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Sunday, February 7, 2016

Ginger Wins MC38 Australian Championship

The comeback king and kid climbed back from an almost insurmountable five point deficit yesterday to deliver Ginger a trifecta of Australian Championship titles, decided on the finish order in the last race.
 Photo: Craig Greenhill :: Saltwater Images
Leslie Green, Ginger’s owner/driver, is this evening the king of the comebacks and, once again the MC38 class. His young tactician David Chapman is the kid who helped engineer a remarkable fightback thanks to today’s two wins. The rest was decided by how the cards fell in a patchy race 10.
 Photo: Craig Greenhill :: Saltwater Images
In front of a chasing spectator fleet on Pittwater, Ginger, Howard Spencer’s Menace and John Bacon’s Dark Star wrapped up their title pointscore first, second and third overall respectively, each on 31 points, the epitome of one design racing.
 Photo: Craig Greenhill :: Saltwater Images
Menace’s win and Dark Star surrendering its commanding fleet lead chasing a vaporising breeze, then finishing behind Ginger in sixth place completely rearranged the top order. Ginger went from second to first, Menace went from fourth to second and cruelly Dark Star went from being on the verge of a second national title to third.

“I’ve got the most fabulous crew. This is our third time and I have a debt of gratitude to all the boys on our boat. Former PM Paul Keating once said ‘this was the sweetest victory of all’, for me this was the sweetest. Now we’ve won it three times in a row I don’t think it’s unreasonable that we keep the trophy,” Green said..

Like Ginger’s crewman with the broken finger from an on board accident in Friday’s heavy air, Chapman said he felt “mentally fractured” by their comeback. “We tried to stay in phase as much as we could; sometimes we were behind the eight ball. The great thing about asymmetric boats is when you are back in the train you decide when to go, you pick your moment.”

Second overall Australian champion Menace (NZL) scratched out a mixed series, tactician Will Tiller suggesting, “We sailed like a pack of dogs from race 2; it was unbelievable we were in with a chance to win, nothing went our way. We practiced our tacks between race 9 and 10 and found that extra 10%. It was great to see Leslie get it again, he’s a very popular winner.”

The crowd momentum was with Dark Star in race 10, and then they watched the fleet slowly close the gap and Bacon and his crew split off from the fleet to follow Menace. It turned out Menace carried a private breeze with them to the finish, leaving Dark Star out wide and alone.

“We had to beat Ginger and it couldn’t have gone worse for us,” Bacon recounted. “We followed Menace but didn’t get the puff he got. That’s the way it goes, that’s Pittwater in light air. We had opportunities all weekend, one better result in one race and we could have won. We are still wrapped to be up there on equal points with the winner.”

On a tricky final day, Sunday February 7, 2016, PRO Steve Merrington and his team managed to run four races in 6-10 knot swinging east to sou’east winds with plenty of course adjustments and even more holes on the track to fall into.

“It was a race officer’s nightmare,” he offered. “We managed to run all but one of the scheduled races over three days and we watched superb racing. There wouldn’t be a fleet that can pull a spectator flotilla like the MC38s and the RPAYC is delighted to host the class again,” Merrington commented, scanning the packed clubhouse.

Next stop for the MC38s is Middle Harbour Yacht Club’s Sydney Harbour Regatta, March 5-6, where the fleet will race in its own division, then in April the class begins a three-part season championship points core.

For full results see>>>

Lisa Ratcliff

Lumix Wins President's Trophy Ahead of JJ Giltinan

18ft Skiffs - President’s Trophy
Sunday, 7 February 2016, Sydney Harbour
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
Today’s Australian 18 Footer League’s President’s Trophy race was the final hit out for all teams prior to the start next Saturday of the 2016 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship on Sydney Harbour and it also solved a problem for the Lumix team which was in need of a skipper for the regatta.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
With Lumix’s regular skipper sidelined for the season with injury, there have been a number of replacements used as fill ins but getting the right man for the job wasn’t going to be easy, but they have solved the problem after Daniel Phillips led the team to victory in a come-from-behind performance.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
Lumix (Dan Phillips, Aron Everett, Greg Dixon) came from a long way back early in the race to score a 42s win over Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin, John Winning Jr., Nick Catley), with Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley-Jones, James Dorron, Charles Dorron) another 25s back in third place.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney) was a close fourth, followed by Smeg (Lee Knapton) and Triple M (John Sweeny).
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
Phillips, a 2000 Olympian for Australia with Chris Nicholson in the 49er class, had planned on sailing with Howie Hamlin at the JJs. When Howie was forced out with an upcoming hospital procedure, Lumix were quick to grab him for today’s race and a possible JJ start.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
The win secured the position and Daniel Phillips is now officially the skipper of Lumix for the championship. The fleet sailed the easterly course in a 7-11 knot breeze which freshened over the final lap of the course.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
Shortly after the start, the fleet split into two groups with Asko Appliances and Gotta Love It 7 leading the group on the left in Athol Bay while Mojo Wine (James Ward), Noakes Youth (Ash Rooklyn,) and Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon) prominent in the middle.
As the leaders approached Shark Island, Gotta Love It 7 had edged ahead of Noakes Youth, with Asko Appliances third, followed by Thurlow Fisher Lawyers, Triple M and Mojo Wine. When spinnakers were set after the fleet rounded the first set of windward marks, Gotta Love It 7 held a 10s lead over Asko Appliances and Noakes Youth, while Triple M and Mojo Wine lead the next group.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
Asko Appliances grabbed the lead at the bottom mark and led the fleet over the next three legs of the course. Both Marcus Ashley-Jones and Seve Jarvin elected to sail entirely different courses upwind but the pair were always close when they reached the rounding marks.
Gotta Love It 7 finally got the upper hand at the bottom mark on the second lap and it looked as though the team were going to score their first win for a couple of months. After trailing well back in the fleet after a slow first lap, Lumix began to eat into the leading group’s margin and only took the lead just before the final rounding mark.

