Midnight Rambler and JustADash top podium in SSORC opener

Midnight Rambler and JustADash were the big winners on Day 1 of the Middle Harbour Yacht Club hosted Sydney Short Ocean Racing Championship (SSORC), in a race from Sydney Harbour to Lion Island and return today.

Midnight Rambler, the Ker 40 owned by Ed Psaltis, Michael Bencsik Bob Thomas, showed an incredible turn of speed to hold her larger rivals at bay and claim a massive four minute victory over the DK46, Khaleesi owned MHYC members by Andrew and Pauline Dally, with Bob Steel’s three month-old Matt 1180, Quest, third. 

Shore bound after falling off a ladder and fracturing three ribs and three vertebrae, Psaltis, who normally skippers Midnight Rambler, was nevertheless tuned into the race from start to finish, leaving the helming duties to crew member Tom Barker.

“Tom started sailing with us as forward hand, then he became our navigator and today, skipper. He did an excellent job skippering the boat today in the 12 to 14 knot east/nor-easterly. It gusted to 16 knots at times – but was not as strong as forecast,” Psaltis said. “They set a Code Zero coming home and took off.

“The crew did a good job to keep the big boats behind them overall. They said they had a great race with Khaleesi and the other DK46, Nine Dragons (Bob Cox’s yacht which finished fourth overall) – both well-sailed boats.

“We’ve been sailing fast all season and we’re getting it right in terms of tactics – all in time for the Sydney Hobart. I just hope I’m healed in time to go south – that’s what I’m working on now,” he said from home late this afternoon.

In Division 2, defending champion, Phil Dash, sailed his Beneteau First 40 JustADash to a convincing two minute plus win over past MHYC Commodore, Ian Box’s XP44, Toybox 2. Matt Wilkinson/Andrew Wylie’s Ker 11.3, Kerisma, was third.

Dash said this afternoon that the start on Sydney Harbour was key to their victory.

“We got an excellent start, and from there it was follow the leader. It was a pleasant 12-14 knots going up to Lion Island,” Dash said.

“Coming back we set the Code Zero and then changed to our running kite – we experienced a bit of light stuff coming in the Heads and there were a few holes in the course along the way, but we held them off,” ended Dash, who kept the remainder of his division behind them. He is charged ahead of the final two races tomorrow – a windward/leeward followed by a short offshore course.

Today’s race also doubled as CYCA’s Ocean Pointscore race. Midnight Rambler’s win today puts her firmly in the overall lead and as such, she is also the Division 1 leader. Multiple OPS winner and defending champion, About Time (Julian Farren-Price) in second and Swish (Steven Proud) in third.

Psaltis was elated to find Midnight Rambler in the top spot and paid tribute to Tom Barker: “He did such a good job, props to him,” Psaltis said. “Today was a real fillip – I’ve just got to get well for the Hobart.”

Fourth place today was enough to keep Adrian Van Bellen’s Jackpot in the Division 2 lead from Phil Molony’s Papillon, with JustADash in third, one point behind Papillon. 

Seven Islands Race

A bumper fleet of 33 took part, and despite Little Nico, the sexy Rob Shaw 11 metre skippered by Adrian Walters being the backmarker, starting at 1.18pm, she was crowned Division 1 winner. Andrew Pearce’s Troppo took out Division 2, while L’Attitude (Robert Hunt/Jon Short/Miles Bastick) were too good, the victors of Division 3.

The pursuit style race started and finished at Middle Harbour Yacht Club, with the first boat away at 12pm. The course took in Fort Dennison, Cockatoo, Spectacle, Snapper, Goat, Clark and Shark Islands, giving ample opportunities for passing competitors.

This afternoon, yachties and friends were kicking back at Middle Harbour Yacht Club’s beach, comparing notes ahead of tomorrow’s final day, to the strains of the Sydney Groove Band. By 5pm, the post-race beach party, drinks, and sausage sizzle were in full swing.

Middle Harbour Yacht Club thanks its sponsors: Helly Hansen, Sydney City Marine and Club Marine for their long association with and support to the Club and its events and to Key Sun Laboratories and Performance Boating Sales.

For provisional results and all information on the SSORC, please visit: www.ssorc.mhyc.com.au/  

– Di Pearson, MHYC Media

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