Big seas and strong winds offshore for the Premier Divisions contesting Middle Harbour Yacht Club’s annual Sydney Short Ocean Racing Championship put the stress test on crews over the 24 nautical mile course, described as “brutal” by Division 1 winning tactician, Michael Fountain.
Fountain, from Gerry Hatton’s Mat 1245 Division 1 IRC, ORC and PHS corrected time winner, Bushranger, said: “Brutal is the only way to describe it….very tough conditions with constant 27 knot southerlies gusting to 33 and seas 4 metres.”
John McConaghy and Steve Coates helmed Hatton’s boat, Coates hitting a record downwind boat speed of 20.2 knots with a poled-out Number 4 headsail.
Fountain said: “We got a good start at the right end of the line, and we were up there getting out of the Harbour into clear air and weather the boat likes. It’s handy going into day two on top and in fact, we are better suited to windward/leewards.”
Second on IRC was Bob Cox’s DK46 Nine Dragons (MHYC) and third and the line honours victor, Seb Bohm’s JV TP52, Smuggler, made the most of the heavy weather outing a month out from the Rolex Sydney Hobart start.
In Division 2, Paul Jenkins MHYC-based Sydney 38 Mille Sabords captured the treble of top boat under the three handicap systems,and Neil Padden’s Beneteau 40.7, Wailea, had to be satisfied with second.
Conditions heading south to the Waverider Buoy off Kurnell proved too much for some – six withdrawals were recorded from a starting SSORC fleet of 16, due to low-level gear and sail damage.
Super 40 Spring Regatta entrants completed the Seven Islands Race. Indy Beck’s MC38, InfoTrack, gained a 32 second edge over Darryl Hodgkinson’s Victoire on corrected time. Those crews enjoyed calm waters laced with rolling showers and a wildly shifting cool breeze west of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
The fleet in the annual Seven Islands Trophy Race also headed up the Parramatta River to try their luck. Pursuit handicap wins went to Rob Reynolds’ Exile, Tracey Richardson’s and Brendan Smid’s Artemis, and Frank Milner’s Pinta Bay in the Jeanneau Cup division. /
SSORC Principal Race Officer Denis Thompson said there was some rejigging of the weekend series program, given the strong wind warning issued by the Bureau of Meteorology, however all fleets completed their full courses on Saturday. The tough conditions are associated with a high south of the continent pushing a southerly flow up the New South Wales coast.
Winds are expected to moderate on Sunday; 15-20 knots for the final day of the 44th edition of SSORC. The Super 40s take on two short passage races, while the Premier fleet switches to short course racing either on the Manly or Macquarie Circles outside Sydney Heads.
The SSORC is held in conjunction with a Cruising Yacht Club of Australia Ocean Pointscore race.
MHYC is grateful for the support of CYCA race management and thanks key SSORC sponsors Club Marine, Sail Racing, Robert Oatley Wines and Short Marine for their generosity.
All information and results: http://www.ssorc.mhyc.com.au