Very little will be separating the 15 Sydney 38s contesting the Australian Championship commencing on Australia Day. It will be extremely tight racing amongst this one-design class, where crew work is tested and tactics vital in an effort to maximise boat speed to gain an advantage over the competition.
Class president, Mark Griffith’s ‘Old School’ team comes into the nationals as the boat to beat having won their last four regattas including the NSW state titles and IRC overall in the recent Pittwater & Coffs Harbour regatta. However, Mark is under no illusions that they will have it all their own way. 'It’s great to see a Nationals fleet of over 15 boats. The margin between rooster and feather duster in One Design racing is very small, so we can’t be complacent, we have done a lot of preparation and I have a strong crew right across the boat which hopefully will give us the edge we need to come out on top,' commented Griffith.
The Sydney 38 class national champion honour roll includes some of Australia’s best yachtsmen like living legend Lou Abrahams, World Etchells champion Cameron Miles, and Martin Hill and Guido Belgiorno-Nettis who have gone onto prominent success in Farr 40’s, including Guido’s World title in 2011.
With a large portion of the Sydney 38 fleet having migrated to Melbourne and Adelaide, it’s a big commitment to bring a boat to Sydney so it is good to see two Victorian crews competing including long term class member and past national champion Lou Abrahams and Audacious skippered by Clinnick and Holden from RBYC.
The first race of this Grade 1 regatta is scheduled to kick off at 1100hrs on the Palm Beach Circle, off Barrenjoey in Sydney’s North with the fleet set to contest up to twelve windward/leeward races over three days to decide the National Champion. All will be under the watchful eye of RO Ted Anderson and his race management team.
Defending champion, ‘The Goat’, skippered by Bruce Foye and Tony Clift from the CYCA dominated last time with four heat wins to beat MHYC’s Gordon Ketelby’s ‘Zen with Lou Abrahams ‘The Next Challenge’ finishing third on a count back. Foye is keen to defend his title he so boldly won last year when the event was held in Geelong as part of Audi Victoria Week.
There are also a number of other boats in contention for the 2012 title including Geoff Bonus’ Calibre, Martin & Anna Cross’ Risk, Bruce Ferguson’s Whisper and Ketelby’s Zen all having shown great form at the recent NSW state titles. Lou Abrahams team from Victoria on The Next Challenge can’t be discounted nor some of the other crews that could find form at the right time.
Crew weigh-in and registration will take place today at the host club the RPAYC before racing commences tomorrow with four races scheduled.
The BOM and predictwind.com are predicting Northeasterly 10 to 15 knots tending easterly during the afternoon.
Provisional List of Entries contesting the 2012 Sydney 38 Australian Championship:
Old School crew hiking on their way to winning the recent Pittwater & Coffs Harbour Regatta Sydney 38OD Australian Championship 2012 - Damian Devine Click Here to view large photo
Vessel Owner Club
Old School Mark Griffith RPAYC
The Next Challenge Lou Abrahams
Conspiracy Hudson/ Byford RPAYC
Whisper Bruce Ferguson RPAYC
Outlaw Alan & Thomas Quick CYCA
Risk Martin & Anna Cross RPAYC
Audacious Clinnick/Holden RBYC
The Goat Bruce Foye & Tony Clift CYCA
Rush Neil Sutton DSC
Eleni Tony Levett MHYC
Thirlmere Sally Warneford
The Bolter Rick Welch RPAYC
Eye Candy Ward/Dawson RPAYC
Zen Gordon Ketelby MHYC
Calibre Geoff Bonus CYCA
The event is being hosted by the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club.