Frank Quealey

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Neck And Neck - MC38 Nationals - Day 2 - Pittwater, Sydney

Howard Spencer’s Menace (NZL) leads John Bacon’s Dark Star (RPAYC) by one point four races shy of the series’ conclusion tomorrow, Sunday February 6, 2016, and the top Aussie tactician grants it would be “extremely annoying” if the Kiwi team were to add their name to the perpetual trophy.
Photo: Craig Greenhill  :: Saltwater Images
So far the national title has, rightly, been won by nationals; Dark Star, Voodoo Chile, and Ginger, twice. Last year’s Australian Season Champion Menace was always going to be tough to keep out, now they have a fight on their hands.
Photo: Craig Greenhill  :: Saltwater Images
“We are up there again with Howard and yes it would be extremely annoying if they were to become the Australian champions. We are going to try and not let that happen," Dark Star’s tactician Cameron Miles
Photo: Craig Greenhill  :: Saltwater Images
Dark Star’s crew turned an average day one yesterday into a ‘boat of the day’ deserving performance. “We had to start really well and make sure we were in touch at the top, and we did that three out of four races and that’s kept us in the game,” Miles said. “We know we are quick enough to win with the new sail program, we are sailing upwind quicker and higher. We’ve also changed the way we tack the boat and that’s working well, we’ve just got some spinnaker hoist and drop work to do. Tomorrow should be good fun; it’s very tight at the top.”
Photo: Craig Greenhill  :: Saltwater Images
After a poor final race that began with a daring fly-by the committee boat just a smidge too early, two-time defending champion Ginger faces a seemingly insurmountable five point gap to the lead boat.
Photo: Craig Greenhill  :: Saltwater Images
“Five points….we are still in it,” said Ginger’s optimistic tactician David Chapman. “We know what we are good and bad at, we’ve got to come out and get four bullets tomorrow and hope other things go our way. Tomorrow should be lighter, we like the light air. A couple of other boats had a really good day and that’s great for them.”
Photo: Craig Greenhill  :: Saltwater Images
Playing the Pittwater shifts and solid crew-work delivered race victories to Chris Hancock’s Vino, Leslie Green’s Ginger and the double to Dark Star on a lighter second day. Sou’easters averaging 8-12 knots and flat water on the racetrack between Morning Bay and the eastern side of Scotland Island provided terrific conditions with none of yesterday’s spoilers.
Photo: Craig Greenhill  :: Saltwater Images
Hancock’s settling a new crew in and says after being out of phase yesterday, today they found their mojo. “We haven’t been on the boat since the last regatta and we have a lot of new crew including a new tactician, Murray Gordon. It’s a matter of getting everyone settled down. We are doing well enough to feel comfortable and confident and over the next few regattas we’ll press them. The fleet is so competitive now, you get on the wrong tack and it’s pretty much game over in this company.”
Photo: Craig Greenhill  :: Saltwater Images
He thought the race management team led by the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club’s Principal Race Office Steve Merrington did an outstanding job running successive starts using the same line for the MC38s then Etchells and lastly the sports boats. “It all worked out well with the other fleets, Steve did a really good job of marshalling and the whole thing was very well governed.”
Photo: Craig Greenhill  :: Saltwater Images
Race 5 kept the umpiring team of David Tallis and Richard Slater busy blowing whistles and pointing flags at the infringers. A dramatic top gate hook up between Hooligan’s protruding bowsprit and Ginger’s stern looked worse than it was with only some paint scraped off Ginger after the two crews separated the boats. As Hancock pointed out back at the dock, it’s the on-water umpiring that’s helped build the class’ strong camaraderie.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Transfusion Crowned 2016 Farr 40 Australian Champion - John Calvert-Jones Trophy

