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A light on the horizon - 2021 Sydney Short Ocean Racing Championship

by Middle Harbour Yacht Club 18 Sep 2021 01:54 PDT
Stormaway at the Sydney Short Ocean Racing Championship Race 1 Start © Marg Fraser-Martin

Sydney sailors are anxiously awaiting news of Sydney's lockdown coming to an end. After an enforced four-month hiatus from yacht racing, there is now a light on the horizon.

Middle Harbour Yacht Club has announced the first major keelboat regatta for the season - the Sydney Short Ocean Racing Championship (SSORC) on 27 and 28 November.

This will be the 44th running of the event which each year attracts Sydney's best IRC racing yachts. Results are calculated on IRC, ORC and PHS handicaps, with the addition of TPR for the TP52 fleet.

In 2021, the Sydney 38 Class are looking to kick their season off with a strong fleet at SSORC.

David Hudson and Peter Byford's Conspiracy from RPAYC is the 2020 Australian Champion and won the Sydney 38 division of Sydney Harbour Regatta last year. Chris Heraghty's Risk, Lisa Callaghan's Mondo, Mike Logan's Thirlmere, Phil Herscovics' Shine On and Peter Sorensen's Advanced Philosophy are among the crews that would like to end Conspiracy's dominance.

Unable to compete last year, MHYC's Bob Cox is looking forward to the Division 1 IRC racing with his DK46 Nine Dragons.

"We have a tremendous group of people that contest the SSORC and Sydney Harbour Regatta each year," said Cox.

"Soozal and Bushranger from Pittwater are quick and really challenge the Harbour boats like Nine Dragons, Khaleesi and Victoire. Great racing offshore and getting together back at the club makes for very enjoyable regatta," he said.

In 2020, Kieran Mulcahy's Soozal took the regatta win from Bushranger (Gerry Hatton), with the other MHYC DK46 Khaleesi (Rob Aldis & Sandy Farquharson) finishing third. In 2019, Darryl Hodgkinson's Carkeek 40 Victoire was fighting it out with Bushranger and Nine Dragons, with Bushranger coming out on top.

IRC Division 2 also provides some keen competition, with Jack Stening and Colin Gunn's Sydney 36 Stormaway always on the podium. In 2020, Stormaway won the division ahead of Mark Hellyer's Italia 11.98 Cicero from RPAYC and Michael Rowe's Corum, the Mumm 36 from Manly.

The TP52s are also looking to get their crews back into competitive form after an inactive winter and spring. Gordon Ketelbey's Zen took the win at last year's SSORC from Andy Kearnan's Koa and Sebastian Bohm's Smuggler. For these crews in particular, it is a perfect start to preparations for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

The SSORC is held in conjunction with a Cruising Yacht Club of Australia Ocean Pointscore race on the Saturday - either to Lion Island or Cape Baily. CYCA support race management for the event with the coastal passage race followed by three windward-leeward races offshore on the Sunday. Principal Race Officer for the event is Denis Thompson.

On the Saturday of the SSORC, the popular Seven Islands Race is also held for mixed keelboats with a novel course around the harbour islands east and west of the Harbour Bridge.

The Sydney Short Ocean Racing Championship Notice of Race is now published and online entry will soon open.

For all information, including the Notice of Race and Online Entry, visit

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