At his second ever MC38 series, which just happened to be the one his business sponsored, Neville Crichton’s Maserati racing team showed their potential for next season with an overall win in the Maserati MC38 Twilight Regatta on Sydney Harbour.
Originally scheduled over three twilights, the series shrank to one evening and three races on Wednesday December 17, 2014.
Owners agreed to cancel Monday night’s opening program due to the hostage drama in Sydney’s CBD. Tuesday night strong winds of 25 plus knots gusting up to 33 knots and rough seas forced the postponement of racing. Last night the fleet got their chance, enjoying 9-14 knot sou’east breezes on a lovely evening course starting straight off the host Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron at Kirribilli up around Clarke Island and back.
Maserati’s boat captain Wade Morgan said, “It was pretty interesting, puffy and 20 degree shifts at times. We sailed tactically smart thanks to Cocko (Michael Coxon) and it was a nice evening on the harbour. We had some good puffs come through at 13-14 knots and even at the finish it was still 9-10 knots.
“Neville is really enjoying the class and the learning curve. This result is a rewarding stage of our progression,” Morgan added.
After Maserati’s debut regatta in Pittwater late last month the team analysed their performance and organised a training day to focus on their weaker points. Tonight the class’ greenest owner, whose three year hiatus from dominating the sport’s upper tier ended when he took delivery of his new MC38 in early October, is the overall winner of the season grand finale.
Just like MC38 Association President John Bacon forewarned at the conclusion of the preceding Blackmore’s regatta, where his Dark Star prevailed, “Don’t worry, we know these guys are coming back at us.”
Second by four points was Leslie Green’s Ginger and third was Lang Walker’s Kokomo.
Marcus Blackmore’s Hooligan wasn’t able to race this evening due to a pivotal crewmember being ill and Murray Gordon steered Dark Star for Bacon.
“A lot of things conspired against the regatta,” said Bacon. “As a group we felt we needed to respect the situation and the people caught up in the siege at Martin Place and not sail on Monday night. Last night’s wind was out of range, gusting to the mid-30s in the middle of the harbour and the committee felt a short runway at the bottom mark was too risky as it left no margin for error. Tonight we managed three races in great conditions to finish off the year.”
Crichton wasn’t the only class newcomer to make waves this evening, Robin Crawford’s Assassin picked up a second in the third and final race, one of his best results since joining the one design ranks this year.
– Lisa Ratcliff