With the 2011 Sydney 38 National Championship scheduled to be held at Geelong in January next year, last weekend's Morris Finance regatta provided an ideal opportunity for the Victorian Sydney 38 fleet to not only gain local knowledge, but to hone their racing skills. Seven Sydney 38's competed.
Lou Abrahams & the Challenge afterguard
Racing was close with no single boat dominating. Consistency was the key factor that won the series for Lou Abrahams and his 'Challenge' crew, winning four of the nine race series held over two days. Mark Bulka, taking a break from sailing his Etchell, helmed 'Challenge' in his first Sydney 38 regatta. The final series points did not reflect the closeness of the racing with seconds often separating the finishing order. The racing was exciting with mark rounding particularly testing.
Conditions on day 1 of racing were predominately westerly wind with an inconsistent wind pattern. The wind strength ranged from 10 to 20 knots which tested both tacticians and trimmers. The flat water of Corio Bay meant that boat speed, positioning and crew work were key elements for success. The boat of the day was 'Clockwock' (Gordon Mather and Frank McDermott) sporting a new set of Quantum sails. With the sail maker, David Eickmeyer calling the shots, 'Clockwork' was fast and sailed well to win three races.
'Chainsaw' (Andrew Mollison) and Audacious (Greg Clinnick & Paul Holden) were also on the pace. To cape off a great day's racing, crews enjoyed a barbecue at the yacht on Saturday night.
On Sunday the wind had moderated but the racing no less competitive. Overnight, 'Cinquinte' (Ian Murray) reorganized her crew and came out fighting. Using his local knowledge , tactician Tony Bull favoured the left side of the course each race which paid off handsomely with two wins and a second. Another big improver was 'Adrenalin' (Andrew Molnar and Ian Beer) , which won a race and finished a second in another, three seconds off the pace. A massive wind shift to the south in race eight reinforced the challenges of racing on Corio Bay.
The Southern Chapter also welcomed the first Sydney 38 female owner, Stephane Howarth sailing 'Mille Sabords' in her first Sydney 38 regatta. Stephane commented she was on a steep learning curve but enjoyed the experience.
Royal Geelong Yacht Club are to be congratulated for hosting a great series both on and off the water and are keen to host a successful championship venue in January. Competition within the Southern Chapter fleet is fierce and whilst 'Challenge' won the series, the fleet is very competitive and looking forward to success at the Nationals.
The Southern Chapter is extremely grateful to the on going sponsorship of Ian Murray and his company Morris Finance. The Pre Season Regatta is now firmly entrenched in the calendar as a regatta not to be missed.
Final Results Of 2010 Morris Finance Sydney 38 Pre Seasons Regatta:-
1- Challenge - Lou Abrahams 18 Points
2- Clockwork - Gordon Mather and Frank McDermott 22 Points
3- Chainsaw - Andrew Mollison 25 Points
4- Audacious - Greg Clinnick and Paul Holden 28 Points
5- Adrenalin - Ian Beer and Andrew Molnar 32 Points
6- Cinquinte - Ian Murray 34 Points
7- Mille Sabords - Stephane Howarth 54 Points