The Victorian Sydney 38 fleet enjoyed another great day of One Design racing at Royal Brighton Yacht Club last Saturday in the third day of the five day Ullman series.
The forecast of freshening southerly winds proved accurate as the 10 knots at the start of the first of race increased to the forecast 20 knots for the start of Race 3 gusting to 25 knots by the end of racing. This gave competitors a good work out of their sail inventory, leeward mark catastrophes and some hairy down wind rides. 'Challenge' recorded both a very near 'Chinese gybe' at one stage with the boom vertical and baring her bottom after surfing down one wave at 16 knots!
Five Sydney 38's faced the starter at 1300 for the first start. '38 South' with John Chatham at the helm gave his new crew a taste of victory by getting away to a great start and showing great speed. However, it was 'Challenge' (Lou Abrahams) which was first to the top mark closely followed by 'Sierra Chainsaw' (Andrew Mollison). Positions did not change on the run but on the next beat 'Audacious' (Greg Clinnick) sailing well, split with the fleet and 'Challenge' sailing the middle course, was caught out by a wind shift, allowing 'Sierra Chainsaw' to gain the lead for the run to the finish. 'Sierra Chainsaw' stretched that lead to win from 'Challenge' followed by 'Audacious'.
Race 2 started with 'Challenge' the only yacht on time for the start and led from start to finish recording a comfortable win after changing to a heavy headsail. 'Sierra Chainsaw' finished second with 'Audacious' again third.
For the start of Race 3, most competitors had changed to their number 4 headsail but 'Challenge' opted to keep her heavy number 1 and practice de powering techniques. With 'holes' in the wind and lots of twist in her sails , her crew felt comfortable with the rig and won without any real threat. However, it was at the leeward mark where all the action occurred. With the wind exceeding 20 knots, crews were being tested.
'Challenge' was lucky to recover from a jib wrapped around the forestay, 'Audacious' 'trawled' her spinnaker and '38 South' simply decided to avoid the carnage and kept sailing north. 'Sierra Chainsaw' survived to finish a good day with another second place whilst 'Orange' (Frank Mc Dermott) sailing conservatively and handling the conditions well finishing third.
With 10 boats entered for next week's Audi Geelong week, the Victoria Sydney 38 fleet is in good shape and we are looking forward to exciting One Design racing on Corio Bay.