In the Sydney Short Ocean Racing Championship, the winners were decided with one final race at Middle Harbour Yacht Club today, when the foretold weather did not play ball, forcing Principal Race Officer, Denis Thompson, and his race crews to wait for the north-easterly wind to fill in.
Instead of the proposed 11.00am start on Sydney Harbour, the time ticked away till shortly after 11.30am, when Thompson, after keeping competitors informed, sent the yachts off by division and class, with the larger Division 1 boats starting first, until finally the PHS class got on its way. When the breeze dwindled later, Thompson was unable to get the planned Race 3 away.
Victorian Rob Hanna made the best of the situation, and like yesterday, was so far ahead of his contemporaries in the light airs. The breeze flicked between north-east to east-north-east and lightened as the race and day went by, Hanna’s TP52, Shogun V, revelling in what it was provided to take the gun and the series.
Paul Clitheroe’s Beneteau 45, Balance won Race 2 overall though, to claim second place overall for the series. Local boat, Bob Cox’s DK46, Nine Dragons, was third overall.
'It’s a shame we couldn’t get the last race in, but it was on four knots in the end, so it was a good call by the PRO to call it a day,' Clitheroe said.
'The start was a bit of a fiasco,' he said, referring to boats being OCS in all but the PHS class, the lure of the outgoing tide being a major factor. Victoire (Darryl Hodgkinson’s Beneteau 45) and Toybox 2 (Ian Box’s new XP44) were pushed over early, not by the tide, but by Zen, a Sydney 38 in a hurry, but everyone cooperated and we benefitted from that.
'We were surprised to find ourselves in such a good position and because the weather was similar to that of yesterday, when we had a shocker, we decided to go offshore this time – and it paid. We stuck to our guns and it worked.'
Clitheroe told of almost crossing tacks with Shogun V, which was at its best in the light winds. 'She crossed only about 200 metres in front of us a fair way up the first work – to see a TP that close without binoculars in miraculous! We thought it was great, we cheered really loud,' he said laughing.
‘Middle Harbour Yacht Club did a great job and put on a fantastic regatta for us. Some of the crew will be over to join in the celebrations when we’ve put the boat to bed,' he ended.
Chris Heraghty and his Mumm 36 modified, Outlandish, won Race 2 in Division 2, today, but it was Cruising Yacht Club of Australia Commodore, Howard Piggott, who took out the series with a third place to also win the inaugural Beneteau F40 Championship with his Flying Cloud.
Queenslander, Robbo Robertson (Lunchtime Legend), finished the race second, for third overall in the series and second in the Beneteau Championship, while Philip Dash (Justadash) took third in the Beneteau Championship.
Division 3 was a hard fought affair and was won by Roger Hickman and his veteran Farr 43, Wild Rose. The 1993 Rolex Sydney Hobart winner taking second place to fellow CYCA entry, L’Altra Donna (Warren Miller) in Race 2, enough to give him the series, with Miller’s Summit 35 second overall and Steve Hatch and his Sydney 36cr third overall for the series.
'We loved the regatta – it’s great to be back at Middle Harbour Yacht Club,' Roger Hickman said after racing finished. 'Today was difficult for tactics and difficult for race management.'
Of their efforts to win the SSORC with an older boat or ‘the old girl’, as Hickman calls her, he said: 'We can’t point as high as the newer boats, so we have to sail more defensively. It’s been a while since we sailed a lot of regattas, and this was our first; we plan to go on tour again,' he said. 'This regatta provided us with the opportunity of brushing up on sailing around the cans again.'
Looking good early on in the race, Nigel Smyth’s Mat 1010, Tomato, successfully used a match racing style slam dunk on Peter Sorensen’s Sydney 36cr, The Philosopher’s Club, just off Sydney Heads, forcing the latter to the western shore, where he shaved North Head and reached the top mark before his adversary.
The race took the entire fleet from the Harbour out to a laid mark out to sea off North Head and back down; a long windward/leeward return.
Bruce Ferguson from Pittwater made the best of the day, adding a further win to his win of yesterday to take out the Sydney 38 division from Geoff Bonus/Richard Williams’ Calibre and Bruce Foye and partners’ The Goat.
And while it was Leslie Green’s new Mc38, Ginger, that shot off like a bullet out of a gun in the PHS to take line honours and the race overall, the limelight was ironically stolen by Alan Husband’s Limelight, which won the series from Mortgage Choice Rumba, Robert Carr’s Northshore 370 and Ginger third.
Denis Thompson described the day: 'There wasn’t much you could do. To get them (the fleet) away wasn’t a bad thing, but the breeze didn’t fill in as much as we expected. Going out to sea paid today. The breeze oscillated from 035 degrees to 040,' he said.
The PRO was just as frustrated as the yachties when conditions frustrated all. 'We had to wait and see if the breeze filled in – so we waited, but then the wind collapsed and was waffling all over the place,' he said.
All top three placegetters for the Sydney Short Ocean Racing Championship will receive trophies and gift vouchers from Helly Hansen, a leading water sports and technical apparel supplier, and Sydney City Marine at Rozelle, one of the most accessible places to take large and small power and sailing boats for repairs, refits and antifouling.
One lucky winner, drawn from the top three in each division, will also go into the draw to win a stylish fine time piece from Bausele later this evening.
Sydney Short Ocean Racing Championship website
by Di Pearson
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3:44 PM Sun 25 Nov 2012GMT
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