New faces in pivotal roles for MC38 Winter Regatta

New faces taking on pivotal roles will shuffle three of the MC38 crews heading out of Middle Harbour Yacht Club this weekend, June 20-21, for the class’ Winter Regatta; stage three of the 2015 Australian Season Championship.

John Bacon’s Pittwater based Dark Star and Howard Spencer’s Auckland based Menace are one apiece on the inaugural season-long pointscore. Leslie Green’s Ginger is the two-time and current Australian champion, but yet to crack a stage win. The Cruising Yacht Club crew is contesting this weekend without their regular tactician and so is Menace, the New Zealander’s usual tactical wizard sending his apologies.

Crew consistency is a key component of Dark Star’s repeated success and will be a big advantage when long-standing tactician Cameron Miles and skipper John Bacon take their place for the first warning signal of the seven race series MHYC is running in conjunction with MC38 class technical advisor, Richard Slater.

Menace regulars Chris Reid, boat captain, and America’s Cup heavyweight Ray Davies, tactician, are in the northern hemisphere. Rigger and VOR sailor Nick Burridge and Will Tiller, the youth America’s Cup skipper and Beau Geste helmsman who bears the most perfect surname in the business, have been called up to stand in for the senior duo.

“Tiller has some big shoes to fill! He will be calling the shots in place of Ray,” Spencer told Live Sail Die’s Suellen Davies, jesting: “No pressure at all!

“The MC38 racing is always world-class and no matter what, you always have to remain completely focused.  If you drop the ball even for a second, then your race can be over. We will have some crew bonding both on and off the water before racing gets underway.  The course is in the vicinity of Sydney Heads so we’re looking forward to big wind and bigger waves,” Spencer added.

The most wind the Kiwi’s will see is due early Saturday, the forecast indicating southerly winds 15-20 knots decreasing to 10 knots in the afternoon and a 60% chance of showers.

Owner Leslie Green will be back on the helm of Ginger, supported by Olympian Colin Beashel as tactician. Beashel has called tactics for Green before and is well qualified to take the place of his customary young maestro, David Chapman, who is overseas.

Clare Crawford is another new face. Not among the crew of dad Robin Crawford’s MC38 Assassin (CYCA), but at the helm. This weekend Crawford makes her driving debut and she says the ‘L’ plates are definitely required. “I’m going to have a crack at driving. I’m very much aware that the crew is solid and it will be OK because of this fact…it’s not all up to me. Our tactician Evan Walker is very calm, and trusting him is going to be a big part of it.”

Ross Hennessy’s Ghost Rider rounds out the MC38 class line-up. Hennessy came to the sport late and is one of the original MC38 owners, based at Pittwater sailing for the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club. Interestingly, he’s also a former competitor on the long and short board surfing circuit.

Four races are scheduled for Saturday, the MC38 fleet sharing the racetrack and MHYC’s on-water resources also running the club’s regular inshore sprint series.

On Sunday, June 21 the final three races are slated, intersecting off Middle Head with the CYCA’s winter series and the boats heading for the Manly turning mark. The forecast is woeful with just 5 knots of WSW breeze at the scheduled start of racing, down to 3 knots by mid-afternoon.

Saturday June 20
Registration and crew weigh-in                                 0800-0900

Race committee briefing @ MHYC                            0930

First scheduled warning signal of the day              1100 (up to 4 races)

Daily prizegiving

Sunday June 21

First scheduled warning signal of the day              1100 (up to 3 races)

No warning signal after this time                               1500

Prizegiving                                                                          ASAP after dock in

For the 2015 Australian Season Championship the final score will be the sum of the owner or charterer’s regatta score in the MC38 Open Regatta, November 14-15, and the lowest three scores in the other regattas. The owner or charterer with the lowest season score takes out the championship.


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