Guido Belgiorno-Nettis’ Transfusion overpowered the local contenders for a record sixth time at the Farr 40 National Championship: John Calvert-Jones Trophy.
Photo: Beth Morley / www.sportsailingphotography.com
Master international tactician John Kostecki helped furnish the dominant Middle Harbour Yacht Club crew with the highest accolades once again, a major boost to the team’s Rolex Farr 40 World Championship chances when Sydney hosts an international fleet in a couple of weeks’ time.
Photo: Beth Morley / www.sportsailingphotography.com
Luckily they had enough points in the bag that Transfusion wasn’t required to sail the last race. When they lined up for the start of race 10, Martin Hill’s Estate Master pushed them up, then when Transfusion lent over in a gust Hill’s mast spreader pierced Transfusion’s mainsail, bringing Belgiorno-Nettis’ day to a premature end.
Photo: Beth Morley / www.sportsailingphotography.com
“It was an unfortunate situation, the positive is we had three consistently good races at the front of the fleet to build on our position and we are very happy with our performance. John’s [Kostecki] an extremely tough taskmaster, he keeps us all organised. The crew mechanics are getting tighter and tighter the more we sail with him,” Belgiorno-Nettis said.
Photo: Beth Morley / www.sportsailingphotography.com
Lang Walker and his Kokomo crew staged a remarkable return to racing this weekend after two seasons off so Walker could sort out a dodgy hip. Kokomo (CYCA) finished runner up by five points after 10 races, new tactician David Chapman and the core crew members shoring up second overall with a boat of the day performance – 1,4,1,3.
Photo: Beth Morley / www.sportsailingphotography.com
“We were very close to Transfusion in pace upwind; downwind we need a bit more work. I think the offshore courses for the worlds will suit us better than the harbour courses,” Chapman said.
Photo: Beth Morley / www.sportsailingphotography.com
Walker tried out a new driving style downwind this series and Chapman said his skipper seemed comfortable moving from side to side. In terms of the local fleet Belgiorno-Nettis rates Kokomo  as the dark horse.
Photo: Beth Morley / www.sportsailingphotography.com
Estate Master (MHYC) worked its way back from the pre-start altercation with Transfusion to take the gun in the 10th and final race, moving them up to third on the series ladder. Jeff Carter’s Edake (MHYC) finished fourth overall and first Corinthian Farr 40.
Photo: Beth Morley / www.sportsailingphotography.com
Phil Yeomans, MHYC’s Principal Race Officer ran four races on Sydney Harbour’s Sound course area in breeze 8-14 knots and gusts up to 17. “It was a typical westerly, it would drop down to eight then gust up to 14, from no breeze at the first top mark to breeze on the next time around.”


Lisa Ratcliff

Smeg Show How It's Done - 18ft Skiffs, Australian Championship - Race 5 - Sydney Harbour

18ft Skiffs: Australian Championship, Race 5
Sunday, 31 January 2016, Sydney Harbour

The Smeg team of Lee Knapton, Mike McKensey and Ricky Bridge are the Australian 18ft Skiff champions following a consistently impressive regatta which concluded on Sydney Harbour today.
Photo: Frank Quealey
With two wins, one second placing and a fifth from the first four races the team finished the championship with a net total of nine points, five ahead of their nearest rival Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon, Trent Barnabas, Dave O’Connor) on 14 points.
Photo: Frank Quealey
For Lee Knapton and Ricky Bridge, it is a double national championship-winning season as the pair combined with Peter Mackie in Brydens Compensation Lawyers to win the Australian 16 Footer Championship at Hervey Bay in December.
Photo: Frank Quealey
All final placings behind the first two teams are provisional as a protest by first race winner appliancesonline.com.au for average points, if upheld, would see that team move into third place overall.
Photo: Frank Quealey
At the moment, Triple M (John Sweeny, Rob Bell, Paul Montague) is third on 21 points, just ahead (on count-back) of Noakes Youth (Ash Rooklyn, Rhys Mara, Daniel Nixon), also on 21 points.
Photo: Frank Quealey
The top six overall placings are rounded out by Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney, Peter Harris, Joel Castle) on 23 points and Mojo Wine (James Ward, Phil Marshall, Rick Plain), also on 23 points.
Photo: Frank Quealey
While Smeg won the title, today’s race a triumph for the experienced Yandoo team of John Winning, Andrew Hay and Jim Beck. Yandoo’s team were superb in very difficult conditions as they scored an impressive 3m36s win over Triple M, with Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel a further 36s back in third place.
Photo: Frank Quealey
With a fluctuating WNW breeze, unusual sailing conditions for Sydney Harbour, today’s race was an important hit out for the JJ Giltinan Championship, which will be sailed from 13 to 21 February.
Photo: Frank Quealey
The newly crowned champion Smeg team elected to start at the pin end of the line and, along with Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin), Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley-Jones), Lumix (Andy Budgen) and Triple M, were soon battling for the lead.
Photo: Frank Quealey
As the fleet settled down for the work from Rose Bay to Kurraba Point, Smeg grabbed the lead off Clarke Island but shortly after the jib block exploded and the champions day was over. In typical Westerly fashion, the breeze at the western end of the course was much lighter and tested the closely bunched fleet for the lead.
Photo: Frank Quealey
Asko Appliances led by more than 20 seconds as spinnakers were set for the run across the harbour to the wing mark off Clarke Island. Yandoo was in second place, followed by Gotta Love It 7, Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel, Peroni (Nick Daly) and Triple M.
Photo: Frank Quealey
This leg and the following spinnaker leg back to the bottom mark off Rose Bay took a heavy toll on the fleet as many skiffs capsized and two collided (Appliancesonline.com.au and Compassmarkets.com) near the wing mark.
Photo: Frank Quealey
Gotta Love It 7 had taken the lead after Asko Appliances capsized, but when Gotta Love It 7 capsized near the Rose Bay mark, Yandoo took the lead and was never headed from that point. Triple M tried to match the boat speed of Yandoo but Winning and his crew were up to the challenge and continued the good form the team has shown over the first half of the season

