Lightspeed bows out as Ginger consolidates in MC38 winter pointscore

The loads on the MC38 fleet racing in 20-25 knots and big seas took their toll early on day one of one design class’ Winter Series, Steve Barlow’s Lightspeed suffering bow damage which finished their day prematurely, and ultimately their regatta.

“MC38 Lightspeed won't be sailing tomorrow, the damage to the hull is extensive and needs time to repair,” Barlow said late Saturday afternoon after Lightspeed was fully assessed at Woolwich Dock having bowed out of race one without recording a finish.

Speaking on the blow-out coming into the first bottom mark when a 25 knot gust hit Barlow said, “I don’t know what boat speed we were doing but we were in good shape at the time and bearing away with the gust.

“The bobstay was ok, but the lateral force on the pole split the side of the hull when the pole protrudes out, and we ended up a bow sprit pole sheared in half. The loads on these boats in 20 knots and heavy seas is massive but I’m philosophical; these things happen. We are disappointed but look forward to the next regatta.”

Leslie Green’s Ginger is firm favourite to take out the four-part MC38 Winter Series pointscore, finishing ahead on points and the North Sails boat of the day thanks to Saturday’s three wins. They lost the final race of the day to Neville Crichton’s Maserati, steered by TP52 owner Matt Allen, and scraped into second place by two seconds over Chris Hancock’s Vino.

Today was Allen’s first crack at MC38 racing and the Australian Sailing president had this to say: “I still had my training wheels on downwind. It’s quite a different boat to sail compared to the 52. It was good fun; it accelerates nicely and once you are in the grove you can make good gains.”

Some of Allen’s Ichi Ban crew joined their skipper, including long-time teammate Gordon Maguire on mainsheet. To their credit, the combination of two Maserati regulars plus guests never held back – in fact they were pressing so hard Maserati was pinged for being OCS at the race one start and eventually finished the day in second by just two points.

Middle Harbour Yacht Club’s race officer Phil Yeomans reported plenty of action on Sydney Harbour between the MHYC, Sydney Amateur Sailing Club and the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron’s inshore club racing, Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s match racing event and the Manly 16ft skiffs.

“It was the usual manic harbour and everyone was talking on channel 72 at the same time!” Yeomans said. He and his team ran race one in a fresh sou’wester, shifting marks halfway through as the breeze went left. Races two to four were moved away from the swell at Sydney Heads and rolled out without any further adjustments in a sou’east breeze 10-12 up to 15kts.

Racing recommences at 1100hrs on Sunday September 9, 2017 and the forecast is for light and funky east to south-easterly winds in the middle of the day.

Three more races will tidy up the regatta and the class’ winter season, and next month the MC38’s 2017-18 summer pointscore will commence with a big fleet turn-out expected to sail out of the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron October 14-15, including a Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club youth crew.

Lisa Ratcliff/MC38 Association media

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