John Bacon has sailed Dark Star to a win in the shortened Lindeman Island Race to claim an early lead on the first day of the MC38 Australian Championship at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week today.
Bacon had not only to overcome his contemporaries, including second placed Ginger (Leslie Green) and third placed Vino (Chris Hancock), but the vagaries of the weather, which included strong currents and a light changing breeze. “A day for tacticians,” was how Bacon described it.
Bacon, from Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club on Pittwater, was full of praise for his crew, in particular tactician Cameron Miles: “He and the other tacticians in the fleet had to make some brave calls today. Cameron did a very good job,” he said.
“The two most challenging parts of the race were having to sail between the changing breezes – from a light south-easterly in the morning, to a north-easterly later on. Then when we had to sail at the back of Dent Island into current in the lee of the Island. It was quite tense, even though it was a beautiful sunny day,” Bacon told.
The day started with the seven-boat fleet close, but as the race wore on and tactics came into play, the fleet stretched out.
“There was a lot of current; sometimes in the right direction, sometimes not,” Bacon recalled.
Dark Star had a close battle around the course with Ginger, from the CYCA and late in the race, Ginger overtook Dark Star.
“We had a fantastic reach to Dent Island with Ginger in front, then it went light and there was a bit of current again. At the bottom corner of Dent, we were side by side and in the last 50 metres we gained the lead to win,” Bacon said. It’s a great start to the Championship, but it’s only the first day.”
Bacon went on to praise Chris Hancock and crew on Vino. “They didn’t get off to a good start, but they went on to sail into the lee of Pentecost Island and came out looking great. They were in second for a while, but Ginger pipped them at the top of Lindeman.”
The fleet of the latest in one-design yachts sailed in light and shifty airs, starting in the vicinity of Catseye Bay to the north-east of Hamilton Island at 10.45am.
Seven yachts, including Sergio Sagramoso, who has brought his crew, and boat Lazy Dog all the way from Puerto Rico to Australia for the first time, are contesting the 12-race series.
The Sagramoso crew sailed their first ever race today and it was only the second time they had sailed the yacht at all.
“We’re having a good time. It’s beautiful here and we enjoyed the racing,” Sagramoso said. “It was frustrating with the light wind and the current though, but we go out tomorrow and try again.”
Tomorrow (Monday) up to three windward/leeward races are planned, starting from 11.05am local time.
Full results for the MC38 Australian Championship will be available at: www.hamiltonislandraceweek.com.au/
Di Pearson, MC38 media