Frank Quealey

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Tranny Takes Charge - Farr 40 Nationals - MHYC, Sydney

The Transfusion train is steaming away from the other carriages at the Farr 40 National Championship: John Calvert-Jones Trophy, leaving an almighty tussle for the minor placings with one day remaining.
Photo: Beth Morley / www.sportsailingphotography.com
Results on day two were widespread; Lang Walker’s Kokomo, Gordon Ketelbey’s Zen, Rob Pitts’ Double Black and Guido Belgiorno-Nettis’ Transfusion all scoring wins on Saturday January 30, 2016.
Photo: Beth Morley / www.sportsailingphotography.com
Transfusion leads Edake and Kokomo on series points after six races.
Photo: Beth Morley / www.sportsailingphotography.com
“The boats are really close, even the second and third time around the top mark there’s lots of yelling and calling for buoy room,” said international class president Martin Hill, now fourth on the ladder with Estate Master after a mixed day. “The Farr 40s are putting on great one design competition as always.”
Photo: Beth Morley / www.sportsailingphotography.com
Middle Harbour Yacht Club PRO Phil Yeomans ran race three in a fickle five knots near the Sow & Pigs reef. Marks were then re-laid further north, back at the Sound between South, Middle and North Heads, and races four, five and six ran in steady 10-12 knot sou’easters on one of the cleanest tracks of the season according to one skipper.
Photo: Beth Morley / www.sportsailingphotography.com
Racing was completed well before another storm front rolled in from the North West. The weekend’s unsettled weather and subtropical like conditions, 89% humidity and afternoon storms, are due to a complex low pressure system with multiple centres laying over New South Wales.
Photo: Beth Morley / www.sportsailingphotography.com
Martin and Lisa Hill’s day two was a rollercoaster; last in race 5 after Estate Master’s kite went under the bow during a drop, and third in race 6. Their speed is on par with the yardstick boats, it’s the lack of rhythm among the new crew that’s having an impact.
Photo: Beth Morley / www.sportsailingphotography.com
“Every race we were leading we have a story for not winning,” Martin Hill said. “Today reminded me how important teamwork is. We’ll sort out the coordination; we’d rather find out now than at the worlds! It’s great to be on home waters and terrific to see Transfusion, Kokomo and particularly Edake doing so well.”
Photo: Beth Morley / www.sportsailingphotography.com
Speaking about Estate Master’s return to the local circuit Hill added, “The Australian fleet is fantastic. Having sailed against the internationals recently, the overseas teams definitely won’t find it easy at the pre-worlds and Rolex Farr 40 World Championship on the harbour next month.”
Photo: Beth Morley / www.sportsailingphotography.com
The championship title’s final four races are scheduled tomorrow starting from 1100hrs and the Bureau of Meteorology is predicting variable winds around 10 knots becoming north-west to south-westerly 10-15 knots in the afternoon.
Photo: Beth Morley / www.sportsailingphotography.com
Team Transfusion is aiming for a record sixth Farr 40 National Championship: John Calvert-Jones Trophy class win tomorrow, and a second hometown world championship title in February. Their last world crown was in 2011 when Sydney hosted the pinnacle event.
Photo: Beth Morley / www.sportsailingphotography.com
For full results from Day 2 see>>>

Lisa Ratcliff