In big gusty winds, Bob Cox (Nine Dragons) and Phil Dash (JustaDash) came from behind to claim the Division 1 and 2 premier trophies respectively in Middle Harbour Yacht Club’s 37th Sydney Short Ocean Racing Championship (SSORC) this afternoon.
Cox’s crew revelled in the gusty north-east and northerly winds, sailing first a windward/leeward race, followed by a triangle/sausage course, winning both races to take Division 1 by five points from Darryl Hodgkinson’s Cookson 50, Victoire (CYCA).
Victoire won the Lion Island Race yesterday, but failed to make an impression today, the reigning Rolex Sydney Hobart overall champion finishing fifth and fourth in the day’s two races. Hodgkinson just scraped into second place overall, with local boats Andrew and Pauline Dally’s Khaleesi and Ian Box’s Toy Box 2 finishing one point behind.
Finishing third on countback, Khaleesi (formerly Exile), a sistership to Nine Dragons, and fourth placed Toy Box 2, an Xp44, were in turn a little lucky, as Paul Clitheroe’s TP52 Balance was poised to finish on the podium, having taken third place in the windward/leeward, but broke gear in the gusty northerly, which at times reached 28 knots, and retired.
Bob Cox was elated with his victory, having finished bridesmaid last year and third in 2012. “Unbelievable,” was the MHYC yachtsman’s initial response.
“We were a little surprised to beat our sistership and we also had great racing with Victoire and Balance. Shame that Balance had broken gear; she was going really well. Full credit to Boxy too (Toy Box 2) he came up and sailed well today.
Mitch White, who sails with Cox, said conditions were tough and testing. “The windward/leeward was sailed in a 15-20 knot sea breeze. It was lumpy going uphill, so hard to steer, but Bob did a great job. It was good surfing downwind,” White said.
By the second race, with a storm on approach, the wind was shifting to the north and became very gusty, keeping all yachties on full alert.
“It was difficult sailing, but we were having great competition with Khaleesi. They were ahead of us, but we got them on the first downwind in the windward/leeward race. We got an awesome start in the second race and kept going from there.”
Of their win, White said: “Much of the credit goes to James Corrie, a pro we hired who usually sails on Estate Master (Martin and Lisa Hill’s Farr 40 One-Design). His trimming definitely gave us the edge.”
Under ORCi, in which Nine Dragons was not entered, Victoire was the winner from Khaleesi and Balance.
Any disappointment Khaleesi’s owners may have felt at not finishing on the top step of the podium was quickly overcome at the prizegiving, when they won the Sydney City Marine $4,000 gift certificate for a lift and antifoul. As an entry in the upcoming Rolex Sydney Hobart, Pauline Dally was very excited to win the generous prize.
It was a big day for MHYC boats, with wins in both Divisions. And much the same as Nine Dragons, Phil Dash came from behind to claim the spoils. There was a lot on the line, as he was defending champion from last year with his Beneteau First 40, JustaDash.
Dash defeated second placegetter, Peter Mosely’s BH36, Local Hero, by one point. Adrian Van Bellen’s J/122, Jackpot (CYCA), slipped to third place overall after finishing at the top of the Series leaderboard yesterday.
“We won the windward/leeward race, and were looking good in the third, but we lost the kite sheet in a big gust coming into the Harbour to the finish at Watsons Bay, so finished second,” Dash said. “The breeze was great offshore – very enjoyable.
“We had a good competition with Local Hero; they came second to us this morning on corrected time – and then they beat us this afternoon. We had two excellent starts today and I think it made the difference,” Dash said. “It’s very pleasing to win.”
Positions were reversed under ORCi; Local Hero won from JustaDash, with L’Altra Donna (CYCA) third.
Conditions over both days of the weekend gave all competitors a solid workout, with perfect north-easterlies on Saturday and gusty heavier winds today, causing many retirements and broken gear for many.
Middle Harbour Yacht Club thanks it sponsors and supporters: Helly Hansen, Sydney City Marine, Two Rivers Hunter Valley Wines, Key Sun Zinke, Club Marine and Vittoria.
Full results, photos and all information will be available at: www.ssorc.mhyc.com.au
– Di Pearson, MHYC Media