was up to 22 knots by the third race – a typical nor’ easter – nice and consistent. It was good downwind sailing,' he said.
'We couldn’t get through Transfusion after we had a couple of bad starts (Races 6 and 7), but our crew work was good and we got up to the lead boats again,' Walker conceded.
On what they need to do tomorrow to win the CYCA Trophy, Walker smiled and said: 'We’ll have to sharpen our starts, particularly my steering.'
Jeff Carter’s Edake from Middle Harbour Yacht Club has taken over third place overall from fellow club members Martin and Lisa Hill on Estate Master. Carter trotted out 3-4-3-3 results, while the Hills started with a fifth and then moved up with a third and a pair of fourths – not even the talent of Gordon Maguire able to lift Estate Master up to a win.
Lambourdini’s tactician, Michael O’Brien, said that although the Queensland crew was running last, unable to recapture their form of yesterday when they finished second in Race 2, the racing was a lot closer than the scoreboard indicated. 'At one stage there were five boats between the windward and hitch marks, all overlapping each other. We were in amongst it, don’t you worry,' he said.
'We made a couple of mistakes and we weren’t fast enough at times, but we’re learning lots getting practice against the Sydney fleet,' O’Brien said.
Initially, CYCA Principal Race Officer Denis Thompson delayed while he waited for the breeze to fill in. Eventually, a light 5-6 knot breeze came in from just east of north and racing got underway at approximately 11.20am on the Manly Circle course area.
'A beautiful day on the water – just wish there was more breeze,' was Thompson’s summation of the morning breeze.
Thompson pushed four races through today, as a big southerly front has been predicted to come through tomorrow, which he is concerned about.
New Farr 40 president, Belgiorno-Nettis told of big plans for the class during the summer season. 'It started in October in Queensland, then from here we go to Bellerive in Tasmania, where we expect up to 10 on the start line, which will be terrific,' he said. In mid-February, the boats will be back in Sydney for the NSW Championship and the Nationals, making the class enticing with so many different venues.
Racing continues tomorrow from 11:00am, weather permitting.
For daily results log, click here
by Di Pearson
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2:00 PM Sat 8 Dec 2012GMT
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