In their own wet weather bubble the MC38 fleet followed the breeze around an otherwise barren Pittwater and managed to complete the scheduled final four races of the season ending MC38 Winter Series, victory going to Leslie Green’s Ginger.
For the class elder the Australian Season Championship trophy was the one missing from his collection. Now Green has the full complement of class trophies, the only owner/skipper to achieve the result.
“We are very happy,” said a beaming Green back at the host Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club. “’Chappo’ [David Chapman] did a great job as usual, and a lot of our success goes to Richie Allanson, he’s really critical on the boat.”
A poor penultimate race 6 result gave Ginger a mere one point buffer going into race 7. In the argy bargy and pouring rain at the start Ginger was held out, putting them in the back stalls while John Bacon’s Dark Star went out determined, taking the lead.
Ginger’s longtime tactician David Chapman admitted the nerves kicked in. “I was nervous after our start. We were behind everyone, and then when we were presented an opportunity to pass, we did. Leslie’s the only owner to have won every MC38 trophy; I’m very proud of him.”
Ross Hennessy in his first regatta back since February with Ghost Rider (RPAYC) and a new executive team finished the MC38 Winter Regatta strongly, second to Ginger by two points.
Third overall and Australian Season Championship runner-up was Dark Star. Their conclusion was cruelly rewritten in the final leg of race 7 when a windless hole at the top mark trapped the RPAYC crew. On top of a second series OCS this final stroke of bad luck made it too difficult to overcome nemesis Ginger, though they were also pinged twice in the series for their eagerness by PRO Steve Merrington.
“We were winning the regatta at the top mark,” recalled Bacon. “It was like the nationals all over again. We were first and Ginger was fourth then we stopped and everyone sailed past us.” Reflecting on the past season the class president added, “It was another great season, thanks to all the clubs that supported us. The 38s are a vibrant class and we look forward to getting back out there in September.”
Races 4 and 5 were sailed in the patchy morning sou’easter between nil and 6 knots. The mixed fortunes of racing in winter on a sometimes cruel Pittwater were also epitomised in race 5 when Clare Crawford helming Assassin was mown down by three other MC38s, two coming into the finish in opposing breezes and all smashing the half mile Assassin had established at the top mark.
The breeze then swung easterly and steadied by comparison and the course was reset further north off a start line between Currawong on Pittwater’s western shoreline and Careel Bay. By the close of racing the wind was oscillating, puffs up to 10 knots and back down to an inconsistent 5 knots.
The oft baffling waterway did Neville Crichton’s Maserati no favours either, his Cruising Yacht Club of Australia entry placing last behind Assassin, in contrast to their round two victory last month on Sydney Harbour.
Before the race committee moved the fleet north a lone seal swam close to Ginger in Treharne Cove, see the video here.
Today’s Winter Regatta scores cap off an early 2016 season pointscore and the nationals were contested back in February, the win going to Ginger. The owner’s group has a standalone September regatta scheduled before rolling into the 2016-17 season in October. The location of the 2017 national championship is yet to be announced.
– Lisa Ratcliff