Ariel wins Morna Cup as Sydney-Hobart entrants warm-up

The Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron’s historic Morna Cup had a distinct Rolex Sydney Hobart Race flavour about it yesterday, with Cup winner Ron Forster’s Ariel an entrant in the blue water classic and runner-up Minerva skippered by the Chairman of the Race Committee, Tim Cox.

Minerva also took first place on PHS scoring in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Grant Thornton Short Ocean Pointscore results of which the Morna Cup is part of the summer racing calendar. Ariel is not an entrant in this series.

Seven yachts entered in the 70th Rolex Sydney Yacht Race contested the Morna Cup, although last year’s winner Victoire, an entrant, did not start.

The Morna Cup is one of three short ocean races conducted each summer by the RSYS with today’s 28-boat fleet sailing off the Heads in a light south-easterly breeze, starting and finishing within the Harbour at Watsons Bay.

The RSYS’s Morna Cup is decided on PHS scoring with Ariel, a Beneteau First 40, winning on corrected time by a close 1 minute and 12 seconds from Minerva, a Reichel/Pugh designed DK43, third place going to the J122 Jackpot, skippered by Adrian van Bellen.

Ariel has not entered the Grant Thornton SOPS series and first place in the PHS division then awarded to Minerva from Jackpot and another entrant for the 70th Rolex Sydney Hobart Race, Willyama.

Willyama, also a Beneteau First 40, was helmed today by Trish Stanley but co-owner Richard Barron will be skipper in the Sydney Hobart.

Forster and van Bellen both race out of the CYCA while Cox is a member of the RSYS, as is Stanley.

Cox will again be chairman of the race committee for this year’s 70th Rolex Sydney Hobart which will be officially launched next Tuesday with a fleet of 118 boats expected on the start line on Boxing Day, 26 December.

Division 2 yachts raced for the G Carter perpetual trophy with first place going to Velocity (Brian Carrick) from Arcturus 3 (Peter Davenport) and Solange (William Hutchinson).

IRC results for the Grant Thornton SOPS series saw Division 1 go to Justadash (Philip Dash) by just 28 seconds on corrected time from another Rolex Sydney Hobart entrant, Robin Hawthorn’s Imagination, and Jackpot.

IRC Division 2 went to Saltshaker (Peter Franki) from Crosshaven and King Billy (Philip Cox).

From Peter Campbell

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