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Competitors hot to topple Sydney 38 One-Design NSW champion

by Di Pearson/Sydney 38 media 26 Feb 17:40 PST 2-3 March 2024
Close encounters at the 2023 Sydney 38 Championship at SHR © Andrea Francolini

The largest fleet in years will face starters orders when the 2024 Sydney 38 One-Design NSW Championship kicks off at the Nautilus Marine Insurance Sydney Harbour Regatta this coming weekend when hungry crews will be out to topple recurring champion, Conspiracy, owned by David Hudson and Peter Byford.

Although some have come close in recent years, Hudson and Byford continue to deliver that something extra, doing so again at the last Championship at Middle Harbour Yacht Club's Sydney Harbour Regatta in 2023, when it looked likely Peter Sorensen's Advanced Philosophy had the game stitched up - until the final race.

Improving regulars and new players alike are ready for the challenge ahead and all know what they have to do and who they have to overcome...

Lisa Callaghan, co-owner of Mondo and Sydney 38 Class Association Treasurer, is among the experienced. Mondo's skipper faced one of her toughest challenges in the 2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart. She and co-owner, Stephen Teudt, sailed Mondo to a good 25th overall in some of the most difficult and trying race conditions since 2004.

The pair arrived in Hobart after racing 628 nautical miles feeling a sense of achievement and renewed vigour.

"Coming back from doing so well in the Sydney-Hobart, I'm now quite excited to do the one-design thing again. Most of Mondo's Hobart crew are doing the States with me," said Callaghan, President of Manly Yacht Club where Teudt is Commodore.

"I'm also really excited to see nearly double the fleet and a rise in newer people in the class. It was good to see Avalon do so well at the Pittwater Regatta. They beat Conspiracy. I think the competition will be closer than ever before at the States - and I will be excited to see a new champion!"

Callaghan reasons, "Owners have put a lot of effort put into building up their crews and improving speed and crew work. The States will give especially the newer people to the class a good experience competing against the other Sydney 38s.

She also concedes, "Mondo competes at its best and her crew learn the most competing against the other 38s. It's a great learning opportunity and experience no matter how everyone finishes up."

As the yachtswoman pointed out, the Sydney 38s are spread out at different clubs, so don't race each other as a fleet, only sailing together at one-design events. "There are no more excuses, as the boats are the same, so it really gets down to the detail."

This will be a first opportunity for most to race against those new to one-design racing as a class, so it's difficult to pinpoint who the likely challengers to the main protagonists; reigning champion, Conspiracy (RPAYC) and Advanced Philosophy (MHYC).

"They are the ones to beat," Callaghan confirms. "I think Avalon (RPAYC) and Challenge (Greg Croak - who finished third in 2023), will be right at the very top though."

Geoff Ford, owner of Avalon, finished fifth at the Pittwater Regatta earlier this month, but has been otherwise unheard of at major events.

"I've been racing the boat for six years, but lurking in the backwaters of Balmain, although occasionally we come out to play in the Harbour," he said. "But this is our first attempt at doing battle against the other 38s at a Championship."

Avalon won two races at the Pittwater Regatta and more importantly, beat Conspiracy overall, though it must be said that some of Conspiracy's crew had jumped ship to Daguet 2 (co-owned by Peter Byford) for the NSW ORC Championship. Nevertheless, there is a psychological advantage in having beaten a renowned champion.

"We haven't done the major class events because we didn't have the sail wardrobe to make us remotely competitive. Now we have new Ian Short sails," Ford explained. "We're looking forward to the competition and the big fleet in the NSW Championship. We had our hit-out at the Pittwater Regatta."

Ford has mostly new crew sailing on Avalon, but there is experience aboard. "Yes, I have people like Hedge (Glenn Cooper), Scott Clarkson and Stephanie Lyons. We've sailed against most of the boats at other regattas but never competed head-to-head in one-design. We'll be happy if we finish mid-field or better."

As to taking on Conspiracy again, Ford says, "I have a mate sailing on it, so there's already a bet on between us..."

Sydney 38 One-Design NSW Championship entrants:

Adela II (David Lamond, Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron)
Advanced Philosophy (Peter Sorensen, Middle Harbour Yacht Club)
Avalon (Geoff Ford, Balmain Sailing Club)
Challenge (Greg Croak, Royal Motor Yacht Club Toronto)
Conspiracy (David Hudson/Peter Byford, Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club)
Love Byte (David Alais syndicate, Cruising Yacht Club of Australia)
Mondo (Lisa Callaghan/Stephen Teudt, Manly Yacht Club)
Shine on - Team Callendina (Phil Herscovics, CYCA)
Thirlmere (Daniel Belcher/John Hodgkinson, CYCA)

For all information on the Sydney 38 class, visit: www.sydney38class.com/home.

All information, including entries, photos and results in the NMISHR, visit: shr.mhyc.com.au.

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